Pierre Drieu La Rochelle - Fascism and Collaboration

Fascism and Collaboration

As late as 1931, in "L'Europe contre les patries" ("Europe Against the Nations"), Drieu was writing as an anti-Hitlerian, but by 1934, especially after the 6 February 1934 riots organized by far right leagues before the Palais Bourbon, and then a visit to Nazi Germany in September 1935 (where he witnessed the Reichsparteitag rally in Nuremberg), he embraced Nazism as an antidote to the "mediocrity" of liberal democracy. After the 6 February 1934 riots, he contributed to the review La Lutte des Jeunes and reinvented himself as a fascist. The title of his October 1934 book Socialisme Fasciste ("Fascist Socialism") was representative of his politics at the time. In it, he described his discontent with Marxism as an answer to France's problems. He wrote that he found inspiration in Georges Sorel, Fernand Pelloutier, and the earlier French socialism of Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Proudhon.

Drieu La Rochelle joined Jacques Doriot's fascist Parti Populaire Français (PPF) in 1936, and became the editor of its review, L'Emancipation Nationale, until his break with the party beginning in 1939. In 1937, with "Avec Doriot", he argued for a specifically French fascism. He continued writing his most famous novel, Gilles, during this time.

He supported collaborationism and the Nazis' occupation of northern France. During the occupation of Paris, Drieu succeeded Jean Paulhan (whom he saved twice from the hands of the Gestapo) as director of the Nouvelle Revue Française and thus became a leading figure of French cultural collaboration with the Nazi occupiers, who he hoped would become the leader of a "Fascist International". His friendship with the German ambassador in Paris, Otto Abetz, pre-dated the war. Beginning in 1943, however, he became disillusioned by the New Order, and turned to the study of Eastern spirituality. In a final, provocative act, he again embraced Jacques Doriot's PPF, simultaneously declaring in his secret diary his admiration for Stalinism.

Upon the liberation of Paris in 1944, Drieu had to go into hiding. Despite the protection of his friend André Malraux, and after a failed first attempt in July 1944, Drieu committed suicide on 15 March 1945. Suicide had been a constant temptation throughout his adult life. Like Robert Brasillach, his death caused him to be revered as a martyr by neo-fascists.

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