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TitleFascism and Individualism - William Tucker
TagsCapitalism Conservatism Socialism Fascism
File Size1018.1 KB
Total Pages25
Table of Contents
                            p. 153
	p. 154
	p. 155
	p. 156
	p. 157
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	p. 159
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	p. 177
		Front Matter [pp.  i - iv]
		Contributors [pp.  1 - 2]
		Intra-Party Conflict in a Dominant Party: The Experience of Italian Christian Democracy [pp.  3 - 34]
		Integrating Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany [pp.  35 - 65]
		The Sino-Indian Border Controversy and the Communist Party of India [pp.  66 - 86]
		The Implications of Demographic Change for Nationalism and Internationalism [pp.  87 - 108]
		Actor Objectives and International Systems [pp.  109 - 132]
		Toward a Theory of Sub-Group Formation in the United States Supreme Court [pp.  133 - 152]
		Fascism and Individualism: The Political Thought of Pierre Drieu La Rochelle [pp.  153 - 177]
		Views and Opinions the Americanisation of British Politics [pp.  178 - 184]
		A Comment on Inter-Party Competition, Economic Variables, and Welfare Policies in the American States [pp.  185 - 191]
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		Briefer Notices [pp.  240 - 247]
		News and Notes [pp.  248 - 256]
		Back Matter
Document Text Contents
Page 1


Lamar State College of Technology

N FRANCE THERE HAS rarely been a dearth of intellectuals who

wrote brilliantly on any subject touching politics. While fascism
has not come to power in that country, she has produced writers
who chose the fascist solution to France's difficulties during the inter­
war period and who, in some cases, were active in the Collaboration
movement during the German occupation. In their search ·for new
values for man in the twentieth century, they participated in what
now seems to have been a strange adventure ending abruptly with
the military defeat of the fascist powers. While the passing of time
has made of the Hitlers and the Doriots historical figures without
the slightest positive accomplishment to their credit, fascist writers
like Robert Brasillach and Pierre Drieu la Rochelle have survived
the collapse of European fascism through their works. Partly as a
result of scholarly inquiries, partly because of the revival of the

Extreme Right in France and its self-interest in maintaining the
intellectual tradition associated with it, these writers and others who
participated in the same adventure are being rediscovered.1 The
revival of interest in their works is worth noting, for they managed
to state, in a way the political leaders of their cause were incapable
of doing, the moods and attitudes of some of those who were intel­
lectual followers.

Since Drieu was the best known and, perhaps, the most distin­
guished personality among the French literary fascists during the
crucial years of the Nazi regime, the attitudes behind his attraction
to Nazi Germany as well as his disappointment with his own coun-

*I am grateful to the Lamar Research Center for the grant which made the
research for this study possible.

1Brasillach's name is kept alive by a cult devoted to his memory, !'Associa­
tion des Amis de Robert Brasillach, with headquarters in Lausanne. An at­
tempt was made in 1960 by ·claude Elsen, Dr. Jean-Paul Bonnafous, and
Jean Bernier to found a similar organization on behalf of Drieu, but the op­
position of the family to such an enterprise could not be overcome (com­
munication from Claude Elsen, January 10, 1962).

[ 153]

Page 2


try are bound to assume major importance in any evaluation. His
writings, however, transcend the circumstances of his own time, for
what they seem to suggest is that the impulse behind fascism is not
necessarily conformist and totalitarian, that it can stem from an
individualist orientation with overtones of anarchism. That these
implications were obscured by the propaganda and the performance
of fascist regimes is evident; but that does not make them irrelevant.
For despite the totalitarian reality of fascist systems, there were,
no doubt, indeterminate numbers of men who were drawn to a fascist
commitment by something like Drieu's heroic vision of the individ­
ual creating a new world.2

This probability is suggested by Drieu's attempts to explain
fascism not from the point of view of the high priests of these sys­
tems but from the standpoint of the convert. It is this very capacity
to view the fascist from the inside, to display his preoccupations and

his purposes, that accounts for Drieu Ia Rochelle's relevance to po­
litical science. While literature is no substitute for scientific analysis,
it can supplement the findings of science through insights that can
only be gained subjectively.a

Born in Paris in January, 1893, to a family from Normandy, he
passed from a childhood afflicted by parental conflict to the train­
ing ground for the French diplomatic service, the Ecole des Sciences
Politiques. In spite of his briiiiant promise he failed the final exami­
nations because, he thought, of his non-conformist views. A seven­
year period in military uniform followed. He fought in the Great
War, participating in the campaigns of Charleroi, Champagne, the

Dardanelles, and Verdun, and was wounded three times. In 1922,
his reputation was established with his first major work, M esure de
la France. In his subsequent output of political essays, newspaper
articles, and novels., he was always conscious of being a spokesman
for the wartime generation and was invariably identified as such.
Indeed, he re-entered civilian life with an intense expectation of see­
ing far-reaching changes in his own country and throughout the rest
of Europe. The experiences in the trenches would be translated into

•see Philippe Meynier, Essai sur l'Idealisme moderne (Paris-Limoges: Im­
primerie Guillemot et Lamothe, 1957 ) , pp. 90-92.

"Drieu himself commented, in an interview with Michel Dard ("Visites:
M. Drieu Ia Rochelle," Action Frant;aise, December 6, 1928, p. 5 ) , "From
every living work [of literature] a lesson in politics can be derived. I was
going to say a pamphlet."

Page 12

164 THE JoURNAL oF PoLITics [Vol. 27

Even in the immediate post-war period, Drieu lashed out at the
general euphoria that had settled over French opinion. To a coun­
try which appeared to be the dominant military and political force
in Europe, he submitted unmistakable evidence of decline. France,
he argued, with a population of thirty eight million, came fourth in
Europe, after Germany, England, and Italy, whereas only a century
before, the French had been the most numerous people in Europe.
In the twentieth century, then, the "crime of France" (the title that
he had wanted to give to Mesure de la France) was her failure to
maintain her birth rate. Because of this failure, overpopulated Ger­
many had succumbed in 1914 to what amounted to a French invita­
tion to occupy French provinces that were being emptied of inhabi­
tants. It was understandable., then, that underpopulated France
could not stand up to the Central Powers unaided. But the inter­
vention of non-European powers in the war had marked the begin­
ning of a new era ; for France, and the rest of Europe as well, was
now squeezed between the two Anglo-Saxon empires and a Russian
empire. Since the British Empire was already doomed to dissolution,
the end result could only be increasing pressures on Europe from the
United States and Russia.

That his analysis was not in the popular vein of the post-war
years is apparent. And it was precisely during these years that
French nationalists were urging a policy of strength, including the
dismemberment of Germany and disregard of English, American, or
Russian attitudes. To Maurras's "la France seule," Drieu retorted
that no European nation alone, including France, could henceforth
be strong enough to save itself from the expansionist drives of the
new empires. Without European federation the continent would
either devour itself in another war or be devoured. In any event,
only the non-European empires would benefit.

Nationalism, to his mind, was an uncontrollable force driving
Europe to war on the scale of 1914. Thus, he could argue in
Geneve ou Moscou (1928) that a European Zollverein within ten
years was a matter of life or death for Europe. Amidst the general
state of disorganization of the continent a portion of Europe's

tion in Twentieth-Century France

La Droite en France de 1815 a nos jours

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