Remembering Maurice Bardèche (October 1, 1907–July 30, 1998)Greg Johnson
Today is the birthday of Maurice Bardèche (1907–1998), the French Neo-Fascist writer. Bardèche was a prolific and highly versatile author of literary, film, art criticism, history, journalism, and social and political theory. He published twenty-odd books and countless essays, articles, and reviews.
Born in modest circumstances in provincial Dun-sur-Auron near the geographical center of France, Bardèche rose by sheer dint of genius to the heights of France’s meritocracy. He received a scholarship to the prestigious Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris where he met Thierry Maulnier and his future brother-in-law Robert Brasillach. In 1928, he entered the École Normale Supérieure, where he met such now-famous figures as Jacques Soustelle, Simone Weil, and Georges Pompidou. In 1932 he started teaching at the Sorbonne.
During the 1930s, Bardèche primarily collaborated with Brasillach and Maulnier, writing for their periodicals. In 1935 Bardèche and Brasillach published their influential Histoire du cinéma (Denoël et Steele, 1935; expanded edition, 1943). During the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), Bardèche visisted Spain several times and co-authored a Histoire de la guerre d’Espagne (Plon, 1939) with Brasillach. In 1938, Bardèche began to write for the fascist paper Je suis partout.
In the 1940s, Bardèche became known for his work as a literary scholar. In 1940, he completed his thesis on Balzac. He later turned it into a biography, Balzac romancier: la formation de l’art du roman chez Balzac jusqu’à la publication du père Goriot (1820–1835) (Plon, 1943). Bardèche went on to published highly regarded studies of Stendhal (1947), Proust (1971), Flaubert (1974), Céline (1986), and Léon Bloy (1989).
In 1942, after 10 years at the Sorbonne, Bardèche moved to the Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, where he taught until 1944. Always more sympathetic to fascism than National Socialism, Bardèche was not an open collaborationist during the German Occupation of France, although he moved in collaborationist circles. His brother-in-law Robert Brasillach was executed after the Liberation for collaboration. Bardèche was himself arrested for collaboration but was quickly released. His academic career was ended with a ban from teaching in the public educational system.
Bardèche was not silenced by persecution but radicalized. In 1947, he published Lettre à François Mauriac (La Pensée libre, 1947), defending collaborationism, attacking the excesses of the Resistance, and denouncing the purge of Vichy supporters and the execution of individuals like Brasillach. In 1948, he founded his own publishing imprint Les Sept Couleurs (The Seven Colours), named for a book by Brasillach. In 1948, he published Nuremberg ou la Terre promise (Nuremberg, or the Promised Land) (Les Sept Couleurs, 1948), a critique of the Nuremberg trials which landed him in court for defending war crimes. Sentenced to a year in prison, his sentence was commuted by President René Coty. In 1950, he published Nuremberg II ou les Faux-Monnayeurs (Nuremberg II or The Counterfeiters) (Les Sept Couleurs, 1950). In 1952, he founded his journal Défense de l’Occident (Defense of the West), which he published until 1982.
In 1951, Bardèche joined Sir Oswald Mosley, Karl-Heinz Priester, and Per Engdahl in founding the European Social Movement (MSE), the goal of which was to promote pan-European nationalism. Bardèche served as vice-president.
True to his heritage as a “Frank,” Bardèche never dodged labels like “Rightist” or “fascist.” Instead, he owned them and tried to give them substance. In the Introduction to his book Qu’est-ce que le fascisme? (What is Fascism?) (Les Sept Couleurs, 1961) he states forthrightly “I am a fascist writer.” Bardèche sought to bring fascism back to its socialist and syndicalist roots. He was particularly attracted to Mussolini’s late experiment, the Italian Social Republic.
Counter-Currents has published the following works by Bardèche:
- “The Fascist Dream,” Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (in Czech here, here, and here)
- “From International Law to Global Oligarchy“
- “Maurice Bardèche on Francis Parker Yockey“
- “Nuremberg or The Promised Land“
- “The Rights of Man“
- “Six Postulates of Fascist Socialism” (Ukrainian translation here)
- “The True Foundations of the Nuremberg Tribunal“
- “What is Fascism?” (Czech translation here)
We have also published the following related to Bardèche:
- Margot Metroland, “Robert Brasillach & Notre avant-guerre“
- Margot Metroland, “With Brasillach in Spain & Germany“
* * *
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Remembering Gabriele D’Annunzio (March 12, 1863–March 1, 1938)
Another interesting person I’ve never heard of brought to my attention by CC.
I’d be really interested to see was he has to say in his essays on Celine, sadly it seems that they have not been translated for Angloids.
[Bardèche] was particularly attracted to Mussolini’s late experiment, the Italian Social Republic.
Can you tell me where I can find his thoughts on the Republic of Salò, please?
Thank you for this article; I’ve read Bardeche’s “Nuremberg ou la Terre promise” many years ago and it completely changed my outlook on the commonly accepted narrative surrounding one of the darkest chapter of our times.
Then a few other titles, such as Gemany Must Perish and Gruesome Harvest ultimately opened my eyes. Within the first pages of Bardeche’s Nuremberg I was instantly struck by this passage:
“The Germans were not just a defeated people, for they were not an ordinary defeated people.
It is Evil which had been overcome in them: one had to teach them that they were Barbarians, that they were the Barbarians. What happened to them, the last degree of distress, desolation as on the day of the flood, their country swallowed up like Gomorrah, with them wandering about alone, amazed, in the middle of ruins, as though shortly after the collapse of the world, one had to teach them that this was well done, as children say. It was a just punishment sent from heaven.
They had to sit down, these Germans, on their ruins and beat their
chests. For they had been monsters. And it is just that the cities of the monsters are
destroyed, and also the women of the monsters and their little children.
And the radios of all the people of the world, and the presses of all the people of the world, and millions of voices from all the horizons of the world, without exception, without a false note, have begun to explain to the man seated on his ruins why he had been a monster”
There and then I understood why my grandfather didn’t say much about his experience during the war.
British War Office propaganda created this “German the Barbarian” image. A British-monarchy fear of German vitality inspired this falsehood, leading to the Great War.
Add the French hatred of Germany, simmering since 1871 after their inglorious war defeat by Bismarck, a war which the vain French themselves began.
Followed by the stupid Americans in 1917, who swallowed the British “Hun” propaganda with as much gusto as they swallowed the “unarmed Lusitania” lie and the planted Zimmerman telegram – both originating with the British. After which the Americans march to Europe to bail out their former oppressors’ moth-eaten “Empire”. Insanity.
Western brother-nations, tearing themselves apart over vanities, while the real Barbarian bided his time. We have been our own worst enemies, and behold where this has landed us.
There are idiots today who ask why the Germans of 1945 fought to the end.
Why? To save the West from the horror-world we all now must endure, and repair.
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