Historical Terms: Action Francaise

action francaise: Right-wing political movement founded in France by the journalist and poet Charles Maurras (1868-1952), which was royalist, nationalistic, and anti-Semitic and which criticized the Third French Republic for decadence. Although a freethinker, Maurras approved of Roman Catholicism, believing that its traditions were a counterforce to democratic republicanism. In 1908 he and Leon Daudet (1867-1942), a pamphleteer and essayist, began joint editorship of the movement’s newspaper, Action Francaise. The Vatican became estranged from the movement after 1926 and it drew increasingly close to fascism. Between 1940 and 1944, it gave strong support to the Vichy government and was accordingly suppressed after France was liberated; Maurras was sentenced to life imprisonment for collaboration with the Germans.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

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