Charles Maurras

1868 - 1952

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Charles-Marie-Photius Maurras (; French: [ʃaʁl moʁas]; 20 April 1868 – 16 November 1952) was a French author, politician, poet, and critic. He was an organizer and principal philosopher of Action Française, a political movement that is monarchist, anti-parliamentarist, and counter-revolutionary. Maurras also held anti-communist, anti-Masonic, anti-Protestant, and antisemitic views, while being highly critical of Nazism, referring to it as "stupidity". His ideas greatly influenced National Catholicism and integral nationalism, led by his tenet that "a true nationalist places his country above everything". Raised Catholic, Maurras went deaf and became an agnostic in his youth, but remained anti-secularist and politically supportive of the Church. An Orléanist, he began his career by writing literary criticism and became politically active as a leading anti-Dreyfusard. In 1926, Pope Pius XI issued a controversial papal condemnation of Action Française, which was repealed by Pope Pius XII in 1939. In 1936, after voicing death threats against the socialist politician Léon Blum, Maurras was sentenced to eight months in La Santé. While imprisoned, he received the support of Mother Agnes of Jesus (the elder sister of Thérèse of Lisieux), Henry Bordeaux, Pius XI, and up to 60,000 sympathetic citizens. During World War II, Maurras supported the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime, believing that Free France was being manipulated by the Soviet Union. He wrote many anti-Semitic articles during this time, although he opposed Vichy's deportation of Jews to Nazi concentration camps. He explained his support for Vichy, writing: "As a royalist I never lost sight of the necessity of monarchy. But to enthrone the royal heir, the heritage had to be saved." After the regime's collapse, he was arrested and accused of complicity with the enemy. Following a political trial, he was convicted of incitement to murder, receiving Indignité nationale and a life sentence. In 1951, after falling ill, he was transferred to a hospital and later received a medical pardon. In his final days, he reverted to Catholicism and received the last rites shortly before his death. Aa a political theorist and major right-wing intellectual of 20th-century Europe, Maurras significantly influenced right-wing and far-right ideologies, anticipating some of the ideas of fascism. He has been described as the most important French conservative intellectual, and has directly influenced a large number of politicians, theorists, and writers on both the left and right, including Eliot, Hulme, Douglas, Evola, Schmitt, Heidegger, Bernanos, Mauriac, Thibon, Sorel, Déon, Laurent, Henri of Orléans, Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Maritain, de Oliveira, Sardinha, Pereyra, Althusser, Osma, Lanz, de Gaulle, Franco, Salazar, Duplessis, Coughlin, Degrelle, Pétain, Perón, Ferrara, Bannon, and Macron. To this day, Maurras remains controversial. Critics have attacked his anti-Semitic views and support of Vichy, calling him a "fascist icon". Conversely, supporters like Georges Pompidou have praised him as a prophet. Others, including Macron, have taken a nuanced approach, with Macron stating: "I fight all the antisemitic ideas of Maurras, but I find it absurd to say that Maurras must no longer exist." Source: Wikipedia (en)

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