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French Fascism: The Second Wave, 1933-1939
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French Fascism: The Second Wave, 1933-1939 (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Did Fascism have a significant following in France in the 1930s? Were its supporters predominantly from the political right or left? This book, in conjunction with its predecessor, "French Fascism: The First Wave, 1924-33", argues the notion that Fascism never took hold in France. Robert Soucy argues that France has a long-standing Fascist tradition, one that arose more from counter-revolutionary forces on the right than from forces on the left. Analyzing Fascist "double-talk", Soucy underscores the social and economic conservatism of such mass movements as Francisme, the Solidarite Francaise, the Parti Populaire Francais, and the Croix de Feu - as well as the ideological and membership crossovers between them. Examining police reports of the era, he penetrates beneath the "socialist" rhetoric of these movements and describes their financial backing from the steel and electricity industries and the middle- and lower-middle-class constituencies (rather than workers) who provided most of their recruits.

Soucy investigates why thousands of French men and women found Fascist ideas attractive during this period and what fuelled the more authoritarian and brutal aspects of French Fascism. According to Soucy, these tendencies (seen most recently in the right-wing activity of Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front) periodically emerge from perceived threats from "alien" elements in French society - whether they be communists, socialists, immigrants, Jews, feminists, hedonists, democrats or liberals "soft" on Marxism and secularism.

Robert Soucy, professor of history at Oberlin College, is also the author of French Fascism: The First Wave, 1924-1933.

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