National Youth Groups: France

Figure 1.--These RNP boys are participating in the presentation of a "fanion du chef" (leader's staff) during a party rally at Palais de Chaillot in 1943. Click on the image for a fuller view in which RNP leader Déal cam be seen standing by himself at the right of the party flag.

We have very limited information on French nationalist youth groups. As far as we can tell, the French youth group movenment began and has been dominated by Scouting. The authors have no information on non-Scout nationalist boys uniformed groups in France during the early-20th century. Some groups were organized by Vichy authorities during the World War II German occupation.

Early 20th Century (1900-18)

HBU has no information on the eraly 20th century. Uniformed youth groups other than the Scouts had formed in America, England, Germany, and other countries. HBU has no information about such groups in France. The only group we know of is the Scouts.

Inter-war Years (1919-1939)

Several Fascist oriented right-wing political parties were organized during the inter-war years. Many appeared along with the rise of Fascism in Germany. Political partities often had youth sections. The Government, however, banned the wearing of political party uniforms. The parties themselves were small with limited popular support. The youth movements were also very small. Most French boys wanted to paeticipate in Scouting.

World War II (1939-45)

When Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, the French Army except for minor excursions waited behind the Maginot line. The Government, mindful of the horendous casulties incurred during World War I, hesitated to act. After the so called "Phony War", the Germans stryuck the first real blow. The German offerense in the West was begun on May 19, 1940 in the Low Countries. By the beginning of June, German tanks were pouring into France. The British evacuated at Dunkirk. The French Government evauated Paris on June 15. Marshall Pétain, the Victor of Verdun, was asked to form a Governmernt. On June 22 an armistace was signed at Compaigne, in the same railway car that the World War I armistace had been signed. Only part of France was occupied. This was the only such agreement that Hitler signed with one of the occupied countries. The new French Government was installed at Vichy and is this known as the Vichy Republic. For most Frenchmen the War was lost. Many saw no alternativem but to collaborate with the Germans.

Post-War Era (1944- )

The French right was so tarnished by its collaboration with the NAZIs that the Political parties had little influenced in post-War France. I know of no nationalist youth movements which continued to operate after the liberation (August 1944).


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Created: June 29, 2000
Last updated: 10:41 AM 2/18/2019