Charles Maurras (1868 - 1952)

Portrait of Charles Maurras


Journalists & intellectuals

Charles Maurras became an anti-Dreyfusard to defend the Army, "the guarantor of the nation's survival." He was born in Martigues in the department of Bouches-du-Rhône on 18 April 1868.

The son of a tax collector, Maurras began his professional life as a journalist for L'Observateur Français in Paris, where he published some 170 articles by the summer of 1891, while at the same time beginning to work with the royalist review Gazette de France. In November 1897, he considered that "the specific interests of the condemned man cannot be weighed against those of the French Army," and established himself as an anti-Dreyfusard, thus breaking with Barrès that "the entire party of Dreyfus deserves to be put in front of a firing squad like rebels." He saw only danger to the nation from "cosmopolitan anarchists, anti-patriotic socialists, Jews and Protestants."

In the fall of 1898, he defended the forgery of Colonel Henry, "a simple public reproduction, like a popular novel, but absolutely true," a falsification that was useful because "when it comes to certain subjects the crowd is a child, and public opinion is a minor."

Maurras created Action Française in July 1899, supposedly to defend the "true country" against Jews, freemasons, Protestants and those of mixed blood. After the rehabilitation degree, his supporters reconstructed the history of the Affair, in the same way as they sought to reconstruct the history of France in order to substitute "the desirable for the sadly real." Despite the condemnation of his movement by the Pope in 1926, his influence on the French right remained strong, and contributed to his election to the Académie Française in 1938.

After the "divine surprise" of the collapse of the Third Republic and his collaboration with the enemy, Maurras was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Rhone Court of Justice on 27 January 1945, proclaiming "this is the revenge of Dreyfus." Pardoned in March 1952, he died in Tours on 16 November of the same year.