The Purge and the Poets

Rémi Tremblay

When one thinks of the French language, it is impossible not to think of the richness of its literature. Known for its theater and poetry, its classicism and romanticism, French has produced some of the world’s best authors. But like many things in France, its culture is declining. Where did this decline start? Did it start with the Cultural Marxist revolution of the 60’s?

The French author Léon Arnoux, who published L’épuration et les Poètes (The Purge and the Poets), claims the origins of the decline coincide with the purges at the end of the Second World War.

When France was liberated at the end of the Second World War, a wind of vengeance swept the country. After being defeated and enduring four years under foreign rule, it was now time to settle old scores. Thousands of French (estimates greatly vary; de Gaulles talks about 11,000, French Canadian historian Robert Rumilly 80,000, Robert Aron between 30,000 and 40,000) were murdered and executed while as many were imprisoned in concentration camps in a purge similar to the one that followed the French Revolution of 1789.

Whoever had collaborated in one way or another with the German foe became a prey. Any artist who had continued his work, even if it was totally apolitical, like that of Georges Simenon, the father of Maigret, was targeted. This is why French-Canadian historian Robert Rumilly said in 1949 that all those people were prosecuted solely for being anti-communist.

In September 1944, a black list was published by the imminent victors. On that list were all the authors that are now considered to be a shame to their country. Still today, in politically correct France, citing those authors is like committing social suicide. Léon Arnoux has devoted his books to those poets, men who were prosecuted, condemned, and often executed by the “liberators.” In his book, which could have been titled “the damned poets,” he pithily reminds us that “executed poets are always more numerous than executed bankers.”

Robert Brasillach

The roots of the Fourth Republic were watered with the blood of poets like Robert Brasillach.

The list of French poets condemned by those modern Torquemadas is long. Some were recognized poets like Abel Bonnard, a member of the French Academy whose work received many awards, Robert Poulet, a Belgian, Robert Brasillach (executed), Pastor Noël Vesper (executed), Sacha Guitry and Jean-Harold Paquis (executed). Others were more famous for their political work than their poetry, like Charles Maurras and Léon Degrelle. And beside the famous names of Lucien Rebatet and Pierre Antoine Cousteau we can add a long list of less well-known poets like André Demessine (executed), a friend of Brasillach who had fought on the Eastern Front, Jean Mamy (executed), a former Freemason, Guy Crouzet, Robert le Vignan, Roland Bouvard, etc, etc. The list goes on!

All these talented writers were sacrificed on the altar of political correctness! And today they are voluntarily forgotten by a society that keeps on hammering us about the importance of remembering that era. Like Abel Bonnard said, “art is only the mirror of the dominating ideas of a society.” In our politically correct world, those authors do not belong anymore.

To come back to his book, everyone proficient in French and with an interest in poetry will be delighted by the biographical notes and the poems included, most of which were written while the poets were in prison. While flipping through the pages of that short book we discover the heroic courage of these men who stared without regrets into the eyes of the executioners. This unflinching courage was described by many of these poets in their verses, like Jean-Harold Paquis (executed) who wrote, “don’t know any who cried!” Facing death, they continued to write and they transformed the grey prison of Fresnes into a creative workshop.

What would French literature have become if this elite, definitely at the right of the political spectrum, had not been annihilated? It is hard to tell whether these poets and the authors who were persecuted could have stemmed the tide of Marxism, especially since these purges mainly affected France and a few other European countries. Since the real “Marxisation” of Western culture happened later at the end of the 1960s in almost every White country, even those not affected by the purges, it may have been an inevitable result of the powerful influence of the Frankfurt School and the cultural left which overwhelmed all White societies, even in those countries which had not experienced the purge of their cultural right. The question now is whether or not we can reclaim our historic culture and overturn the malignant influence of cultural Marxism.

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