Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Why Does Steve Bannon Admire A French Nazi Collaborator?

Image by Pinterest

Steve Bannon has a French sweetheart, and it’s not Marine Le Pen, the nationalist-populist politician who could become the country’s president in this spring’s election. According to media reports in France, the White House chief strategist recently expressed his admiration for the far-right intellectual Charles Maurras, a notorious anti-Semite sentenced to life in prison after World War II.

Bannon, once the head of the “alt-right” platform Breitbart News, embraces a number of discredited far-right intellectuals from pre-war Europe, including the fascist thinker Julius Evola. Like Maurras, Bannon also melds a devotion to nationalism with a commitment to the Catholic Church, which he has pointed to as an important ally in what he sees as the West’s struggle with Islam.

Maurras was a founder of France’s modern far-right, advocating monarchist principles that others later adopted and launching the Action Francaise, a militant street league that menaced its moderate and left-wing opponents. He expressed mixed feelings about the Nazis, backing the collaborationist Vichy regime they installed but remaining wary about German influence over his country.

After the war, a tribunal found him guilty of collaboration, stripping him of his civil rights, seat in the prestigious French Academy and sending him to prison for the rest of his life. When the verdict was read, he was said to have exclaimed that it was the “revenge of Dreyfus,” a reference to the Jewish army officer whose fate divided France in the 1890’s.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.