Jacques Doriot

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Jacques Doriot in 1929

Jacques Doriot (26 September 1898 – 22 February 1945) was a French politician, initially communist, later a national socialist (as opposed to National Socialist), before and during World War II. In 1936, after his expulsion from the Communist Party, he founded the nationalist Parti Populaire Français (PPF). During the war, Doriot was a supporter of collaboration and contributed to the creation of the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism (LVF). He fought personally on the Eastern Front, with the rank of lieutenant, and was decorated for his bravery.


Doriot speaking at the first meeting of the Parti Populaire Français, 1936
Doriot in front of LVF posters

Early life and politics

Doriot moved to Saint Denis, near Paris, at an early age and became a labourer. In 1916, in the midst of World War I, he became a committed socialist, but his political activity was halted by his joining the French Army in 1917. Participating in active combat during World War I, Doriot was captured by enemy troops and remained a prisoner of war until 1918. For his wartime service, Doriot was awarded the Croix de guerre.

After being released, he returned to France and in 1920 joined the French Communist Party (PCF), quickly rising through the party - within a few years, he had become one of the PCF major leaders. In 1922 he became a member of the Presidium of the Executive Committee of the Comintern, and a year later was made Secretary of the French Federation of Young Communists. In 1923, Doriot was arrested for violently protesting French occupation of the Ruhr Area. He was released a year later, upon being elected to the French Chamber of Deputies (the Third Republic equivalent of the National Assembly) by the people of Saint Denis.


In 1931, Doriot was elected mayor of Saint Denis. Around this time, he came to advocate a Popular Front alliance between the Communists and other French socialist parties with whom Doriot sympathized on a number of issues. Although this would soon become official Communist Party policy, at the time it was seen as heretical and Doriot was expelled from the Communist Party in 1934.[1]

Still a member of the Chamber of Deputies, Doriot struck back at the Communists who had renounced him: his views turned to embrace the French nation, evolving into a 'national' socialism—as opposed to the socialism of the Third International. By now embodying fascist more than socialist ideals, Doriot founded the nationalist Parti Populaire Français (PPF) in 1936. Doriot and his supporters were vocal advocates of France becoming organized along the lines of Fascist Italy and National socialist Germany and were opponents of Socialist Premier Léon Blum and the Communists.


When France went to war with Germany in 1939, Doriot became pro-German and moved from the country into occupied Paris, where he espoused the 'New Europe' and anti-communist propaganda on Radio Paris and in huge patriotic meetings in the Paris Vélodrome d'Hiver. In 1941, he and fellow collaborator Marcel Déat founded the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism (LVF), as a French unit of the Wehrmacht to take part in the crusade against Bolshevism.

Doriot himself saw active duty on the Eastern Front with the LVF after Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, and was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery in 1943. In his absence, leadership of the PPF officially passed to a directorate, although real power came to lie with Maurice-Yvan Sicard.[2]


Jacques Doriot was killed on 22 February 1945 while traveling from Mainau to Sigmaringen when his car was strafed by Allied fighter planes. He was buried in Mengen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.[3]


  • NCO (Unteroffizier) of the French Army
  • Leutnant / 2nd Lieutenant (LVF)
  • Oberleutnant / 1st Lieutenant (LVF)
  • Waffen-Obersturmführer der SS on 1 November 1944 (entering the Waffen-SS)
  • Waffen-Hauptsturmführer der SS on 5 November 1944
  • Waffen-Sturmbannführer der SS on 9 November 1944

Awards and decorations (excerpt)

See also


  • Alexander, Martin and Helen Graham (1989). The French and Spanish Popular Fronts: Comparative Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Allardyce, Gilbert (1966). "The Political Transitions of Jacques Doriot." Journal of Contemporary History. 1 (1966).
  • Arnold, Edward (2000). The Development of the Radical Right in France: From Boulanger to le Pen. London: Macmillan.
  • (1945). "Jacques Doriot, French Pro-Nazi, is Killed by Allied Fliers, Germans Report." New York Times. February 24.
  • Soucy, Robert (1966). "The Nature of Fascism in France." Journal of Contemporary History. 1 (1966).
  1. Alexander 145.
  2. Littlejohn, David, The Patriotic Traitors, London: Heinemann, 1972, p.272
  3. "Doriot, French Pro-Nazi" 4.