Marine Le Pen and the Neo-Nazi Origins of the Front National

Nouvelle Droite

Marine Le Pen has been enjoying a disturbingly growing level of success in France, as leader of the National Rally, known until 2018 as the National Front (FN), founded in 1792 by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who had links with the deepest levels of post-War fascism, a tendency that Marine herself does not seem to have sincerely distanced herself from. Marine has attempted to distance herself and the party from its right-wing extremism, but as the New York Times reported, even in 2017, “descriptions of the inner workings of her party by present and former close Le Pen associates, as well as court documents, raise fresh doubts about the success and sincerity of those efforts.”[1]

According to Tamir Bar-On, GRECE’s ideas on race, culture and immigration had a major impact on the ideology of the entire right, and particularly the FN.[2] GRECE had a specific interest in Germanic and Nordic neopaganism, and its leaders called for fidelity to the “white Aryan ideal” and the formation of an “International of the white race” to “reassert the place of the white man in the world.”[3]

Some of the prominent names that have collaborated with GRECE include Arthur Koestler, Hans Eysenck, Konrad Lorenz, Mircea Eliade, Jeune Europe founder Jean-Francois Thiriart, Thierry Maulnier and Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange. In 1976, Koestler, who had been an active agent of the CIA, working closely with Bill Donavan and later Allen Dulles, and a core founder of the CIA-front, the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), published The Thirteenth Tribe, to prove that the bulk of Eastern European Jews were descended from the Khazars. Although Koestler apparently wrote the book with the hope that he could demolish the racial basis of anti-Semitism, the book was widely used by anti-Semites who attempted to demonstrate that the European Jews were imposters.[4]

From the 1960–1970s onwards, the Conservative Revolution influenced the European New Right, such as the Nouvelle Droite and the Neue Rechte, which advocated Third Position, a revived form of National Bolshevism, in opposition to both capitalism and communism.[5] Third Position politics saw the United States and liberal capitalism as the primary enemy, seeking an alliance with the Soviet Union, and promoting solidarity with Communist revolutionary movements in the Third World, including Asia and Latin America, and Arab opponents of Israel.[6] The leading organization of the Nouvelle Droite was known as GRECE, the Groupement de recherche et d’études pour la civilisation européenne (“Research and Study Group for European Civilization”), founded by de Alain de Benoist and others who belonged to the World Union of National Socialists (WUNS).[7]

WUNS was formed when British fascist Colin Jordan and George Lincoln Rockwell, of the American Nazi Party (ANP) had agreed to work towards developing an international network between movements as an umbrella group for neo-Nazi organizations across the globe. This resulted in the 1962 Cotswold Declaration, which was signed by neo-Nazis from the US, Britain, France (represented by esoteric Hitlerist Savitri Devi), West Germany, Austria and Belgium. Members pledged to acknowledge the “spiritual leadership of Adolf Hitler,” and to protect the Aryan race and Western Civilization by forming a “combat-efficient, international political apparatus to combat and utterly destroy the international Jew-Communist and Zionist apparatus,” and last but not least, project free enterprise.[8] More member nations would join later throughout the decade, including Argentina, Australia, Chile, Ireland, South Africa, Japan and others. Rockwell also became acquainted with Devi through WUNS, and once he succeeded Jordan as its leader, he launched National Socialist World as the party magazine. The journal’s editor Dr. William Pierce published condensed versions of Devi’s The Lightning and the Sun. Through Rockwell and Pierce, Devi’s Esoteric Hitlerism was brought to the attention of a much wider audience in Western Europe, the United States, South America and Australia.

A strong supporter of the Third Position, through an alliance with Islamic extremists, was neo-Nazi Ahmed Huber, a friend of Francois Genoud, the principal financial manager of the hidden Swiss assets of the Third Reich after World War II.[9] A former journalist who supposedly converted to Islam, changing his name from Albert, Huber was a well-known figure in European neo-fascist circles. But Huber is also a member of a group composed of former SS veterans calling itself Avalon Gemeinschaft, which claims to be based on the “great Celtic tradition,” and at every solstice he meets under the moon in a forest grove with a few hundred European Druids, with whom he is preparing the “end of our decline.” And with the Thule Society, he also works for the restoration of “greater Germany.”[10] Avalon’s founders also embraced the jargon of the “Nouvelle Droite” associated with Alain de Benoist’s GRECE, and GRECE’s German counterpart, Pierre Krebs‚ Thule Seminar.[11]

Huber also claimed to have met with Belgian Waffen SS leader Léon Degrelle, the founder of Rexism—a Catholic collaborationist Belgian movement—and a top leader of the postwar right.[12] After the collapse of the Nazi regime, Degrelle went into exile in Francoist Spain where he remained a prominent figure in neo-Nazi politics. Degrelle had been brought to Madrid by Otto Skorzeny—Hitler’s favorite commando, who would go on to work for the CIA and Mossad—who made him his chief aide. Degrelle became a great organizer of rapprochement between Palestinian groups and neo-Nazis between the years of 1950 to 1980.[13] While in Francoist Spain, Degrelle maintained a high standard of living and frequently appeared in public and private meetings in a white uniform featuring his German decorations. Ex-Flemish SS, leaders of the Vlaamse militanten orde (VMO), the main Flemish neo-Nazi action group in the 1970s and 1980s, the Vlaams Blok/Belang (VB) and other nationalist organizations visited Degrelle in Spain.[14]

Degrelle became active in the Spanish Neo-Nazi Círculo Español de Amigos de Europa (CEDADE) and ran its printing press in Barcelona. CEDADE, which was founded in 1966 under Franco’s rule and ostensibly as a society for the appreciation of Richard Wagner, was influenced by Skorzeny, who was a founding member.[15] Among those associated with the group was Klaus Georg Barbie, the son of Klaus Barbie.[16] Using the name Ediciones Wotan, it published works by Degrelle and Francis Parker Yockey and collaborated closely with the Liberty Lobby in the United States.[17] By the mid-1980s, the SD Group, the so-called “elite group” within CEDADE embraced “esoteric Hitlerism” and started publishing by Miguel Serrano in its journal Excalibur. At the end of the 1980s, most of the SD Group left CEDADE and formed the Society of the Thule Group, which promoted the Esoteric Hitlerism of Serrano and Savitri Devi.[18] In the beginning of the 1990s, the Thule Group began publishing a journal entitled Hiperbórea.[19]


Front national

Ahmed Huber also organized a meeting between a close friend of Leon Degrelle, Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front Nationale (FN), and Huber’s close friend Necmettin Erbakan, the head of the now banned Turkish Islamist party Refah (Welfare), to develop a joint position on immigration.[20] Degrelle claimed Jean-Marie Le Pen was a “close friend,” and Front National representatives often met with him in Francoist Spain.[21] When asked what Le Pen might think of Hitler, he said, “I think he likes him very much.”[22]

One of the primary progenitors of the FN was the synarchist publication Action Française, with which Le Pen has been associated.[23] The FN was founded in 1972 by Ordre nouveau (ON), a far-right movement created in 1969. While the ON had competed in some local elections since 1970, at its second congress in June 1972 it decided to establish a new political party to contest the 1973 legislative elections. In order to create a broad movement, the ON sought to model the new party on the more established Italian Social Movement (MSI), which at the time appeared to establish a broad coalition for the Italian right. The FN adopted a French version of the MSI tricolor flame as its logo.[24]

Le Pen had been influenced by the journal Combat of the British National Party (BNP). In 1967, BNP and the League of Empire Loyalists (LEL) had come together to form the National Front (NF). John Tyndall, the former deputy to Colin Jordan of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM), who corresponded with Savitri Devi, became the NF’s chairman in 1972, until the party’s base of support was weakened when Margaret Thatcher adopted their anti-immigration rhetoric.

Le Pen founded the FN along with former OAS member Jacques Bompard, former Collaborationist Roland Gaucher and others supporters of Vichy France, neo-Nazi pagans, and Traditionalist Catholics.[25] Another conflict that is part of the party’s background was the Algerian War (many National Front members, including Le Pen, were directly involved in the war), and the right-wing dismay over the decision by French President Charles de Gaulle to abandon his promise of holding on to French Algeria.[26] Criticizing immigration and taking advantage of the economic crisis striking France and the world since the 1973 oil crisis, Le Pen’s party managed to increase its support in the 1980s.

Until his death, Traditionalist Catholic Marcel Lefebvre was a supporter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Front Nationale.[27] In 1989, it was discovered that for sixteen years his followers had been harboring Paul Touvier, indicted for his central role in the deportation of the Jews of Lyons to German death camps. Just before his death in March 1988, Lefebvre was fined eight thousand francs by the Court of Appeal in Paris for “racial defamation” and “incitement to racial hatred,” for suggesting publicly that immigrants, beginning with Muslims, should be expelled from Europe.[28] When GRECE lost most of its membership and popularity in the late 1990s, after its key ideologues on ethics matters defected to the FN.[29]


Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF)

Delegates listen to speeches during the Russian International Conservative Forum in St. Petersburg on March 22, 2015
On March 22, 2015, high-ranking members of some of Europe’s most controversial parties attended the first International Russian Conservative Forum (IRCF) in St. Petersburg, attended by high-ranking members of the WNCM.[30] The forum’s organizers were Rodina, who claimed that it represented the “first forum of the national-oriented political forces of Europe and Russia in world history.” Following a full day of 10-minute speeches by more than 30 ultranationalist commentators and the leaders of radical right-wing parties from seven European Union countries, including Greece, Italy, Germany and Britain, the forum adopted a resolution on the creation of a permanent committee to coordinate Russia’s and Europe’s conservative political forces. They blamed the United States for the Ukraine crisis, deplored the erosion of traditional values in the West and praised President Vladimir Putin’s peacemaking skills.[31]

The bulk of the international part of the IRCF was represented by the Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF), represented by Nick Griffin, former leader British National Party (BNP). Formed in 1982 by John Tyndall and other former members of the National Front (NF), the BNP established itself as the most prominent extreme-right group in the UK in the 1980s. When Tyndall refused to moderate the party’s policies or image, a growing group of “modernizers” in the party ousted him in favor of Griffin in 1999. In 2002, Tyndall joined in signing the New Orleans Protocol written by David Duke. In an attempt to overcome the divisiveness that had followed the death of William Pierce in 2002, Duke presented a unity proposal for peace within the movement. In 2004, Duke organized a weekend gathering of “European Nationalists,” in the spirit of white nationalism in Kenner, Louisiana. His proposal, now known as the New Orleans Protocol, pledged adherents to a pan-European outlook, recognizing national and ethnic allegiance, but stressing the value of all European peoples. The Protocol was signed by and sponsored by a number of white supremacist leaders and organizations, including Don Black and Willis Carto.

Griffin is Deputy Chairman of the Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF), a newly established umbrella organization founded in Brussels on 4 February 2015. The main member parties had been involved in the now defunct European National Front. The APF maintains contacts with conservative circles in Russia and supports the policies of Vladimir Putin, especially in the Ukraine crisis. It maintains friendly relations with the Syrian Baath Party government. The APF also maintains contacts with the former leader of the French National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was expelled from the FN in 2015.[32] APF is represented by the following parties: Forza Nuova of Italy, National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), Party of the Swedes, Greece’s Golden Dawn of Greed, Spain’s National Democracy, Belgium’s Nation and the Danish Party.


Marine le Pen

Marine Le Pen with Frédéric Chatillon, right, and Axel Loustau, second from right, at the start of the National Front’s campaign for local elections in 2013
As reported in the New York Times, two men in Marine’s innermost circle, Frédéric Chatillon and Axel Loustau, who have been her associates since her days in law school in the 1980s, were known within the party for their Nazi-sympathies. French television broadcast video a video in 2017 from the 1990s of Loustau also visiting Degrelle, while anther video showed Chatillon speaking warmly of his own visit with Degrelle. “They have remained National Socialist,” said Aymeric Chauprade, once Marine’s principal adviser on foreign affairs, until a falling out, partly over his pro-Israel stance. “They are anti-Semites, nostalgic for the Third Reich, violently anticapitalist, with a hatred for democracy,” he added in an interview.[33]

Despite the party’s history of anti-Semitism, the FN has forged ties with the notorious Jewish Defense League (JDL), which is classified by the FBI as a terrorist group and is banned from politics in Israel.[34] The French chapter of the JDL has been accused of numerous assaults over the years, including an attack on French-Algerian racial justice activist Houria Bouteldja, and assaulting French Buzzfeed journalist David Perrotin. In 2014 she explained:


I will not stop repeating to French Jews, who are turning to us in increasing numbers, that not only is the National Front not your enemy, but it is without a doubt the best option to protect yourselves in the future… against the one true enemy, Islamist fundamentalists.[35]

Marine has confirmed taking an $11.7 million loan from the First Czech-Russian Bank in Moscow, which has been tied to the Kremlin. Le Pen has denied a further news report that the money was just the first installment of an eventual $50 million in loans to help her party through a presidential election in 2017. Le Pen has publicly stated her vision of a Europe of independent nation states controlled by a tripartite axis between Paris and Berlin and Moscow. France’s ProRussia TV, which is funded by the Kremlin, is staffed by editors with close ties to the National Front who use the station to espouse views close to National Front’s own perspective on domestic and international politics. The National Front wishes to replace the EU and NATO with a pan-European partnership of independent nations, which, incidentally, includes Russia and would be driven by a trilateral Paris-Berlin-Moscow alliance.[36]

The Russian loan “is no secret,” le Pen told Le Monde.[37] She even instructed Front National’s treasurer to report the “loans” to the party congress in December 2014, where they were celebrated in the company of two Russian dignitaries and fellow-travelers like the Italian Matteo Salvini of the League of the North and Holland’s Geert Wilders. Wilders is head of the Party for Freedom, breaks from the established center-right parties in the Netherlands with program items like administrative detention and strong assimilationist stance on the integration of immigrants into Dutch society. In addition, the party is consistently Eurosceptic. Wilders’ travels to Israel as a young adult, as well as to neighboring Arab countries, helped form his political views. He has campaigned to stop what he views as the “Islamization of the Netherlands.” He has compared the Quran to Mein Kampf and has campaigned to have the book banned in the Netherlands, and advocates ending immigration from Muslim countries, and supports banning the construction of new mosques.

Wilders also inspired Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian far-right terrorist who committed the 2011 Norway attacks, killing eight people by detonating a van bomb amid the Regjeringskvartalet in Oslo, then shooting dead 69 participants of a Workers’ Youth League (AUF) summer camp on the island of Utøya. Breivik has identified himself in a multitude of social media services as an admirer of, among others, the Freedom Party of Austria, Hindu nationalism, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, Winston Churchill, Max Manus, Robert Spencer, former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, Patrick Buchanan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Radovan Karadzic, and Geert Wilders, whose political party he described on the website of the periodical Minerva as one among the few that could “truly claim to be conservative parties in their whole culture.” But Wilders quickly distanced himself from Breivik and denounced him as “violent and sick.”[38]

Wilders, who long refused to align himself with European far-right leaders such as Jean-Marie Le Pen and Jörg Haider and expressed concern of being “linked with the wrong rightist fascist groups,” views himself as a right-wing liberal. More recently, however, Wilders worked together with the French National Front’s of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s daughter Marine Le Pen, in a failed attempt to form a parliamentary group in the European Parliament which would also have included the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), Italy’s Northern League, and Belgium’s Flemish Interest. Anton Reinthaller, the FPO’s first party leader in 1956, was a former Nazi SS officer who had served as a Nazi Minister of Agriculture. The majority of the FPO’s members were former Nazis. In 2000, the US Congress unanimously passed House Resolution 429 condemning the FPO’s entry into Austria’s government, and highlighted the party’s neo-Nazi affiliations.[39]

Marine Le Pen appropriated for herself practically all of the reflections of Emmanuel Leroy, a former member of GRECE, whose name appeared in a leaked list of potentially sympathetic contacts purportedly drafted by Dugin.[40] In a 2008 essay, Leroy advocates “the tight and exclusive control” of telecommunications and the media, “due to their potential utilization as strategic weapons of disinformation.” He also thinks that the state should “assume the right to ban any society or foreign organization whose activities could be detrimental (in political, economic or cultural terms) for the country.” This proposition would be reprised by Le Pen in 2009.[41] In same essay, Leroy advocates “solidarisme,” a nationalist, economically protectionist ideology derived from the traditional fascist “Third Position.” Notably, echoing the language of Dugin, Leroy calls for the replacement of the European Union with “a continental economy… from Brest to Vladivostok.”[42]

In 2007, Leroy was a speaker at the “White Forum,” a conference of racists held in Moscow, headlined by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Leroy’s lecture, titled “A letter to a Russian Friend,” appears in the program for the event alongside “Euro-Rus as a Positive Antibiotic against the Negative Cosmopolitan Virus” (for “cosmopolitan” read “Jews”) and “Renaissance of Pan-Aryan Thought.”






[1] Adam Nossiter. “Le Pen’s Inner Circle Fuels Doubt About Bid to ‘Un-Demonize’ Her Party.” The New York Times (April 13, 2017). Retrieved from

[2] Tamar Bar-On. “Great Britain.” World Fascism: A Historical Encyclopedia, Volume 1 (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2006), p. 290.

[3] James Shields. The Extreme Right in France: From Pétain to Le Pen (New York: Routledge, 2007), pp. 153, 104.

[4] Michael Scammell. Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic (Random House, 2009), p. 546.

[5] Tamir Bar-On. Where Have All The Fascists Gone? (Routledge, 2016). p. 340.

[6] Spencer Sunshine. “Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists” Political Research Associates (January 28, 2008).

[7] Nicola Lebourg. “The French Far Right in Russia’s Orbit.” Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (May 15, 2018).

[8] Goodrick-Clarke. Black Sun, p. 37.

[9] “Group Forms Ties Between Islamic, Neo-Nazi Extremists.” (Aired February 28, 2002).

[10] Labeviere. Dollars for Terror (New York: Algora Publishing. 2000), p. 143.

[11] Kerry Koogan. “Achmed Huber, The Avalon Gemeinschaft, and the Swiss ‘New Right’.” Spitfire List (May 1, 2002). Retrieved from:

[12] Kevin Coogan. “The Mysteries Achmed Huber: Friend to Hitler, Allah… and Bin Laden.” Autonomedia (June 8, 2002). Retrieved from

[13] Alexandre del Valle. “The Reds, The Browns and the Greens or The Convergence of Totalitarianisms.” (December 5, 2004). Retrieved from

[14] “Les fidèles adeptes du ‘degrellisme’ de 1945 à nos jours.” Resistance (April 3, 2009). Retrieved from

[15] Lee. The Beast Reawakens, p. 186.

[16] Geoffrey Harris. The Dark Side of Europe – The Extreme Right Today (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994), p. 130.

[17] Lee. The Beast Reawakens, p. 186.

[18] Anton Shekhovtsov. “Alexander Dugin and the West European New Right, 1989-1994.” In Eurasianism and the European Far Right: Reshaping the Europe-Russia Relationship (Lexington Books, 2015).

[19] Marlene Laruelle. “The Iuzhinskii Circle: Far-Right Metaphysics in the Soviet Underground and Its Legacy Today.” The Russian Review, 74 (2015): 563–580.

[20] Coogan. “The Mysteries Achmed Huber.”

[21] Lee. The Beast Reawakens, p. 368.

[22] “Le droit de savoir.” Télévision française 1 (1992). 4:44.

[23] Alan John Day. Political parties of the world (University of Michigan, 2002). p. 193

[24] James Shields. The extreme right in France: from Pétain to Le Pen (Routledge 2007), pp. 159, 169.

[25] Le Pen. son univers impitoyable, (Radio France Internationale), (September 1, 2006).

[26] Edward G. DeClair. Politics on the fringe: the people, policies, and organization of the French National Front (Duke University, 1999), pp. 21–24.

[27] Andrew Horn. “This religious sect is steeped in racism and hatred.” The Guardian (February 19, 2009).

[28] Kay Chadwick. Catholicism, Politics and Society in Twentieth-century France (Liverpool University Press, 2000). p. 274.

[29] Jean-Yves Camus. “A Long-Lasting Friendship.” Eurasianism and the European Far Right: Reshaping the Europe–Russia Relationship, edited by Marlene Laruelle (Lexington Books, 2015), p. 90.

[30] Anton Shekhovtsov. “Russian politicians building an international extreme right alliance.” Verdens Gang (September 14, 2015).

[31] Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber. “Russian, European Far-Right Parties Converge in St. Petersburg.” Moscow Times (March 22, 2015).

[32] “France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen joins European far-right alliance.” The Local (April 7, 2018. Retrieved from

[33] Adam Nossiter. “Le Pen’s Inner Circle Fuels Doubt About Bid to ‘Un-Demonize’ Her Party.” The New York Times (April 13, 2017). Retrieved from

[34] Adar Primor. “The Daughter as De-demonizer.” Haaretz (January 7, 2011).

[35] Rob Bryan. “How a Violent Jewish Extremist Group Went From the Fringes to the Mainstream French Right-Wing.” AlterNet (August 24, 2016).

[36] Mitchell A. Orenstein. “Putin’s Western Allies: Why Europe’s Far Right Is on the Kremlin’s Side.” Foreign Affairs (March 25, 2014). Retrieved from

[37] Steve Weissman. “Putin Funds Far Right in France. “‘It’s No Secret,’ says Marine Le Pen.” Reader Supported News (December 4, 2014).

[38] Peter Cluskey. “Wilders describes suspect as ‘violent and sick’.” The Irish Times (July 26, 2011).

[39] Nafeez Ahmed. “A Fourth Reich is rising across Europe — with ties to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.” Medium (June 22, 2016).

[40] “Marine Le Pen’s Closest Advisor Comes Out of the Shadows In Donetsk” Daily Beast (May 14, 2015) Retrieved from

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

David Livingstone


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