Pierre Drieu La Rochelle was a French writer of novels, short stories and political essays who flirted with the Left during the 1920s. But by the end of the decade, he grew dissatisfied and would come to embrace fascism during the 1930s and support collaboration with the Germans during World II.
Drieu La Rochelle was a front line soldier in the First World War. Wounded three times, this would color his outlook–like his fellow writer Louis-Ferdinand Celine, also a badly wounded vet–the rest of his life.
While learning his writing craft, he was sympathetic at different times to Dada, the Surrealists and the Communists. He became a close friend of Louis Aragon, later the most famous French Communist writer and a bit of a cultural commissar.
But towards the end of the Twenties, Drieu developed a viewpoint where he felt the parliamentary system was responsible for French decadence. For him, this decadence was manifested in the continuing economic crisis and the falling birthrate. On this latter point, the materialist analysis of the Marxists offered no answers. In this, Drieu La Rochelle would develop an analysis similar to that of Francis Parker Yockey.
By 1936,he joined the Parti Populaire Francais of Jacques Doriot, a Communists turned fascist. He became editor of the PPF’s journal.
Doriot rejected the Marxist concept of the class struggle. And contrary to Marxist dogma, stated that the family was the fundamental building block of society. Leading a party with a working class base, Doriot advocated married workers be paid more than bachelors. Though Doriot was not a believer, this was close to Catholic social doctrine and the concept of the family wage.
For his part, Drieu La Rochelle disputed the actuality of what Marxists called a ‘workers state.’ While not doubting that a particular class could be the economic basis of the state, he argued that there was no practical way this could be effected in practice. Moreover, he argued that elites were inevitable. You could change elites, but there still would be elites of some sort. This sounds a lot like Pareto.
Drieu La Rochelle broke with Doriot in 1939. He became very much a pan-Europeanist. Writing that a federal Europe was necessary to stave off both America and the Soviet Union, he felt this could be accomplished only under the aegis of Nazi Germany.
He became an avid collaborationist during the war and edited an important cultural journal. However, by 1943 he became disillusioned by the Nazi New Order and retreated from political involvement. He took up the study of Eastern mysticism.
Yet towards the end of the war, he re-joined Doriot’s PPF while privately in his diary expressing a certain admiration for Stalinism. With the Liberation, he was forced to go into hiding. He then committed suicide.