Pierre Plantard and the Vichy Regime

Paul Smith

29 December 2015

The French government will begin declassifying Nazi-Era information Files dating from the Vichy regime starting this week

Only the name of Pierre Plantard will not be mentioned because Esoteric Right Wing Gallic Nationalist Orders like the Alpha Galates were dismissed by mainstream Vichy France and people like Pierre Plantard were regarded as bizarre cranks (there were numerous such groups and individuals in France during the Vichy period, usually existing only on paper).

The Alpha Galates were dismissed during Wartime occupation France in File GA P7.

Here is an evaluation of the Alpha Galates by H. R. Kedward, former Professor of History at the School of European Studies in the University of Sussex, Brighton and author of several books on the French Resistance (taken from private correspondence). Kedward's observations were made before it became apparent that Plantard had practiced the habit of grafting people's names into his “organisations” without their knowledge much earlier, a habit that he was to repeat decades later in the case of his Priory of Sion (for example, Maurice Lecomte-Moncharville, the alleged “founder” of the Alpha Galates was living in Strasbourg when the issues of ‘Vaincre’ appeared in Paris and he didn't have any interest in the occult).

Correspondence dated 3 September 1986:

“(The Alpha Galates)…one of the very many ‘Occident’ movements which pitted what they saw as authentic French history and culture against the ‘Freemasonic and Jewish Orient’ … they all flowered in the spring of Vichy (1940-41), began to lose momentum in 1942 and mostly lost all political significance in the declining years of 1943-4. The most dedicated and desperate members tended to drift, either into obstinate discipleship to Petain, even after his eclipse by Laval in 1942, or, more rarely, into the Milice. But most just retired from the scene in 1943 and were regarded by local Resisters with the kind of suspicion which sometimes led to punitive action at the Liberation. One who survived all this to go on writing in the post-war years was Henry (sometimes Henri) COSTON, author of a right wing Dictionnaire de la Politique Française (editions Henry Coston, 1967 reprinted 1979). He had written a good deal of anti-Semitic stuff in 1941 including a pamphlet called La finance juive et les Trusts (editions Renard 1941). Franchet d’Esperey is presumably the invalid Marechal who, with Petain, was most courted by right wing groups in the 1930s and was said by Loustaunau-Lacau (at Petain’s Trial) to have been the main army link with the semi-secret, semi-mythical Cagoule (or CSAR) led by Deloncle which was believed to be plotting the overthrow of the Republic (or at least its popular Front government) in 1937 … groups such as those, together with numerous bodies with strange provincial and regional cults as their raison d’etre, flourished mostly in the margin of right-wing politics from the 1880s through to the end of World War Two. There’s a good book to be written on this phenomenon by someone.”

Correspondence dated 20 August 1997:

“Reading the articles in ‘Vaincre’ tells me the following: the paper and its contributors were part of a fringe right-wing society, which stood against Freemasons and their influence over French society. This had been a passionate, virulent right-wing position in France since the 1870s, and once Petain came to power at Vichy in 1940 all Freemasons were banned from public service, sacked from teaching positions etc., and their names published in the official government organ, the 'Journal Officiel'. In fact the Freemasonic lodges, seeing the writing on the wall, dissolved themselves in late 1940, thereby protecting some of their assets and their institutional documents. This purge and dissolution did not satisfy the extreme anti-masonic lobby, who continued to believe that even the Vichy government was infiltrated and run by masons grouped together in what was held to be the ‘Synarchie’ movement, a fantasy which became something of a legend (see Richard Kuisel, “The Legend of the Vichy Synarchy” in the journal French Historical Studies Vol. VI, No 3, Spring 1970, pp.365ff.). This fantasy is partly explained by the presence of numerous technocrats in the Vichy government, a presence which convinced the extremists that the old forces of masonic rationalism and technology were making a comeback.

The main masonic lodge was called the Grand Orient, and to signal their complete hostility to freemasonry the right-wing movements, represented here by 'Vaincre', created their own semi-secret societies including various ones with Occident in the title (see ‘Vaincre’ 21 Nov 1942). Clearly the Alpha Galates was one of these societies, with its emphasis on tradition, chivalry, Catholicism, spiritualism and what can only be called a kind of occult nationalism. The values were ones of order, discipline, obedience and leadership – just the values incarnated by Vichy. Inevitably this led many of these right-wing societies to sympathise with the fascist and Nazi ideology, and thus to become involved with collaboration. Note, however, that many eloquent and powerful exponents of French nationalsim did not go over to the Nazi ideology, but tried to maintain a form of proud independence, normally identified with the cult of Petain. It could well be that the men behind Alpha Galates were of that mentality, since there is no overt support for Nazi Germany in these issues of ‘Vaincre’.”