The Action Française was a French Monarchist (Orléanist) counter-revolutionary movement and periodical founded by Maurice Pujo and Henri Vaugeois and whose principal ideologist was Charles Maurras.
It was founded in 1898 during the Dreyfus affair, partly in reaction to the left wing revitalization materializing in defense of the army captain. Originally a nationalist organization, which attracted figures such as Maurice Barrès, it became monarchist under the influence of Maurras, following the earlier ideas of counter-revolutionary theorist Joseph de Maistre. Until its dissolution at the end of World War II, the Action Française was a prominent proponent of far right integral nationalism, which regarded the nation as an organic entity of blood and soil (akin to German Nazism)
Action Francaise in Southern Victory
Action Francaise came to power in France after the country was humiliated again by Germany at the end of the Great War. Beginning in the early 1920s, it steadily built up support over the next decade by playing to the frustrations of the French people, and ultimately took power in the wake of the stock market crash of 1929. The party installed Charles XI as king.
In 1941, Action Francaise demanded the return of captured territory from Germany. Though the outcome of this was delayed by the ill-health and subsequent death of Kaiser Wilhelm II, his son Kaiser Wilhelm III eventually refused. In response France went to war.
By 1943 France and the party had been overshadowed by Britain within the Entente. French forces were driven from German soil and into France itself. In the late winter of 1944, Germany dropped its second superbomb on Paris, killing King Charles and destroying much of the city. Louis XIX took the throne and concluded an armistice with the Germans, leaving Britain on its own to face Germany in Europe.