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Jean Fontenoy (21 March 1899 – April 1945) was a French journalist and fascist politician who was a collaborator with Nazi Germany.

Biography[]

Born in Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne, Fontenoy worked as a journalist for the Havas news agency from 1924 to the mid-1930s in Russia then China.[1] Whilst in China he founded the French language Journal de Shanghai[2] and became the subject of a gossip campaign suggesting that he was having an affair with Soong Mei-ling, Chiang Kai-shek's wife.[1]

Returning to France he sought involvement in politics, initially with the French Communist Party before switching to the Parti Populaire Français, a group he left in 1939 due to his personal dislike of leader Jacques Doriot.[1] Before long however Fontenoy put his personal issues to one side and rejoined the PPF and played a leading role in helping to reorganise the movement, whilst also writing widely, not only for the PPF journals but also for the likes of L'Insurgé and Je suis partout.[1]

Despite his skill as an organiser and writer Fontenoy began to develop a reputation for eccentricity, aided by his personal habits. Already an alcoholic, Fontenoy was widowed in 1941 and following the death of his wife he began to abuse opium and morphine.[1] He was also seriously injured after volunteering for service in the Winter War and the head wounds that he sustained led to brain damage.[1] Following these instances Fontenoy continued to be a leading figure on the far right but his actions came to be somewhat more erratic.

For a time he served Pierre Laval as his personal envoy to Otto Abetz.[1] This was followed by the launch of the journal La Vie Nationale which proved short-lived and which was followed by a number of equally short-lived collaborationist reviews.[1] He was a founder of Mouvement Social Révolutionnaire and became leader of the group in 1942 after Eugène Deloncle stepped aside. However Fonteony soon lost interest in what was a declining group.[3] He then switched over to the National Popular Rally and formed part of the five man directorate, chaired by Marcel Déat, that led the group.[4]

During this period Fontenoy became fixated with the notion that Doriot was plotting to kill him, despite a lack of evidence.[1] This played a role in his next move when he enrolled in the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism (LVF) and was sent to the Eastern Front. He served as LVF propaganda chief was also acting as a spy.[5] He was killed fighting in Berlin a few days before the end of the war after being wounded in the head, this time fatally.[6]

Bibliography[]

  • Gérard GUEGAN, Fontenoy ne reviendra plus, Stock, Parijs, 2011
  • Philippe VILGIER, Jean Fontenoy, aventurier, journaliste et écrivain, Uitg. Via Romana, 2012

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Philip Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890, 1990, p. 130
  2. Issues of Le Journal de Shangaï in Gallica, the digital library of the BnF.
  3. David Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, London: Heinemann, 1972, p. 215
  4. Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, p. 213
  5. Rees, Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right, p. 131
  6. Littlejohn, The Patriotic Traitors, p. 355

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