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The Knight-Monks of Vichy: Uriage, 1940 – 1945

Following the defeat of France in 1940, the Ecole Nationale des Cadres was set up at the Chateau d’Uriage, in the Alps above Grenoble, to train an elite drawn from the young intelligentsia as part of a larger effort to transform the nation. Some of the most imaginative and original guidelines for a French National Revolution under the Vichy government were formulated here. Uriage soon became not only an avant-garde community, living in what it described as “the style of the twentieth century” but also an imaginative and prestigious think-tank of the National Revolution, embodying many of the strengths and weaknesses of the ascendant French anti-liberal conservative revolutionaries. In The Knight-Monks of Vichy France, John Hellman describes the founding, operation, transformation, and demise of the school, details the institution’s ideological and political struggles with other segments of French society, and deals with the remarkable rise of Uriage ideas and alumni in post-war France. Drawing on a variety of sources, Hellman contributes to the current, lively debate concerning the phenomenon of collaboration and the response of the French population to fascisim.

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