Breton nationalism | Wikipedia audio article

Breton nationalism | Wikipedia audio article


Breton nationalism is the nationalism of the
historical province of Brittany in France. Brittany is considered to be one of the six
Celtic nations (along with Cornwall, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales). Breton nationalism was a political current
that appeared in the 1920s in the second Emsav, and claiming the independence of Brittany. The political aspirations of Breton nationalists
include the desire to obtain the right to self-rule, whether within France or independently
of it, and to acquire more power in the European Union, United Nations and other international
institutions. Breton cultural nationalism includes an important
linguistic component, with Breton and Gallo speakers seeking equality with the French
language in the region. Cultural nationalists also seek a reinvigoration
of Breton music, traditions and symbols, and the forging of strong links with other Celtic
nations. The French position includes a range of views,
from allowing Brittany a devolved government to curbing wishes for independence.==Positioning within the Breton movement
==The academic Michel Nicolas describes this
political tendency of the Breton movement as “a doctrine putting forward the nation,
in the state and non-state framework”. According to him, the people belonging to
this tendency can choose to present themselves as separatists or independentists, that is
to say claiming the right to “any nation to a state, and if necessary must be able to
separate to create one”.He thus opposes it to regionalism which aims at it for a “administrative
redeployment granting autonomy at regional level” (that is to say autonomist), and at
the Breton federalism which seeks it to set up a federal organization of the territory.==History=====
Beginnings in the early 1910s=======D’Ar Bobl to the Breton nationalist party
====Several authors, cultural groups, or regionalist
political groups, use the expression of “Breton nation” as from 19th century but without this
one falls under nationalist dimension. It is only at the beginning of the 20th century
that a nationalist current in Brittany begins to be constituted. Imitating the French nationalism of the time,
they focuses their speech on the defense of Breton language and valorization of the history
of Brittany; however, it distinguishes itself by seeking to legitimize its action by comparing
theirself with those of other European minorities, “Celts” in particular, like those of Wales
and especially of Ireland.By the end of the 1900s, the journal Ar Bobl of Frañsez Jaffrennou
began to spread ideas close to this ideology, but 1911 is a key date for this current. The inauguration of a work by Jean Boucher
in a niche of the City Hall of Rennes, appearing the Duchess Anne of Brittany kneeling before
the King of France Charles VIII, causes an opposition movement in the regionalist movements. An activist, Camille Le Mercier d’Erm, disrupts
the inauguration, and uses her trial as a platform. This is the first public expression of a Breton
nationalism. Following this event, a group of students
Rennes founded the Breton Nationalist Party, which began with several members of the Regionalist
Federation of Brittany, with the aim of to break with the regionalist ideas of this group. Among its first members are Loeiz Napoleon
ar Rouz, Aogust Bôcher, Pol Suliac, Joseph du Chauchix, Joseph Le Bras, Job Loyant, but
their numbers hardly go beyond the 13 members of the editorial board of Breiz Dishual.====First strategic positioning====The group is at odds with Breton Breton regionalism,
which it accuses of ratifying a foreign influence, that of France, in Brittany. Seeking to apply the principle of subsidiarity,
that is claiming a decentralization with a redistribution of powers, would be equivalent,
according to the nationalists, to legitimizing a French domination. They oppose as much to monarchists (in particular
by maintaining controversy with the members of the French Action), than to the Republicans
by targeting “black hussars of the republic”, accused of pursuing a policy of linguistic
repression. In 1912, Breiz Dishual, the newspaper of the
BNP, thus formulates for the first time this opposition towards the royalists and the republicans
with the expression na ru na gwenn, Breizhad hepken (“neither red nor white, Breton only”),
picked up in the following decades by different trends. The nationalists thus refuse to support certain
circles such as the landed aristocracy or the urban bourgeoisie, considered to be compromised. It is also within this first group that the
first Federalist ideas appear from April 1914 in Breiz Dishual.This current is also positioned
face to face with events and international actors, especially in the Pan-Celtic current. Breiz Dishual, indicates from its first issue
of July 1912 to want to take an example of the Irish nationalists methods. This comparison between the Breton and Irish
situations of the time is not peculiar to the Breton nationalist movement, and is also
found among outside observers, such as Simon Südfeld for the liberal German newspaper
Vossische Zeitung in 1913. The Breton Nationalist Party as its newspaper
Breiz Dishual, however, have only limited echoes in the Breton movement of the time,
and his nationalism can only find a weak resonance. One of its founders, Loeiz-Napoleon Ar Rouz,
will play a role later to make the link between Breton nationalist currents and Irish. It is also inspired by other European examples
such as Hungary, Catalonia, Norway, Balkan States, and inscribes its reflection on a
European scale.===Dynamism of the 1920s=======Breton regional group at the Unvaniez
Yaouankiz Vreiz====After the World War I, the nationalist current
continues its existence, becoming one of the most dynamic components of the Breton movement
in the 1920s. The Breton Regionalist Group is the first
party created (September 1918) taking up this ideology, mixing elders of the Breton Nationalist
Party as Kamil Ar Merser ‘Erm, and newcomers like Olier Mordrel, Frañsez Debauvais, Yann
Bricler, and Morvan Marchal; it is endowed as soon as January 1919 of a newspaper, Breiz
Atao, to spread their ideas. The adjective “regionalist” is preferred to
that of “nationalist”, on the one hand because the French State of the time tolerates little
separatist ideas, and secondly because it makes it possible to forge links with the
Breton bourgeoisie of the Regionalist Federation of Brittany.The ideology of the group is initially
and partially in a “maurrasian movement”, but is quickly moving in a nationalism more
and more affirmed. The Breton Regionalist Group takes the name
of Unvaniez Yaouankiz Vreiz in May 1920, whose status indicates that it aims at a “return
to national independent life”. Its newspaper Breiz Atao also evolves by taking
as subtitle “monthly magazine of Breton nationalism” in January 1921, then that of “the Breton
nation” in July of the same year.====Attempt, from Breton regionalism, to
Alsatian autonomy, to Irish nationalism====The nationalists aim at first not to support
the Breton population, but on their economic circles. They intend to become the thinking head in
this elitist process. Frañsez Debauvais cites René Johannet in
this way in the Breiz Atao of April 1921. They thus come into competition with the regionalism
of the Regionalist Federation of Brittany, and the relations between the two groups are
therefore strained. Antagonism is reinforced in 1920 when the
BRF claims the creation of a large western region encompassing Poitou, Anjou, Maine,
Cotentin and Brittany, provoking a unanimous rejection of other regionalist groups, as
well as nationalists. From then on, the nationalists’ discourse
became profoundly anti-regionalist, accusing them of falling into “biniousery” and “bretonnerie”. The nationalists also seek to get out of the
French political markers of the time, left and right, and take up the slogan “na ru na
gwenn, Breiziz hepken” already used by the first nationalists. This positioning is reinforced by the fact
that no French political party pays attention to the demands expressed by the regions. They also seek to emancipate themselves from
the Church and the clerical milieus from which the regionalists come, claiming a Celtic heritage,
the Catholic religion alienating them the Bretons. The Alsatian affair in 1926, during which
the Cartel des Gauches tries to return to the Concordat in Alsace-Moselle, causes an
autonomist agitation in this region, and the Breton nationalists taking support on this
example decide to form a political party.The examples also come from abroad. Ireland is the main center of attention since
the end of the 1910s: Home Rule movement, then the Irish declaration of independence
of 1919, and finally his independence in 1921 strengthens the nationalists in the path of
secession. The attempt to establish a certain form of
autonomy in Wales in 1922 is another landmark for this trend.===Marginalization and radicalization in
the 1930s=======Grouping within the Breton National Party
====The Breton National Party is created in 1931
and recovers from the name Breiz Atao for its new magazine, after the Breton Autonomist
Party chose to rename its publication in La Bretagne Fédérale. Bringing together the nationalist current
from the Breton Autonomist Party, it counts at its first congress in Landerneau the December
27 of 1931 only 25 members. It has only limited activity in its early
years, although the August 7 of 1932 attacks in Rennes brings it some publicity, even some
credibility in the media. Its numbers are however limited, and in 1940
it can only count on about 300 militants.Politically, it asserts the existence of a Breton nation,
and thus claims the independence of this one. Claiming to be apolitical, claiming “the sacred
union of all Britons”, it nevertheless expresses an anti-communism and an anti-socialism marked. The French political evolution of the time
marginalizes this trend. Leftist political groups show great hostility
towards it, and no support can be found within the French Popular Front. The French far-right also fights any form
of autonomism, and no alliance can be tied. The year 1936 also marks a turning point in
the attitude of the French authorities towards the autonomist movements which then become
less conciliatory, and Daladier’s rise to power in 1938 strengthens the fight against
these groups. Daladier’s decree-law of May 25 of 1938 which
reinstates the offense of opinion regarding national integrity affects several BNP militants,
including its director Debauvais who is seven months in prison. On October 20 of 1939, the BNP like other
parties is banned and dissolved. Two of its executives, Debeauvais and Mordrel
are fleeing in Germany while others activists let themselves be mobilized. At the regional level, it is opposed from
its inception to the War Sao party, and federalists of the Breton Federalist League mock the SAGA
program published by Mordrel in 1933.The geopolitical situation of the time offers to the Breton
nationalist current an opening with the setting up in 1933 of the Nazi Germany besides Rhine. Betting on a victory of the Germany in case
of war with the France, it then develops an interested pacifist propaganda, calling for
the neutrality of the Bretons in case of war involving France, or to refuse a “war for
the Czechs”. They seek to attract the goodwill of the German
secret services, while some members of the BNP as Mordrel are already in contact with
them.====From Pan-Celticism to racialism====
Ideological, the Breton National Party puts the Breton national question before the social
question, believing that it would be solved once independence obtained. Reactionary and right-wing in orientation,
but capable of attracting left-wing personalities such as Yann Sohier, it is dominated by a
militant base from small Breton towns. The “na gwenn na ruz” orientation continues
to be used by the nationalist movement, and initially rejects the fascist/anti-fascist
divide that is expressed at the time.Pan-Celticism continues to be used by nationalists, while
the federalists abandon this idea. They stand out, however, from the regionalists
who are also active in this area via the Goursez Vreizh, but whose nationalists mock the actions. The Irish example continues to be celebrated
by the Breton nationalists during the 1930s, notably in 1936 to mark the 20th anniversary
of the Easter Rising. It serves as an example for the creation of
the armed group Gwenn ha Du, modeled on the Irish Republican Army. In contrast, the actions of the Welsh nationalists
led by Saunders Lewis, although welcomed, are considered too non-violent, like those
of the Scottish nationalists of the Scottish National Party. However, from 1937 this Pan-Celticism dimension
among the nationalists seems to fade against other international issues, and these display
orientations more and more pro-Nazi.An ultranationalist and overtly racist trend is also beginning
to gain influence within the nationalist movement during this decade, on the sidelines of the
Breton National Party, and sometimes outside it. Olier Mordrel publishes in 1933 the “SAGA
program” in the Breiz Atao, advocating strong state and corporate capitalism, as well as
exclusion of foreigners of public posts. It publishes, from July 1934, the journal
Stur in which it elaborates a doctrine which must serve as an ideological base for the
nationalists. it is openly racist, prefiguring a collaboration
with the Nazi regime. Mordrel praises the Italian fascist regime
in 1935, leases the Nazi Germany regime in 1936, and there advocates the purity of the
race of “Nordic Breton type” in 1937. The same year at the congress of Carhaix,
the BNP endorses this ideological evolution. In this perspective, Pan-Celticism continues
to be used to make the link between “Celts” and “Germans” within the same “Nordic” community. However these ideas do not yet gather at the
time of a minority of militants.===World War II===During the World War II, the organized political
movement as a whole collapsed in the collaboration with the Nazi occupier and/or with the Vichy
regimeThe behavior of each other is the object of a selective omission of war which always
feeds polemics more than sixty years later: “In reality, at the Liberation, within the
Breton movement, we minimize the collaboration, we create the myth of the wild épuration”
About 15 to 16% of members of the BNP have been brought to court, few are the sympathizers
to have been judged. What makes the Épuration an epiphenomenon
whose reality is very far from the mythical image of a massive repression, maintained
by the traumatized memory of the Breton nationalists. The behavior of the Breton nationalists, which
for some historians, harmed Breton culture: This culture of foreign hatred and scorn of
the people who inhabited the nationalists led them to bring into disrepute for a long
time the interest for the Breton language and culture in the region, or even to allow
the Bretoners to justify the abandonment of the Breton language. However, in December 1946, at the initiative
of the public authorities, Pêr-Jakez Helias launched a new program of radio programs in
Breton on Quimerc’h Radio.==Contemporary parties==
Contemporary political parties or movements holding Breton nationalist views are the Unvaniezh
Demokratel Breizh, Breton Party, Emgann, Adsav, Breizh Yaouank and Breizhistance.==Opinion polling==
According to an opinion poll conducted in 2013, 18% of Bretons support Breton independence. The poll also found that 37% would describe
themselves as Breton first, while 48% would describe themselves as French first.==See also==Breton Revolutionary Army
Breton Liberation Front Bleimor (Scouting)
Bonnets Rouges

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