Cagoule is French for “hood.” Popular name of the Organisation Secrete de l’Action Révolutionnaire Nationale (Secret Organization of National Revolutionary Action), a French right-wing secret society founded in 1935 to oppose the Third Republic and prepare the way for a fascist takeover. Some of its members borrowed the Ku Klux Klan’s custom of wearing hoods to conceal their identity, thus their popular name, and the Klan’s activities in America seem to have been a source of inspiration for the Cagoule’s leaders. Much of the Cagoule’s ideology, however, came from synarchy, a right-wing political ideology popular among French secret societies in the early twentieth century.
The Cagoule had a military organization and recruited heavily from other secret societies on the French right wing. Arms from Germany, Italy, and Spain provided the wherewithal for the planned seizure of power. An attempt to fake left-wing bombings of industrial employers’ associations in Paris in September of 1937, though, brought the attention of the authorities down on the would-be revolutionaries. The Cagoule’s leader, Eugène Deloncle, was arrested the following month, and the organization’s arms dumps surfaced shortly thereafter. Stripped of their weapons and publicly humiliated, the Cagoule sank into insignificance, though many of its members collaborated with the Nazis and the Vichy regime after the French defeat in 1940.
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies : the ultimate a-z of ancient mysteries, lost civilizations and forgotten wisdom written by John Michael Greer – © John Michael Greer 2006