Authorization

The founder of L'Oréal was linked to a Nazi-sympathizing secret society that likely murdered people and set off bombs before and during WWII a?? here's the full surprising story

FranAois BIBAL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

L'OrAal founder EugA?ne Schueller is widely reported to have been a fascist sympathizer.



Schueller's far-right political beliefs and wartime participation in a fascist organization are likely connected to the fact that his company flourished during Nazi Germany's occupation of France.



The businessman also likely bankrolled a secret campaign to overthrow France's republican government, given his close connection to French fascist EugA?ne Deloncle.

The initiation would take place around a table draped with a French flag. After swearing to remain obedient and guard the secrets of the society and its leadership, the new initiates would raise their right arms and recite the oath: "Ad majorem GalliA gloriam." For the greater glory of France. The participants in this ritual weren't anonymous nobodies. Many of them were wealthy businessmen, senior military officers, or well-connected members of society. They had power. They had money. They were fascists, or at least fascist sympathizers. Some were nationalists who had been persuaded that a communist invasion was imminent. Others sought to overthrow the republic and usher in their own authoritarian government. To achieve their goal, these men plotted to use their considerable resources to spread fear throughout France and beyond. They bombed factories and, later, synagogues. They fostered connections with foreign dictatorships. Their stores of weapons and ammunition piled up, and so did the bodies. The secret society had no compunction about slaying political enemies and perceived traitors alike, as historians Annette Finley-Croswhite and Gayle K. Brunelle detail in the book "Murder in the MAtro: Laetitia Toureaux and the Cagoule in 1930s France."Read more: Nazi propaganda portrayed Hitler as a 'health nut' but he was secretly addicted to opiates The whole thing reads like a political thriller, but it's exactly what happened in France in the tumultuous years leading up to the Second World War. The secret society called themselves the ComitA Secret D'Action RAvolutionnaire - or the Secret Committee of Revolutionary Action (CSAR). When their crimes spilled out into the public sphere, the press dubbed them La Cagoule, or "The Hood." The group wouldn't have been able to carry out its string of violent acts without financial backing from a number of industrialists. One such businessman was almost certainly L'OrAal founder EugA?ne Schueller, a pharmacist-turned-entrepreneur who had made a fortune after inventing a new hair dye, according to the Smithsonian magazine. L'OrAal declined to comment on its founder's beliefs. The rise of La Cagoule demonstrates the volatile, simmering nature of French politics between the two world wars. And the fact that Schueller emerged unscathed after nurturing a deadly campaign of terror is a testament to the inoculating powers of wealth and influence:
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