|Headquarters||Formerly Brussels, Belgium|
|Newspaper||Le Pays Réel|
|Political position||Far right|
|Colors||Red, Black and White|
Rex, also known at the Rexist Party (French: Parti Rexiste) or Rexism was a Catholic-fascist political party which existed between 1930 and 1944 in Belgium, claiming to be a "Right-wing Revolution". The party ran across the country, but was most popular in French-speaking Wallonia, It was founded in by a Walloon journalist, Léon Degrelle. The name was derived from the Roman Catholic social teachings concerning Christus Rex, which was also the title of a conservative Catholic journal and publishing company.
Rex experienced reasonable success at the 1936 election in the region of Wallonia, but was never a mass movement and was on the decline by 1938. During the German occupation of Belgium in the Second World War, Rex was closely associated with collaboration.
The ideology of Rex, which was loosely based on the writings of Jean Denis, called for the "moral renewal" of Belgian society through dominance of the Catholic church, by forming a corporatist society and abolishing democracy.[note 1] Denis became an enthusiastic member of Rex and later wrote for the party newspaper, Le Pays Réel.
The Rexist movement attracted support almost exclusively from Wallonia. On 6 October 1936, the Leon Degrelle made a secret agreement with Rex's Flemish counterpart, the Vlaamsch Nationaal Verbond (or VNV) led by Staf De Clercq. It also faced competition from the likes of Paul Hoornaert's National Legion.
Pre-War Politics 
Rex initially experiences considerable popularity in the Depression-era, culminating in winning 21 seats in the 1936 election. Even in 1936, however, the support for the party was extremely localized: Rexists succeeded in garnering over 30 per cent of the vote in the French-speaking province of Luxembourg, compared with just 9 per cent in equally French-speaking Hainaut. Rexism increasingly began to ally itself with the interests of Nazi Germany and to incorporate Nazi-style antisemitism into its platform after Adolf Hitler's rise to power, and received financial support from German interests, while ties to the Roman Catholic Church were increasingly repudiated by the Belgian clergy.
Second World War 
With the German invasion of Belgium in 1940, Rexism welcomed German occupation, even though it had initially supported the pre-war Belgian policy of neutrality. While some former Rexists went into the underground resistance or (like José Streel) withdrew from politics after they had come to see the Nazis' anticlerical and extreme anti-Semitic policies enforced in occupied Belgium, most Rexists, however, proudly supported the occupiers and assisted German forces with the repression of the territory wherever they could. Nevertheless, the popularity of Rex continued to drop. In 1941, at a reunion in Liège, Degrelle was booed by a hundred or so demonstrators.
In August 1944, Rexist militia were responsible for the Courcelles Massacre.
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Closely affiliated with Rex was the Légion Wallonie, a paramilitary organization which later became the "Wallonien" Division of the Waffen SS. After Operation Barbarossa started, the Légion Wallonie and its Flemish counterpart, the Legion Flandern sent respectively 25,000 and 15,000 volunteers to fight against the Soviet Union. Degrelle took command of the Wallonien division, where he fought on the Eastern Front. Whilst Degrelle was absent, nominal leadership of the party passed to Victor Matthys.
End of Rexism 
From the liberation of Belgium in September 1944, the party had been banned. With the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, many former Rexists were imprisoned or executed for their role during collaboration. Victor Matthys and José Streel were both executed by firing squad, Jean Denis (who had played only a minor role during the war) was imprisoned.
Degrelle took refuge in Francoist Spain. Degrelle was convicted of treason in absentia in Belgium and sentenced to death, but repeated requests to extradite him were turned down by the Spanish government. Stripped of his citizenship and excommunicated, Degrelle died in Málaga in 1994.
See also 
- In William Brustein's estimation (Brustein 1980), for J.M. Étienne (Le mouvement Rexiste jusqu'en 1940, Paris, 1968), Rex was not originally fascist, but an authoritarian and conservative Catholic nationalist movement that became fascist after 1937; but for J. Stengers ("Belgium: in The European Right Rogger and Weber, eds., Berkeley, 1965) and G. Carpinelli ("Les interprétations du rexisme," Cahiers Marxistes July–September, 1973), Rexism was fascist in form and content.
- Scripta Politica: Politieke Geschiedenis van België in Documenten (1918-2008) (2e herwerkte dr. ed.). Leuven: Acco. 2010. p. 112. ISBN 9789033480393.
- di Muro, Giovanni F. (2005). Léon Degrelle et l'aventure rexiste. Bruxelles: Pire. p. 16. ISBN 2874155195.
- Geheim akkoord tussen Rex en VNV quoted in Scripta Politica: Politieke Geschiedenis van België in Documenten (1918-2008) (2e herwerkte dr. ed.). Leuven: Acco. 2010. pp. 119–20. ISBN 9789033480393.
- Brustein (1980), pp. 69-80.
- di Muro, Giovanni F. (2005). Léon Degrelle et l'aventure rexiste. Bruxelles: Pire. pp. 151–3. ISBN 2874155195.
- di Muro, Giovanni F. (2005). Léon Degrelle et l'aventure rexiste. Bruxelles: Pire. pp. 160–1. ISBN 2874155195.
- Degrelle, Léon (1985). Campaign on the Eastern Front. Institute Of Historical Review. ISBN 0-317-38510-0.
- Domenico, Roy P. (ed.); Hanley, Mark Y. (2007). Encyclopedia of modern Christian politics: L-Z (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 163. ISBN 0313338906.
- Brustein, William. "The Political Geography of Belgian Fascism: The Case of Rexism", American Sociological Review 53.1 (February 1988)
- Conway, Martin. Collaboration in Belgium: Leon Degrelle and the Rexist Movement 1940-1944. ISBN 0-300-05500-5
- Littlejohn, David. The Patriotic Traitors: A History of Collaboration in German-occupied Europe, 1940-45. ISBN 0-434-42725-X
- Streel, José. La révolution du XXème siècle (réédition du livre paru en 1942 à la NSE à Bruxelles), préface de Lionel Baland, Déterna, Paris, 2010.