Claude Bourdet

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Claude Bourdet
Born(1909-08-28)28 August 1909
Died20 March 1996(1996-03-20) (aged 86)
OccupationWriter, journalist, polemist and militant French politician
Alma materSwiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

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Claude Bourdet (28 October 1909 – 20 March 1996) was a writer, journalist, polemist, and militant French politician.

Bourdet, a son of the dramatic author Édouard Bourdet and the poet Catherine Pozzi, was born and died in Paris.

He left the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich with an engineering diploma in technical physics in 1933. After his military service in the Artillerie de Montagne, he was put in charge of a mission for the Economy Ministry, during the government of the Front populaire.

He was very active in French Resistance movements. He participated in the foundation of the resistance newspaper Combat along with Henri Frenay, of which he was a member of the management committee, until the departure of Frenay to London and later Algeria in 1943, when he was made its representative. From 1942 he took part in the creation and development of the newspaper with the task of dividing the public administrations.

In 1944, he was arrested by the Gestapo and, after being imprisoned at Fresnes, he was deported to various concentration camps, including Neuengamme, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald.

After the war, he continued to write at Combat, but his conflict with Henri Smadja, the owner of the newspaper, returned and he left the publication in 1950.

In 1950, with the help of Gilles Martinet and Roger Stéphane, Bourdet formed L’Observateur, which became L’Observateur Aujourd’hui in 1953, and then the France-Observateur in 1954.[citation needed] Claude Bourdet defended the union of the left and social justice. He supported the anti-colonial fight, denouncing repression in Madagascar and torture in Algeria.

In 1961, he investigated and denounced Maurice Papon, the prefect of the police force, in connection with the shootings of Algerian FLN demonstrators on 17 October of that year, in the Paris massacre of 1961.

Bourdet's political militancy created tensions which led to a major rupture of the France-Observateur team in 1963, and his subsequent departure from the newspaper.

He continued to publish articles in Témoignage chrétien, Politique Hebdo or Politis, and took part in the special numbers of the Nouvel Observateur.


  • Le Schisme Yougoslave, 1950 (Editions de Minuit)
  • Les Chemins de l'Unité, 1964 (Maspero)
  • A qui appartient Paris, 1972 (Le Seuil)
  • L'Aventure incertaine, de la résistance à la restauration, 1975 (Stock)
  • L’Europe truquée. Supranationaliste, pacte atlantique, force de frappe, 1977 (Seghers)
  • Mes batailles, 1993 (In fine)
  • L'Afrique, l’aventure d’Albarka, Jean Suret-Canal et Claude Bourdet, 1973 (éd. du Burin-Martinsart)