The Third French Empire was a Lyonist totalitarian state that existed from 1934 to 1946. Charles de Gaulle came to power in 1932 in the presidential election, resulting in France transforming into an authoritarian dictatorship. The Empire came to an end following their defeat by the London Pact during World War II.
After de Gaulle took power in an emergency election, his Lyonist Party eliminated all political opponents and consolidated its power. De Gaulle merged the offices of Prime Minister and President, becoming France's dictator. De Gaulle declared himself Emperor in 1934, and was widely popular. The central tenet of de Gaulle's government was service to the state in order to prevent another defeat such as World War I. During the Great Depression, economic stability was restored by the government's takeover of businesses, heavy military spending, and extensive public works projects.
France began to make aggressive territorial demands, such as their invasion of Algeria in 1937. France formed a military alliance with Italy, creating the Axis Powers. World War II began with the French invasion of the Low Countries and Germany. France conquered or was allied with nearly all of Europe at the height of its power. The tide turn following France's failed invasion of Russia and suffered severe military defeats and heavy bombing for the rest of the war. Russian forces conquered Germany but stopped at the border as the Western London Pact invaded France from Normandy in the north and in the south. De Gaulle refused to surrender, and made his last stand at Paris in 1946. De Gaulle was killed in his bunker by British soldiers, and Paris was conquered. France was placed under occupation by the victorious London Pact.
France suffered a tremedous defeat in World War I and was humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920. Due to the massive war reparations France had to pay to the victorious London Pact, the economy tanked and was weak. Hyperinflation struck France, resulting in riots, starvation, and economic chaos. Surrending to the London Pact after they had destroyed the majority of northern France and hoisted the German flag above Paris would haunt and anger the French in the years following the war. Several angered commanders, led by Philippe Petain, met in Lyon in 1920. There, Petain would develop the ideology of Lyonism, which can be seen as nearly the same as fascism, except the central tenet is not superiority or racism, but service to the state. The only way to gain superiority and safety for the French people was to dominate the world and have a strong leader to regulate life. Petain imagined himself as one, however he would be killed in the plague known as the Spanish Flu. This left his two top supporters, Pierre Laval and Charles de Gaulle, in charge of the movement.