Henri (Hendrik) De Man (1885 – 1953) was the leader of the Belgian Workers Party BWP in the interbellum period and a leading socialist theoretician. He promoted the idea of "planisme" with his Labour Plan in 1933 to fight unemployment.
Henri de Man's manifesto to the members of the Belgian Workers Party BWP welcomed the German occupation in June 1940: "For the working classes and for socialism, this collapse of a decrepit world, far from being a disaster, is a deliverance." Whereas the Belgian ministers fled the country and formed the Belgian government in exile, De Man served as de facto prime minister of Belgium under the Nazi's for over a year. He cofounded the 'Union des Travailleurs Manuels et Intellectuels' with the approval of the occupying forces in 1941. De Man left Belgium in 1941 and lived in France and Switzerland. After the war he was convicted in absentia for collaboration.
De Mans papers at the IISH, including his manifesto to the BWP and the discussions about his Plan, are now fully available on line. The archive was digitized in the framework of the Metamorfoze Programme for the preservation of Paper Heritage.
IISH's Research Fellow Jan Willem Stutje is preparing a biography of Henri de Man.