Biography of Henri Philippe Benomi Omer Pétain (1856-1951)

Marshal Pétain.

Marshal and French politician. National hero for his defense of Verdun during the first world war, ended his days disowned by his people and accused of treason for collaborating with the Germany of Hitler, during his tenure as head of State.

He was born in Couchy-à-la-Tour in 1856, into a family of peasants. Completed primary studies, you choose to perform the military career, so it enters the Military Academy.

When the first world war broke out, Pétain is a Colonel with fifty-eight years of age who is appointed commander of an Army Corps, in front of which participates in 1915 in the champagne offensive. The following year is entrusted the defense of the plaza de Verdun, company that earned him, in 1918, the precious title of Marshal of France.

Appointed Chief of staff in 1917, it happened at the command of the armies of the North and northeast to the general Nivelle, deposed after the failure of the offensive of the Chemin des dames in May of the same year.

Concluded the world conflict, where he stood out as one of the greatest architects of the Allied victory, took over operations to quell the rebellion of Abd el-Krim in Morocco, where he remained during 1925 and 1926.

In 1934 he was Minister de Guerra in a Government of national unity which remained very short time in power. Five years later, he was appointed Ambassador in Madrid to the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and the national Government of Franco.

In 1940 the President of the Council, Paul Reynaud, appointed him Vice President of the same and on June 16 of the same year access the post of Prime Minister by resignation of Reynaud and with unlimited powers. The next day, the Germans requests conditions to sign an Honorable peace and, five days later, the armistice was signed. On June 10, 1940, the Assembly gathered in Vichy after the resignation of Albert Lebrundemocratic left politician, by the fall of France, given to marshal Pétain full powers. The next day, becomes head of State in the part of France not occupied by the Germans, with headquarters in Vichy, by putting in place a hierarchical and authoritarian regime.

During his term of office held, especially at the beginning, a collaborationist policy with Germany, whose main exponent was the Declaration of Montoire, on October 24, 1940. As it progressed time sought to get away from his colleagues, but his failure in both attitudes was overwhelming. Between 1942 and 1944 appointed head of Government in Laval, who extended the policy of Alliance with Hitler.

During the Allied invasion of the continent, he moved to Germany and after the world war, he was tried and sentenced to death for collaborating with Germany on August 15, 1945, with the loss of all civil rights and confiscation of their property. However, the Court itself, given his advanced age, proposed to replace him the death penalty by the imprisonment.

The general De Gaulle, head of the provisional Government, accepted the proposal and Pétain was transferred to the fortress of Portalet, located in the Pyrenees, to serve his sentence. Later, he was taken to strong Pierre Levée, on the island of Yeu.

In June 1951, the Government decreed commutation of his sentence by the detention in residency training, so it was moved to a private home in the nearby town of Port-Joinville, where he died a month later.