At the opening of the Battle of Verdun in 1916, Pétain is said to have been fetched during the night from a Paris hotel by a staff officer who knew that he could be found with Eugénie Hardon. This book offers a decent and interesting overview of the life of Henri-Philippe Pétain (1856–1951), Marshal of France. When, in April 1942, the Germans forced Pétain to take Laval back as premier, he himself withdrew into a purely nominal role. He reported this conversation to President Poincaré, adding "surely a general should not speak or think like that?" When de Gaulle protested that Pétain himself had been promoted to brigadier-general and division commander at the Battle of the Marne in 1914, he replied that there was "no comparison" with the present situation. Dressed in the uniform of a Marshal of France, Pétain remained silent through most of the proceedings after an initial statement that denied the right of the High Court, as constituted, to try him. He was subsequently decorated, at Toledo, by King Alfonso XIII with the Spanish Medalla Militar. [2] After rejecting Pétain's first marriage proposal, Hardon had married and divorced François de Hérain by 1914 when she was 35. After lunch, Churchill’s telegram arrived agreeing to an armistice provided the French fleet was moved to British ports, a suggestion which was not acceptable to Darlan, who argued that it would leave France defenceless. Philippe Pétain, in full Henri-Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain, (born April 24, 1856, Cauchy-à-la-Tour, France—died July 23, 1951, Île d’Yeu), French general who was a national hero for his victory at the Battle of Verdun in World War I but was discredited as chief of state of the French government at Vichy in World War II. This page was last edited on 16 January 2021, at 10:38. In the postwar years, Petain was promoted to Field Marshal, remaining active in military affairs. [67], Pétain died in a private home in Port-Joinville on the Île d'Yeu on 23 July 1951, at the age of 95. Or Marshal Patain (marachal Patain) Was A French General Who Reached The Distinction Of Marsh Image libre de droits de ANL destinée à un usage éditorial, 20 déc. …16th, whereupon the ancient Marshal Pétain asked for an armistice. On 10 June, the government left Paris for Tours. In effect, he applied the basic principle that was a mainstay of his teachings at the École de Guerre (War College) before World War I: "le feu tue!" Pétain and Minister of Information Prouvost urged the cabinet to hear Weygand out because "he was the only one really to know what was happening". This article appeared just five days before Adolf Hitler's announcement of Germany's new air force and a week before the announcement that Germany was increasing its army to 36 divisions. Following the British attacks of July and September 1940 (Mers el Kébir, Dakar), the French government became increasingly fearful of the British and took the initiative to collaborate with the occupiers. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Although holding the position until 17 April 1942, the executive power was exercised by the Deputy Prime Ministers from 11 July 1940. With the German army occupying two-thirds of the country, Pétain believed he could repair the ruin caused by the invasion and obtain the release of the numerous prisoners of war only by cooperating with the Germans. By May, Pétain required constant nursing care, and he was often suffering from hallucinations, e.g. He did not disguise the fact that he considered the situation catastrophic. The cuts in military expenditure meant that taking the offensive was now impossible and a defensive strategy was all they could have. French aviation entered the War in 1939 without even the prototype of a bomber aeroplane capable of reaching Berlin and coming back. His decision to organise truck transport over the "Voie Sacrée" to bring a continuous stream of artillery, ammunition and fresh troops into besieged Verdun also played a key role in grinding down the German onslaught to a final halt in July 1916. He was welcomed by people as diverse as Claudel, Gide, and Mauriac, and also by the vast mass of untutored Frenchmen who saw him as their saviour. Cabinet and Parliament still argued between themselves on the question of whether or not to retreat to North Africa. He and his government collaborated with Germany in the years after the armistice. [6], Unlike many French officers, Pétain served mainly in mainland France, never French Indochina or any of the African colonies, although he participated in the Rif campaign in Morocco. Among a vast number of books and articles about Pétain, the most complete and documented biographies are: French general officer and leader of Vichy France. The General Staff, now under General Edmond Buat, began to think seriously about a line of forts along the frontier with Germany, and their report was tabled on 22 May 1922. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Philippe-Petain, The History Learning Site - Biography of Marshal Philippe Pétain, Spartacus Educational - Biography of Henri Philippe Petain, Philippe Pétain - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Philippe Pétain - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). During World War I, Pétain led the French Army to victory at the nine-month-long Battle of Verdun. that he was commanding armies in battle, or that naked women were dancing around his room. At that day's cabinet meeting, Pétain strongly supported Weygand’s demand for an armistice and read out a draft proposal to the cabinet where he spoke of. Pétain eventually came to the aid of the British and secured the front with forty French divisions. [63] He would not forget that the Radical leader, Édouard Daladier, even voted against the whole package, on the grounds that the Army was still too large.[20]. [42], Lebrun reluctantly accepted Reynaud’s resignation as Prime Minister on 16 June, and felt he had little choice but to appoint Pétain in his place. After it was concluded, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, meeting in Vichy, conferred upon him almost absolute powers as “chief of state.”. Pétain believed – wrongly – that Gough's Fifth Army had been routed like the Italians at Caporetto. Seeing the French army defeated, the “hero of Verdun” asked for an armistice. Born into a family of farmers in northern France, Pétain, after attending the local village school and a religious secondary school, was admitted to Saint-Cyr, France’s principal military academy. Pétain however remained popular and engaged in a series of visits around France as late as 1944, when he arrived in Paris on 28 April in what Nazi propaganda newsreels described as a "historic" moment for the city. Pétain proved a capable opponent of the Germans both in defence and through counter-attack. [40] The Cabinet voted 13-6 for the Chautemps proposal. Bentley B. Gilbert and Paul P. Bernard, "The French Army Mutinies of 1917". Marshal Philippe Petain Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Patain (24 April 1856 A 23 July 1951) Generally Known As Philippe Patain (french: [fi.lip Pe.t??]) The Chamber of Deputies and Senate, meeting together as a "Congrès", held an emergency meeting on 10 July to ratify the armistice. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. He improved the recruitment programme for specialists, and lengthened the training period by reducing leave entitlements. Later in the year, Pétain was stripped of his right of direct appeal to the French government and requested to report to Foch, who increasingly assumed the co-ordination and ultimately the command of the Allied offensives. Updates? He, Baudouin, and several members of the government were already set on an armistice. "The enthusiasm of the country for the Maréchal was tremendous. But the armistice was signed at Compiègne, in the same railway car used…, Most high-ranking Vichy officials (including Pétain and Laval) had moved eastward with the Germans; at the castle of Sigmaringen in Germany they adopted the posture of a government-in-exile.…. Generals in five days, they went to reconnoitre the whole area year general Maxime expressed... 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