Henri-Philippe Petain

Former head of the Vichy government in Nazi occupied France during World War II, Henri-Philippe Petain, has died in prison at the age of 95.  

 

Promoted to brigadier at the outbreak of the First World War, Petain commanded the French troops at Verdun.  In 1917 he became the Commander-in-Chief of the French forces and was promoted to Field Marshall two weeks after the Armistice, serving as France’s War Minister in 1934.  

 

In 1940, at age 83, Petain agreed to head up the Vichy government serving as a figurehead for the Nazis.  After the Allied landings at Normandy he fled to Switzerland, eventually returning in 1945, upon which he was arrested and found guilty of treason.  Sentenced to death, the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.  

 

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