Petain was “honorable and dignified, but too old for future planning”
(L to R) Marshall Petain, interpreter Paul Schmidt, Adolf Hitler, Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop, in France in October 1940.
Marshal Philippe Petain, national hero of WWI, took over the presidency of the French government after he signed the final armistice treaty with Germany. He resided in Vichy, in the unoccupied part of France, and collaborated with Germany. His premier, Pierre Laval, suggested a military alliance and full cooperation with the National Socialist government. The pro-German PPF party of Jacque Doriot had Laval’s full support.
After the war, the government of General De Gaulle sentenced Marshal Petain to death, then pardoned him to life imprisonment. He was too famous, and too much a part of past French victories, to punish with death. Laval, however, was shot as a traitor in July 1945. ~ cy & wm