Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Disposing of the lie" about Marshal Pétain

Keswick Country House Hotel, English Lake District
[WW2 home of the evacuated Roedean Girls School]
At the end of WW2, the provisional French Government, headed by Charles de Gaulle, put Marshal Philippe Pétain (Chief of the French State 11 July 1940 - 20 August 1944) on trial. Marshal Pétain also signed the 1940 Armistice with Germany, rejected by General de Gaulle and the Free French. The trial took place France between 23 July and 15 August 1945.

Was Pétain culpable of signing the Armistice prematurely? Should France have continued the fight? These were two of the questions that were considered, not just in the French High Court but by French men and women in France and by those living outside of France.

One French woman with an opinion on these matters who was living in Britain was Dr. Aline Lion. She was working as a French teacher at Roedean Girls School which had been evacuated to the Keswick Hotel in the English Lake District (seen in the above photograph). Dr Lion even sent a telegram giving a witness statement in support of Marshal  Pétain which was read out in the High Court.

For additional information click on 'Comments' below. 


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

On Monday 13 August 1945, Maitre Payen, President of the Bar, read out Dr Lion's telegram:

"I can testify under oath that before its conclusion the armistice was considered in London as inevitable. Political leaders would not lie. I am ready to give evidence."

Nevertheless, on Wednesday 15 August 1945 Marshal Pétain was sentenced to death for collaborating with Germany, guilty "... of complicity with the enemy to facilitate the enemy’s undertakings in correlation with his own. Crime specified in articles 87 and 75 of the penal code."
(Official Journal of the trial, page 8c).

Yet, because of his advanced age, the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He died, aged 95, on 23 July 1951.

When asked by the British press regarding her support for Marshal Pétain, Dr Lion said he had no interest in him but "... my only object is to improve Anglo-French relationships by disposing of the lie, which is confusing those relationships, and which has put Pétain in the dock. The lie is that he concluded a premature armistice, It originated in England."

It was noted by the press that Dr Lion had been in Britain for over 30 years at the time, since the 1914 - 1918 war.

(From 'The Whitehaven News', Thursday 16 August 1945)

Friday, 23 December, 2016  

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