SONS OF FRANCE by J. R. Tournoux


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Personal as well as public drama and tragedy attend the relationship of two great figures of France, Petain and De Gaulle. Their lives first crossed when De Gaulle came as a second lieutenant to the 33rd Regiment in 1912. Then Colonel Petain took him on as a protege and De Gaulle in turn took Petain as a model. Petain saw his greatest service in the Great War, much of which De Gaulle spent imprisoned. Petain furthered De Gaulle's career, became godfather of his son Philippe; De Gaulle followed more than the strategy of his superior (""Like Petain, his model, he seemed careless of the effects his independence might have"" and appeared to Colonel Moyrand like ""a king in exile""). De Gaulle in 1934 was the spiritual heir of the Petain of 1914 who no longer existed. Their paths in World War II diverged: Petain to become the head of the collaborative Vichy government, De Gaulle that of the Free French. De Gaulle said ""I have loved him too well not to feel hate for him now."" With the fall of Vichy, Petain turned to De Gaulle to deliver him the legitimate leadership of France; De Gaulle refused to acknowledge him. And De Gaulle in power tried Petain for treason as he himself had been tried and sentenced. This merely outlines a story of subtle irony, of the victorious emergence of one leader of France and the tragic decline and fall of another. M. Tournoux has delivered the incidents and insights of thirty years' research to form a special chapter in the legacy of French history.

Publisher: Viking