Keyword: Philippe Pétain

Historian Robert Paxton talks Trump, French polemicist Éric Zemmour and fascism

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Robert Paxton talking about how Vichy France is remembered. © Mathieu Magnaudeix / Mediapart Robert Paxton talking about how Vichy France is remembered. © Mathieu Magnaudeix / Mediapart

When the French language version of his book 'Vichy France' appeared in 1973, the American historian Robert Paxton opened French eyes to the Vichy regime's collaboration with the Nazis in World War II. At the age of 87 he remains one of the most knowledgable people about fascism. Mediapart spoke with the emeritus professor at Columbia University about Donald Trump, nostalgia for the wartime era of Vichy president Marshal Philippe Pétain, and the spectre of a return to the 1930s. Mathieu Magnaudeix reports from New York.

Macron backs down in face of anger over WWI tribute to Pétain

A tribute, as part of ceremonies in honour of French WWI Marshalls, to General Philippe Pétain, who commanded French forces at the 1916 Battle of Verdun before leading France's collaborationist regime during German occupation of the country in WWII, will now not be held after President Emmanuel Macron came under fierce criticism for his comments that it was 'legitimate' to honour 'a great soldier' despite his later shame.

When Vichy regime leader Pétain was to be honoured on Armistice Day

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Emannuel Macron with General François Lecointre, chief of staff of France's armed forces, July 20th 2017. © Reuters Emannuel Macron with General François Lecointre, chief of staff of France's armed forces, July 20th 2017. © Reuters

Among the several ceremonies marking the centenary of the WW1 Armistice signed on November 11th 1918, France’s joint military chiefs of staff had planned a tribute, to be attended by President Emmanuel Macron, to the eight Marshals who fought in the Great War. The eight included Philippe Pétain, who led France’s collaborationist Vichy regime during German occupation of the country from 1940 to 1944. Macron’s office has made clear that the president will not attend any celebration of the disgraced figure, and said it is bewildered how such a ceremony "ended up" in the official presentation of Armistice centenary events without having been submitted for approval. Ellen Salvi reports.