Philippe Pétain

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Philippe Pétain

Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known as Philippe Pétain, Marshal Pétain (Maréchal Pétain or The Lion of Verdun), was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France (Chef de l'État Français), from 1940 to 1944.


  • Neither Germany nor Italy have doubts. Our crisis is not a material crisis. We have lost faith in our destiny...We are like mariners without a pilot.
    • Statement (April 1936), quoted in Anthony Adamthwaite, Granduer and Misery: France's Bid for Power in Europe 1914-1940 (London: Arnold, 1995), p. 182.
  • My country has been beaten and they are calling me back to make peace and sign an armistice...This is the work of 30 years of Marxism. They're calling me back to take charge of the nation.
    • Remarks to Francisco Franco in Madrid, Spain (c. 17 May 1940) after French Prime Minister Reynaud called Pétain back to France to raise morale against the German offensive, quoted in Howard J. Langer, World War II: An Encyclopedia of Quotations (Routledge, 2013), p. 157.

Quotes about Pétain[edit]

  • Remember that France has always had two strings in its bow. In June 1940 it needed the Pétain "string" as much as the de Gaulle "string".
    • Alleged remark by Charles de Gaulle in December 1946 to Colonel Rémy, quoted in Henry Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome. History and Memory in France since 1944 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991), p. 34.

External links[edit]

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