Philippe Pétain

The trial of Marshal Pétain continues to haunt France to this day

In September 1944, a few months after being greeted by cheering crowds in Paris, Marshal Philippe Pétain, the head of the wartime État Français, was driven across the German frontier into exile under Gestapo escort. He no longer had access to the national radio service, so, as he passed through France, typed copies of his last speech had to be thrown to passers-by from the window of his car. Julian Jackson, the author of a previous magisterial biography of Charles de Gaulle, now undertakes a more complex task in telling the story of Pétain’s subsequent three-week trial for treason in 1945. The novelist and resister François Mauriac summarised the ordeal