French President Macron hails fascist dictator Philippe Pétain
10 November 2018
On Wednesday, as he toured World War I battlefields in the run-up to tomorrow’s celebration in Paris of the centenary of the end of World War I, French President Emmanuel Macron hailed France’s fascist dictator, Marshal Philippe Pétain.
Macron declared that it was “legitimate” to honor Pétain: “He was a great soldier, this is a reality. Political life like human nature is sometimes more complex than one would like to believe.”
After these statements provoked an outpouring of popular revulsion, Macron returned Thursday to defend the leader of the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime and praise his record as a general in World War I. He declared, “I will hide no pages of history. Marshal Pétain was also, during World War I, a great soldier. That is a reality of our country.”
Macron’s statements are a deliberate effort to rehabilitate Pétain, the figurehead of French fascism, and the Vichy regime, the bloodiest and most reactionary regime France has ever known.
As the head of the Vichy regime collaborating with the Nazi occupation of France, Pétain was implicated in all the crimes of European fascism. He ordered the launch of mass deportations that led over 75,000 Jews from France to the death camps. He presided over a regime that recruited Frenchmen to the Axis armies fighting the Nazi war of annihilation in the Soviet Union, and to the French Militia, which crushed armed resistance to the Nazi occupation.
The Vichy regime also violently repressed the left, banned communist parties, dissolved the trade unions, and declared the class struggle illegal.
Immediately after World War II, the Provisional Government of the French Republic organized a trial of Pétain on charges of…