Marshal Petain - Hero of World War 1 - disgrace of World War 2.
Marshal Petain – Hero of World War 1 – disgrace of World War 2.

Marshal Petain – Address to the French People – Radio Paris – August 13, 1940 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

75 years ago this day, the French government, now under control of Nazi German occupation, appointed former World War 1 hero Marshal Phillippe Petain as head of the French State. At 84, he was the oldest serving head of any government.

When France was defeated in June of 1940 and the occupation began, Petain was urged to give the French people a pep talk, particularly the youth of the country.

And so this address, as a sort of morale boost, policy statement and assessment of how things were all rolled into one, on August 13th of 1940 was given by Marshal Petain and broadcast throughout France and relayed throughout the world, especially the U.S., who were still neutral at the time and who orchestrated aid by way of the Red Cross to assist refugees and the displaced.

The speech is in French, but is translated in English by the NBC Blue network. Precarious times for all. Ironic that, five years later, it was all about to be over.

Nobody knew that, or could even predict it in 1940. Here is that address by Marshal Phillippe Petain, as given on August 13, 1940.

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