French General and Diplomat
Born: January 29, 1877 at Limoges
Catroux graduated from Saint Cyr in 1898 and began a military career that took him to North Africa, the Middle East and Indochina. He was wounded and taken prisoner in 1916 at which time he met another wounded POW, Charles de Gaulle. Catroux was promoted to General in 1931, led a pacification campaign in Morocco and commanded an Army Corps in Algeria. He retired in 1939 but was recalled to serve as Governor General of Indochina at the outbreak of World War II.
He broke with Vichy in September 1940 and left Hanoi for London where he placed himself under the command of his junior, de Gaulle. The General was tried in absentia and sentenced to death by Vichy in 1941.
Catroux served as High Commissioner in Syria and Lebanon after Vichy forces were expelled by the British and representative of the Free French in North Africa after the Allied landings. He became Governor of Algeria in 1943 and drafted laws designed to assimilate Algeria's Moslem population into full French nationality.
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