The World at War


Joseph Darnand

French Collaborator

Born: 1897 at Coligny, Ain, Rhone-Alpes
Died: October 10, 1945 at Paris

     After distinguished service in the First World War, Darnand eagerly joined a number of right-wing political, paramilitary and terrorist organizations; l'Action Francaise in 1925, les Croix-de-Feu in 1928, la Cagoule and Jacques Doriot's Parti Populaire Francaise in 1936.

     Darnand was mobilized again in 1939. He went to live in Nice after the armistice where he took a leading position in the Vichy sanctioned Legion Francaise des combattants (French Legion of Veterans) and ran a recruiting office for the Legion des volontaires francais contre le bolchevisme (LVF).

     Darnand was unhappy with the LFC's moderation. He formed the Service d'ordre legionnaire (SOL) to take direct and violent action against the enemies of Marshal Petain's National Revolution. The SOL gained official recognition as la Milice Francaise on January 1, 1943. The presidency of the milice was awarded to Pierre Laval who left Darnand in control of operational details.

     Darnand had become a Germanophobe during his service in the world wars but set aside his feelings in order to get weapons for the Milice. He took the SS oath of allegiance to Hitler in October 1943. He fled into Germany one step ahead of the Allied advance to joined Petain and Laval at Sigmaringen in September 1944. The remnants of the Milice were integrated with the SS Charlemagne Division that guarded Hitler's bunker during final days of the Third Reich. Darnand was arrested shortly after the war, tried by the High Court, sentenced to death and executed on October 10, 1945.

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