The World at War


Marcel Deat

French Philosopher and Politician

Born: March 7, 1894 at Guerigny, Nievre, Burgundy
Died: March 5, 1955 at Turin, Italy

     Deat entered l'Ecole normale superieure in 1914, interrupted his studies for service in World War I and received his degree in philosophy in 1919.

     He joined the Socialists SFIO in 1920 and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1926 from the Marne. He opposed the party's 1932 refusal to participate in Herriot's Radical-Socialist government and was expelled from the caucus a year later.

     Deat formed his own party, the Parti Socialiste de France under the motto "Order, Authority and Nation. Then joined l'Union socialiste et republicaine in 1935. The USR joined the Popular Front in 1936 and Deat returned to the Chamber as deputy from Angouleme. He embarked on a campaign of appeasement that culminated in the publication of his article Mourir pour Danzig? (Die for Danzig?) in L'Oeuvre on May 4, 1939.

     Deat voted in favor of full powers to Petain on July 10, 1940. He continued to edit L'Oeuvre and agitate for collaboration until 1944.

     Deat was wounded in an attempted assassination while reviewing the departure of the first contingent of the Legion des volontaires francais contre le bolchevisme at Versailles on August 27, 1941. He survived as did the assassin's primary target Pierre Laval who was standing next to him on the reviewing stand.

     Deat saw a kindred spirit in Laval and founded le Rassemblement national populaire collaborationniste later in the year to rally support for returning Laval to power. His loyalty was rewarded with an appointment as Minister of Labor and National Solidarity in March 1944.

     Deat fled to Germany after the Normandy landings. He was received by Hitler and permitted to created a Vichy Government in Exile (la Commission Gouvernemental Francaise) at Sigmaringen. The Commission renamed itself the Comite Francais de liberation in 1945.

     Deat was tried and sentenced to death in absentia by French court on June 18, 1945 but found refuge in an Italian monastery where he died in 1955.

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