The World at War


Pierre-Etienne Flandin

French Politician

Born: April 12, 1889 at Paris
Died: June 13, 1958 at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Premier of France: November 8, 1934 - May 31, 1935

     Flandin was elected to the Chamber of Deputies from Yonne (Sens) in 1914 retaining his seat until 1940. He held ministerial posts in conservative cabinets five times between 1924 and 1934 before becoming Premier in 1934.

     As Foreign Minister under Saurrat, he favored the use of armed force to evict German troops from the Rhineland but backdown in the face of British opposition. Afterward, Flandin argued that France would have to accommodated itself to Germany dominance of the continent. He refused to join a proposed All party government at the time of the Anschluss, applauded the Munich Pact and urged Daladier to abandon Poland.

     Flandin was initially opposed to Laval's proposal to abolish the Republic. His counter proposal preserved the existing constitution but replaced Lebrun with Petain in the Presidency. Lebrun refused to resign and killed the deal. Flandin voted in favor of empowering Petain on July 10, 1940.

     Flandin was brought into the Vichy administration to replace Laval as Foreign Minister on December 13, 1940 but yielded to Darlan six weeks later. He went to North Africa in 1942 intent on joining the Allied side but was arrested by the Free French. He was tried after the war for treason, acquitted but convict on a lesser charge. The High Court sentenced him to 5 years national degradation but remitted his sentence in consideration of services rendered to the Resistance.

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