The World at War


Henri Rol-Tanguy

French Soldier and Politician

Born: June 12, 1908 at Morlaix, Finistere, Brittany

     Tanguy moved to Paris at the age of 15 and began working life as a foundryman. He soon developed an interest in politics and the labor movement. He joined the Young Communists in 1925 and was elected to the executive board of Syndicat des Metaux (Metal workers union) where he took charge of youth activities in 1934.

     Tanguy left the labor movement to join the International Brigades in 1937. He fought for the Spanish Republic and took part in the Battle of the Erbe in 1938.

     He was mobilized into the French Army when World War II began in 1939. Tanguy went underground after the armistice and took charge of organizing the armed resistance groups that emerged as the Franc-Tireurs et Partisans (Communist Resistance) in February 1942.He took command of the French Forces of the Interior in Ile de France region in June 1944 under the nom de guerre Colonel Rol, directed the Paris uprising and received the surrender of General von Choltitz alongside General Leclerc on August 25,1944. He joined the regular army a shortime later and took part in the final campaign against Germany. He was made a Compagnon de la Liberation in 1945 and remained in the army until retiring in 1962. He was a member of the central committee of the French Communist Party from 1964 to 1987.

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