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France on Trial : The Case of Marshal Petain - Julian Jackson

France on Trial

The Case of Marshal Petain

By: Julian Jackson

Hardcover | 19 September 2023 | Edition Number 1

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A prism into the most controversial period of twentieth-century French history, from one of the great contemporary historians of France

Few images more shocked the French population during the Occupation than the photograph of Marshal Philippe Petain - the great French hero of the First World War - shaking the hand of Hitler on 20 October 1940. In a radio speech after this meeting, Petain said 'It is I alone who will be judged by History.' Five years later, in July 1945, the hour of judegement - if not yet the judgement of History - arrived. Petain was brought before a specially created High Court to answer for his conduct between the signing of the armistice with Germany in June 1940 and the Liberation of France in August 1944.

Julian Jackson uses Petain's three-week trial as a lens through which to examine the central crisis of twentieth-century French history. As head of the Vichy regime, Petain became one of France's most notorious public figures, and the lightening-rod for collective guilt and retribution immediately after the Second World War. In France on Trial Jackson blends politics and personal drama to explore how different national factions sought to try to claim the past, or establish their interpretation of it, as a way of claiming the present and future.

About the Author

Julian Jackson is Emeritus Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London and one of the foremost British scholars of twentieth-century France. A Certain Idea of France- The Life of Charles de Gaulle won the Duff Cooper Prize, the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, the American Library in Paris Award, the Franco-British Society Literary Prize, the Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique du Touquet and the Prix Special du Jury de Prix de Geopolitique. His other books include France- The Dark Years, 1940-1944, which was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times History Book Award, and The Fall of France, which won the Wolfson History Prize in 2004. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques and Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

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