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Pierre Laval

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Pierre Laval, prime minister of
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Pierre Laval, prime minister of Vichy France

Pierre Laval (June 28, 1883October 15, 1945) was a French politician and thrice Prime Minister of France, the final time being under the Vichy government. For his role in Vichy France during World War II, he was found guilty of high treason and executed after the war.

Contents

Career

He was born in Châteldon in the Puy-de-Dôme département of the Auvergne region. After earning a law degree, he worked as a lawyer, in Paris from 1907. A socialist, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies as a member of SFIO in 1903. He did not serve in World War I but the period saw a change to his politics as he moved towards the right. He lost the first post-war election. He became mayor of Aubervilliers in 1924 and left the socialist party; he was elected to the French Senate in 1927.

Laval was a prominent figure in the 1930s governments. He was frequently in cabinet and was Prime Minister from January 27, 1931 to February 6, 1932 (succeeding André Tardieu) and again from June 7, 1935. He was named TIME magazine's 1931 Man of the Year.

During his second stint as Prime Minister in October 1935, together with the British foreign minister, Samuel Hoare, he proposed a solution to the Abyssinia crisis. Leaked to the media in December, the realpolitik Hoare-Laval Pact was widely denounced as an appeasement to Benito Mussolini and Laval was forced to resign on January 22, 1936.

Out of politics, Laval returned to his business career, but soon had major political influence after he assembled an extensive media empire through acquisitions of newspapers and radio. The victory of the Front Populaire in 1936 meant that Laval had a left-wing government as a target for his media. Following the German occupation, his publications and broadcasts outlets played a prominent part in forcing out the existing government and then supporting the new government of Philippe Pétain. On July 12, 1940, Laval became vice-premier and named Fernand de Brinon to lead negotiations with the Germans.

Laval was enthusiastically pro-Nazi; his demands for a Franco-German military alliance led to him being sacked from the government and arrested in December 13, 1940. The German ambassador in France, Otto Abetz, had him freed and moved to Paris. He was injured in an assassination attempt on August 27, 1941 at a Legion des Volontaires Francais review but recovered and was recalled into the Vichy government on April 18, 1942. This time he became Prime Minister and succeeded Admiral François Darlan as the leading figure in the regime after Pétain himself. Laval was largely blamed for the increase in anti-Jewish activities and the decision to send French workers to Germany through la releve and the later the Service du Travail Obligatoire. The creation of the Vichy Milice, the wartime secret police, in January, 1943 has also been credited to Laval.

Following the Allied invasion of France, the government moved from Vichy to Belfort and then to Germany and Sigmaringen in August, 1944. In May 1945 Laval fled. He first went to Spain but was deported and ended up in Austria where he was given over to the Allied Forces. On July 30, 1945 he was handed over to the new French government. Charged with treason and violating state security, Laval was tried and after being found guilty, was sentenced to death. After a failed attempt at suicide, he was executed by firing squad at Fresnes prison, near Paris.

Laval's First Government, 27 January 1931 - 14 January 1932

Laval's Second Government, 14 January - 20 February 1932

Laval's Third Ministry, 7 June 1935 - 24 January 1936

Changes

Laval's Fourth Ministry, 18 April 1942 - 20 August 1944

Changes


Preceded by:
Victor Peytral
Minister of Public Works
1925
Succeeded by:
Anatole de Monzie
Preceded by:
René Renoult
Minister of Justice
1926
Succeeded by:
Maurice Colrat
Preceded by:
Louis Loucheur
Minister of Labour and Social Security Provisions
1930
Succeeded by:
Édouard Grinda
Preceded by:
Théodore Steeg
President of the Council
1931–1932
Succeeded by:
André Tardieu
Preceded by:
Georges Leygues
Minister of the Interior
1931–1932
Succeeded by:
Pierre Cathala
Preceded by:
Aristide Briand
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1932
Succeeded by:
André Tardieu
Preceded by:
Adolphe Landry
Minister of Labour and Social Security Provisions
1932
Succeeded by:
Albert Dalimier
Preceded by:
Henry de Jouvenel
Minister of Colonies
1934
Succeeded by:
Louis Rollin
Preceded by:
Louis Barthou
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1934–1936
Succeeded by:
Pierre Étienne Flandin
Preceded by:
Fernand Bouisson
President of the Council
1935–1936
Succeeded by:
Albert Sarraut
Preceded by:
Philippe Pétain
Vice President of the Council
1940
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Paul Baudoin
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1940
Succeeded by:
Pierre Étienne Flandin
Preceded by:
Philippe Pétain
President of the Council
1942–1944
Succeeded by:
Charles de Gaulle
Preceded by:
François Darlan
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1942–1944
Succeeded by:
Georges Bidault
Preceded by:
Pierre Pucheu
Minister of the Interior
1942–1944
Succeeded by:
Adrien Tixier
Preceded by:
Paul Marion
Minister of Information
1942–1944
Succeeded by:
Pierre-Henri Teitgen

Template:End boxaf:Pierre Laval de:Pierre Laval fr:Pierre Laval he:פייר לאוואל pl:Pierre Laval

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