Profession: French General
Why Famous: Charles de Gaulle once said that Philippe Pétain's life was "successively banal, then glorious, then deplorable, but never mediocre." Pétain was a major French national hero in World War I, when he became known as the 'Lion of Verdun' for his defense against the Germans.
Today however he is primarily known for his decision to lead a collaborationist government with Nazi Germany after France fell. He led the French State (or Vichy France) from 1940 to 1944, until the Allies liberated the country, at which point Pétain was 88 years old.
After the war he was put on trial. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment due to his advanced age and he died in prison in 1951, aged 95.
- 1940-05-31 Winston Churchill flies to Paris to meet with French Marshal Philippe Pétain who announces he is willing to make a separate peace with Germany
- 1945-04-26 Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, leader of France's Vichy collaborationist regime during WW II, arrested for treason