François Darlan


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(b. 7 Aug. 1881, d. 24 Dec. 1942).

French admiral A distinguished naval commander in World War I, he was appointed admiral and Commander‐in‐Chief in 1939. His instinct to collaborate with the Germans during the Vichy government was intensified by the British destruction of much of his fleet at Mers el‐Kebir in July 1940. As Vice‐Premier (1941–2) he was effectively in charge of the Vichy government, when he tried unsuccessfully to carve out a greater role for the French military and navy in the context of the Third Reich. Following the Allied successes in the North African campaigns which led to their attack on Algiers on 8 November 1942, and the German occupation of Vichy France, he reluctantly changed sides, though he was murdered soon afterwards.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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