Pierre Laval

Pierre Laval

Infobox Prime Minister
name = Pierre Laval

caption = Laval portrayed in Frank Capra documentary film "Divide and Conquer" (1943)
order=101st Prime Minister of France
term_start =27 January 1931i
term_end =20 February 1932
predecessor =Théodore Steeg
successor =André Tardieu
order2=112th Prime Minister of France
term_start2 =7 June 1935
term_end2 =24 January 1936
predecessor2 =Fernand Bouisson
successor2 =Albert Sarraut
order3=120th Prime Minister of France
(as "Vice-President of the Council")
Head of State and nominal Head of Government : Philippe Pétain

term_start3 =11 July 1940
term_end3 =13 December 1940
predecessor3 =Philippe Pétain
successor3 =Pierre Étienne Flandin
order4=123rd Prime Minister of France
term_start4 =18 April 1942
term_end4 =20 August 1944
predecessor4 =François Darlan
successor4 =Charles de Gaulle
birth_date =birth date|1883|6|28|df=y
death_date =death date and age|1945|10|15|1883|6|28|df=y
religion=Roman Catholic

Pierre Laval (28 June 1883ndash 15 October 1945) was a French politician and statesman who led the Vichy government during World War II, and who was later executed after being tried and found guilty for crimes against the State. He was controversial enough, that over twelve biographies have been written about him. Laval's own "Diary" was also published.


Early life

Laval was born, on 28th June 1883, at Châteldon in the northern part of Auvergne. His father combined the jobs of cafe-proprietor, village butcher, and local postman, and was sufficiently well-to-do to own a few acres of vineyard and half a dozen horses. Laval never forgot, and never allowed his associates to forget, he was essentially a son of Auvergne.

Young Pierre was first educated at the village school in Châteldon, then at the age if fifteen he was sent to a Paris "lycée" to take his "baccalauréat". He did not complete it, and returning south to Lyon, he spent the next year reading a degree in zoology. [Warner, Geoffery, "Pierre Laval and the eclipse of France", New York: The Macmillian Company, 1968, p.3.] Laval joined the socialists in 1903, when he was living in Saint Etienne (62km southwest of Lyon). “I was never a very orthodox socialist," he explained in 1945…..By which I mean that I was never much of a Marxist. My socialism was much more a socialism of the heart than a doctrinal socialism... I was much more interested in men, their jobs, their misfortunes and their conflicts than in the digressions of the great German pontiff.” [Jaffré, Yves-Frédéric, "Les" "Derniers Propos de Pierre Laval", Paris: Andre Bonne, 1953, p.55.]

Laval returned to Paris in 1907. He was called up for military service, and after serving in the ranks, he was discharged due to having varicose veins. In a speech in April 1913 he declared "Barrack-based armies are incapable of the slightest effort, because they are badly-trained and, above all, badly commanded." He favoured the outright abolition of the army and its replacement by a citizens' militia. [Privat, Maurice, "Pierre Laval", Paris: Editions Les Documents secrets, 1931, pp. 67-8.]

During this period Laval became familiar with the left-wing doctrines of George Sorel and Hubert Lagardelle. In 1909, choosing to forget his zoological qualifications, he turned to the law. Shortly after becoming a member of the Paris bar, he married the daughter of a Dr. Claussat and they set up a small home in Paris. Their only child, a daughter, was born in 1911. Madame Laval, although coming from a very active political family, never meddled in politics herself. She belonged to a generation, she said, which believed that a woman's place was in the home. It was a happy home too, for Laval was devoted to his family, a fact, which even his enemies never denied. [Warner, p.4]

The years immediately before the First World War in France were characterised by widespread labour unrest, and Laval made his mark by defending strikers, trade-unionists, and left-wing agitators against attempts by the authorities to prosecute them. In a trade-union conference, Laval spoke forcefully:

Laval was a talker, not a writer. The only book he ever wrote was his "Diary", written in a prison-cell while awaiting the foregone verdict of his trial. It survived, because his devoted daughter, Josée de Chambrun was able to smuggle it out page by page. [Laval, Pierre, "The Diary of Pierre Laval (With a Preface by his daughter", Josée Laval), New York: Scribner's Sons, 1948.]

Career during the Third Republic

In 1903 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies as a member of the SFIO ("Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière" - the French socialist party). He was re-elected three times. Laval did not serve in World War I. During this period, his politics moved towards the political right. He was defeated in the first post-war election in 1919. On 6 March 1923, he was elected mayor of Aubervilliers and left the SFIO. Despite this, his power in national affairs continued to increase. In 1925, he first served in ministerial office, as Minister of Transportation under Painlevé. In 1926 he was Minister of Justice under Briand. He was elected to the Senate in 1927, and again in 1936.

Laval held no offices in 1927-1929, but he was a prominent figure in most of the right-wing governments formed in 1930-1932 and 1934-1936. Laval's greatest achievement in this period was in supervising the passage of the social insurance bill through parliament. Originally passed by the Chamber of Deputies in 1928, it needed extensive amendment if it was to be successfully implemented and the prime minister, Andre Tardieu, had promised that it would be on the statute book by 1 July 1930. The bill was one of immense complexity and Laval had to reconcile the frequently divergent views of Chamber and Senate. "Had it not been for Laval's unwearying patience," Laval's associate Tissier wrote, "an agreement would never have been achieved," [ Tissier, Pierre, "I worked with Laval", London: Harrap, 1942, p. 48.] When the bill had passed its final stages, Tardieu paid a glowing tribute to his minister of labour, whom he described as "displaying at every moment of the discussion as much tenacity as restraint and ingenuity." [Bonnefous, Georges and Edouard: "Histoire Politque de la Troisiéme République", Vol. V, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1962, pp. 28-29.] He was Prime Minister from 27 January 1931 to 6 February 1932, and was named "Time's" 1931 Man of the Year. [ [http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19320104,00.html Original TIME article] ]

The second "Cartel des gauches" (Left-Wing Cartel) was driven from power by the riots of 6 February 1934, staged by fascist, monarchist, and other far-right groups. (These groups had contacts with some conservative politicians, among whom were Laval and Philippe Pétain.) Laval became Minister of Colonies in the new right-wing Doumergue government. In October, Foreign Minister Barthou was assassinated; Laval succeeded him, holding that office until 1936.

At this time, Laval was opposed to Germany, the "hereditary enemy" of France. He pursued anti-German alliances with Mussolini's Italy and Stalin's USSR. He met with Mussolini in Rome, and they signed the Franco–Italian Agreement of 1935 on 4 January. The agreement ceded parts of French Somaliland to Italy and allowed Italy a free hand in the Abyssinia, in exchange for support against any German aggression. [ André Larané, [http://www.herodote.net/19350104.htm 4 janvier 1935: Laval rencontre Mussolini à Rome] , "Hérodote" fr icon] In April 1935, Laval persuaded Italy and Great Britain to join France in the Stresa Front against German ambitions in Austria.

In June 1935, he became Prime Minister as well.

Also in 1935, Laval's daughter Josée Marie married René de Chambrun, son of Count Aldebert de Chambrun. (De Chambrun was a descendant of the Marquis de Lafayette. René's mother, Clara Longworth de Chambrun, was the sister of Theodore Roosevelt's son-in-law.)

In October 1935, Laval and British foreign minister Hoare proposed a "realpolitik" solution to the Abyssinia crisis. When leaked to the media in December, the Hoare-Laval Pact was widely denounced as appeasement to Mussolini. Laval was forced to resign on 22 January 1936, and was driven completely out of ministerial politics.

During the years 1927-30 Laval began to accumulate the sizable personal fortune which later gave rise to charges that he had used his political position to line his own pockets. “I have always thought,” he wrote to the examining magistrate on 11 September 1945, “that a soundly-based material independence, if not indispensable, gives those statesmen who possess it a much greater political independence.” Until 1927 his principal source of income had been his fees as a lawyer and in that year they totaled 113,350 francs, according to his income tax returns. Between August 1927 and June 1930, however, he undertook large-scale investments in various enterprises, totaling 51 million francs. Not all this money was his own by any means. It came from a group of financiers who enjoyed the backing of an investment trust, the "Union Syndicale et Financière" and two banks, the "Comptoir Lyon Allemand" and the "Banque Nationale de Crédit". [Warner, Geoffery, "Pierre Laval and the eclipse of France", New York: The Macmillian Company, 1968, pp. 19-20.]

Two of the investments which Laval and his backers acquired were provincial newspapers, "Le Moniteur de Puy-de-Dome" and its associated printing works at Clermont-Ferrand, and the Lyon "Républicain". The circulation of the "Moniteur" stood at 27,000 in 1926 before Laval took it over. By 1933, it had more than doubled to 58,250. Thereafter it fell away again and never surpassed its earlier peak. Profits varied, but over the seventeen years of his control, Laval obtained some 39 million francs in income from the paper and the printing works combined, and the renewed plant was valued at 50 million francs, which led the high court expert to say with some justification that it had been “an excellent affair for him." [Ibid. p. 20]

The victory of the Popular Front in 1936 meant that Laval had a left-wing government as a target for his media.

Under Vichy France

During the phoney war, Laval's attitude towards the conflict reflected a cautious ambivalence. He was on record as saying although the war could have been avoided by diplomatic means; it was now up to the government to prosecute it with the utmost vigor. [ Warner, Geoffery, Ibid. p.149] On 9 June 1940, the Germans were advancing on a front of more than 250 km in length across the entire width of France. As far as General Maxime Weygand was concerned, "if the Germans crossed the Seine and the Marne, it was the end." [ Weygand, General Maxime, "Mémoirs", Vol. III, Paris: Flammarion, 1950, pp. 168-88.]

Simultaneously, Pétain was increasing the pressure upon Prime Minister Paul Reynaud to call for an armistice. During this time Laval was in Châteldon. On 10 June, in view of the German advance, the government left Paris for Tours. Weygand had informed Reynaud: "the final rupture of our lines may take place at any time." If that happened "our forces would continue to fight until their strength and resources were extinguished. But their disintegration would be no more than a matter of time." [Ibid. pp.189-90.]

Weygand had avoided using the word armistice, but it was on the minds of all those involved. Only Reynaud was in opposition. During this time Laval had left Chåteldon for Bordeaux, where his daughter nearly convinced him of the necessity of going to the United States. Instead, it was reported that he was sending "messengers and messengers" to Pétain. [ Baudouin, Paul, "Neuf Mois au Gouvernement", Paris: La Table Ronde, 1948, p. 166.]

As the Germans occupied Paris, Marshal Pétain was asked to form a new government. To everyone's surprise, he produced a list of his ministers, convincing proof that he had been expecting the president's summons and he had prepared for it. [Lebrun, Albert, "Témoignages", Paris: Plon, 1945. p. 85.] Laval's name was on the list as Minister of Justice. When informed of his proposed appointment, Laval told Pétain he would rather be Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the change was made.

One result of these events was that Laval was later able to claim that he was not part of the government that requested the armistice. His name did not appear in the chronicles of events until June when he began to assume a more active role in criticising the governments' decision to leave France for North Africa.

Although the final terms of the armistice were harsh, the French empire was left untouched and the French government was allowed to administer the occupied as well as the unoccupied zone. The concept of “collaboration” was written into the Armistice Convention, before Laval joined the government. The French representatives who affixed their signatures to the text accepted the term.

When Laval was included in Petain's cabinet as minister of state, he began the work for which he would be remembered: the emulation of the totalitarian regime of Germany, the taking up of the cause of fascism, the destruction of democracy, and the dismantling of the Third Repulic. ("Darkness in Paris: The Allies and the eclipse of France 1940, Scribe Publications, Melbourne, Australia 2005, page 277).

In October 1940, Laval understood collaboration more or less in the same sense as Pétain. For both, to collaborate meant to give up the least possible in order to get the mostFact|date=October 2008. Laval, in his role of go-between, was forced to be in constant touch with the German authorities, to shift ground, to be wily, to plan ahead. All this, under the circumstances, drew more attention to him than to the marshal and made him appear to many Frenchmen as "the agent of collaboration;" to others, he was "the Germans' man." [*Chambrun, René de, "Pierre Laval, Traitor or Patriot?" (Translated by Elly Stein), New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1984, pp. 49-50.] The meetings between Pétain and Hitler, and Laval and Hitler, are often used as showing the collaboration of the French leaders and the Nazis. In fact the results of Montoire (24-26 October) were a disappointment for both sides. Hitler wanted France to declare war on the British and the French wanted improved relations with her conqueror. Neither happened. Virtually, the only concession the French obtained was the so-called 'Berlin protocol' of 16 November, which provided release of certain categories of French prisoners of war.

In November, Laval made a number of pro-German actions on his own, without consulting with his colleagues. The most notorious examples concerned turning over to the Germans the Bor copper mines and the Belgian Gold reserves. His post-war justification, apart from a denial that he acted unilaterally, was that the French were powerless to prevent the Germans from gaining something they were clearly so anxious to obtain. [Warner, p. 246.]

These actions by Laval were a factor in his dismissal on 13 December, when Pétain asked all the ministers to sign a collective letter of resignation during a full cabinet meeting. Laval did so thinking it was a device to get rid of M. Belin, the minister of labour. He was therefore stunned when, the Marshal announced, "the resignations of MM. Laval and Ripert are accepted." [Ibid., p. 255.]

That evening, Laval was arrested and driven by the police to his home in Châteldon. The following day, Pétain announced his decision to remove Laval from the government. The reason for Laval's dismissal lies in the fundamental incompatibility between him and Pétain. Laval's methods of working appeared slovenly to the Marshal's precise military mind and he showed a marked lack of deference, instanced by his habit of blowing cigarette smoke in Pétain's face, and in doing so he aroused not only Pétain's anger, but that of his cabinet colleagues as well. [ Jaffré, Yves-Frédéric, "Les Derniers Propos de Pierre Laval", Paris: Andre Bonne, 1953, p. 164.]

If Laval had been able to obtain concessions from the Germans, even with his rude behavior, he would not have been dismissed. Since concessions were not to be given, Friday the 13th ended Laval's attempt to establish a Franco-German partnership in the new Europe.

Laval returned to Power in April of 1942, as he was also to return to the cover of Time Magazine (issue of 27 April). The article's introductory paragraph:

The author of the article was not listed; however no doubt the material was obtained from prior associates of Laval, then living in New York and London. Their books about Laval were published in 1941 and 1942:

Henry Torrés, "Pierre Laval", New York: Oxford University Press, 1941Elie de Bois, "Truth on the Tragedy of France", London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1941Pierre Tissier, "I worked with Laval", London: George Harrap & Co, 1942

All three had been close associates of Laval and in their books they displayed outright contempt for Laval. The Time magazine article also quoted Pertnax, another former associate of Laval, who in 1944, wrote: "The Gravediggers of France", New York: Doubleday: "In a letter Laval has said, 'I fully realize that the hangman will quickly take care of me on the day British arms triumph...' " Notwithstanding their feelings expressed in 1941 and 1942, the books written by Laval's former associates, provide quality incites regarding Laval's life prior to 1940.

Laval had been in power for a mere two months when he was faced with the decision of providing forced workers to Germany. Germany was short of skilled labor due to its need for troop replacements on the Russian front. Unlike the other occupied countries, France was technically protected by the armistice and her workers could not be simply rounded up and transported to Germany. However, in the occupied zone, the Germans used intimidation and control of raw materials to create unemployment and thus reasons for French laborers to volunteer to work in Germany. German officials demanded from Laval that more than 300,000 skilled workers should be immediately sent to factories in Germany. Laval stalled, and then countered by offering to send one worker for the return of one French soldier being held captive in Germany. The proposal was sent to Hitler, with a compromise being reached; one prisoner of war to be repatriated for every three workers arriving in Germany. [Warner, pp. 307-10, 364.]

Later, when ordered to have all Jews in France be rounded up and loaded on railroad cars to be transported to Poland, Laval at first refused, then negotiated a compromise, allowing only those Jews who were not French citizens to be forfeited to the control of Germany. It has been estimated that by the end of the war the Germans had wiped out ninety per cent of the Jewish population of the other occupied countries but in France fifty per cent of the pre-war French and foreign Jewish population, representing perhaps ninety per cent of the purely French Jewish population, still remained alive. [ Cole, Hubert, "Laval", New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1963, pp. 210-11.]

More and more the insoluble dilemma of collaboration faced Laval. He had to maintain Vichy's authority to prevent Germany from installing a Quisling Government made up of French Nazis. Compromise after compromise loaded Laval with the accusation he was nothing more than an agent of Germany.

In 1943, Laval became the nominal leader of the newly-created Milice, though its actual leader was Secretary General Joseph Darnand. (Ref. ?)

With the landings of Allied forces in North Africa, Germany occupied all of France. Hitler continued to ask whether the French government was prepared to fight at his side against the Anglo-Saxons; wanting Vichy to declare war against Britain. Laval and Pétain agreed to maintain a firm refusal. During this time and the D-Day landings, Laval was in a struggle between his ministers and the ultra-collaborationists ministers.

In a broadcast speech on D-Day he appealed to the nation:

This speech, with its theme of neutralism, was as much a criticism of the ultra-collaborationists as of the Resistance [Ibid. p. 397]

A few months later, he was arrested by the Germans and transported to Belfort. In view of the speed of the Allied advance, on 7 September, what was left of the Vichy government were moved from Belfort to the castle of Sigmaringen in Germany. By April 1945 General Patton's army was near Sigmaringen so the Vichy ministers were forced to seek their own salvation. Laval received authority to enter Spain, only to be resent to Germany after a few months. The United States authorities immediately took him and his wife into custody, and turned them over to the Free French. They were flown to Paris to be imprisoned at Fresnes, Val-de-Marne. Madam Laval was later released; Pierre Laval remained in prison to be tried as a traitor. Ibid. pp. 404-407.]

Trial and execution

General de Gaulle and the French people required immediate show-trials in order to concentrate collective feelings of guilt onto the few. Two trials were to be held. Although it had its faults, the Pétain trial permitted the presentation and examination of a vast amount of pertinent material. Laval's own trial illustrated nothing but the inadequacies of the judicial system and the poisonous political atmosphere of the purge-trial era at that time. [Ibid. p.408]

Laval firmly believed that, if he could only secure a fair hearing, he would be able to convince his fellow-countrymen that he had been acting in their best interests all along. “Father-in-law wants a big trial which will illuminate everything,” René de Chambrun told Laval's lawyers: “If he is given time to prepare his defence, if he is allowed to speak, to call witnesses and to obtain from abroad the information and documents which he needs, he will confound his accusers." [ Naud, Albert, "Pourquoi je n'ai pas défendu Pierre Laval", Paris: Fayard 1948]

Laval more than suspected what would really happen. “Do you want me to tell you the set-up?” he asked one of his lawyers on 4 August. “There will be no pre-trial hearings and no trial. I will be condemned – and got rid of – before the elections.” [ Baraduc, Jaques, "Dans la Cellule de Pierre Laval", Paris: Editions Self, 1948, p. 31.]

Laval’s trial began at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday 4 October 1945. He was charged with plotting against the security of the State and intelligence (collaboration) with the enemy. He had three defence lawyers (Jaques Baraduc, Albert Naud, and Yves-Frédéric Jaffré). None of his lawyers had ever met him before. He saw most of Jaffré, who sat with him, talked, listened and took down notes that he wanted to dictate. Baraduc, who quickly became convinced of Laval's innocence, kept contact with the Chambruns and at first shared their conviction that Laval would be acquitted or at most receive a sentence of temporary exile. Naud, who had been a member of the Resistance, believed Laval to be guilty and urged him to plead that he had made grave errors but had acted under constraint. Laval would not listen to him; he was convinced that he was innocent and could prove it. “He acted,” said Naud, “as if his career, not his life, was at stake.” [ Cole, Hubert," Laval", New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1963,pp. 280-1.]

All three of his lawyers declined to be in court to hear the reading of the formal charges because “We fear that the haste which has been employed to open the hearings is inspired, not by judicial preoccupations, but motivated by political considerations.” In lieu of attending the hearing they sent letters stating the shortcomings and asked to be discharged from the task of defending Laval. [Naud, p.249; Baraduc, p.143; Jaffré, p.263.]

Their letters had no effect, and the court carried on without them.

The president of the court, Pierre Mongibeaux announced that the trial must be completed before the general election --- scheduled for 21 October [ "Laval Parle, Notes et Mémoires Rediges par Pierre Laval dans sa cellule, avec une préface de sa fille et de Nombreux Documents Inédits", Constant Bourquin (Editor) pp. 13-15]

The trial proceeded with the tone being set with Mongibeaux and Mornet, the public prosecutor, unable to control constant outbursts from the jury. These occurred as increasingly heated exchanges between Mongibeaux and Laval became louder and louder.

On the third day, Laval’s three lawyers were with him as the President of the Bar Association had advised them to resume their duties. [ "Le Procès Laval: Compte-rendu sténographique", Maurice Garçon (Editor), Paris: Albin Michel, 1946, pp. 91.]

The following is from the published stenographic report of the trial.

cquote| October 6th......

Mongibeaux drew laughter from the audience when, during the course of one of his interrogations, he remarked that he did not want to assume the air of a prosecutor.

LAVAL.... Monsieur le Président, you supply the questions and the answers at one and the same time. Very well, I think it would be better if we left it at that as far as the serenity and majesty of your justice are concerned.

MONGIBEAUX: In your position, do you think you are assured of impunity?

LAVAL: I do not think I am assured of impunity, but there is one thing which is above us all, above you and above me, and that is truth and the justice of which you ought to be the embodiment.

BEDIN (a member of the jury): Justice will be done!

Another member of the jury: Yes, justice will be done!

MONGTBEAUX: Someone will have the last word: the high court.

LAVAL: You keep it!

MONGIBEAUX: You do not wish to answer any more of my questions?


MONGIBEAUX: Consider carefully the attitude you are adopting. You do not wish to answer any more of my questions?

LAVAL: No, Monsieur le President, not in view of your aggressive attitude and the way in which you question me. You supply the questions and the answers.

MONGIBEAUX: The hearing is adjourned. Remove the accused!

Members of the jury (to Laval): You're the trouble-maker! Swine! Twelve bullets! He hasn't changed!

LAVAL: No, and I shan't change now.

MONGTBEAUX: (standing by his chair): Please! We are not at a public meeting!

LAVAL: The jury - before judging me - it's fantastic!

A member of the jury: You've already been judged, and France has judged you too! [Ibid.pp. 205-206.]

After the adjournment, Mongibeaux announced that the part of the interrogatoire dealing with the charge of plotting against the security of the state was concluded and that he now proposed to deal with the charge of intelligence (collaboration) with the enemy. “Monsieur le Président," Laval replied, "the insulting way in which you questioned me earlier and the demonstrations in which some members of the jury indulged show me that I may be the victim of a judicial crime. I do not want to be an accomplice; I prefer to remain silent." Mongibeaux thereupon called the first of the prosecution witnesses, but they had not expected to give evidence so soon and none were present. Mongibeaux therefore adjourned the hearing for the second time so that they could be located. When the court reassembled half an hour later, Laval was no longer in his place. [Ibid. pp. 207-209.]

Although Pierre-Henri Teitgen, the minister of justice in de Gaulle’s cabinet, personally appealed to Laval’s lawyers to have him attend the hearings, he declined to do so. Teitgen freely confirmed the scandalous conduct of Mongibeaux and Mornet, professing he was unable to do anything to curb them. The trial continued without the accused, ending with Laval being sentenced to death. His lawyers were turned down, when they requested a re-trial. [ Naud, pp. 249-57; Baraduc, pp. 143-6; Jaffré, pp. 263-7.]

The execution was fixed for the morning of 15 October. Laval attempted to cheat the firing squad by taking poison from a phial which had been stitched inside the lining of his jacket since the war years. He did not intend, he explained in a suicide note, that French soldiers should become accomplices in a "judicial crime". The poison, however, was so old that it was ineffective, and repeated stomach-pumpings revived Laval. [ Warner. p. 415-6. For detailed accounts of Laval’s execution, see Naud, pp. 276-84; Baraduc, pp. 188-200; Jaffré, pp. 308-18.]

Laval requested his lawyers to witness his execution. He was shot shouting "Vive la France!". The whole prison shouted, "Murderers!" and "Long live Laval!" [ Chambrun, René de, "Mission and Betrayal 1949-1945", London: André Deutch, 1993, p. 134.] He “died bravely,” de Gaulle remarked in his memoirs. [ Gaulle, General Charles de, "Mémoires de Guerre, Vol. III", p. 251.] Laval's widow declared: “It is not the French way to try a man without letting him speak,” she told an English newspaper, “That's the way he always fought against - the German way.” [ "Evening Standard", 16 October 1945 (cover page).]

Parliamentary offices

*10/05/1914 - 07/12/1919 : Deputy of the Seine department
*11/05/1924 - 17/02/1927 : Deputy of the Seine - Not registered in any parliamentary group
*Senator from 1927 to 1936 and from 1936 to 1944 [ [http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/sycomore/fiche.asp?num_dept=7736 Biographical notice] of Laval on the French National Assembly's website fr icon]

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

*Pierre Laval - President of the Council and Minister of the Interior
*Aristide Briand - Minister of Foreign Affairs
*André Maginot - Minister of War
*Pierre Étienne Flandin - Minister of Finance
*François Piétri - Minister of Budget
*Adolphe Landry - Minister of Labour and Social Security Provisions
*Léon Bérard - Minister of Justice
*Charles Dumont - Minister of Marine
*Louis de Chappedelaine - Minister of Merchant Marine
*Jacques-Louis Dumesnil - Minister of Air
*Mario Roustan - Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
*Auguste Champetier de Ribes - Minister of Pensions
*André Tardieu - Minister of Agriculture
*Paul Reynaud - Minister of Colonies
*Maurice Deligne - Minister of Public Works
*Camille Blaisot - Minister of Public Health
*Charles Guernier - Minister of Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephones
*Louis Rollin - Minister of Commerce and Industry

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

*Pierre Laval - President of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs
*André Tardieu - Minister of War
*Pierre Cathala - Minister of the Interior
*Pierre Étienne Flandin - Minister of Finance
*François Piétri - Minister of Budget
*Adolphe Landry - Minister of Labour and Social Security Provisions
*Léon Bérard - Minister of Justice
*Charles Dumont - Minister of Marine
*Louis de Chappedelaine - Minister of Merchant Marine
*Jacques-Louis Dumesnil - Minister of Air
*Mario Roustan - Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
*Auguste Champetier de Ribes - Minister of Pensions
*Achille Fould - Minister of Agriculture
*Paul Reynaud - Minister of Colonies
*Maurice Deligne - Minister of Public Works
*Camille Blaisot - Minister of Public Health
*Charles Guernier - Minister of Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephones
*Louis Rollin - Minister of Commerce and Industry

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

*Pierre Laval - President of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs
*Jean Fabry - Minister of War
*Joseph Paganon - Minister of the Interior
*Marcel Régnier - Minister of Finance
*Ludovic-Oscar Frossard - Minister of Labour
*Léon Bérard - Minister of Justice
*François Piétri - Minister of Marine
*Mario Roustan - Minister of Merchant Marine
*Victor Denain - Minister of Air
*Philippe Marcombes - Minister of National Education
*Henri Maupoil - Minister of Pensions
*Pierre Cathala - Minister of Agriculture
*Louis Rollin - Minister of Colonies
*Laurent Eynac - Minister of Public Works
*Louis Lafont - Minister of Public Health and Physical Education
*Georges Mandel - Minister of Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephones
*Georges Bonnet - Minister of Commerce and Industry
*Édouard Herriot - Minister of State
*Louis Marin - Minister of State
*Pierre Étienne Flandin - Minister of State


*17 June 1935 - Mario Roustan succeeds Marcombes (d. 13 June) as Minister of National Education. William Bertrand succeeds Roustan as Minister of Merchant Marine.

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

*Pierre Laval - President of the Council, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of the Interior, and Minister of Information
*Eugène Bridoux - Minister of War
*Pierre Cathala - Minister of Finance and National Economy
*Jean Bichelonne - Minister of Industrial Production
*Hubert Lagardelle - Minister of Labour
*Joseph Barthélemy - Minister of Justice
*Gabriel Auphan - Minister of Marine
*Jean-François Jannekeyn - Minister of Air
*Abel Bonnard - Minister of National Education
*Jacques Le Roy Ladurie - Minister of Agriculture
*Max Bonnafous - Minister of Supply
*Jules Brévié - Minister of Colonies
*Raymond Grasset - Minister of Family and Health
*Robert Gibrat - Minister of Communication
*Lucien Romier - Minister of State


*11 September 1942 - Max Bonnafous succeeds Le Roy Ladurie as Minister of Agriculture, remaining also Minister of Supply
*18 November 1942 - Jean-Charles Abrial succeeds Auphan as Minister of Marine. Jean Bichelonne succeeds Gibrat as Minister of Communication, remaining also Minister of Industrial Production.
*26 March 1943 - Maurice Gabolde succeeds Barthélemy as Minister of Justice. Henri Bléhaut succeeds Abrial as Minister of Marine and Brévié as Minister of Colonies.
*21 November 1943 - Jean Bichelonne succeeds Lagardelle as Minister of Labour, remaining also Minister of Industrial Production and Communication.
*31 December 1943 - Minister of State Lucien Romier resigns from the government.
*6 January 1944 - Pierre Cathala succeeds Bonnafous as Minister of Agriculture and Supply, remaining also Minister of Finance and National Economy.
*3 March 1944 - The office of Minister of Supply is abolished. Pierre Cathala remains Minister of Finance, National Economy, and Agriculture.
*16 March 1944 - Marcel Déat succeeds Bichelonne as Minister of Labour and National Solidarity. Bichelonne remains Minister of Industrial Production and Communication.



Critical of Laval

*Tissier, Pierre, "I worked with Laval", London: George Harrap & Co, 1942
*Torrés, Henry, "Pierre Laval" (Translated by Norbert Guterman), New York: Oxford University Press, 1941
*Bois, Elie J., "Truth on the Tragedy of France", (London, 1941)
*"Pétain-Laval The Conspiracy", With a Foreword by Viscount Cecil, London: Constable, 1942

Post-war defences of Laval

*Julien Clermont (pseudonym for Georges Hilaire), "L'Homme qu'il fallait tuer" (Paris, 1949)
*Jacques Guerard, "Criminel de Paix" (Paris, 1953)
*Michel Letan, "Pierre Laval de l'armistice au poteau" (Paris, 1947)
*Alfred Mallet, "Pierre Laval" (Paris, 1955)
*Maurice Privat, "Pierre Laval, cet inconnu" (Paris, 1948)
*René de Chambrun, "Pierre Laval, Traitor or Patriot?", (New York) 1984; and "Mission and Betrayal", (London, 1993).

Books by Laval's lawyers

*Baraduc, Jaques, Dans la Cellule de Pierre Laval, Paris: Editions Self, 1948
*Jaffré, Yves-Frédéric, "Les Derniers Propos de Pierre Laval", Paris: Andre Bonne, 1953
*Naud, Albert, Pourquoi je n'ai pas défendu Pierre Laval, Paris: Fayard 1948

Full Biographies

*Cole, Hubert, "Laval", New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1963
*Kupferman, Fred, "Laval 1883-1945", Paris: Flammarion, 1988
*Pourcher, Yves, "Pierre Laval vu par sa fille", Paris: Le Grande Livre du Mois, 2002
*Warner, Geoffery, "Pierre Laval and the eclipse of France", New York: The Macmillian Company, 1968

Other Biographical Material

* [http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/personoftheyear/archive/stories/1931.html Man of the Year] profile, 4 January 1932
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,795762,00.html "Time Magazine" Cover Story article] 27 April 1942
*cite news
title=Devils Advocate
work=Time Magazine
on the Laval treason trial, Oct. 15, 1945
*cite news
title="What Is Honor?"
work=Time Magazine
on Laval's testimony in Petain's trial, Aug. 13, 1945
*Abrahamsen, David, "Men, Mind, and Power", New York: Columbia University Press, 1945
*Bonnefous, Georges and Edouard: "Histoire Politque de la Troisième République", Vol. V, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1962
*Chambrun, René de, "Laval, Devant L'History", Paris: EDITIONS FRANCE-EMPIRE, 1983
*Chambrun, René de, "Mission and Betrayal 1949-1945", London: André Deutch Ltd., 1993
*De Gaulle "Mémoires de Guerre, Vol. III, Le Salut 1944-46", Paris: Plon, 1959
*"Laval Parle, Notes et Mémoires Rédigées par Pierre Laval dans sa cellule, avec une préface de sa fille et de Nombreux Documents Inédits", Constant Bourquin (Editor), Geneva: Sditions du Cheval Ailé, 1947
*Laval, P. "The Unpublished Diary of Pierre Laval", Falcon Press Ltd. London, 1948.
*Laval, Pierre, "The Diary of Pierre Laval" (With a Preface by his daughter, Josée Laval), New York: Scribner's Sons, 1948
*"Le Procés Laval: Compte-rendu sténographique," Maurice Garçon (Editor), Paris: Albin Michel, 1946
*Pannetier, Odette, "Pierre Laval", Paris: Denoelet Steele, 1936
*Pertinax, "The Gravediggers of France", New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1944
*Privat, Maurice, "Pierre Laval", Paris: Editions Les Documents secrets, 1931
*Thompson, David, "Two Frenchman, Pierre Laval and Charles de Gaulle", London: The Cresset Press, 1951
*Weygand, General Maxime, "Mémoires", Vol. III, Paris: Flammarion, 1950
*The London "Evening Standard", 16 October 1945 (cover page).

Pierre Laval: Timeline

*1883—28 June: born at Châteldon.
*1902—Passes final examination for "baccalauréat".
*1903—Joins Socialist Party at Saint-Etienne.
*1909—Admitted to Paris Bar. 20 October: marries Eugenie Claussat.
*1910—Candidate for Chamber of Deputies at Neuilly-Boulogne -Billancourt. Defeated..
*1911—Birth of only child, Josée.
*1914—Elected Deputy for Aubervilliers-Villemomble.
*1917—Refuses Under-Secretaryship of State in Clemenceau's Cabinet.
*1919—Defeated at post-war election.
*1920—Leaves Socialist Party.
*1922—Buys plot of land at Aubervilliers.
*1923—Elected to municipal council of Aubervilliers.
*1922—Elected Mayor of Aubervilliers. Re-lected to Chamber of Deputies. Buys Domaine de la Corbiere.
*1925—"April": first Cabinet post, as Minister of Public Works in Painleve's Government. ::Then Under-Secretary of State in Briand's Cabinet. Buys house in the Villa Said.
*1926—Minister of Justice from March until fall of Briand's Government in July.
*1927—Elected Senator for the Department of the Seine. Buys the "Moniteur du Puy-de-Dome" and printing works at Clermont-Ferrand.
*1928—Buys Radio-Lyon and the "Lyon Republicain".
*1930—"March": Minister of Labor in Tardieu's Cabinet until December.
*1931—"January": forms his first Government, combining Ministry of the Interior with Presidency of the Council.::"May": formally resigns on appointment of new President of the Republic (Paul Doumer) and immediately resumes office.::"September": orders loan of three thousand million gold francs to Bank of England. Visits Bruning and Hindenburg in Berlin.::"October": visits Hoover in Washington.::"December": buys the chateau of Châteldon; sells the "Lyon Republicain".
*1932—"January": reforms Cabinet and takes over Ministry of Foreign Affairs on resignation of Briand.::"February": defeated. Accepts Ministry of Labour in Tardieu's Cabinet until June.
*1934—"February": Minister of Colonies in Doumergue's Cabinet. ::"October": appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs after assassination of Barthou.::"November": retains Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Flandin's Government.
*1935—"January": in Rome for talks with Mussolini and audience with Pope.::"February": talks with Schuschnigg in Paris.::"April": with Flandin, MacDonald and Mussolini at Stresa. Condemns Germany at Geneva, in the names of France, Britain and Italy.::"May": talks with Stalin in Moscow.::"June": succeeds Flandin as President of the Council. Refuses to approve Anglo-German naval treaty.::"July": announces first batch of decree-laws to meet financial crisis.::"August": marriage of Josée Laval to René de Chambrun.::"December": agrees with Sir Samuel Hoare on proposal for ending Abyssinian war.
*1936—"January": resigns after attacks on his foreign and financial policies.
*1940—"22 June": appointed Minister of State in Pétain's Cabinet, then Vice-President of the Council.::"12 July": nominated as Pétain's successor. ::"19 July": meets Abetz in Paris.::"22 and 24 October": meets Hitler at Montoire-sur-Loir. ::13 "December": is dismissed and arrested.
*1941—"18 January": meets Pétain at La Ferte-Hauterive. ::"27 August": wounded at Versailles.
*1942—"26 March": meets Pétain in forest of Randan.::"17 April": returns as President of the Council, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Information.::"22 June": announces the reléve and says “"je sonhaite la victoire de l' Allemagne"'”::September: institutes Compulsory Labor Service and direction of labor.::"10 November": meets Hitler at Munich, following the Allied landings in North Africa.::"15 December": meets Hitler at Görlitz.
*1943—"17 February": calls up the classes of 1920,1921,1922 for Compulsory Labor Service.::"29 April": final meeting with Hitler at Berchtesgaden.::"6 August": refuses to send any more workers to Germany. ::"17 September": escapes bomb attempt on road to Châteldon.::"December": Ribbentrop demands reconstruction of Government with pro-Nazi members.
*1944—"6 January": Darnand and Henriot admitted to Cabinet; joined by Deat in April.::"6 June:" Allied landings in France. Laval broadcasts that “France is not in the war” and forbids Frenchmen to participate on either side.::"12 July": defeats pro-Nazi Cabinet plot. ::"8 August": leaves Châteldon for Paris.::"12 August": brings Herriot to Paris for summoning of the National Assembly.::"17 August": taken under escort to Belfort. ::"9 September": taken to Sigmaringen.
*1945—"2 May": arrives in Barcelona.::"1 August": flown to Le Bourget under escort. October: brought to trial before the High Court. ::"6 October": refuses to make further appearances in court. ::"9 October": condemned to death. ::"15 October": executed at Fresnes.

NAME=Laval, Pierre
SHORT DESCRIPTION=French politician
DATE OF BIRTH=28 June 1883
PLACE OF BIRTH=Châteldon, Puy-de-Dôme, France
DATE OF DEATH=15 October 1945
PLACE OF DEATH=Paris, France

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