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- 03 -292018

« A dedicated life », episode 17: Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

Birth: 2 February 1889
Death: 11 January 1952
Companion of the Liberation – Decree of 20 November 1944

A graduate of Saint-Cyr, he experienced the brutality of war when he was wounded by a lance during cavalry combat in September 1914. This serious injury had a long-term effect on his health but did not dampen his morale. In December 1915, he joined the 93rd Infantry Regiment as a captain. When leading his men, he showed considerable energy, doing all he could to improve their everyday lives and leading them into battle himself. Having fought in Verdun and the Chemin des Dames, by the end of the war he had four wounds, eight citations and the British Military Cross.

As a general in the Vichy Army, he tried to oppose the Germans’ entry into the southern zone in November 1942. He was imprisoned but escaped and joined De Gaulle. As leader of the 1st French Army, he signed the German Instrument of Surrender on behalf of France on 9 May 1945 in Berlin. Georges Clemenceau said of him: “Take a look at that one, and remember him, he will go far, very far”. He was posthumously awarded the distinction of Marshal of France.

Credits: Captain Jean de Lattre de Tassigny during the First World War. © Collection musée national Clemenceau-de Lattre

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