Maxime Weygand

A Biography of the French General in Two World Wars


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About the Book

During the armistice proceedings and at the Peace Conference after World War I, French General Maxime Weygand served as chief aid to Marshal Foch. Called out of retirement in the late 1930s, Weygand again served his country during World War II, becoming commander in chief of the French Army. His call for enhanced French unity, military preparedness, and adaptation to a new kind of war dominated by tank mobility might have saved France the humiliating defeat in 1940 at the hand of the Nazis, had it been heeded. Weygand’s recognition of the Nazi threat earned him the respect of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. Weygand’s Vichy Resistance led to his imprisonment from late 1942 through the end of the war. French archival sources, available oral testimony and Weygand’s private papers contribute to a fascinating biography of one of World War II’s unsung heroes.

About the Author(s)

Barnett Singer is professor emeritus of history, Brock University. He has published a number of other books in the fields of French history and biography

Bibliographic Details

Barnett Singer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 261
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3571-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments      1
Introduction      3

1. The Formative Years      7
2. With Foch in World War I      12
3. Armistice-Making and Peace Conference      39
4. “Finding Himself ” in Poland and the Middle East      51
5. To the Heights of Hampered Power      65
6. Recharging Batteries as Military Historian      76
7. Regaining French Themes      89
8. Hurled to the Top Against the Nazis      98
9. Countering Germany as Vichy Defense Minister      118
10. Anti-Nazi Proconsul in French Africa      128
11. The Long Coda      173

Chapter Notes      197
Bibliography      233
Index      247

Book Reviews & Awards

“well informed…well researched, energetically written”—The Journal of Military History; “this work is a fine biography which gives a rounded picture of a neglected general. It is elegantly written and often sums up situations very neatly”—First World War Studies; “Singer bases his biography on a strong foundation of primary sources, and the bibliography of secondary sources and commentary in the ‘Chapter Notes’ section are assets for students embarking on a study of Vichy, its complex legacy, and the people associated with it”—The Historian; “excellent…incisive book…written in an authoritative but accessible style and should appeal to anyone with an interest in the Second World War and modern French history”—Contemporary Review; “this elegant and fast-paced biography is a full-length account of the soldier, the patriot, the writer of history, the enlightened overseas administrator, and the educated humanist. With mountains of evidence and clear-headed analysis, Singer concludes that Weygand was the most prominent and perhaps the best of Vichy’s ‘resisters.’”—William A. Hoisington, Jr., author of The Assassination of Jacques Lemaigre Dubreuil: A Frenchman Between France and North Africa; “Barnett Singer extensively researched the manuscript and records sources as well as the secondary works to develop Weygand’s career as a soldier, colonial proconsul, and historian…. The result is an admiring salute to this extraordinary man.”—Edward M. Coffman, author of The Regulars: The American Army, 1898–1941.