THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II
The Death of a Nazi and a Collaborator
A year apart on October 15th, a Nazi and a Nazi collaborator both met their death. One by firing squad and one by his own hand.
On October 15, 1945, Pierre Laval, the puppet leader of Nazi-occupied Vichy France, is executed by firing squad for treason against France.
Originally he had pacifist tendencies but he shifted to the right in the 1930s. He had been the minister of foreign affairs and twice as the French premier. With his anti-communist ideologies, he delayed the Soviet-Franco pact of 1935 and sought to align France with Fascist Italy. He had no desire to declare war on Germany so he encouraged the antiwar faction in the French government. With the German invasion of France in 1940, he used his political influence to force an armistice with Germany. When…
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