General Maxime Weygand, 1867-1965

General Maxime Weygand, 1867-1965

Fortune and Misfortune
Anthony Clayton
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/06/2015
Format: Hardback 1 b&w illus
ISBN: 978-0-253-01582-2
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The career of the French general Maxime Weygand offers a fascinating glimpse into the perils and politics of military leadership and loyalty in the interwar years and after France’s defeat in 1940. Of obscure birth, Weygand had an outstanding career during WWI as chief of staff for Marshal Foch and served France after the war in Poland and Syria before returning home. Alarmed by Nazi Germany’s rearmament, Weygand locked horns with a political leadership skeptical of the growing military threat, leading to accusations that his desire for a strong army was anti-democratic. With German invaders again threatening Paris, Weygand argued for armistice rather than face certain military defeat. No friend of the newly-installed Vichy government, Weygand was soon shuffled off to North Africa, where he plotted the army’s return to the Allied cause. After the German entry into Unoccupied France, Weygand was imprisoned. Released at war’s end, he was rearrested on the orders of Charles de Gaulle and afterwards fought to restore his name. In this concise biography, Anthony Clayton traces the vertiginous changes in fortune of a soldier whose loyalty to France and to the French army was unwavering.

Author Bio

Anthony Clayton is a retired official of the British Colonial Government of Kenya, former Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and former Associate Lecturer at the University of Surrey. He is author of 16 books, including Paths of Glory: The French Army, 1914–1918; The British Officer: Leaders of the Army from 1660s to the Present; Defeat: When Nations Lose a War; and Warfare in Woods and Forests (IUP, 2012).


“Clayton’s concise biography of this controversial figure successfully demonstrates that Weygand was a loyal and consistent supporter of the Republican system, not the closeted Rightist of many general works. . . . Weygand’s career reflects a fundamental fault line of mutual suspicion between right and left dating to the French Revolution. . . . Clayton understands the dynamics of the 20th-century French army as well as any scholar writing in English.”
 — Dennis Showalter, author of Armor and Blood: The Battle of Kursk: The Turning Point of World War II

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Birth and Early Years, 1867-1914
2. Chief of Staff, 1914-1918
3. Versailles, Warsaw, Syria, 1919-1924
4. Defense Policy in a Fractured France, 1925-1939
5. Commander-in-Chief, May-June 1940
6. Minister for National Defense, June-September 1940
7. A General Out of Step: North Africa, 1940-1941
8. Final Misfortunes and Final Years, 1941-1965
Select Bibliography

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