See also: Reynaud
A politician isolated in the Third Republic
Graduate of the school of the high commercial studies, lawyer, Paul Reynaud marries the girl of the lawyer Henri Robert then turns rather quickly to the world of the policy. General adviser Elected of the Low-Alps to the House of Commons with the national Block initially in 1919, it is beaten by a Communist in 1924 then is re-elected of 1928 to 1940 like deputy of Paris.
Member of a right party moderated, the democratic Alliance, it is several times minister under the Third Republic and is in load of the wallets of Finances, the Colonies and Justice.
He specializes towards two very different fields, the economy and the defense, for which he adopts positions hétérodoxes immediately. Thus, he recommends a devaluation of the franc to face the Crisis of 1929, which reaches France in 1931 whereas the opinion remains very attached to the myth of the franc Poincaré since 1926. In addition, it is one of the rare politicians to be adopted the strategy of armor-plated divisions recommended by colonel de Gaulle in her book Towards the Professional army . The originality of its reflection marginalizes it at the Parliament.
In 1938, even if he votes confidence at the Parliament to ratify the Accords of Munich, he is in rupture with the guiding line of its party and that of the Party radical socialist of Edouard Daladier on this subject. Appointed Minister for Finance in November 1938, it takes the necessary measures to make it possible France to face the war which comes: devaluation of the franc, raises drastic taxes, rearmament, economies on other stations. An important rectification is thus acquired.
The Second world war
In September 1939, he declares: “ We will overcome because we are strongest ”. Questioned after the end of the war on this sentence, Paul Reynaud always affirmed to have had at the head that it would be about a world war, continuation of the first.
Paul Reynaud is named, on March 22nd, 1940, president of the Council and Foreign Minister by Albert Lebrun. He launches at once military forwarding to Norway, after the invasion of Denmark by Reich; the goal is to stop approvisonnement Swedish iron ore towards Germany. At the Parliament, Reynaud proclaims: " the road of iron is cut! ". May 9th, 1940, in front of turning that the events take, Paul Reynaud gives his resignation but retracts in front of the insistence of President Lebrun… and the beginning of the German offensive with the Netherlands, in Belgium and in Luxembourg, on May 10th.
After the opening of Sedan, on May 15th, which sees the Panzerdivisionnen taking with reverse the Franco-British armies in Belgium, it immediately takes conscience of the gravity of the situation and telephone with Chuchill to say to him that the French Army is beaten. It takes again the wallet of the War with Edouard Daladier and associates the Pétain marshal on May 18th as vice-president, Georges Mandel, the former principal private secretary of Clemenceau, as general and Minister of Interior Department, Charles de Gaulle, for whom it has a great regard, on June 6th as Sous-secrétaire of State to the War. June 10th, in preparation for the entry of the Germans in Paris, the public authorities take refuge with Tours then with Bordeaux. The confrontation between the partisans of the continuation of the combat (Mandel, De Gaulle) and holding them of an armistice (Pétain, Maxime Weygand), turns to the advantage of the last.
The conference of Briare
After the evacuation of: 340000 Franco-British in Dunkirk (May 31st - June 3rd, 1940), Wehrmacht launches an offensive on June 5th against a considerably weakened French Army, because all the material was lost in Belgium and in Flandres. June 10th, the French government gives up the capital, declared open city.
Churchill and Eden unloads impromptus with Briare to consolidate Paul Reynaud, the Pétain Marshal and the general Weygand, these the last two partisans of a fast armistice to avoid the destruction. Churchill notices the only member French government immediately not to be sunk in total pessimism, the very recent de Gaulle general, under-secretary of State to the War. Like Churchill, this one reasons in planetary term and does not limit this conflict, from now on world, with a simple Franco-German stake.
From the start, the Weygand general requires the massive intervention of the RAF only likely to change the course of the battle. In front of the refusal of Churchill which has an absolute need for these 25 escadrilles of hunting for the defense of the United Kingdom, Franco-English alliance breaks. Indeed, in the name of the word given, Churchill required of Paul Raynaud the maintenance of France in the war, but in the name of the supreme interest of England, refused to put all its average soldiers in the battle.
Paul Reynaud then tries to persuade Weygand to make capitulate what remains army in metropolis and to transfer the fleet and aviation in North Africa to continue the war. Weygand is opposed to it absolutely in the name of " honor of the army " and advances a military argument, it does not exist any unspecified industrial facility in North Africa to continue the war and a political argument, it is the government which took da decision of the war, it is him which will make the decision to stop it; like superabundant argument, Weygand adds that everyone will have forgotten Paul Reynaud in the six months to come if it leaves France, because of the ministerial instability which characterizes the mode. Paul Reynaud is not supported by the Council of Ministers and did not want to slice in sharp this debate by revoking Weygand.
The resignation of Paul Reynaud and his replacement by the Pétain Marshal, to require an armistice of Reich thus became inevitable (16 June 17th).
Jean Monnet, from London where the very recent de Gaulle general went, imagines and proposes in Reynaud the project of Franco-British Union, which would amalgamate the nations and institutions French and British to continue the war.
Then, after the failure on June 16th, 1940 of this project defended by Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, and vis-a-vis the progressive rallying of the members of his government at the request of it Pétain Marshal ask for the conditions of armistice, Paul Reynaud presents his resignation to President Lebrun who accepts it. The Pétain Marshal, appointed chief of the government, proposes in Reynaud the post of ambassador at the United States that this one refuses.
Finally, on September 5th, 1940, it is interned on order of Pétain to the Château of Chazeron, as being one of the persons in charge of the defeat, it is then taken by the Germans. Imprisoned with the camp of Oranienburg, it in the second time (of 1943 to 1945) is kept captive in the the Tyrol.
Paul Reynaud had as a Helene mistress of the Doors, woman of influence. When this one learned the Franco-British project of Union, she wrote at once with her lover a word which said to him, on this subject: " I hope that you will not play Isabeau of Bavaria! ". Indeed, Isabeau of Bavaria, woman of Charles VI, supported in 1420, the signature of the treaty of Troyes, to put the King of England Henry V on the throne of France.
From 1946 to 1958, Paul Reynaud is re-elected appointed North. He becomes Minister for the Nation's economy and Finances in 1948.
Remained widowed in June 1940 after the death of his wife following an car accident, there remarie at 71 years in 1959 and will have 3 other children.
Rejoined the institutional designs of the General Charles de Gaulle in 1958, it chairs the constitutional advisory committee. It breaks with De Gaulle in 1962 and is beaten by Jules Houcke (UNR) in November 1962 after being itself opposite with the election of the president of the Republic by the vote for all (referendum of October 28th, 1962). Then, it supports Jean Lecanuet at the time of the presidential election of 1965. He dies on September 21st, 1966 with Neuilly on the Seine by leaving us his memories. Very rancorous, the de Gaulle general does not grant a state funeral to him and prohibited with his ministers to assist to with it.
Paul Reynaud the author of various tests, whose the military problem French , France saved Europe or In the middle of the fray .
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