Darlan, Jean François

Darlan, Jean François

(zhäN fräNswä` därläN`), 1881–1942, French admiral. A career naval officer, he became commander of the French navy in 1939 and joined the Vichy government (see under VichyVichy
, city (1990 pop. 28,048), Allier dept., central France, on the Allier River. Vichy's hot mineral springs made it one of the foremost spas in Europe, with a casino (now a convention center) and grand hotels.
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) in 1940 as minister of the navy. After the fall of Pierre LavalLaval, Pierre
, 1883–1945, French politician. Elected (1914) to the chamber of deputies as a Socialist, he held various cabinet posts and in 1926 became a senator as an Independent, moving away from his leftist affiliations.
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, Darlan was made (Feb., 1941) vice premier, foreign minister, and successor-designate to Marshal Pétain; he was the actual head of government. Laval returned to power in Apr., 1942; Darlan lost his cabinet posts but was given command of the French armed forces. In Algiers during the Allied landing (Nov. 7, 1942) in North Africa, Darlan ordered the cessation of French resistance to the Allies. Although publicly repudiated by Pétain, he assumed control over French N and W Africa in the marshal's name and brought them to the side of the Allies. He was assassinated in December. He was succeeded as high commissioner by Gen. H. H. GiraudGiraud, Henri Honoré
, 1879–1949, French general. He served in World War I and in the campaign in Morocco (1925–26). A commander in World War II, he was captured by the Germans in May, 1940, but made a dramatic escape (1942) to unoccupied France and from there
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.
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