June 17, 1940 – France to surrender

June 17, 1940 – France to surrender

With Paris fallen to Germany, Marshal Henri Pétain, the new French leader, announces his intention to sign an armistice with the Nazis. Signed on June 22, the armistice authorized the occupation of more than half of France by Germany.

In July, Pétain took office as chief of state at Vichy, a city in unoccupied France. Under Pétain, and later Pierre Laval, the Vichy government collaborated fully with the Nazis, arresting Jews and French resistance fighters and shipping them off to Nazi concentration camps.

After the Normandy invasion in 1944, Pétain and Laval were forced to flee to German protection in the east. Both were eventually captured, found guilty of high treason, and sentenced to die. Laval was executed in 1945 but provincial French leader Charles de Gaulle commuted Pétain’s sentence to life imprisonment.

Pétain died on the Île d’Yeu off France in 1951.