The Trial of Pierre Laval : Defining Treason, Collaboration and Patriotism in World War II France book cover
1st Edition

The Trial of Pierre Laval
Defining Treason, Collaboration and Patriotism in World War II France

ISBN 9781138517059
Published September 28, 2017 by Routledge
298 Pages

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Book Description

In a stunning work combining historical memory, legal ambiguity, and profound issues of justice, J. Kenneth Brody provides a picture of France in World War II that continues to haunt the present. Architect in 1940 of Marshal Petain's Vichy French regime and its prime minister from April 1942 to August 1944, at war's end Pierre Laval was promptly arrested on charges of treason. This book tells the story of his trial. Did he betray France, or did he serve France under terrible circumstances? What was the truth of "collaboration"? This book considers the pretrial proceedings, or lack thereof, the evidence, and the arguments of the prosecution, as well as Laval's vigorous defense in the early days of the trial.

Because of irregularities in the preliminary proceedings, Laval's defense counsel declined from the outset to participate in the trial. For those reasons and because of the prejudicial conduct of the prosecution, on the third day of the trial, Pierre Laval also declined to participate further. What his defense might have been in a normal pre-trial proceeding and in a fair trial are matters of conjecture. What remains clear is that political trials are a unique form of law and moral judgment.

Trials and history share a common goal-the truth. Trial, judgment, and appeal are intended to produce finality. History, on the other hand, is never final. After its performance in the trial of Pierre Laval, the government of France continued its policy of concealment, even though the truth could no longer determine the outcome of the trial. Slowly, by persistence, courage, and loyalty, history's claims to truth were established. This book presents the defense that might have been presented and then relates the final judgment, its grisly execution only eleven days after the trial opened, and its aftermath.

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Black Plane
1. Pierre Laval
2. Preliminary Proceedings
3. The Trial, October 4, 1945
4. The Accusation
5. Pierre Laval, Prisoner
6. The Trial, October 4, 1945
7. Pierre Laval, A Life
8. The Trial, October 4, 1945
9. Pierre Laval, Republican
10. The Trial, October 5, 1945
11. The Trial, October 5, 1945
12. The Trial, October 5, 1945
13. Pierre Laval, Collaborator 1
14. The Trial, October 6, 1945
15. Pierre Laval, Collaborator 2
16. The Trial, October 6, 1945
17. The Trial, October 6, 8, 9, 1945
18. Pierre Laval's Decision
19. The Trial, October 9, 1945
20. Pierre Laval's Defense
21. The Judgment, October 9, 1945
22. On the Eve
23. Dernier Cri
24. Aftermath
Epilogue: The Mistress in the Shadows

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