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Philippe Petain (1856-1951). French general Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Petain. Petain is known for his outstanding military leadership in World War I and was viewed as a national hero in France. He was appointed Premier (Prime Minister) of France in 1940 as France fell to German forces during World War II. He was tried and convicted of treason after the war for his part in the French government's decision to transform the discredited French Third Republic into the French State, an authoritarian regime.
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