French Prime Minister. His father's prosperity allowed him to attend the Sorbonne. After graduation, he went into law, and eventually entered the political realm. He was elected to the French Chamber of Deputies where he served for four years. He held several cabinet posts in the 1930's. His conflict with members of his party, especially in regard to the growing threat of German expansion, cost him and he was not given another post until 1938. For two years he served as Minister of Finance and garnered the respect and trust of investors and businessmen and the economy improved. He was named as Prime Minister of France in the spring of 1940. However, disparate voices about France's approach to Germany kept his government divided and unstable. Two short months later, France was invaded by Germany. In May, 1940, he appointed Charles de Gaulle to brigadier general. Continued infighting in the French Cabinet waffled between armistice and fighting on. At a June meeting, the vote came down for armistice and Reynaud resigned. Petain became Prime Minister and the armistice was signed with Germany. While fleeing the country, he was involved in a traffic accident. After release from the hospital, he was arrested, and shipped to an Austrian prison by the Germans until 1945. Back in France, he was elected as a member in the Chapter of Deputies, he also held several cabinet posts. He led the committee that drafted France's Fifth Republic constitution. He was married twice, to Jeanne Anne and then Christiane Marie.
Bio by: Winter Birds PA