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Edouard Daladier
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World Leader
    (June 18, 1884-October 10, 1970)
    Born in Carpentras, France
    Member of the Radical Party
    Represented the Department of Vaucluse in the Chamber of Deputies (1919-40) and Constituent Assembly (1946-58)
    Served three times as Prime Minister of France (January 31-October 26, 1933; January 30-February 9, 1934; April 10, 1938-March 21, 1940)
    His New York Times obituary described him as 'irresolute, weak [and] intellectually unalert.'
    His second government lasted less than two weeks before collapsing in the face of right-wing rioting.
    Unlike Neville Chamberlain, he had no illusions that the Munich Pact, in which Nazi Germany was allowed to annex the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, would appease Adolf Hitler, but he signed the agreement anyway (September 30, 1938).
    When he returned from Munich to Paris and was greeted by cheering crowds, he said to an aide, 'Imbeciles -- if they only knew what they were acclaiming.'
    In World War I, he rose from private to company commander and received the Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honor.
    His personal experience with the horrors of trench warfare was one reason he was reluctant to go to war with Germany.
    Another factor was that he felt the French were insufficiently rearmed, later saying, 'If I had three or four thousand aircraft, Munich would never have happened.'
    Several months before Munich, he warned the British ambassador that Hitler's ultimate goal was 'a domination of the Continent in comparison with which the ambitions of Napoleon were feeble.'
    He was captured while heading for North Africa to create a government in exile (August 8, 1940) and was imprisoned by the Vichy regime and the Germans for the duration of WWII.

Credit: C. Fishel


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