Weygand, Maxime


Uncommon WW II-era photo of the French soldier, Marshal Foch’s WW I Chief of Staff, read Armistice terms to Germans in 1918; collaborated with Germany in WW II, jailed by them 1942-45


Autograph ID: 5906
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1867-1965) Belgian-born French commander in WW I & II. He initially fought the Germans during the 1940 invasion of France but then surrendered to, and collaborated with, the Germans as part of the Vichy regime. 1887 graduate of Ecole Speciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr as a foreign cadet 1887, then posted to a cavalry regiment. After receiving French nationality, he became an instructor at Saumur. During the Dreyfus Affair, he was one of the most anti-dreyfusard officers of his regiment. In WW I was a staff officer, becoming Lieutenant-Colonel on General Foch’s staff. He was promoted to Brigadier General 1916 and to General de Division (Major General) 1918. He remained on Foch’s staff when his patron was appointed Supreme Allied Commander in spring 1918, and was Foch’s right-hand man from his victory at the Second Marne in late summer until the end of the war. In 1918 Weygand served on the Armistice negotiations, and read out the Armistice conditions to the Germans in a railway carriage at Compiegne. He was sent to Poland as member of Interallied Mission, expecting to assume command of the Polish army, such expectations quickly dashed. From 27 July he was an advisor to Polish Chief of Staff Rozwadowski and was awarded Poland’s highest military decoration. On his return to Paris he was cheered by crowds and awarded the Grand-Croix de la Legion d’Honneur. In 1923 he was made commander-in-chief of the French mandate in Lebanon and Syria, then High Commissioner of Syria 1924-25, then director of the Center for Higher Military Studies for 5 years. In 1931 he was appointed Army Chief of Staff, Vice President of the Supreme War Council and Inspector of the Army, and was elected to the Academie Francaise (seat #35). He retired in 1935 at 68 but recalled in August 1939 by PM Daladier and appointed Commander-in-Chief for the Orient Theatre of Operation. By late May 1940 he was recalled from Syria to replace Supreme Commander Maurice Gamelin. At this point the situation was untenable, with most Allied forces trapped in Belgium. He then joined in seeking an armistice and cooperation with the German occupiers. Weygand was appointed by Marshal Petain to the Bordeaux-Vichy cabinet as Minister for National Defence June-September 1940, then Delegate-General to the North African colonies. He convinced young officers of the justice of the armistice and deported opponents to concentration camps in Southern Algeria & Morocco, imprisoning adversaries of Vichy, including Gaullists, Jews, Freemasons, Communists, Foreign Legion volunteers, unemployed foreign refugees legally admitted into France, and others. He applied Vichy’s racist laws against Jews very harshly, driving most Jewish pupils from colleges and primary schools without any decree of Marshal Petain. He acquired a reputation as an opponent of collaboration when he protested against the 28 May 1941 Protocols of Paris signed by Admiral Darlan, which granted bases to the Axis in Aleppo, Syria, Bizerte, Tunisia and Dakar, Senegal and envisaged extensive military collaboration with Axis forces in the event of Allied countermeasures. Weygand remained outspoken in his criticism of Germany but delivered to Rommel’s Afrika Korps 1200 French trucks and heavy artillery pieces accompanied by 1000 shells per gun, apparently favorable to discrete collaboration with Germany. He opposed German bases in Africa to prevent France from losing its colonial empire. Hitler pressured the Vichy government to dismiss and recall Weygand in November 1941; in November 1942, after the Allied invasion of North Africa, he was arrested and confined in Germany and then in North Tyrol until May 1945, when he fell into American hands. After returning to France, he was held as a collaborator but was released in May 1946 and cleared in 1948.

Uncommon ISP “Weygand”, 10 x 8 Wide World Photos b&w matte finish bust portrait in uniform, nice lengthy inscription in French to noted collector Rev. Cornelius Greenway (noting Greenway was twice wounded in battlefields of France – in WW I), adds Chief of Staff to Marshal Foch 1914-18 and Commander in Chief of the 1st French Army at 73 years of age in 1940. Pencil note on back (likely by Rev. Greenway) indicates photo was taken in Oran, Algeria Sept. 9, 1941 at age 73 but signed in 1957.

CORNELIUS GREENWAY (1896-1968) immigrated to the US from Holland in 1914. During WW I, served with US Army in France, received Purple Heart and Service Medal. Tufts Univ. BA 1925, STB 1928. Started collecting autographs, inc. photographs, in late 20’s. Ordained Universalist minister 1926, served parishes in Taunton & Boston, Mass. Pastor of All Souls Church in Brooklyn, New York 1929-65, affiliated with National Association of Congregational Christian Churches 1961.”
Type: Photograph

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