Henri De Man
|Born||17 Nov 1885|
|Died||20 Jun 1953|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseHenri De Man was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1885. He fought with the Belgian Army during WW1. During the inter-war years, he was a professor of sociology in the United States (University of Washington), Belgium, and then Germany (University of Frankfurt). In the 1930s, he returned to Belgium and became active in politics with the Belgian Labor Party. In 1938, he became the party's chief upon the death of Emile Vandervelde. He believed in a style of socialism in which the nationalization of banks would overcome the deficiencies of capitalism (which was shown in the effects of the Great Depression during this time). Although he was not initially a supporter of fascism, he ultimately became a convert. In the days just prior to the European War, he was a political adviser to Queen Elisabeth, the mother of King Leopold III, thus already having high connections before the German occupation during the war. When the German troops declared victories in Belgium, he openly welcomed the Germans. He acted as the de facto prime minister of Belgium during the first year of the occupation; in this role, he limited the freedom of the press. Although an anti-Semite, the deportation of Jews from Belgium would not take place during his leadership (the first deportation having taken place on 4 Aug 1942, more than a year after his ouster). By mid-1941, his political rivals gained upper hand, and he imposed a self-exile, moving to Paris, France. In France, he composed pro-German and anti-French literature. When Allied troops neared Paris in 1944, he fled east, ending up in the Grison mountains in eastern Switzerland. He was tried in absentia, and was found guilty of treason by a Belgian court. He passed away during an automobile accident in Switzerland in 1953.
Last Major Revision: Sep 2017
Henri De Man Timeline
|17 Nov 1885Â||Henri De Man was born in Antwerp, Belgium.|
|20 Jun 1953Â||Henri De Man passed away in Greng, Switzerland.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945
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