|Born||21 Jan 1867|
|Died||28 Jan 1965|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseMaxime Weygand was born in Brussels, Belgium. Some sources say that he was the illegitimate son of Empress Carlota of Mexico, and Weygand chose to neither confirm nor deny this rumor. He was educated in Marseille by the Cohen de Léon family. His career in the military began with his entrance into the preparatory class of Saint-Cyr Military School in Paris under the name of Maxime de Nimal as a foreign cadet; he graduated in 1887. Weygand adopted his last name around this time when he was adopted by a friend of Mr. Cohen de Léon by the name of Weygand. He soon became a naturalized French citizen.
ww2dbaseDuring WW1, Weygand served with a cavalry unit for only a month before being promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and placed on Ferdinand Foch's staff. In 1916, he became a brigadier general, then major general in 1918. At Compiègne, he was the officer who read out the armistice conditions to the Germans in the railway carriage car.
ww2dbaseImmediately after WW1 ended, Weygand briefly served as an advisor during the Russian-Polish war, where he was not very welcomed. Returning to France, he became a member of the Académie française. In 1931, he served as high commissioner in Syria. Between 1931 and 1935, Weygand was the Inspector General of the Army. He retired from the Army in 1935.
ww2dbaseAs the tension of war heightened, Weygand was recalled back into service in Aug 1939 by Edouard Daladier. He was sent to the Middle East to lead French forces there. He returned to France on 17 May 1940 to replace Maurice Gamelin as the commander of French forces which was attempting to defend their country against a German invasion. Unable to halt German forces, he persuaded his colleagues to negotiate for an armistice.
ww2dbaseDuring the German occupation of France, Weygand was the Minister for National Defense under the Vichy government from Jun to Sep 1940, then Delegate General to the North African colonies. In North Africa, he complied with the German anti-Semitic policies by depriving certain rights to those of Jewish faith. Following a German model, he also sent many of his political opponents, as well as opponents of the Vichy regime, to concentration camps in southern Algeria. He was also known to be close to the German military, at times supplying the German troops with vehicles, weapons, and ammunition, although his main agenda was to maintain French spheres of influence in North Africa, not a German dominated region. When the western Allies invaded North Africa, he was arrested and remained a prisoner until the end of the war. He was unsuccessfully tried as a collaborator. He was released in 1946, and his name was officially cleared in 1948.
ww2dbaseWeygand died in 1965.
Maxime Weygand Timeline
|21 Jan 1867||Maxime Weygand was born.|
|16 May 1940||French Prime Minister Reynaud ordered Maxime Weygand to return from Syria to Paris, France.|
|19 May 1940||French Army General Maxime Weygand replaced General Maurice Gamelin as Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief; Marshal Philippe Pétain was made Deputy Prime Minister.|
|21 May 1940||In Paris, France, General Robert Altmayer, a retired cavalry general who had retired four years earlier as Inspector-General of Cavalry, was summoned by Maxime Weygand to take command of Group A (later renamed Tenth Army) consisting of the 9th Corps, 10th Corps and 3rd Division Legere Mecanique. He was also told that all BEF troops south of the Somme (1st Armoured Division and 51st Highland Division) would also come under his orders.|
|26 May 1940||General Maxime Weygand issued his Ordre Général d'Operation No. 1184 3/FT: "The battle on which the fate of the country depends will be fought without any idea of retreat, on the line which we hold today."|
|30 Jun 1940||After repeated attacks, by Stuka aircraft and rail guns, had failed to make any impression, a direct order from General Maxime Weygand finally pursuades the remaining French garrisons still holding out in the Maginot fortresses to leave their defences.|
|28 Jan 1965||Maxime Weygand passed away.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939