FRANCE: Vale Vichy

The leafless little parks of Vichy seemed even more forlorn than before. The name Pétain might keep for many a touch of magic—a legendary gleam that shone out of the mud of Verdun. But the man Pétain, watery-eyed and old, and his regime, for months largely fictional, seemed indisputably through.

The Pétain regime had been even briefer than the interim Directory which, during 1795-99, compromised the French Revolution's ideals and opened the control gates to Napoleon. No longer able to maintain the fiction of personal power, Pétain handed over the destinies of...