FRANCE: 25 Years After Verdun

In February 1916, in the second year of World War I, the German Army launched its attack on the fortress of Verdun. Although forced to yield ground, 59-year-old General Henri Philippe Pétain held Verdun and the German drive collapsed. Last week Germany found Marshal Pétain, now 84, the same stubborn tactician.

There were vast differences between Verdun of 1916 and Vichy of 1941. Behind Verdun was an Allied Army of hundreds of thousands; behind Vichy is an ill-supplied North African Army and a badly damaged French Fleet. The France of 1916 could draw on the resources of the British Empire; the...

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