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PETAWS AUTHORITY Ex-Premier Blum Gives Evidence Rec. 12.30 p.m. LONDON, July 27. M. Leon Blum, ex-Socialist Premier of France, said in evidence at the Petain trial to-day that he left Paris in the dead of night in 1940 when he realised that the city would not be defended and it became clear that the Army heads at Bordeaux had given up hope. He had lived in the illusion that Paris would be defended with energy and purpose. As Blum went to the witness stand Petain turned to counsel and asked: "Who is it?" Counsel replied: "It's Blum. You know, Leon Blum."

Before the session began several jurors expressed discontent at Petain's refusal to obey the judge's order to answer questions. They said they would attempt to oblige Petain to speak. Speaking with tear-filled eyes, M. Blum said that when Chautemps was introducing a motion in favour of an armistice the Army chiefs were saying France no longer had an Army. When witness came to power, Petain tried to take ship for North Africa, but was turned back.

"France broke her word to the Allies and France was cut in two," added Blum.

After describing his arrest and sentence by Petain to life imprisonment, Blum declared: "The armistice was concluded with the deliberate object of overthrowing the Republic, and the country from beginning to end never knew what was happening. No Oriental despot ever had more power than Petain assumed for himself."

Of the two critical days at Vichy when the full power passed to Petain, Blum said: "Fear was at work, fear of Doriot's gunmen, of Petain's soldiers and of the Germans."

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Bibliographic details

WIELDED POWER OF AN ORIENTAL DESPOT, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 177, 28 July 1945

Word Count

WIELDED POWER OF AN ORIENTAL DESPOT Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 177, 28 July 1945

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