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Marshal Petain

In June 1940, Charles de Gaulle brought Marshal Petain an offer from Winston Churchill of "union" between their nations to resist the Nazi onslaught. Petain, knowing that France's capitulation was hours away and thinking England equally doomed, boldly rejected the offer. "What use," he asked, "is fusion with a corpse!"

[Compare Petain's resolve during World War I: At the beginning of the battle of Verdun in February 1916, Petain, commanding the Allied troops, declared of the German troops (commanded by Crown Prince Frederick William): "They shall not pass." His order was upheld and the Allies 'triumphed' -- at the cost of one million lives.]

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