The French government has supported this Thursday in its intention to pay tribute to Marshal Philippe Pétain for his role in the First World War, after the avalanche of criticism received from the political class and the Jewish community, which reminded him that the army all his titles have been removed after leading France Collaboration with the Nazis.
The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, tried to disable the controversy by explaining that President Emmanuel Macron "did not say that the tribute to Marshal Pétain should be paid". In an interview with the BFMTV channel, Blanquer complained that some of Macron's phrases during his tour of the Great War scenes in northeastern France had been removed from the context, with the intention of "create a controversy".
The minister stressed that Macron used the word "funnier" to talk about the action of Petain as leader of the collaborative regime of Vichy, who also participated in the persecution of the Jews. But he made it clear that this did not stop saying that during the First World War "he was a marshal who counted a lot" for the victory of France.
"In fact, the (global) trial of Marshal Pétain is negative," concluded the head of education.
A few hours earlier, the government spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, had started correcting his position by indicating in his Facebook account that what was announced was that he would honor "the Marshals of the Great War, some have deduced that Petain was one of them and it's not like that. " "If there was any confusion, it's because we were not clear enough on this point," acknowledged Griveaux.
However, Macron had considered "legitimate" that the tribute was scheduled for Sunday, on the centenary of the end of the First World War and that he would honor "all the marshals who led to the victory" of France and the allies, including Petain, because "it could to have been a great soldier in 1914 "and had made" funnier decisions "later, during the Second World War.
The head of state has justified it because he did not want to "hide any page of history" from France, but to do it "with the complexity that entails". there These words raised the criticism of various political leaders, such as the leftist leader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, or the former socialist presidency candidate, Benoît Hamon, but also the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF).