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General Charles Huntziger in 1941
|Born||25 June 1880|
|Died||11 November 1941 (aged 61)|
|Allegiance|| French Third Republic|
|Years of service||1897–1935|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
World War II
Charles Huntziger (French pronunciation: [ʃaʁl œ̃tsiʒe]; 25 June 1880 – 11 November 1941) was a French Army general during World War I and World War II. He was born at Lesneven (Finistère) of a family of German descent. He graduated from Saint-Cyr in 1900 and joined the colonial infantry. During World War I, he served in the Middle Eastern theatre. He was chief of staff of operations of the Allied Expeditionary Force. In 1918, he participated in the development of General Louis Franchet d'Espèrey's Vardar Offensive against German and Bulgarian forces which would lead to Allied victory and the signing of the Armistice of Mudros in October 1918.
In 1933, Huntziger was named commander-in-chief of the troops in the French Mandate of Syria. He participated in the negotiations for the cession of the Sanjak of Alexandretta, then part of French Syria, to Turkey. He joined the Superior Council of War in 1938.
At the outbreak of World War II, he initially commanded the Second French Army, then the Fourth Army Group in the Ardennes. He fought in the Battle of France with the Second Army. On 16 June 1940, Premier Philippe Pétain's new Cabinet decided upon an armistice. The armistice negotiations were led, on the French side, by Huntziger, who without success attempted to lessen the harsh terms of the armistice.
After the 25 June armistice, Huntziger became the Vichy government's commander-in-chief of land forces. He became Minister of Defence on 6 September 1940, serving until 11 August 1941. He was one of the signatories of the anti-Semitic Statute on Jews of 3 October 1940 (excluding nine Jewish generals from the army) together with Philippe Pétain, Pierre Laval, Raphaël Alibert, Marcel Peyrouton, Paul Baudouin, Yves Bouthillier, and François Darlan.
He died on 11 November 1941, when his aircraft crashed near Le Vigan, Gard. He had been on an inspection tour in North Africa and tried to land at Vichy Airport in bad visibility, and with obsolete radio equipment. His funeral was on 15 November 1941 at the cathedral of Vichy. Huntziger is buried in Passy Cemetery, Paris.
His widow was the first recipient of the Vichy regime's Order of the Francisque.
Media related to Charles Huntziger at Wikimedia Commons