Triumph of Treason

Triumph of Treason

Triumph of Treason

Triumph of Treason

Excerpt

His book is written on behalf of those whom the Vichy government attempted to try at the Riom Court. It is more especially written on behalf of my friends, Blum and Édouard Daladier.

These men have been silenced by the Vichy government. No one knows exactly what has happened to them since April, 1942. They were arrested in the summer of 1940 and charged with responsibility for the French defeat. Not until February, 1942, were they brought before the Supreme Court of Justice at Riom. After six weeks of public hearings, a law was enacted by the government to impose on the Court the adjournment sine die of the trial. The edict proclaimed that supplementary information was necessary to expose more fully the defendants' "breaches in the fulfillment of their governmental offices." It was mere pretext, for new information was never sought. Instead, the Vichy government sent the accused from Riom to the other end of the country, to Portalet, an ancient fortress, lost in the heart of the Pyrenees, in a snowbound valley, a day's trip from any center of communication.

In December, 1942, Hitler's jailers replaced Pétain's. In 1943 unconfirmed rumors spread that Blum and Daladier had been transferred to Germany. Even if these rumors were untrue, Pétain's most dangerous adversaries were cut off from the rest of the world.

They have been buried alive in a new Bastille, worse than the one destroyed on July 14, 1789, with only two ways of exit open to them -- death, or liberation by the French people after the defeat of Fascism in Europe.

Why did the Vichy government halt the trial in this manner? Because, even before a court controlled by dictatorship, accused persons have been allowed to present their defense and to speak -- and Pétain and Laval were afraid of Blum's and Daladier's revelations.

Until the eve of the Riom trial, Pétain felt perfectly safe. All precautions had been taken to assure the condemnation of the men allegedly responsible for the French defeat -- Blum, Daladier, and their "accomplices." The judicial travesty had been prepared and planned carefully. For a year and a half, clever propaganda had been carried on throughout France and the world, calumniating the defendants and the republican regime they represented. This propaganda had borne excellent fruit, principally outside France, for many democratic governments, imitating Pontius Pilate, affected to strike a balance . . .

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