22.11.

1902: The French Count who Liberated Paris from the Nazis

1902: The French Count who Liberated Paris from the Nazis
Photo Credit To http://pierre-mera.ac-versailles.fr/IMG/jpg/Portrait_Leclerc.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event: The real name of the famous Marshal Leclerc was Philippe François Marie de Hauteclocque, and he also had the aristocratic title of Count of Hauteclocque. In France Leclerc became a hero because his units liberated Paris from the Germans in 1944.

On this day one of the most interesting military commanders of World War II was born. He is most commonly known as Marshal Leclerc, and the French Leclerc battle tank, in production since 1991, is named after him. The Leclerc tank is currently the main element of French armored units.

The real name of Marshal Leclerc was Philippe François Marie de Hauteclocque and he also had the aristocratic title of Count of Hauteclocque (French: Comte de Hauteclocque). Leclerc was actually a pseudonym that he picked up during World War II, when he fought for the liberation of France from Nazi Germany. His family – de Hauteclocque – is an old French aristocratic dynasty, which was renowned back in the Middle Ages. His ancestors participated in the Crusades in the 13th century – the time of King St. Louis IX.

Leclerc joined the French Resistance led by the famous General Charles de Gaulle. In France Leclerc became a hero because his units liberated Paris from the Germans in 1944.

It is interesting that, after the liberation of France in World War II, Leclerc immediately took an interesting new duty. Namely, he became the commander of the French forces in Indochina (present day Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). There he initially fought against the Japanese, but when they were driven out, the communists became the new threat. Leclerc was actually the first French commander in the battle that would later evolve into the terrible Vietnam War. He wisely warned the French government that the anti-communist struggle will not succeed without a solution of the national issue. Later, the French withdrew from Vietnam and neighboring countries, and left the anti-communist fighting to the Americans.

Leclerc died in a plane crash when he was only 45 years old. He was posthumously awarded the highest French military rank – Marshal of France.

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