Date of Award

Spring 5-1998

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. John D. Treadway

Abstract

In choosing to study a controversial historical figure such as Pierre Laval -- Vice-Premier (Vice-President du Conseil des Ministres) of the Vichy government during World War II -- one exposes oneself to a great deal of academic probing, eyebrow raising and even hostility. This would be of no consequence if it did not challenge one's historical objectivity. In my defense, my writing this thesis has nothing to do with political affiliations nor sympathies. I have no invested interest in glorifying nor for that matter in degrading Pierre Laval.

In all honesty this thesis originated in jest over a moustache I once bore. My professor diplomatic history, John David Treadway, jokingly remarked that my moustache reminded him of Pierre Laval's. I was somewhat nonplussed, as at the time the "Laval" only evoked the dark years of the German occupation and French collaboration with the occupant.

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