French President Emmanuel Macron has sought to justify paying homage to Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain during centenary commemorations marking the end of World War One later this week.
Mr Macron said Marshal Pétain was a “great soldier”, even though he had made “disastrous choices” during WW2.
Pétain was praised for the defence of Verdun in 1916, but he was sentenced to death for high treason after WW2.
Some French politicians and Jewish leaders condemned Mr Macron’s comments.
What did Mr Macron say?
And referring to Pétain, Mr Macron said: “He was a great soldier”, although he had made “disastrous choices” during the Nazi occupation of France.
Petain co-operated with the Nazi invaders and headed a puppet government centred on the spa town of Vichy.
Mr Macron’s office later defended his comments.
“I’m not forgiving anything, but I’m not going to erase anything from our history,” he said, stressing that Pétain was “complicit in grave crimes”.
And addressing reporters, he added: “You’re creating controversies by yourselves.”
On Saturday, a ceremony will be held in Paris to commemorate the eight marshals – including Pétain – who led the French army in WW1.
What has been reaction in France?
A number of French politicians criticised President Macron.