Joseph Darnand

Joseph Darnand
Joseph Darnand c1940.jpg
Joseph Darnand c. 1943–1944.
Born(1897-03-19)19 March 1897
Coligny, Ain, Rhône-Alpes, France
Died10 October 1945(1945-10-10) (aged 48)
Fort de Châtillon, Paris, France
Allegiance France (to 1940)
 Vichy France (1940–1943)
 Nazi Germany (1943–1945)
Service/branch Schutzstaffel
Years of service1916–1918
RankSS-Sturmbannführer collar.svg SS-Sturmbannführer (Major)
Battles/warsWorld War I
Franco-Turkish War
World War II
  • Officer of the Legion of Honor (May 1940) (Knight: 7 April 1927)
  • Military Medal (23 July 1918)
  • Cross of War 1914–1918 (6 citations, 2 at army level)
  • Belgian Cross of War 1914–1918
  • Cross of War 1939–1945
RelationsAntoinette Foucachon (1899–1994; spouse)
Jean-Philippe Darnand (son)

Joseph Darnand (19 March 1897 – 10 October 1945) was a soldier in the French and later German militaries, a leader of the Vichy French collaborators with Nazi Germany and a Waffen-SS officer.

Early years and war service

Darnand was born at Coligny, Ain, Rhône-Alpes in France.

On 8 January 1916, he enlisted in the 35th Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to corporal in April 1917, sergeant on 1 June 1917 and to adjutant (warrant officer) in 1918. Demobilised after the armistice, he again enlisted for two years in the army in September 1919. After a stint in the army of occupation in Germany, he participated in the campaign against the forces of Kemal Atatürk in Cilicia. He ended his service in July 1921 as a sub-lieutenant (second lieutenant). He worked as a cabinetmaker and later founded his own transportation company in Nice.

Between the wars, Darnand joined a number of far-right political, paramilitary organizations: l'Action Française in 1925, the Croix-de-Feu in 1928, La Cagoule and Jacques Doriot's French Popular Party (PPF) in 1936.[1] He formed his own Fascist outfit, the Chevaliers du Glaive (Knights of the Sword); in the 1930s he became prominent among La Cagoule, or the Cagoulards ("Hooded Men"), a secret terrorist group that organised bombings and assassinations, and that stored arms in depots all over France.[2]