Moulin, Jean, 1899-1943

Moulin was an important French resistance leader responsible for fusing dozens of rival guerrilla groups into one organization loyal to DE GAULLE. Moulin was prefect of Chartres in which capacity he entered a dispute with the Germans in the summer of 1940 over certain arrests. He tried to commit suicide on 17 June but was saved and retired to Provence. There he made contact with resistance groups and managed to unite three of them under the name of Combat. In late 1941 Moulin managed to get to London to confer with de Gaulle as representative of Combat. He could have presented himself as a major rival to de Gaulle but instead gave him his complete loyalty. He was parachuted into France on I January 1942 as de Gaulle’s delegate-general and spent the next eighteen months on the move throughout France discussing, negotiating and persuading in order to bring about a unified resistance. By March 1943 he had achieved a fusion of all non-Communist groups in the former Vichy areas into the Mouvements Unis de Resistance, and in May 1943 succeeded in effecting a national link-up called the Conseil National de la Resistance, all loyal to de Gaulle, whose first meeting he chaired on 27 May 1943. However at a meeting of 21 June at Caluire, near Lyons, Moulin was arrested by the Germans and died after being horribly tortured. Moulin had been one of the most talented and politic of resistance leaders and there was no one who could completely take his place.

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