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Édouard Daladier

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Édouard Daladier (18 June 1884 - 10 October 1970) was the Prime Minister of France on the outbreak of World War II. Daladier was minister in several posts during the coalition governments of the French Third Republic between 1924 and 1928. He was important to the Radical parties break with the socialists in 1926 and with the conservative Raymond Poincáre in 1928. Daladier became important within the radical party and became Prime Minister for brief periods in 1933 and 1934. The French interwar period was marked by political instability so a steady changeover in Premiers was not outside the norm.

Daladier became Minister for War in the left wing French Popular Front government of 1936, and became Prime Minister in April 1938, following the collapse of the Popular Front. Daladier's premiership was marked by the Munich Conference, when France and Britain allowed Germany to annex the Sudetan areas of Czechoslovakia.

With the announcement of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in late August, 1939, Daladier repressed the French Communist parties activities and outlawed its newspaper. Following Hitler's invasion of Poland, Daladier declared war on Germany two days after Neville Chamberlain of Britain, on September 3 1939. Daladier resigned as Prime Minister in March 1940 due to his failure to protect Finland during the Winter War. During the German invasion of France on May 10, 1940, Daladier fled to North Africa along with other members of the government, under the impression the war would be continued from there. During the war Daladier was arrested and imprisoned by the Vichy Government, and spent the years 1940-1943 in jail. After this he was handed over to the Germans and deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp until the conclusion of the war.

After the war, Daladier became a member of the French parliament, and was a stout opponent of the leading political figure of the day, Charles de Gaulle. He became mayor of Avignon from 1953 to 1958, and later died in Paris.