Henri Fernand Dentz (16 December 1881 – 13 December 1945) was a
soldier and general in the
French Army (Armée de Terre) and, after
France surrendered during World War II, he served with the Vichy
1 Early life
2 Military career
2.1 Syria-Lebanon campaign
3 Aftermath and death
4 Command history
5 See also
On 16 December 1881,
Henri Dentz was born in Roanne, Loire, France.
Commander in Chief
Commander in Chief of the
Army of the Levant
Army of the Levant (Armée du Levant) and
as High Commissioner of the Levant, Dentz was in charge of the defence
French Mandate of Syria
French Mandate of Syria and the
French Mandate of Lebanon
French Mandate of Lebanon in
the Middle East. Dentz commanded an army of approximately 45,000 men.
Vichy authorities allowed aircraft from the German Air Force
(Luftwaffe) and the Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) to
refuel in Syria and Lebanon before and during the Anglo-Iraqi War.
After this, the Allies planned an invasion of the French mandates.
On 8 June 1941, a force of approximately 20,000 Australian, Indian,
Free French, and British troops, under the command of Sir Henry M.
Wilson, invaded Syria and Lebanon from the British Mandate of
Palestine and from Iraq. Fierce fighting ensued and Dentz and the
Vichy forces were methodically lost ground over a 13-day period.
Damascus, the capital of Syria, was abandoned on 21 June 1941.
Fighting continued in Lebanon but the Vichy forces continued to lose
ground. By July, the Australians were nearing Beirut. The fall of
Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, meant the end was near. On 10 July
1941, as the Australian 21st Brigade was on the verge of entering
Beirut, Dentz sought an armistice. At one minute past midnight on 12
July 1941, a ceasefire went into effect. During the ceasefire, Dentz
ordered ships and aircraft under his command to go to
they were interned.
For all intents and purposes, the ceasefire on 10 July 1941 ended the
campaign. An armistice, known as the Armistice of Saint Jean d'Acre,
was signed on 14 July 1941. There were 37,736 Vichy French prisoners
of war who survived the conflict after fighting for Dentz. Most chose
to be repatriated to Metropolitan
France rather than join the Free
Aftermath and death
In January 1945, Dentz was sentenced to death for aiding the Axis
powers. But Charles de Gaulle, the
President of the Provisional
Government of the French Republic (gouvernement provisoire de la
République française, or GPRF), commuted his sentence to life
imprisonment. However, Dentz was not to serve much of this sentence.
On 13 December 1945, he died in Fresnes, Val-de-Marne, France.
1934 to 1937 Commanding Officer, 54th Brigade
1937 to 1939 Deputy Chief, General Staff Army
1939 Assistant Chief General Staff, Army
1939 General Officer Commanding, XV Corps
1939 to 1940 General Officer Commanding, XII Corps
1940 General Officer Commanding, Paris Military region
1940 General Officer Commanding, 15th Military Region
1940 General Officer Commanding, 15th Military Division
1940 to 1941 General Officer Commander in Chief, Levant
1941 High Commissioner of Levant
1941 to 1942 High Commissioner of Levant supervising repatriation of
the Forces of Levant
1942 to 1943
President of the Commission of Conferment of Awards of
1945 Condemned to death as collaborationist
1945 Sentence changed to life imprisonment
1945 Died in prison
ISNI: 0000 0000 8152 7891
BNF: cb11276042g (data)