Macron praises WWI general who later collaborated with Nazis
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron waded into controversy Wednesday by praising a general who helped win World War I but became a top Nazi collaborator in World War II — comments that triggered outrage among French Jews.
Marshal Philippe Petain will be honored alongside other top military chiefs on Saturday in a ceremony at the Invalides monument to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1.
Macron said Petain was worthy of the honor for his leading role in that war.
‘‘Marshal Petain was also a great soldier during World War I’’ even though he made ‘‘fatal choices during the Second World War,’’ Macron said in the northern town of Charleville-Mezieres.
‘‘I pardon nothing, but I erase nothing of our history,’’ Macron added.
The 40-year-old French president is gaining a reputation for making awkward or shocking statements.