Albert François Lebrun

Albert Lebrun
President of the French Republic
In office
10 May 1932  11 July 1940
Prime Minister
Preceded by Paul Doumer
Succeeded by Philippe Pétain
President of the Senate
In office
11 June 1931  10 May 1932
Preceded by Paul Doumer
Succeeded by Jules Jeanneney
Personal details
Born 29 August 1871
Mercy-le-Haut, France
Died 6 March 1950 (aged 78)
Paris, France
Political party Democratic Republican Alliance
Religion Roman Catholicism

Albert François Lebrun (French: [albɛʁ ləbʁœ̃]; 29 August 1871 – 6 March 1950) was a French politician, President of France from 1932 to 1940. He was the last president of the Third Republic. He was a member of the center-right Democratic Republican Alliance (ARD).


Early life

Born to a farming family in Mercy-le-Haut, Meurthe-et-Moselle, he attended the École polytechnique and the École des mines, graduating from both at the top of his class. He then became a mining engineer in Vesoul and Nancy, but left that profession at the age of 29 to enter politics.


Lebrun gained a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in 1900 as a member of the Left Republican Party, later serving on the cabinet as Minister for the Colonies from 1912–1914, Minister of War in 1913 and Minister for Liberated Regions, 1917–1919. Joining the Democratic Alliance, he was elected to the French senate from Meurthe-et-Moselle in 1920, and served as Vice President of the Senate from 1925 through 1929. He was president of that body from 1931–1932.

Lebrun was elected president of France following the assassination of president Paul Doumer by Pavel Gurgulov on 6 May 1932. Re-elected in 1939, largely because of his record of accommodating all political sides, he exercised little power as president.

On 10 July 1940, Lebrun enacted/promulgated the Constitutional Law of 10 July 1940 (see the Vichy 80) allowing Prime Minister Philippe Pétain to promulgate a new constitution.[1] On 11 July, Lebrun was replaced by Pétain (although Lebrun never officially resigned) as head of state.[2] He then fled to Vizille (Isère) on 15 July, but was captured on 27 August 1943 when the Germans moved into the region and was sent into captivity at the Itter Castle in Tyrol. On 10 October 1943 he was allowed to return to Vizille due to poor health, but was kept under constant surveillance.

On 9 August 1944, when the Allies restored the French government, Lebrun met with Charles de Gaulle and acknowledged the General's leadership, saying that he had not formally resigned as president because the dissolution of the National Assembly had left nobody to accept his resignation.

Later life

After the war, Lebrun lived in retirement. He died of pneumonia in Paris on 6 March 1950 after a protracted illness.[3]


  1. Loi constitutionnelle du 10 juillet 1940 (Constitutional Law of 10 July 1940). "...Fait à Vichy, le 10 juillet 1940 Par le président de la République, Albert Lebrun..."
  2. Acte constitutionnel n° 1 du 11 juillet 1940 (Constitutional Act No. 1 of 11 July 1940).
  3. "Albert Lebrun Taken by Death". Associated Press. 6 March 1950. Retrieved 2011-03-15.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Doumer
President of the Senate
Succeeded by
Jules Jeanneney
Preceded by
Paul Doumer
President of France
Succeeded by
Philippe Pétain
(Chief of State of Vichy France)
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Paul Doumer
Justí Guitart i Vilardebó
Co-Prince of Andorra
with Justí Guitart i Vilardebó (until 30 January 1940)
Succeeded by
Philippe Pétain
Ramon Iglesias i Navarri
(from 4 April 1943)
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