French Freedom Papers

Marie-Pierre Koenig

Marie-Pierre Koenig (1898-1970) was a French General during World War 2, commander of the 1st Free French brigade at the Battle of Bir Hakeim. The battle is cited as “the great epic struggle of the Free French history of World War 2.” Outnumbered and facing the forces of German General Erwin Rommel, Koenig’s forces were able to withstand the ferocious German offensive for several weeks. The battle ended in a French retreat on June 10th; however, the valiant efforts of General Koenig’s forces had given the British troops in the area time to regroup at Cairo, and their admirable stand had “enhanced the reputation of the Free French in the eyes of the world.” 

After the war, Koenig would go on to serve briefly as a Gaullist representative to the French National Assembly, as well as working as a minister of defense under Pierre Mendes-France and Edgar Faure. He died on 2 september, 1970, in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Bimberg, Edward L. Tricolor over the Sahara: The Desert Battles of the Free French. 1940-1942. Vol 217. Westport, Greenwood Press, March 2002.

“Marie-Pierre Koenig.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016,, Accessed 26 October 2016

Image Source: French Embassy Press and Information Division, New York. Public Domain.
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