National Post | Full Comment

It was a winter killing in a summer palace. On the afternoon of Dec. 24, 1942 — 70 years ago — a young man entered the so-called Palais d’Eté, the main administrative building of Algiers, in what was then the French colony of Algeria. He lingered in a waiting area until his target returned to the palace from a late lunch. As the target approached the door of his office, the young man moved forward, brandishing a French naval pistol. The target happened to turn around at that moment and was hit by two shots, in the face and chest. Death followed within hours, ending the career of Admiral Darlan, one of the most controversial figures of the Second World War.

Best known under the given name “François” — although he has also been referred to as “Jean” — Darlan was born in 1881, and his life was defined by…

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