As a teenager, Mr. Cordier became an organizer for the Action Française, inspired by an extreme right-wing and monarchist group, Charles Moores (1868–1952), a writer and politician who opposed the Republican government. Mr. Cordier became a secret admirer of Europe’s fascist leaders and yet nurtured an equally unreleased passion for the works of the hedonistic avant-garde writer André Gidd.
As a descendant of a wealthy family, Mr. Cordier split his holiday between a summer vacation at the Atlantic resort of Biritz and Winters skiing – a lifestyle that ended abruptly with the declaration of war by France on September 3, 1939 Has gone. Britain. The following June, German troops occupied Paris; Pétain called for a ceasefire and established the Allied Vichy government in southern France; And de Gaulle urged his followers to continue fighting.
With German troops advancing to the south, Mr. Cordier and a group of other young Frenchmen in the harbor of Bayon boarded Leopold II, a Belgian freighter whose captain caught them in return for payment from his cordier. Agreed to take in. the stepfather. The ship was to steam in North Africa, but at the southwestern tip of England it turned into the sea and docked in Cornwall.
In London, Mr. Cordier and other fugitives were received by de Gaulle. According to Mr. Cordier’s memoir, “I will not congratulate you for coming here: you did your duty.” “When France is in agony, her children are bound to save her.”
Mr. Cordier returned to France in July 1942 as a secret operative, part of the so-called Central Bureau of Intelligence and Operations, known in French by its initial name as BCRA. The bureau served as the main channel among Gaul Free with British support. French and individual resistance groups.
Armed with a revolver and a knife, and carrying documents for the “Rex” in Lyon, Mr. Cordier flew low in the countryside of France by a British airplane and landed in a clump of gorse.
He was not aware that Rex was Delaire Moulin, effectively the Viceroy of Gaul who occupied France. (He won’t learn his true identity until much later.) Receiving the papers, Moulin asks him, “How was your trip?” And asked him to eat. Moulin then appointed him his personal assistant.