Following France's surrender and Armistice with Germany in 1940, he served twice in the Vichy Regime as head of government. He signed orders permitting the deportation of foreign Jews from French soil to the Nazi death camps.
After the liberation of France in 1944, Laval was arrested by the French government under General Charles de Gaulle. In what some historians consider a flawed trial, Laval was found guilty of high treason, and executed by firing squad. His manifold political activities have left behind a complicated and controversial legacy, including over a dozen biographies.