Marcel Bloch in 1914
January 22, 1892
|Died||April 17, 1986
|Alma mater||Breguet School
|Known for||founding Dassault Aviation|
|Awards||Daniel Guggenheim Medal (1976)|
Dassault was born in Paris. After graduating from the lycée Condorcet, Breguet School, and Supaéro, he invented a type of aircraft propeller used by the French army during World War I and founded the Société des Avions Marcel Bloch aircraft company. Following the nationalization of his company in 1936, under the Front Populaire, he stayed as a director. In 1919, he married Madeline Minckes, the daughter of a wealthy Jewish family of furniture dealers. They had two sons, Claude and Serge.
Being Jewish from both parents and after refusing collaboration with the German aviation industry, Dassault was deported to Buchenwald during World War II, while his wife was interned near Paris. He changed his name from Bloch to Bloch-Dassault and, in 1949, to simply Dassault. Dassault was the codename used by his brother, General Darius Paul Bloch, when he served in the French resistance, and is derived from char d'assaut, French for "battle tank".[note 1] Marcel Dassault converted to Roman Catholicism in 1950. After the war, he built the foremost military aircraft manufacturer in France, Avions Marcel Dassault. The firm is now the Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault, whose CEO was Serge Dassault, Marcel's son.
From the Sabatier d'Espeyran family, Marcel Dassault purchased the buildings at nos. 7 and 9 rond-point des Champs-Elysées at the angle of the avenue des Champs-Élysées and avenue Montaigne in Paris. The impressive structure at no. 7, built in 1888, has been altered over the years including by Dassault's friend, architect Georges Hennequin (1893—1969), when Dassault acquired the buildings in July 1952. (The neo-Louis XV-style domicile at no. 7, first as the Hôtel d'Espeyran, was built by architect Henri Parent for Félicie Durand [1819-1899], the widow of Frédéric Sabatier d'Espeyran [1813-1864].) Now known as the Hôtel Marcel Dassault, the building at no. 7 has been occupied from 2002 by auction house Artcurial, which further made alterations according to plans by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The structure at no. 9 continues to be occupied by the Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault.
- In The Adventures of Tintin comic Flight 714, Dassault is parodied as the aircraft construction tycoon Laszlo Carreidas - "the millionaire who never laughs", who offers Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus his personal jet, the Carreidas 160 to travel to Sydney.
- char d'assaut means "battle tank" in French, but a word-for-word translation would be "assault wagon". D'assaut simply means "for assault".
- Societé des Avions Marcel Bloch
- Dassault Group
- Dassault Aviation
- The Talisman: the Autobiography of Marcel Dassault, Creator of the Mirage jet, translated by Patricia High Painton. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1971 ISBN 0-87000-149-3