He was enthusiastic about the Vicy regime and following the appointment of François Darlan as Prime Minister of France in February 1941 Barnaud was brought into the government as Delegate General for Franco-German Economic Relations. Along with the likes of Jean Bichelonne, François Lehideux and Pierre Pucheu he was a member of a group of technocrats who were important in the early days of the Vichy regime.
Barnaud worked with National Socialist Germany during the occupation in order to secure deals to supply them with aluminium and rubber from French Indo-China. He did however successfully oppose a plan suggested by Hermann Göring that the National Socialists collect France's church bells and melt them down for their metal content, feeling that such a scheme would breed too much resentment against the National Socialist occupiers.
Barnaud was arrested in October 1944 on charges of providing the enemy with intelligence although after several delays the charges were dismissed in 1949. He returned to his business interests and amassed a fortune in post-war France.
- Richard Vinen, The Politics of French Business 1936-1945, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 230
- Leon Marchal, Vichy: Two Years of Deception, Kessinger Publishing, 2005, p. 120
- Michael Curtis, Verdict on Vichy, Phoenix, 2003, p. 79
- Curtis, Verdict on Vichy, p. 259
- Elizabeth Campbell Karlsgodt, Defending National Treasures: French Art and Heritage Under Vichy, Stanford University Press, 2011, p. 148
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