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On occasion of the French surrender


    The speech that follows was delivered on Radio London by the French general Charles de Gaulle after France had been defeated by the German army and the French Prime Minister Philippe Pétain had announced he would sue for an armisitice. De Gaulle would not give up and decided to continue the struggle from London as the leader of the Free French.

    Text of the speech

    The chiefs who have commanded the French armed forces for many years, have formed a government. This government, which is responsible for the defeat of our troops, has made contact with the enemy in order to end hostilities.

    Indeed, the mechanical might of the enemy, his ground and air forces have overwhelmed us.

    Far more than to their numbers, we had to yield to their tanks, their aircraft and the German tactics. Tanks, aircraft and German tactics surprised the leaders of our armies and led them to where they now stand.

    But, has the last word been said with this? Must hope disappear? Is this defeat definite? No, it is not!

    Believe me, I who speak to you with professional knowledge and I say to you that nothing is lost for France. The same means which we have been conquered with, will bring us victory one day.

    Because France is not alone. She is not alone. She is not alone. She has a vast empire behind her. She may form an alliance with the British Empire that rules the sea and continues the struggle. She may, just like Great Britain, make unlimited use of the immense industrial might of the United States.

    This war is not limited to to the unlucky territory of our country. This war is not limited by the battle for France. This war is a global war. All mistakes, all delays and all the suffering in the world will not prevent us from crushing our enemies one day with all means available. Conquered today by mechanical forces, we will gain victory in the future by a superior mechanical force. The fate of the world lies in our hands.

    I, Général de Gaulle, presently in London, I call upon the officers and French soldiers who are on British soil today or who will arrive here with or without their weapons, I call upon the engineers and the specialised workers of the armament industry who are on British soil today or who will arrive here, to contact me.

    Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not be extinghuished and shall not be extinguished.

    Tomorrow, like today, I will talk to you again on Radio London.


    Resistance against the enemy. Often also with armed resources.


    Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces. Source: Imperial War Museums.
    Sound recording of the speech.


    - Wikisource