History for the Rest of Us

The Appeal of June 18 – Charles de Gaulle

The Appeal of June 18 – Charles de Gaulle

Oct 19, 2012

The following speech by General Charles de Gaulle, was an appeal to the French people to resist the German occupation. De Gaulle was the leader of the French Free Forces. He fled France for London on June 15, 1940 after Philippe Pétain, a World War I hero, signed an armistice with Nazi Germany. Winston Churchill gave de Gaulle permission to broadcast the speech three days later on BBC Radio. While the speech wasn’t widely heard in France, it is still considered to be one of the most important speeches in French History. The Appeal of June 18 “The leaders who, for many years, have been at the head of the French armies have formed a government. This government, alleging the defeat of our armies, has made contact with the enemy in order to stop the fighting. It is true, we were, we are, overwhelmed by the mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their number, it is the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans which are causing us to retreat. It was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans that surprised our leaders to the point of bringing them to where they are today. “But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No! “Believe me, I who am speaking to you with full knowledge of the facts, and who tell you that nothing is lost for France. The same means that overcame us can bring us victory one day. For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not alone! She has a vast Empire behind her. She can align with the British Empire that holds the sea and continues the fight. She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of the United States. “This war is not limited to the unfortunate territory of our country. This war is not over as a result of the Battle of France. This war is a worldwide war. All the mistakes, all the delays, all the suffering, do not alter the fact that there are, in the world, all the means necessary to crush our enemies one day. Vanquished today...