France Stands Aghast


By HENRI PHILLIPPE PETAIN, Marshal of France and head of the new French Government

Radio address made June 22, 1940, from Bordeaux

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VI, p. 589.

FRENCHMEN, the French Government and French people heard today with sad stupefaction the statement of Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

We understand the anguish that dictates it. Mr. Churchill fears for his country the evils that have been crushing our country for the last month.

The French people, however, cannot countenance without protest the lessons of a foreign Minister. Mr. Churchill is the judge of the interests of his country, but he is not judge of ours, which are still left to the honor of France. Our flag remains without stain. Our army fought bravely and loyally. Inferior in arms and numbers, it had to ask for the combat to cease.

No one can divide the French at a moment when the country suffers. France has not spared her efforts or her blood, and she has the knowledge that she deserves the respect of the world. Mr. Churchill should know this.

Our faith has not wavered, and in the face of this hard trial, we know we have surmounted others. We know ourcountry will remain intact.

We know our country will remain intact as long as her children go on loving France. This love has never diminished in fervor. The land of France is no less rich in promise than in glory. Sometimes our farmers see their fields devastated by hail, but that does not make them despair of the next harvest. The farmer believes in the future with the same faith and the same zeal.

Does Mr. Churchill not know that the French people have infused into the whole of France the same love and the same faith that they give to their fields? They look the present and the future straight in the face.

At the present they are certain of showing more grandeur in their defeat than if they had been given vain and illusory projects. For the future they know their destiny lies in their courage and perseverance.

Does Mr. Churchill think that the French people would refuse for the whole of France the same love and the same faith as they give the smallest part of their own fields?