To all true Frenchmen

Charles de Gaulle


Nine days ago, the Government then in Bordeaux signed the capitulation demanded by Germany.

Seven days ago, the same Government signed the capitulation demanded by Italy.

It is useless to dwell further on the appalling consequences of this twofold surrender. But it is my duty as a soldier to stress one such consequence.

I refer to the moral dilemma which has been forced on every citizen of France.

After the collapse of the General Staff and Government, following the overwhelming onslaught of the German mechanized forces, two paths were open to our country.

One was the path of surrender and despair, chosen by the Bordeaux Government. Violating the solemn agreement between France and her Allies, that Government, to use Tacitus' phrase, 'rushed headlong into slavery'.

The other path is that of honour and hope—the path chosen by my companions and myself.

But a great many Frenchmen are torn between the two. On the one hand, there is the appeal made to them by rulers who have come under the power of the enemy; on the other, the appeal of France calling aloud for deliverance.

I urge these good and simple French folk who value their country above pride, terror, or self-interest, to ask themselves these questions:

Would Joan of Arc, Richelieu, Louis XIV, Carnot, or Napoleon; would Gambetta, Poincaré, Clemenceau, or Marshal Foch ever have agreed to surrender French weapons to the enemies of France in order that they might be turned against her Allies? Would Duquesne, Tourville, Suffren, Courbet, or Guépratte ever have agreed to hand over the French Fleet intact, to be placed at the mercy of the enemy?

Would Dupleix, Montcalm, Bugeaud, or Marshal Lyautey ever have agreed to evacuate strategic positions in the Empire without striking a blow, or have allowed it to come under enemy control without even firing a shot?

True Frenchmen should ask themselves these questions. They will immediately see where their own interests lie, and decide that the path of honour is also that of common sense.

They will immediately see, too, that it is the path ordained by honour and by the spirit of France.

The spirit of France! It is with the men who fight on by every means in their power, whether actively or passively— the men who refuse to give in, the men who will one day be present at the victory.