'THE FIGHT HAS AGAIN BEEN JOINED'
Charles de Gaulle
THE SPEECHES OF GENERAL DE GAULLE pp. 13-14.
On July 21st, battle was once more joined between the forces of France and the enemy. It was joined in the skies above Germany, and very soon French soldiers and sailors will also take part in the fight.
All Frenchmen, wherever they may be, can now lift their heads again.
Although, as the result of mistakes made by certain political and military leaders, our country was ill-prepared for war and her armies badly led in battle, and despite the fact that those same political and military leaders have now dragged our people to temporary servitude, I can assure you that the armed forces of France arearising and taking the path of honour, which is also the path of battle. I am convinced that every French man and woman worthy of the name will learn this with feelings of pride and hope.
I am convinced, too, that what is now happening will show every Frenchman worthy of the name where his duty lies, just as sometimes, on a dark night, a sudden flash of lightning reveals the road to be followed.
It is the duty of all who are able to join the French fighting troops, with or without their arms, to do so at once. The
argument of obedience to a disqualified government controlled by the enemy cannot and must not count any longer, in view of the sacred duty to fight for the salvation of France.
Those who, for the time being, cannot rally to my side but who may later, and in other circumstances, be able to take up arms once more, must prepare to do so, and hold in readiness for the future whatever fighting means are available. This I say with particular earnestness to the officers, soldiers, sailors, and airmen of French North Africa. It is their bounden duty to snatch from the grasp of the Armistice Commissions sent to Africa by the enemy all the weapons the Axis is trying to seize, which might be used against the French forces in the field.
Finally, for all those who find themselves, for the time being, exposed in occupied France to the necessity of working for the enemy under the threat of Hitler's sword and Mussolini's dagger, duty demands that they should resist passively by every means in their power. Never let it be said that the French are helping, either directly or indirectly, to forge for the enemy weapons that may be used to slay other children of France.
Those who, in enemy countries, believed that France could be overcome in a single battle, and those who, in our own land, have fallen in with the conquerors' wishes by surrendering our country and disarming our Empire while we still had means of resistance, will realize their mistake.
We are now at the very beginning of a lengthy effort, which must be both active and passive. It will be a hard and bitter effort, but it will expand and grow from day to day. It will lead to the liberation of our oppressed country and the restoration of freedom throughout the length and breadth of Europe.
From now on, we are back in the fight.
True sons of France, rally to my side!