TO MARSHAL FOCH
Charles de Gaulle
THE SPEECHES OF GENERAL DE GAULLE pp. 33 34.
Marshal Foch, you whose body lies in the vault of the Invalides, but whose spirit still lives on in the minds of all true soldiers of France, to-day, on November 11th, a French soldier comes respectfully to report to you.
Marshal Foch, you who won the war by sheer determination must learn that they who were our leaders have given up all hope of victory and ordered us to submit to the enemy.
Marshal Foch, it was your loyalty as much as your genius that won for you and for us the honour of your being chosen to command the armies of all nations allied to or associated with France. Alas! You must now learn that they who were our leaders ordered us, in the midst of the battle, to betray our Allies.
Marshal Foch, you always taught and proved that no one has the right to surrender while there is still some means of continuing the fight. The peoples of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Holland, Norway, and Luxemburg had the courage to understand this, together with all the nations, without exception, whose territories were in enemy hands. It is now my duty to tell you that they who were our leaders have surrendered the sword of France while our country could still call upon an Empire of sixty million men, defended by 500,000 soldiers, a formidable air force, a magnificent fleet still intact, and powerful and resolute Allies.
Marshal Foch, you who never for a single instant ceased to face north towards the enemy must know that they who were our leaders are ordering the troops who follow them to turn south in the same direction as the enemy, in order, to break down the resistance of Frenchmen who want to fight for France.
Marshal Foch, it was on November 11th that you placed the crown of victory on the brow of our native land. This year, on November 11th, they who were our leaders have sworn an oath of collaboration with the enemy. But I have other things to report to you besides these infamous deeds, for there are soldiers, there are Frenchmen, who refuse to countenance them—there are Frenchmen, there are soldiers who, for their part, mean to blot them out.
We, the soldiers of Free France, are these Frenchmen, these soldiers, and, since they who were our leaders have, through
panic or despair, failed to do their duty, we have decided, in shame and in sorrow, to recognize them no longer. But we have also decided, Marshal and Immortal Leader, to follow your example and obey you.
We are following your example, we are carrying out your orders by refusing to lay down our arms and by continuing to fight wherever we can and as best we may, raising ourselves little by little from the abyss of disaster.
If we are wresting the French Empire bit by bit from the enemy's collaborators in order to keep it for France and find therein means to fight; if we have already brought the Chad back into the war, together with the Cameroons, Ubangi-Shari, the Congo, our colonies in the Pacific and, as recently as yesterday, the Gaboon, it is in order to follow your example and carry out your orders faithfully, united, as you wished all Frenchmen to be, to the Allies who were under your command.
Little by little, we shall rally all French territories and wield in the war a sword which grows mightier day by day. Through us, our country shall have her share in victory; through us, her honour, her greatness and her happiness will be restored.
Marshal Foch, we will simply do what you ordered your soldiers to do: we will do our duty. . . .