'A PALACE REVOLUTION'
Charles de Gaulle
THE SPEECHES OF GENERAL DE GAULLE pp. 39 40.
The enemy is in Paris and Bordeaux, in Lille, Rheims, and Strasburg. The enemy is pillaging the land of France. The enemy keeps prisoner two million young Frenchmen. The enemy holds the country in bondage, body and soul.
Meanwhile, the men responsible for the capitulation have, first of all, announced a so-called 'reconstruction'—I think they even call it a national revolution! As if any reconstruction were possible for a nation delivered up in chains to Hitler the lion and Mussolini the jackal! That is why the only results of the alleged revolution have been the abolition of the last vestiges of liberty in France and the rebuilding of bridges most useful to enemy troops. The mass of the French people never had any illusions on this subject.
The men of Vichy, alarmed by their own mistake, have sought refuge in another. Indeed, when a pact is made with the devil—I mean the enemy—one crime leads inevitably to another. Doctor Faust, each time he added to Marguerite's misfortunes, had recourse to Mephistopheles. In the same way, the men of Vichy now give ear to the invader when he talks of collaboration. Yet France, bound and gagged, is struggling against the rape negotiated by her oppressors. France refuses to collaborate.
It seems that the men of Vichy, terror-stricken by the sullen wrath of the people, are trying to sidetrack them by making certain changes. It seems that a palace revolution has expelled the Grand Vizier from the Court of the Sultan of Vichy. It seems that Vichy has asked Hitler to approve the appointment of a successor. However, such changes interest only the Court of Vichy, with its chamberlains, lackeys, spies, and eunuchs. France turns in disgust from all such intrigues.
Instead, France, our Lady France, holds out her arms to those of her sons who are freely and eagerly fighting to save her. At this very moment, some of these men are winningfresh glory for our flag in the battle of the Mediterranean, At this very moment, some of them, shoulder to shoulder with our splendid Allies, are pursuing the enemy as he flees in disorder across the sands of Sidi-Barrani. At this very moment, some of them are dying for France.
I need hardly say that they are the very men the Court of Vichy pursues with its hatred and insults. They are the men who have been branded as traitors and condemned to death by the Court of Vichy, They are the men whom the Court of Vichy has decreed to be no longer French! Yet they are the very men our Lady France cradles against her broken heart. They are the men who are honoured by countless inscriptions on the walls of our towns and villages. The fervent thoughts of every true French man and woman are centred upon them, while listening to the stirrings of the Empire!
Indeed, I can well believe that the guns of Sidi-Barrani, in raising the hopes of our prostrate country, have crowned the confusion of the enemy's collaborators in Vichy. Whatever is good for the country must necessarily be bad for them. Some day we shall see what it costs to have aided and abetted in the subjugation of France.