'WHAT THE ENEMY MEANS BY COLLABORATION'

LONDON,20 DECEMBER1940

Charles de Gaulle

THE SPEECHES OF GENERAL DE GAULLE pp. 40-42.

The confusion now reigning in Vichy, where internal squabbles are rife among the men who claim to govern France, is but an episode in their collaboration with the invaders.

What the enemy means by France's 'collaboration' in the war is nothing less than the utilization of France for the war. The utilization of France means that her Fleet, her air and sea bases, her communications and her production must co-operate in the gigantic struggle which aims at world domination.

The enemy, of course, is carefully avoiding any sudden changes. He fears the Empire might rise against him, and that, just now, would certainly lose him the great battle of the Mediterranean. But events are forcing him to increase the pace. He must make use of France in an attempt to mitigate,and perhaps to offset, the collapse of Italy. He must make use of France to loosen the terrible stranglehold of the blockade. He must make use of France to secure a base in West Africa from which he can threaten America.

Whatever crimes the men of Vichy may have committed, there can be little doubt that not all of them are disposed to accept for France this last degree of enslavement. There can be little doubt that some of themórealizing that Great Britain and her Allies are stronger and more resolute than ever, estimating the full extent of the Italian disasters in Libya and Albania and, above all, aware of the desperate anger of the Frenchówould willingly dash the shameful cup from their lips. A few of the Vichy men would like, if they could, to hedge a little longer, pretending to devote their energies to the so-called national revolution by means of which they hope to sidetrack the people. A few of the Vichy men would like to go on deluding public opinion, and perhaps even themselves, into the belief that they are working for France and not for the enemy.

But the enemy cares little for the scruples of a few shillyshallying politicians in Vichy. The enemy cares little for their so-called national revolution. The enemy cares little for an old man's honour, even if he is a Marshal of France. The enemy knows well that by combining the threat of force with the intrigues of certain would-be ministers whose careersó and, indeed, whose very livesódepend on an Axis victory, he can overcome any fitful attempts at resistance on the part of the vacillating politicians of Vichy.

For how could the men who decided to surrender, who allowed the invaders to install themselves in Paris, Bordeaux, Lille, Rheims, and Strasburg, who proclaimed not only the submission of France but also her collaboration with the enemy who is trampling her in the dustóhow could such men now stop themselves from sliding still farther down the slippery slope?

They would have to confess to France the crime they committed against her. They would have to admit that they were wrong in capitulating while there still remained such possibilities of fighting on to victory. They would have to acknowledge their heinous crime in surrendering our arms, consenting to enemy control throughout the country and recognizing the law of servitude. They would have to own that reason, courage, and honour are on the side of the Free French, onthe side of those who fight for France with the last of our rifles.

How is it possible to expect such an admission from the men of Vichy? Yet if they fail to take the supreme opportunity afforded by present events they will have no alternative but to follow the path of treason to the end.