Articles et writings by Charles de Gaulle

"Une mauvaise rencontre" (1906)

(An Unpleasant Encounter)

This playlet is Charles de Gaulle's first written work, composed at the age of 15. It is influenced by the style of Edmond Rostand, and carries the seeds of some of the General's future methods and the principles that guided his actions. When asked to choose between a prize or having the work printed, de Gaulle preferred to be published.

 

"La Congrégation" (1908)

(The Congregation)

Charles de Gaulle spent the 1907-1908 school year at the Ecole Libre du Sacré-Cœur d’Antoing, in Belgium where he studied elementary mathematics. This tribute to his Jesuit teachers was published in the college review ("Hors de France").

 

"La Bataille de la Vistule" (1920)

(The Battle of the Vistula)

Under the title "Carnets de campagne d’un officier français" (Campaign notes of a French officer), this article was published anonymously in the Revue de Paris (1 November 1920). It recounts the experiences of Captain de Gaulle during the Polish campaign in which he took part in 1919, and then from 3 June 1920 to 1 February 1921. Captain de Gaulle distinguished himself as a battalion commander in operations against Budyenny's army.

 

"Préparer la guerre, c’est préparer des chefs" (1921?)

(Preparing for war means preparing leaders)

This article was written in 1921, although not published until 1973. It drew attention because it expressed the first stirrings of ideas that would be developed in Le Fil de l’épée (The Edge of the Sword) and more specifically in the Memoirs and in Discours et Messages (Speeches and messages).

 

"Le Flambeau" (1927)

(The Torch)

This text appeared in two instalments in issues 69 and 70 of the Revue militaire (March and April 1927). Considered an article of minor importance, it nonetheless revealed a philosophy of the army: continuity in the endeavour of France, adaptation to circumstances and times, desire for greatness. Certain themes were to be developed in La France et son armée (France and her Army).

 

 "La Défaite, question morale" (1927 or 1928)

(Defeat: a moral issue)

Written by Major de Gaulle, this text was not published until 1973. It discusses the causes of the German collapse at the end of the First World War. Some of its more recurring themes were returned to in Discours et Messages between 1940 and 1943.

 

"Philosophie du recrutement" (1929)

(Philosophy of recruitment)

This article appeared for the first time in the Revue de l’Infanterie of 1 April 1929. It contains constant aspects of his thinking and action: moral firmness as the precondition for success and victory, and the doctrine of circumstances.

 

"La Condition des cadres dans l’armée" (1930 or 1931)

(The condition of army cadres)

Written in 1930, this text remained unpublished until 1957. In it, Major de Gaulle addressed one of the key points of a practical philosophy of the army and opened new ground for research and reflection.

 

"Histoire des troupes du Levant" (1931)

(History of the troops in the Levant)

Co-authored by Major de Gaulle and Major Yvon of the general staff of the troops in the  Levant, this history was published by the Imprimerie Nationale in August 1931.

 

"Combats du Temps de paix" (1932)

(Peace-time combats)

This article was published in issue 476 of the Revue de l’Infanterie on 1 May 1932. One of the rare texts in which the author turns historian in the sense of tracing events.

 

"Pour une politique de défense nationale" (1933)

(For a national defence policy)

Featured in the third issue of the Revue Bleue of 4 March 1933, this exploration of the necessities which should determine any defence policy does not neglect the role of intelligence and intuition, and stresses the importance of character.

 

"Le soldat de l’Antiquité" (1933)

(The soldier in ancient times)

This article was first published in the Revue de l’Infanterie of 1 April 1933. Major de Gaulle reflects on the course of history in a meditation on the citizen-soldier and the professional soldier, on the evolution of states and the concept of service.

 

"Forgeons une armée de métier" (1934)

(Let us forge a professional army)

This article appeared in the first issue of the Revue des Vivants, published on 13 January 1934. It was part of Lieutenant-Colonel de Gaulle's campaign to win support for his views on the organisation of national defence (setting up a modern mechanised force and a professional army).

 

"Le problème belge" (1936)

(The Belgian problem)

This study was published for the first time in July 1945 in the Revue de Défense nationale. It expresses all Charles de Gaulle's lucidity and his capacity for analysis and foresight.