Quotations by Charles de Gaulle

The general words

This selection of quotations has been made with the greatest concern for the accuracy of sources. Reported or apocryphal remarks have been avoided, except for a number of witticisms taken from accounts of those close to the General.

De Gaulle made the word into an  instrument of politics : The Algeria's of Daddy's day, from the Atlantic to the Urals, little goats, shambles, chrysanthemums, gall, thingummy, peace of the brave, yapping politicians ("politichiens"), pronunciamiento, sorry bunch, Tintin, mess, thingamajig, Volapük, zist and zest,…

In a book entitled "Le Vocabulaire du général de Gaulle" by Jean-Marie Cotteret and René Moreau, computer analysis identifies de Gaulle's ten favourite words which, consciously or unconsciously, recur most frequently in his writings:

  • France
  • the country
  • the Republic
  • the state
  • the world
  • the people
  • the nation
  • progress
  • peace
  • the future

France

"All my life I have had a certain idea of France. In this, I have been inspired by feeling as much as by reason. The emotional side of me naturally imagines France, like the princess in the fairy tale or the Madonna in the church frescoes, as being destined for  an imminent and extraordinary fate. I instinctively feel that Providence has created her for either complete success or exemplary misfortunes. Yet should any of her deeds or gestures be marked by mediocrity, I have a sense of an absurd anomaly, to be laid at the door of the French people, not blamed on the genius of the motherland herself. But also, the positive side of my mind convinces me that France is not really herself unless she is in the first rank; that only vast enterprises are capable of countering the ferments of dispersal that her people bear within themselves; that our country, such as it is, in the midst of all others, such as they are, must aim high and stand straight, on pain of mortal danger. In short, to my mind, France cannot be France without greatness."

Mémoires de Guerre – l’Appel (1940-1942) – La pente – Premier paragraphe
(War Memoirs – The Call to Honour (1940-1942) – The Slope – opening paragraph)

 

"Now at last, I speak to France. Well, my dear and old country, here we are together, once again facing a harsh test. By virtue of the mandate given to me by the people, and of the national legitimacy that I have represented for the past twenty years, I ask you all now to give me your support whatever may come."

Discours et Messages, T.3 p.166 – Speech from the Elysée Palace on 29 January 1960, broadcast by radio and television.

 

"France has chosen once and for all to be France, and I invite everyone to get used to it."
Brest, 5 September 1960

 

"There is no way that we will take the path of least resistance and allow France to fade away."
Discours et Messages, T.4 p.95 - Speech from the Elysée Palace on 19 April 1963, broadcast by radio and television.

 

"There is a twenty centuries' old pact between the greatness of France and the freedom of the world."
London, 1 March 1941 – Discours et Messages, T.1 p.73

 

"Never more than here, and never more than this evening, have I understood how fine France is,  how generous."
Algiers, 4 June 1958, Discours et Messages, T3 p.17

1959

"Destiny of France! These words evoke the heritage of the past, the obligations of the present and the hope of the future. Since France took its name in Paris, nearly one thousand years ago, and the state took up its function, our country has lived through much… But now a sudden occasion has presented itself for the country to emerge from doubt, from divisions, from humiliations. Now it wishes to seize that opportunity by placing the general interest above every individual interest and prejudice…"
Statement made at the Elysée Palace on 8 January 1959, Discours et Messages, T.3 p.72.

 

"...Now it seems that a broad road, an immense road is opening to France once again, as at all the finest moments in her history. When I say to France, I mean to the endeavours of France, to the determination of France, to the action of France, that is to say of every French man and woman…"
Speech in Saint-Chamond, 7 June 1959.

1963

"There is no chance that we shall give way to facility and let France be eclipsed."
Speech broadcast by radio and television from the Elysée Palace, 19 April 1963, Discours et Messages, T.4 p.95.

1965

"Often I seem to hear, although the voices are low, I sense that there is a murmur that answers a worldwide feeling, a general feeling: Go on, France! Go on, France! Go on!"
Speech in  Chartres,  19 June 1965.

 

"France is everything at once, it is all the French people. The left is not France! The right is not France! Naturally the French, as always, sense certain currents in themselves. …Claiming to create France with a fraction is a grave mistake, and claiming to represent France in the name of a fraction is an unforgivable national mistake. You say to me: on the right, it is said that I pursue a policy of the left; on the left, as you well know, it is said that de Gaulle is for the right, for the monopolies, for I don't know what. The fact that the partisans of both right and left declare that I belong to the other side proves precisely what I say to you, that now, as always, I am not on one side, I am not on the other, I am for France."
Interview for radio and television, 15 December 1965, Discours et Messages, T.4 p. 434.

Europe

"Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, it is Europe, the whole of Europe, that will decide the fate of the world!"
Strasbourg, November 1959

 

" …I do not believe that Europe can have any living reality unless it includes France and the French, Germany and the Germans, Italy and the Italians, and so on. Dante, Goethe, Chateaubriand, belong to the whole of Europe in so far as they were respectively, and eminently, Italian, German and French. They would have been of little use if they had been stateless and had thought and written in some kind of integrated Esperanto or Volapük…"
Discours et Messages, T.3 pp.406-407 – Press conference, 15 May 1962

 

"They preferred a thingamajig, a bizarre body, integration, rather than an understanding between nations. Ever since, the Common Market has been stuck between zist and zest."
Elysée, 30 December 1961

 

"Of course you can jump up and down on your chair like a little goat, bleating "Europe!", "Europe!", "Europe!" but all that leads nowhere and means nothing."
Discours et Messages, T.4, p.426 – Interview with Michel Droit, 14 December 1965

 

"I have never spoken of the "Europe of homelands", any more than I ever said "the commissariat will follow". We each have our homeland. We French have ours, the Germans have theirs, the English have theirs and that is how it is. I have spoken of co-operation between states – that, yes, I have indeed spoken of."
Discours et Messages, T.4, p.427 – Interview with Michel Droit, 14 December 1965

De Gaulle seen by himsel

"I am a man who belongs to no-one and to everyone."
Press conference, 19 May 1958 – Discours et Messages, T.3 p. 5

 

"I am quite well. But never fear: one day I will be sure to die!"
Press conference, 4 February 1965

 

"Since everything comes round again, what I have done will sooner or later become a source of new enthusiasms long after I have disappeared."

 

"In the end, you know, my only international rival is Tintin! We are the little guys who refuse to let the big guys walk all over us. Only nobody notices the likeness, because I am so tall."
According to André Malraux

 

"I only love those who resist me; unfortunately, I cannot stand them…"
According to Olivier Guichard

 

"I am a free Frenchman.
I believe in God and in the future of my country.
I am no-one's man.
I have one mission, and one only, and that is to continue to fight to free my country. I solemnly declare that I am not attached to any political party nor bound to any politician whatsoever, neither of the centre, nor of the right, nor of the left.
I have but one goal: to deliver France."
Little-known text published by Free France in Cairo, in the Journal d’Egypte, 20 April 1941.

 

"As age encroaches upon me, I find nature comes closer to me. Each year, in the four seasons which follow like so many lessons, I find consolation in her wisdom. In spring, she sings, "Whatever may have happened in the past, I am at the beginning! All is bright, despite the April showers: all is young, even the stunted trees; all is beautiful, even these stony fields.  Love sets my sap rising, and certainties so radiant and so powerful that they will never end!"

In summer, she proclaims, "Behold the glory of my fertility! At the cost of great effort, everything that nourishes life comes from me. Each life depends on my warmth. These seeds, this fruit, these flocks that the sun now floods with its light are a triumph nothing can destroy. From this time on, the future is mine!"

In autumn, she sighs, "My task is nearing its end. I have given my flowers, my harvest, my fruit. Now I withdraw into myself. See how lovely I am still, in my robes of crimson and gold, in this keen light. Alas, the winds and the frosts will soon strip my finery away. But one day my youth will flower once again upon my bare body."

In winter, she moans, "Here I lie, barren and frozen. See how many plants, creatures and birds that I gave life to and loved now lie dying upon my breast, that can no longer feed or warm them! Is my fate sealed? Is this death's victory for ever? No! Already, deep beneath this inert soil, a silent task is under way. Motionless in the deep dark, I feel the portents of the glorious return of light and life."

Old Earth, worn down by the ages, scoured by rain and storm, stripped of its vegetation but ever ready to produce, without end, whatever is needed for living things to go on!

Old France, weighed down with history, ravaged by war and revolution, swinging endlessly from greatness to decline, yet restored, century after century, by the genius of renewal! 

Old man, worn out by trials, detached from human endeavours, feeling the eternal cold approaching, yet never weary of watching in the shadows for the glimmer of hope!"

Memoires de Guerre - Le salut 1944-1946 (War Memoirs – Salvation 1944-1946 – concluding pages)

Progress

"The locomotive, the telephone, electricity, that was good! The car, the airplane, the radio, that was even better. The space rocket, the television, the nuclear plant, the laser, the heart transplant, all this is magnificent. In short, the mechanical civilisation that once again brings us so many misfortunes also brings us growing prosperity and wondrous prospects."
Discours et messages, T.5, p. 301 – Radio and TV interview with Michel Droit, 7 June 1968.

Politics

"Politics, when practised as an art and a service, not as a form of exploitation, is action on behalf of an ideal by means of realities."
Press conference at the Continental Hotel, 30 June 1955 – Discours et messages, T.2 p.637

 

"There is no more left or right. There are people at the top and who look to the far horizons because they have a weighty, difficult and lengthy task to accomplish. And there are people who are at the bottom and who flounder in the mire." 
Press conference of 17 November 1948 – Discours et messages, T.2 p.232

 

"It is perfectly natural to feel nostalgia for what used to be the Empire, just as one might regret the soft light of oil-lamps, the splendour of sailing ships, the charm of the days of horse and carriage. What then? There is no politics worth engaging in that does not deal with realities."
Discours et messages, T.3 p.228 – Speech from the Elysée Palace on 14 June 1960, broadcast on radio and television.

 

"But should we once again, by misfortune, allow the troubles, the tumult, the incoherence that we know so well to take hold of our affairs, then humiliation would be our fate."
Discours et messages, T.3 p.349 – Speech from the Elysée Palace on 2 October 1961, broadcast on radio and television.

 

"Naturally we should not expect those specialists in nostalgia, denigration and bitterness to give up, at least for the time being, sweating out their gall, spitting out their bile and oozing their vinegar. The only thing is, though, that the game of the past, with its never-ending intrigues, cabals, rises and falls, the one played so well by the specialists, that game cannot be allowed to resume."
Discours et messages, T.4 p.62 – Press conference at the Elysée Palace, 14 January 1963

 

"Reform, yes! A shambles, no!"
Elysée, 19 May 1968 (reported by Georges Pompidou)

Mankind

"For now, in our day, the only quarrel that counts is mankind. It is mankind that must be saved, enabled to live and to develop."
Discours et messages, T.3, p.86  – 25 March 1959 – Press conference at the Elysée Palace.

 

"Nothing great can be done without great men. And they are great because they wanted to be."
Le Fil de l’épée, 1932 (The Edge of the Sword)

 

"It is not machines and loans alone that bring about progress. It is, above all, the mettle of men."
Speech from the Elysée Palace, 12 July 1961, broadcast on radio and television - Discours et messages, T.3 p.329

Algeria

"I have understood you! I know what has taken place here. I see what you have tried to do. I see that the road you have opened up in Algeria is that of renewal and brotherhood."
Discours et messages, T.3 p.15, 4 June 1958 in Algiers

 

"Let there be a peace of the brave and I am sure that hatred will fade away. I spoke of the peace of the brave. What does that mean? Simply this: that those who opened fire should cease and return, without humiliation, to their families and their work."
Discours et messages, T.3, p. 55 – Press conference at the Hôtel Matignon, 23 October 1958

 

"Yet those who are now calling most loudly for "integration" are the very voices who were once loudest against the measure. What they want is for someone to give them back the "Algeria of Daddy's day", but the Algeria of Daddy's day is dead, and if we fail to understand that, we shall die with it."
Statement to Pierre Laffont, editor of the Echo d’Alger, 29 April 1959.

 

"An insurrectionist authority has been set up in Algeria by military pronunciamiento. Those guilty of this usurpation of power have exploited the passion of officers in certain specialised units, the inflamed support of a portion of the population of European origin who have been led astray by fears and myths, and by the impotence of leaders swamped by the military conspiracy. This authority possesses a face: a sorry handful of retired generals. It possesses a reality: a group of biased, ambitious and fanatical officers. This group and this sorry handful have a certain skill which is short-lived and limited."
Speech from the Elysée Palace on 23 April 1961, broadcast on radio and television. – Discours et messages, T.3 p.306.

 

Speeches around the world

"Let me tell you a secret not to be repeated. This evening, and all along my route, I found myself in an atmosphere like that of the Liberation."
"Vive Montréal, vive le Québec, vive le Québec libre, vive le Canada français, vive la France!"
(Long live Montreal, long live Quebec, long live free Quebec, long live French Canada, long live France!)
Speech given from the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville in Montreal, 24 July 1967 – Discours et messages, T.5 pp191-192

 

"As for the rest, everything that swarms, schemes and scribbles has no historic importance in these great circumstances, any more than in any others." 
Reply to the toast offered by Mr. J Drapeau, Mayor of Montreal, 26 July 1967 – Discours et messages, T.5 p.197

 

"This is what the French people proposes to the Mexican people: "Marchemos la mano en la mano" (Let us walk together hand in hand). »
Speech given in Spanish from the balcony of the national palace in Mexico, 16 March 1964 – Discours et messages, T.4 p.189

Miscellaneous

"My wife, without whom nothing could have been achieved."

 

"That thing called the UN."
Nantes, 10 September 1960, about the Congo

 

"Does anyone think that at the age of sixty seven I am about to start a career as a dictator ?"
Press conference at the Palais d’Orsay, 19 May 1958 – Discours et messages, T.3 p.10

 

"Some have spoken of "personal power". If what they mean by that is that the President of the Republic has personally taken the decisions it was incumbent upon him to take, then they are perfectly correct.  In what position, great or small, does the person in charge have the right to shirk responsibility? Anyway, who ever imagined that General de Gaulle, once called to the helm of state, would have to be content with opening flower shows?" 

Discours et messages, T.4, p.390 – Press conference at the Elysée Palace, 9 September 1965.

About certain men

Konrad Adenauer

"While it is true that a policy is worth nothing except by virtue of circumstances, it is equally true that it stems only from men. Ah, Mr. Chancellor! What will have been, what is your part in this? That clear-sightedness as to the goals to be attained, that firmness in the midst of storms, that skill in the leadership of a great people which, for  the last fourteen years, have so strikingly marked your acts as a statesman, these qualities the French people know and admire. They see you as the inspiration, the guide, the representative of a new Germany, a Germany that their heart and their reason rightly hope to see and which they realise is necessary to their own posterity, their own security and their own peace."
Address to the Chancellor in Paris, 3 July 1962, Discours et messages, T.3 pp. 429-430.

 

Winston Churchill

"Churchill? If there were occasions, during those days of June 1944, that I did not find myself constantly and entirely in agreement with my most illustrious friend on specific points, it is perhaps because success, now certain, prompted us to a certain intransigence. Four years before, we were less obstinate in our discussions! Yet look how time manages to focus on what is important and wipe away out what is not!"
Speech to the British Parliament in Westminster, 7 April 1960, Discours et messages, T.3 p.180.

 

Khrushchev

"I had the advantage of personal contacts with President Khrushchev  recently while he was in Paris. We talked a great deal and at length about all the subjects currently of interest, even of fascination, to the world. (…) I will tell you that Mr. K seemed to me to be a very strong character. He is a man who has fought all his life for his ideas, and that has necessarily left its mark on him."
Press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, 23 April 1960.

 

Lyautey

" ...A man amongst men, it was for his fellow-man that he was primarily and constantly concerned. Concerned firstly, and in the most attractive and brilliant manner, in his personal behaviour. Passionate about ideas, prodigal with his feelings, with a genius for human contact, he excelled in winning over minds, capturing hearts and inspiring endeavour. Yet while he wished to lead others – and who was more of a leader than he? – he burned also to serve them. All that he said and did bore witness to his desire to raise up those with whom he had dealings and, in his own words, to put "a measure of love" into each of the undertakings he entered into with them. (…)."
Speech on the occasion of the transfer of the ashes of Marshal Lyautey to the Invalides, 10 May 1961, Discours et messages, T.3 pp. 315-316.

 

Antoine Pinay

"It is a considerable pleasure to hear someone as expert as the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, the mayor of Saint-Chamond, President Pinay, speaking of what can be undertaken and of what is to a certain extent a success. It is quite natural that I, in my turn, should pay him my own tribute for you, more than any, know what an essential and capital role he has played in the recovery of which he spoke."
Visit to Saint-Chamond, 7 June 1959.

On power

"Does anyone think that at the age of sixty seven I am about to start a career as a dictator ?"
Press conference at the Palais d’Orsay, 19 May 1958 – Discours et messages, T.3 p.10

 

"...Men and women of France, I wish to inform you that I accept the mandate you have conferred upon me. (...)

 

The national task that has been mine for eighteen years is thereby confirmed. As the guide of France and head of the Republican state, I shall exercise the supreme power to the full extent for which it henceforth provides." Speech on radio and television, 28 December 1958, Discours et messages, T.3 p.64.

 

"The spirit of the new Constitution lies in ensuring that, while it retains a legislative parliament, power is no longer the affair of partisans but derives directly from the people, which in turn implies that the head of state, elected by the whole nation, is the source and holder of that power. This is what came about openly and publicly when I resumed the direction of affairs, and again when I assumed the functions of President."
Press conference, 31 January 1964, Discours et messages, T.4 p.164.

 

"Some have spoken of "personal power". If what they mean by that is that the President of the Republic has personally taken the decisions it was incumbent upon him to take, then they are perfectly correct.  In what position, great or small, does the person in charge have the right to shirk responsibility? Anyway, who ever imagined that General de Gaulle, once called to the helm of state, would have to be content with inaugurating chrysanthemums?"
Press conference at the Elysée Palace, 9 September 1965, Discours et messages, T.4 p.

On the Republic

1944

"Gentlemen, the government's actions to provide for the life of the country and the restoration of the laws of the Republic will clearly not wait until the entire territory is liberated from the enemy before being exerted."
Speech to the Provisional Consultative Assembly in Algiers, 18 March 1944 ,
Discours et messages, T.1 p. 385.

 

1945

"Men and women of France, as you prepare to go to the polls, I myself and the entire government are preparing, as I have always sworn, to restore to the nation's elected representatives the extraordinary powers I have exercised since 18 June 1940, in the name of the Republic, for the salvation of the state and in the service of our native land."
Speech broadcast by radio, 17 October 1945, Discours et messages, T.1 p.645.

 

1946

"Yet although the Republic has been saved, it has still to be rebuilt."
Speech in Epinal, 29 September 1946, Discours et messages, T.2 p. 29.

"Out of duty towards France and respect for the Republic, I made it known at the appropriate time that, in my opinion, the exclusive regime of the parties, such as they are, for our  people, such as they are, cannot solve the very serious problems, interior, imperial and exterior, on which our very life depends."
Statement of 28 December 1946, Discours et messages, T.2 p. 37.

 

1947

" The Republic, which we have disinterred from the tomb to which national despair had consigned it, the Republic of which we dreamed while we fought for her, the Republic which must now be one with our national renewal, will be founded on efficiency, concord and freedom or it will be nothing more than impotence and disillusion, doomed either to dwindle, from one infiltration to another, into a form of dictatorship, or to lose France's very independence in anarchy."
Speech in Strasbourg, 7 April 1947,
Discours et messages, T.2 p. 54-55.

 

1958

"The Republic! There was time when she was denied, betrayed, by the parties themselves. I, therefore, restored her arms, her laws, her name."
Press conference at the Palais d’Orsay, 19 May 1958, Discours et messages, T.3, p.5.

"It was at a time when it was reform or be destroyed that our people first resorted to the Republic. Up to that time, over the centuries, the ancien regime had forged the unity and maintained the integrity of France.  As a vast wave swelled up from the deeps, however, that regime showed itself incapable of adapting to a new world. So it was that, in the midst of national turmoil and foreign war, the Republic appeared! She represented the sovereignty of the people, the call of liberty, the hope of justice. And so she was to remain throughout the many twists and turns of her history. Today, as much as ever, so we wish her to remain."
Speech at the Place de la République, 4 September 1958, Discours et messages, T.3, p. 41.

 

1968

" No, I say! The Republic will not abdicate. The people will come to its senses. Progress, independence and peace will carry the day, along with freedom."
Speech broadcast by radio from the Elysée Palace, 30 May 1968,
Discours et messages, T.5, p.293.

"Thanks to the new Republic, the country is therefore overcoming without serious difficulty the trials inherent in its own transformation, in particular those caused by the coal mines, the naval dockyards, the repatriated settlers, agriculture and public services."
1971, Mémoires d'espoir T.2, p. 201 (Memoirs of hope)

On the state

1944

"Ten weeks have passed since Paris was reclaimed. Contact has been established between the people and their guide… The state is once again exercising its powers."
Mémoire de guerre, T.3, p.41 (War Memoirs).

 

1945

"Yet this conception of a power equipped to act with determination in the economic sphere is directly linked to the idea I have of the state. I see in it not what it once was, and what the parties would like to see it return to, a juxtaposition of private interests from which nothing but weak compromises can ever emerge, but an institution for decision, action and ambition, expressing and serving nothing but the national interest." Mémoire de guerre, T.3, p.98 (War Memoirs).

 

1946

"Everyone understands that the nation's endeavour will be fruitful, or will be vain, in so far as the state shows itself capable or incapable of performing its task as it should be performed for the common good.  But everyone can now see that the Republican state, dragged from the abyss with such difficulty, is now mired in impotence in the midst of the game being played by the parties.

In the conviction that I was expressing the deeply-held feeling of the country, I recommended  for our new institutions a system which, through the separation and balance of powers and the existence, above party considerations, of a real national arbiter, would render the state capable of efficiency, authority and continuity throughout the vicissitudes of politics."
Statement of 1 November 1946, Discours et messages, T.2 p.35.

"I do not believe, in all conscience, that it would be the right way for me to serve my country  by presenting myself as the guarantor of a Constitution which establishes this regime and by presiding in impotence over the impotence of the state."
Statement of 28 December 1946, Discours et messages, T.2 p. 37.

 

1947

"From the moment… that Vichy... agreed to make the state subject to an enemy state, it lost all claim to represent and to lead France because, for a great nation, there is no legitimacy other than in independence."
Speech made in Bordeaux, 15 May 1947, Discours et messages, T.2 p.76.

 

"...Still the common endeavour must be guided by a state built on something other than our divisions, by a state whose powers, executive and legislative, derive directly from the people, so that each of us may be individually and truly responsible; by a state strong enough to require each individual, whether great or small, and of each category, whether weak or strong, to fulfil its obligations; by a state impartial enough to consider only the common interest; by a state stable enough to carry to fruition, through every vicissitude, a task of extremely long-term scope."
Speech in Lille, 29 June 1947, Discours et messages, T.2 p.88.

"We need a system in which the state has a single head to whom the people has given both a mandate and the means to uphold the national interest, whatever may arise…"
Speech in Bayonne, 7 September 1947, Discours et messages, T.2 p.116.

 

1958

" The degradation of the state leads infallibly to the distancing of allies, to perturbations among the armed forces in combat, to national dislocation and to the loss of independence..."
Statement, 15 May 1958,
Discours et messages, T.3 p.3.

 

" ...In short, the French nation will either flourish once more or perish, depending on whether or not the state has sufficient force, constancy and prestige to lead her where she must go."
Speech at the Place de la République, 4 September 1958, Discours et messages, T.3 p. 43.

 

1959

"On to the summit, then, for the state! The state whose duty is to maintain in the nation a climate favourable to research and education."
Speech made at the University of Toulouse, 14 February 1959, Discours et messages, T. 3 p.81.

 

1960

" ...I ask you to direct your thoughts with mine towards the state itself and the service we owe to it.

There could be no France without the state. France cannot continue without it. Nothing is of capital importance save the legitimacy, the institutions and the functioning of the state."
Speech to the members of the Council of State, 28 January 1960, quoted by Bernard Tricot in Les Sentiers de la paix (The Paths of Peace), Plon, 1972.

 

1961

"Here we see the state ridiculed, the nation defied, our power shaken, our international prestige diminished, our position and our role in Africa compromised."
Speech made on radio and television from the Elysée Palace, 23 April 1961, Discours et messages, T.3 p. 307.

" ...We have proved yet again in our history that the state, provided that it truly be the state, is the guide and bastion of the nation."(...)
Speech on radio and television, 8 May 1961, Discours et messages, T.3 p.311.

" ...But in order that the state should be, as it ought to be, the instrument of French unity, of the higher interest of the country, of continuity in national action, I considered it necessary that government should proceed not from parliament, in other words from the parties, but from a source above them, from a head of state directly elected by the nation as a whole and thus empowered to determine, to decide and to act."
1970, Mémoires d'Espoir, T.1 p. 10 (Memoirs of Hope).

"Could the state in France ever have possessed that continuity and that solidity without encroaching on any of our freedoms? Since when had the world seen such an example of assurance and serenity in our national authorities?  Was it not a service to France to have led her people to this miraculous change?"
1971, Mémoires d'Espoir, T.2, p. 103 (Memoirs of Hope).

On the Resistance

1940

"Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not and shall not die."
Speech broadcast by radio from London, 18 June 1940, Discours et messages, T. 1 pp. 3-4.

"Every Frenchman still bearing arms is under absolute obligation to continue the resistance."
Speech broadcast by radio from London on 19 June 1940, Discours et messages, T. 1 pp. 4-5.

"There must be an ideal. There must be hope. It is vital that somewhere the flame of French resistance should gleam and burn bright."
Speech broadcast by radio from London on 24 June 1940, Discours et messages, T. 1 pp.7-8.

"Yes, the flame of French resistance, briefly smothered under the ashes of treason, is once again alight and burning. And we, the Free French, have the glorious duty and supreme dignity of being the soul of the nation's resistance."
Speech broadcast by radio from London, 29 November 1940, Discours et messages, T. 1 pp.44-45.

 

1941

"In silence, glances exchanged by millions of eyes will relight the flame of national resistance in all hearts."
Speech broadcast by radio from Brazzaville, 10 May 1941, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.85.

"There is gradually taking shape once again a vast French resistance which we may well consider will have an increasing influence on the events of the war and, on the day of the final Allied triumph, will place French democracy, renewed through its trials, on an equal footing with victory."
Speech made  in London, 2 October 1941, Discours et messages, T. 1 p. 112

"Organising and directing that resistance, not only in the territories already liberated, but everywhere in France and throughout the Empire, is the primordial task that the French National Committee has set itself."   Speech made in London, 2 October 1941, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.112.

 

1942

"Because today, despite hunger, oppression and infamous propaganda, it is the workers of France, in her fields, her factories, her transport systems, who are setting the example of resistance amidst the enemies and the traitors that serve them."
Speech broadcast by radio from London, 30 April 1942, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.183.

"The resistance of an oppressed people and the combat of all those who are free form a whole which makes up France's contribution to the common cause."
Speech at the Albert Hall in London, 11 November 1942, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.240.

 

1943

"Join together with discipline in the resistance organisations of the Free French interior forces."
Message broadcast by radio from London, 25 February 1943, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.270.

"It is in resistance and in combat that the men whom our people will one day judge worthy and capable of directing her actions are currently revealing themselves."
Speech by radio from London, 20 April 1943, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.281.

"Dark though this battle of France may be, we can nonetheless say that never has the French Resistance achieved so much or undergone so much."
Speech in Algiers, 14 July 1943, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.311.

"Resistance, in all its many forms, has become the fundamental reaction of the mass of the French people."
Speech in Algiers, at the opening session of the Provisional Consultative Assembly, 3 November 1943, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.337.

"Such is the French Resistance. Indivisible as that very France it defends and expresses, the national contribution by our martyred country to the great cause of which it was, is and will remain the champion, the forceful and fraternal ardour from which will spring the renewal of the nation."
Speech broadcast by radio from Algiers, 11 November 1943, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.343.

 

1944

"Finally, and I will end on this note, I am sure that I express the unanimous feeling of the Assembly when I say, following on from the speakers I heard earlier, that the French Resistance as we planned it and as it has shown itself to be, is indeed a force for war, in this conflict  that has overwhelmed the world, but also a force for renewal."
Speech by the General at a session of the Provisional Consultative Assembly, 10 January 1944, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.365.

"France pays tribute to all those whose services have contributed to the victory of Paris: to the Parisian people first and foremost who, in their heart of hearts, never – no, never! - accepted defeat and humiliation; to those brave men and women who so long and so actively engaged in resistance against the oppressor before contributing to his rout…"
Speech broadcast by radio, 29 August 1944, DM 1 p. 441.

"And you, the men and women of the Resistance, all you crusaders of the Cross of Lorraine, you who are the ferment of the nation in its battle for honour and for liberty, tomorrow it will be your task to lead her, for her greater good, towards endeavour and towards greatness." Speech at the Palais de Chaillot, 12 September 1944, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.451.

 

1945

"Soldiers fallen in the deserts, in the mountains or the plains,  drowned sailors rocked for eternity by the ocean's wave, airmen hurled from the sky to be broken on the earth below, Resistance fighters killed in the maquis and at the execution stake, all of you who with your last breath mingled the name of France, it is you who have exalted our courage, sanctified our endeavour, forged our resolution."
Speech to the Consultative Assembly, 15 May 1945, Discours et messages, T. 1 p.551.