6 June 1944 - Speech on BBC radio
The supreme battle is joined!
After so many combats, so much rage and pain, now at last comes the decisive clash, the clash so long hoped for. Of course, it is the battle of France and it is France's battle!
Massive attacking forces, for us the forces of rescue, have begun to pour from the coasts of old England. Here, at this last bastion of Western Europe, the tide of German oppression was once halted. Now it is the starting-point of an offensive for freedom. France, overrun for the last four years but never reduced or defeated, is on her feet to play her part.
For the sons of France, wherever they may be, their simple, sacred duty is to fight with all the means at their disposal. Our task is to destroy the enemy, the enemy that crushes and defiles our native soil, a detested and dishonoured enemy.
That enemy will do his utmost to escape his fate. He will ravage our native land as long as he possibly can. Yet for some time now he has been little more than a wild beast being driven back from his prey. From Stalingrad to Tarnopol, from the banks of the Nile to Bizerte from Tunis to Rome, he has now caught the habit of defeat.
France will fight this battle with fury. She will fight it in good order. So each and every one of our victories has been won for fifteen hundred years. So will this victory be won.
In good order! For our army, navy and air force, there is no problem. Never have they been in better spirit, better prepared, better disciplined. Already Africa, Italy, the seas and the skies have witnessed the rebirth of their strength and glory. Soon it will be the turn of their native soil.
For our nation which struggles, bound hand and foot, against an aggressor armed to the teeth, good order in the battle requires that certain conditions be met.
The first is that the instructions given by the French Government and by the French leaders whom it has designated for the task must be followed exactly.
The second is that our action in the enemy's rear should be combined as closely as possible with the frontal action of the Allied and French armies. Everyone must expect the task of those armies to be both hard and long. This means, therefore, that the action of the Resistance forces must be continued and intensified right up to the moment when the Germans are routed.
The third condition is that all those who are capable of action, whether by force of arms, by means of destruction, or of intelligence, or of refusal to carry out work useful to the enemy, should not let themselves be taken prisoner. Let all such individuals avoid imprisonment or deportation. Whatever the difficulties, anything is better that to be put out of action without having had a chance to fight.
The battle of France has begun. Throughout the nation, the Empire and the armed forces there is now only one determination, only one hope shared by all. Behind the cloud, so heavy with our blood and tears, behold! - the sun of our greatness is shining forth once again!