Free France

Speech by General de Gaulle on BBC radio in London, 28 June 1940.

“The commitment that the British government has just made by recognising me as the head of the Free French has great importance and deep significance.
That commitment allows the Free French to organise in order to continue the war alongside our Allies.
That commitment means that the efforts of the Free French and our Allies will be one and the same until victory.
I have decided the following:

1. I take all the French who are in British territory or want to be there under my authority;

2. A French land, air and naval force will be immediately formed. For the time being, that force will be made up of volunteers. It will participate in the French Resistance, which will, I hope, rise up everywhere in the French Empire. I call on all French land, sea and air military personnel to join it. I ask all young people and men of arms-bearing age to enlist;

3. All French officers, soldiers, sailors and airmen, wherever they may be, have the absolute duty to resist the enemy. If the circumstances allow, they must join the nearest French Resistance with their weapons, their planes and their ships. If the French Resistance lies outside their reach, they must immediately go to British territory, where they will be under my orders;

4. A French organisation with the role of manufacturing and purchasing weapons and a French organisation with the role of researching and perfecting war matériel is formed here.

Generals! Superior officers! Governors in the Empire! Put yourselves into contact with me to unite our efforts and save French lands. Despite the capitulations already made by so many of those who are responsible for the homeland’s honour, Free France Libre has not stopped living. We will prove it with arms.”

General de Gaulle in Discours et Messages, vol. 1 Pendant la guerre 1940-1946, Plon, 1970