Friday, March 27, 2009

Government Trouble in France

On the night of June 16-17, 1940, the French government formed by Marshal Philippe Petain requested an armistice. But not all Frenchmen were prepared to accept it. Charles de Gaulle, a recently-promoted brigadier general who had fought with some success in the campaign, left for England, and on June 18, he broadcast on the BBC, urging his countrymen to continue the fight on, and ten days later the British recognized him as the leader of all free Frenchmen. The relationship between Churchill and de Gaulle was never comfortable, but thanks to de Gaulle the flame of France's national honour was kept alight.

Marshal Petain, head of the French state established at the spa town of Vichy, shaking hands with Hitler (above).

Charles de Gaulle accompanies King George VI (below) in an inspection of Free French troops, summer 1940.

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