Title: To all French people, France has lost a battle! But France did not lose the war!
Creation date : 1940
Date shown: June 18, 1940
Dimensions: Height 76.5 - Width 51.5
Technique and other indications: Printed by J. Weiner Ltd.
Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website
Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette
Picture reference: 06-502492 / Gau 11
To all French people, France has lost a battle! But France did not lose the war!
© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette
Publication date: November 2012
From the appeal of June 18 to the first official F.F.L.
On June 18, 1940, Charles de Gaulle gave a radio speech in London in which he urged his compatriots to continue the fight against Nazi Germany, placing the latter in a context of globalized war. While the famous Appel broadcast on the BBC was little heard at the time, it was published in the French press (Le Petit Marseillais, Le Petit Provençal, Progress) the next day, then picked up later by foreign radios and newspapers.
If it uses the same arguments and repeats certain formulas of this declaration, the poster "To all French" is however a different version. Following the Call, it was first printed in 1,000 copies in the second half of July, then plastered on walls in London and major British cities on August 3-4. The poster is then published (alongside the text of the Appeal itself) on the first page of the first and only issue of the Official bulletin of the Free French Forces which appeared on August 15, 1940.
Published in around 10,000 copies, the document studied here is mainly distributed among the French in London. However, it plays a very strong symbolic and political role in the context of the emergence, structuring and organization of the Resistance, in England as in France.
A poster in the colors of Free France
The Official bulletin of the Free French Forces reproduces exactly the poster of August 3, 1940, in a reduced format. Surrounded by a tricolor border and surmounted by two crossed French flags, it has an address in large characters ("To all the French") which gives it its title, and an italic subtitle consisting of two sentences ("La France lost a battle! But France did not lose the war! ”). The body of the text occupies the center of the page, while the bottom of the poster includes a last message in bold (“Vive la France!”), The handwritten signature of General de Gaulle, and the address of the headquarters of Free France (where the text was written and signed).
If the layout is relatively simple, direct and sober (no unnecessary colors or effects), the text is however animated with exclamation points, the work on different fonts also introducing a certain variety and attracting the looks.
Free France, and to be liberated
Like the poster it reproduces, the document studied here has a concrete vocation first of all: to address the French in London and the United Kingdom, to encourage them to join de Gaulle in the Free French Forces. Likewise, the resumption and dissemination of this document in Europe and in particular in France, however uncertain they may be, should encourage the still stammering movement of resistance of all those who, on national soil or by joining the general, intended to fight against the Nazis.
The content of the message mixes emotion with a certain perspective, quite rational. Indeed, beyond the almost exalted, almost religious or at least mystical appeal ("sacrifice" and "hope") to patriotism and to the love of France (a sacred entity invoked four times); Beyond the observation of a tragic and dramatic situation, the call to "action" falls within the more geopolitical framework of world and globalized war.
We can also recall that the poster was published following the recognition of General de Gaulle as leader of the Free French by the British government on June 28 (the text of this recognition appears elsewhere in the Official bulletin of the Free French Forces of August 15, 1940). Thus, the poster is part of the acts (in the symbolic, political and almost legal sense) of the birth of Free France and does it constitute one of the first signatures of General de Gaulle as its inspirer and its legitimate leader. . The use of the first person ("my goal", "me") seems to confirm this point: finally associated with the use of us ("our"), it indicates all the same that "all the French" must unite. to him.
- War of 39-45
- De Gaulle (Charles)
- radio (history of)
- Free French Forces
François BROCHE, Georges CAÏTUCOLI and Jean-François MURACCIOLE (dir.), Free French Dictionary, Paris, Robert Laffont, coll. “Books”, 2010.
Jean-Louis CRÉMIEUX-BRILHAC, The Appeal of June 18, Paris, Armand Colin, 2010.
Charles de GAULLE, War memories, volume I "The call, 1940-1942", Paris, Plon, 1954.
Jean-François MURACCIOLE, History of Free France, Paris, P.U.F., coll. "What do I know? », 1996.
To cite this article
Alexandre SUMPF, "" To all the French ": the poster for London"