70th anniversary of the Appeal of 18 June (1940 – 2010) : the beginning of ‘Free France’
On 18th June, 1940, General Charles de Gaulle launched an appeal which came to mark a significant occasion in French national history as well as the birth of ‘Free France’ (France Libre).
As the French government prepared to sign an armistice with Germany, General Charles de Gaulle made a broadcast from the BBC in London to France, advocating for a continuation of the war and appealing to all French officers and soldiers, military engineers and armament workers, to rally under his command in London.
He ended his broadcast with these famous words : ‘The flame of the French Resistance must not and will not be extinguished’.
The 18th of June has since become part of France’s national heritage. In history books, it bears the mark of honour, courage and hope. It is also engrained in the memories of the French people as one of the greatest moments in France’s history.
General de Gaulle leaded the Liberation of France. He became later the first President of France’s 5th République, from 1958 to 1970, and the first President of the Republic elected by Universal suffrage in 1965.
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