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The liberation of Paris was a historic and very significant event. It was accomplished by the French, without outside help, and it showed that France, which had been on the offensive through one form or the other throughout the war, was finally prevailing. From that point, victory was no longer just possible and certain, but in reach.
On the 24 and 25 of august 1944 the resisting people of Paris rose up against their occupant and tried to wrestle the city from them, largely prevailing. With the help of the French second armored division they shattered the last German positions in the southern suburbs of the city and at the Majestic, at the Luxembourg, the Palais Bourbon, the rue Royale, etc.
The general de Gaulle entered the city at 4 of the afternoon. He first went to the Montparnasse station where the German troops occupying the city capitulated. He set up the government's headquarters at the Ministry of War and, after a visit the Prefecture of Police where the first uprising took place, he went to the Paris city hall where representatives of the various authorities of the resistance and a huge crowd await him. This was the first time most of the French got to see him in person after hearing him on the radio for four years. After hearing speeches by Georges Marrane of the Parisian Committee of Liberation and Georges Bidault, Chairman of the National Resistance Council and hero of the resistance, de Gaulle replied with the speech which follows, preceeded by my translation. This speech, which was transmitted live by radio all over the country, is truly a historic moment. It was improvised.


Why should we hide the emotion which is taking us all, men and women, who are here, at home, in Paris who stood up to liberate itself and could do so with its own hands?

No! We will not hide this deep and sacred emotion. These are minutes which go beyond each of our poor lives.

Paris! An outraged Paris! A broken Paris! A martyred Paris! But... a liberated Paris! Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the help of the armies of France, with the support and the help of all of France, of the fighting France, of the only France, the real France, the eternal France!

(Cheers, clapping)

Well! Since the enemy which held Paris has capitulated into our hands, France returns to Paris, to her home. She returns blood-stained, but quite resolute. She returns enlightened by immense lessons, but more certain than ever of her duties and of her rights.

I say of her duties first, and I will express them all for the moment by saying that they are duties of war. The enemy teeters but he is not beat yet. He remains on our territory. It will not be enough that, with the help of our dear and formidable allies, we have drawn him from our territory for us to be satisfied after what happened. We want to enter his territory as we should, as victors.

(Cheers, clapping, hurrahs)

This is why the French troops have entered Paris with guns blazing. This is why the great French army of Italy landed in the south and are advancing quickly through the Rhone valley. This is why our brave and dear forces of the interior will turn into modern fighting units. It is to have this revenge, this vengeance and at the same time this justice, that we will keep fighting until the last day, until the day of total and complete victory, the only which will satisfy us. This duty of war, all the men who are here, all those who hear us in France know that it involves other duties, the main of which is called national unity!

(Cheers, a long applause)

The Nation would not admit that, in the situation in which she is, this unity be broken. The Nation knows that to win, to rebuild itself and to be great she must have all of her children with her. The Nation knows that her sons and daughters, all of her sons and all of her daughters besides a few unfortunate traitors who gave themselves to the enemy or gave others, and who know or will know the rigor of the laws. Besides them, all of the sons and all of the daughters of France are walking and will walk in fraternity for France, hand in hand.

(Cheers, applause)

Us, who have lived the greatest hours of our history, we have nothing else to want than to show ourselves, up to the end, worthy of France.

Long live France!



Pourquoi voulez-vous que nous dissimulions l'émotion qui nous étreint tous, hommes et femmes, qui sommes ici, chez nous, dans Paris debout pour se libérer et qui a su le faire de ses mains?
Non ! nous ne dissimulerons pas cette émotion profonde et sacrée. Il y a là des minutes qui dépassent chacune de nos pauvres vies.
Paris ! Paris outragé ! Paris brisé ! Paris martyrisé ! mais Paris libéré ! libéré par lui-même, libéré par son peuple avec le concours des armées de la France, avec l'appui et le concours de la France tout entière, de la France qui se bat, de la seule France, de la vraie France, de la France éternelle.
Eh bien ! puisque Paris est libéré, puisque l'ennemi qui le tenait a capitulé entre nos mains, la France rentre à Paris, chez elle. Elle y rentre sanglante, mais elle y rentre bien résolue. Elle y rentre éclairée par d'immenses leçons, mais plus certaine que jamais, de ses devoirs et de ses droits.
Je dis d'abord de ses devoirs, et je les exprimerai tous pour le moment en disant que, pour le moment, il s'agit de devoirs de guerre. L'ennemi chancelle mais il n'est pas encore battu. Il reste sur notre territoire. Il ne suffira même pas que nous l'ayons, avec le concours de nos chers et admirables alliés, chassé de chez nous pour que nous nous tenions pour satisfaits après ce qui s'est passé. Nous voulons sur son territoire entrer comme il se doit, en vainqueurs.
C'est pour cela que l'avant-garde française est entrée à Paris à coups de canon. C'est pour cela que la grande armée française d'Italie a débarqué dans le Midi et remonte rapidement la vallée du Rhône. C'est pour cela que nos braves et chères forces de l'intérieur vont devenir des unités modernes. C'est pour avoir cette revanche, cette vengeance et en même cette justice, que nous saurons continuer de nous battre jusqu'au dernier jour, jusqu'au jour de la victoire totale et complète, la seule qui saurait nous satisfaire. Ce devoir de guerre, tous les hommes qui sont ici, tous ceux qui nous entendent en France savent bien qu'il comporte d'autres devoirs, dont le principal s'appelle l'unité nationale!
La Nation n'admettrait pas dans la situation où elle se trouve que cette unité là soit rompue. La Nation sait bien que pour vaincre, pour se reconstruire et pour être grande qu'il lui faut avoir avec elle tous ses enfants. La Nation sait bien que ses fils et ses filles, tous ses fils et toutes ses filles hormis quelques malheureux traîtres qui se sont livrés à l'ennemi ou qui lui ont livrés les autres et qui connaissent ou qui connaîtront la rigueur des lois, hormis ceux-là tous les fils toutes les filles de la France marchent and marcheront fraternellement pour la France, la main dans la main.
Nous autres, qui aurons vécu les plus grandes heures de notre Histoire, nous n'avons pas à vouloir autre chose que de nous montrer, jusqu'à la fin, dignes de la France.
Vive la France!


Transcribed from a recording and translated by me.

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