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Free French

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Later known as the Fighting French, this movement was created early in world war ii . On June 18, 1940 General de gaulle broadcast an appeal on the BBC calling on those compatriots who rejected France's surrender to the Germans to join him in London. Initially support was puny, possibly involving only some six thousand. These were mainly recalcitrant junior officers who felt let down by the third republic and the new vichy regime , although de Gaulle also drew on the services of able individuals, notably General Catroux, René Cassin, and Maurice Schuman. The General wanted Britain to confer on his movement the title of government-in-exile, yet on June 28, 1940 churchill acknowledged him merely as leader of the Free French. An agreement of August 7 granted some early and vital financial aid from the British government, which now rather optimistically expected the movement to follow London's own lines of policy. In the event, relations with Churchill, and later Roosevelt, remained stormy. However, the Free French went from strength to strength, with their ranks swelled by recruits from a series of French colonies that went over to de Gaulle. Thanks to this backing, as well as to Free French agents liaising with resistance movements in metropolitan France and to its leader's own political acumen, the movement had managed by 1943 to become tantamount to a government-in-exile, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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