Charles de Gaulle's Free French Movement in 1941 was the leading reason that the Nazis did not over-take Paris during World War II. De Gaulle's courage and patriotism made him the leader of the resistance. At the end of the war, he was honored by General Eisenhower for liberating the official city. On June 18, 1940, soon after he fled France, Charles de Gaulle spoke to the French people from London on BBC radio. Although the British cabinet tried to block his speech, Winston Churchill over ruled them. His speech, which is known as the "Appeal of June 18 th", stated that "The cause of France is not lost.
The very factors that brought about our defeat may one day lead us to victory. For France is not alone! She is not alone!" . De Gaulle wanted to create a revolution that would bind together people of all races to fight the Nazis. Though only a few people responded after the broadcast, the Free French Forces rose eventually to a staggering number of 400, 000 soldiers. In the two years after the broadcast, De Gaulle's leadership inspired patriotism in the French citizens and columnists. Various French soldiers surrendered and joined the Free French during the allied invasion in Northern Africa.
The Free French joined the British in the fight to keep North and West Africa out of the Nazis' hands. The French Forces' increasing numbers also enabled them to combat Italian troops in Ethiopia and the French troops who were loyal to Vichy France. The French Committee of National Liberation under de Gaulle and General Henri Honore Giruad, after fighting in Northern Africa, was then recognized by the US, Britain, and the Soviet Union as the legitimate government of France. For the next few years, Charles de Gaulle and his French Forces continued to fight in North and West Africa.
He soon established the base for his troops in the capital of Chad, and continued to join the British in the fight against the Nazis. De Gaulle would continue this battle until his eventual return to France in 1944. On June 17, 1944, after the Free French's successful capture of the island of Elba, Charles de Gaulle returned to Normandy to fight against the Nazis with the Allies. By mid-August, Hitler threatened to leave Paris in ruins. Eisenhower preferred to avoid the almost-certain destruction of the capital city and called upon General de Gaulle. Soon it was dictated that Paris be captured to allow de Gaulle to establish his new government and to provide a final victory to the French resistance.
This decision was made for Eisenhower when the forces staged an uprising on August 19 th. The Free French were ready to defend the capital city to the death, and German officer, Dietrich Von Choli tz, knew that the fight for Paris would be long and harsh. Previous battles that were fought between the Nazis and the Free French showed him that the odds for defeating the French Forces were very slim. The German commander decided that he did not have the resources to destroy the city so the Germans laid down their weapons and surrendered after the Free-French forces entered the city. The next day, August 26 th, General de Gaulle triumphantly marched down the Champs 'E lys " ees. On October 23, 1944, the US, Britain, and the Soviet Union granted recognition to the Free French Forces and the French government under de Gaulle.
From that point on, he insisted that France be treated as an equal with its Allies. On May 8 th, 1945, the New York Times reported the end of the war In Europe. "'With this signature, the German people and armed forces are for better or worse delivered into the victors' hands. In this war, which has lasted more than five years, both have achieved and suffered more than perhaps any other people in the world.' Stated General Joel as he signed the surrender." Clearly, the Free French Forces intimidated the Nazis to the point where they knew they would never succeed. The many battles which were fought between them throughout the war foreshadowed the inevitable outcome. As a result of these battles, the Nazis were coerced into surrendering Paris.
Because of Charles De Gaulle's vision and courage throughout the span of World War II, the Free French were successful in the liberation of Paris. 1. "Encyclopedia: Free French." Nationmaster. com.
14 Oct. 2003 < web > 2. Mitchell G. Bard, The Complete Idiot's Guide To World War II (Alpha Books, 2001), p. 97, 208, 279 3.
Edward Kennedy, Reporting World War II. "The War in Europe Is Ended! Surrender Is Unconditional; V-E Will Be Proclaimed Today" (The Library of America, 1995) pg. 644.