June 22, 2010

(The Surrender site at Compiegne - businesslike and harsh)

The official Armistice between France and Germany came on June 22, 1940 with a more or less payback ceremony at the same spot Germany signed its Armistice with the Allies in 1918, ending World War 1. News of the impending surrender had been circling for days. Britain would be facing the war pretty much alone (with the exception of Lend-Lease support from the U.S.) and now the possibilities of an invasion of Britain were very real as now Germany would seize the armament factories, retooling them for the German war machine. The French Navy was still in question, as reports came in that Germany had captured two of France's prize battleships just days before. The reports proved false, as a final act of resistance, the French fleet would be destroyed before falling into German hands. Key members of the French government, including General de Gaulle had already been evacuated to England and were setting up the plans for resistance that would hamper the German cause for the next four years. Here is a news report from NBC Radio given on that day.

As a bonus, I am including the complete address given by Gen. de Gaulle to the French people as broadcast by the BBC Overseas Service on June 22nd. The text of the speech and its translation is available here. The audio of the speech is below.

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