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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Paul Reynaad: France will survive

Paul Reynaad gave this speech during the Nazi successful invasion of France.

In the distress fallen upon the fatherland one thing above all should be said. At the moment when fortune overwhelms them, I wish to cry out to the world the heroism of the French Armies, the heroism of our soldiers, the heroism of our chiefs.

I have seen arrive from the battle, men who had not slept in five days, harassed by airplanes, fatigued by long marches and heavy combats.

These men, whose nerves the enemy had thought broken, had no doubt about the final issue of the war. They had no doubt about the future of the fatherland.

The heroism of the armies of Dunkirk has been exceeded in the fighting from the sea to the Argonne. The soul of France is not broken.

Our race does not allow itself to be beaten down by invasion. How many of these invasions the soil on which we live has gone through in the course of the centuries; our race has always thrown back or dominated the invaders.

The world must know of the sufferings of France. The world must know of what they owe her. The hour has come for them to pay their debt.

The French Army has been the vanguard of the army of the democracies. It has sacrificed itself, but in losing this battle it has dealt telling blows to the common enemy. The hundreds of tanks destroyed, airplanes shot down, losses in men, the synthetic gasoline factories and planes -- all that explains the present state of morale of the German people despite their victories.

France, wounded, has the right to turn to other democracies and to say: "We have claims on you." None of these with a sense of justice can deny this.

But it is one thing to approve and another thing to act. We know what a high place ideals hold in the life of the great American people. Will they hesitate still to declare themselves against Nazi Germany?

You know that I have demanded it of President Roosevelt. I have sent him tonight a new and final appeal.

Each time that I have asked the President of the United States to increase in all forms the assistance permitted by American law, he has generously complied, and it has been approved by his people.

But today we are at a more advanced point. Today, the life of France is at stake, at least France’s essence of life. Our fight, each day more painful, has no further sense if in continuing we do not see even far away the hope of a common victory growing.

The superiority and quality of British aviation increases. It is necessary that clouds of war planes from across the Atlantic come to crush the evil force that dominates Europe.

Despite our reverses the power of the democracies remains immense. We have the right to hope that the day is coming when all that power will be placed in force. That is why we maintain hope in our hearts. That is also why we have wished France to keep a free government and have left Paris.

It was necessary to prevent Hitler from suppressing the legal government and declaring to the world that France had only a puppet government, in his pay, like those he has attempted to constitute here, there and everywhere.

In the great trials of their history our people have known days when they were troubled by defeatist counsel. It is because they never abdicated that they were great.

No matter what happens in the coming days, the French are going to suffer. May they be worthy of the past of their nation. May they become brothers. May they unite about their wounded fatherland.

The day of resurrection will come!

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