Philippe Pétain gave this speech via radio to the French people declaring a new government with him having complete control.
Immense tasks face France. One has only to stop and think of the refugees and the supply problem to estimate their gravity and scope. The nation’s communications must be restored. Each man must be returned to his hearth and his job.
In these dark days, after France has been forced to the ground militarily, new trials have been inflicted upon her.
England, after a long alliance, has in a most opportunistic manner attacked our partially disarmed and immobilized warships in our ports. Nothing could justify that aggression. If England thought we would give our fleet to Germany, she was wrong.
The fleet received orders to defend itself and did so valiantly, despite the inequality of the battle.
France stands alone, attacked today by England for whom she consented to many severe sacrifices.
We have a most diflicult task to accomplish for which I need your confidence.
I have formed a new government composed of twelve Ministers who will be assisted by general secretafies taken from the principal services of the State. Governors will be in charge of the twelve large Provinces.
Power will thus find itself centralized and decentralized simultaneously. Officials will not be subjected to too much supervision. They will be free to operate and quicker to have more responsibility for their acts.
In order to regulate certain questions in a better manner, the government is preparing a seat for itself in the occupied territories. For that reason we have requested that Versailles and the ministerial quarters in Paris be vacated for us.
We must apply ourselves to create an elite corps without any other consideration than their capacity to command.
Labor is France’s supreme resource.
International capitalism and socialism exploited and degraded France. Both participated in preliminaries of the war. We must create a new order in which we no longer admit them.
We shall renounce neither profit, which is a powerful inducement, nor savings. Gains will remain as recompense for both labor and investment.
Your work will be defended, your families will have the respect and protection of the nation.
We must recreate lost confidence. The French family will remain the depositary for France’s long and honorable history.
We know that youth must live and draw its strength from the open air which will prepare it for life’s battles. We must see to that.
Let us give ourselves to France; she always has led her people to greatness.