Talk:Charles de Gaulle

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Free France or Free French?[edit]

"leader of Free France" of "leader of the Free French", which is it to be? I'd gravitate towards the latter, but that's just my opinion62.252.32.11 01:47, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

18 June 1940 - wrong date?[edit]

Take a look at my picture of a plaque on a memorial in France for the correct date of "La France a perdu une bataille, mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre." I'd be very surprized if even French monuments got this wrong...

The June 18 date is probably wrong despite the memorial. The quotation is from the poster « À tous les Français », which was first printed in late July and displayed in London on August 3 (1940): see 1, 2, 3, 4 (English). Many sources confirm that the June date is incorrect, but some disagree with the precise timing: . In September 1944 a similar poster was printed and (erroneously?) added June 18 in the corner.

The Date of June 18 is used on this picture because it was supposed to be released at that date. But it could only be printed in late July; The quote "La France a perdu une bataille, mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre." comes directly from De Gaulle's speech on the BBC the 18th June 1940. This isn't a mistake to see written "18th June 1940" on this picture. On the website of the foundation Charles de Gaulle it is written that this poster is not the one of the 18th June (due to the late date of print) but does indeed refer to it.

Friends and enemies[edit]

I've often seen the quote attributed to Mrs Churchill: "General, you must not hate your friends more than you hate your enemies". Can someone pse give a citation? I don't have the Churchill books, but perhaps it's in one of those. Mikeo1938

The story is that Clementine Churchill said "General, you must not hate your friends more than you hate your enemies", and de Gaulle responded "France has no friends, only interests."
The line about nations not having friends or enemies, only interests, has been attributed to Lord Palmerston and Henry Kissinger. I found it phrased "For nations have, even today, no friends but only interests" in 1947.
De Gaulle is quoted as saying "No nation worthy of the name has friends—only interests." by a US congressman on 21 October 1966. Cagliost (talk) 09:28, 30 July 2020 (UTC)[reply]


  • The graveyards are full of indispensable men.
  • "Petain is a great man who died in 1925"
    • Found in "Sons of France: Pétain and De Gaulle" (1966) by Jean Raymond Tournoux, pg 112
    • "Pétain est un grand homme qui pour moi est mort en 1925." in La Revue de Paris, 1965, Volume 72, Part 1, Page 146
Charles de Gaulle in Chad with Govenor-General Félix Adolphe Éboué
  • Always go for the highest position, it is generally the least crowded.
    • Prenez invariablement la position la plus élevée, c'est généralement la moins encombrée.
    • Attributed by Henri Amouroux.
  • The important things which were said to humanity were always simple things.
    • Les choses capitales qui ont été dites à l'humanité ont toujours été des choses simples.
    • Attributed by André Malraux.
  • Treaties are like roses and young girls; they last while they last.
    • attributed to President Charles de Gaulle, from On Franco-German treaty talks, Time 1963-07-12, quoted in Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations, compiled by James B. Simpson (1988) [1]; also The Economist (London) 1972-03-18, at 6, as cited in Chapter 6, note 47 (page 427) of Antonio Cassese (2001) International Law. Oxford. ISBN 0198299982.
  • You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.
  • That's a tall order, indeed.
    • Vaste programme, en effet.
    • his response to a heckler who yelled Mort aux cons! (Death to the idiots!)
  • To Général Jacques Massu : Alors Massu, toujours aussi con ? (So, Massu, still that stupid?)
    • Général Jacques Massu's answer : Toujours aussi gaulliste, mon Général. (Still that gaullist, general!)
General de Gaulle, from the film Divide and Conquer
  • I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
    • A reference to Georges Clemenceau's quote "War is too serious a matter to be left to the military."
  • There are three roads to ruin: by gambling, which is the quickest; through women, which is the most pleasurable; and through taking the advice of experts, which is the most certain.
  • In the name of policy, change your friends.
    • Answer to a politician who told him : "In the name of my friends, change your policy!"
    • "Au nom de mes amis, changez de politique !" "Au nom de la politique, changez d'amis."
    • Attributed by Marcel Jullian.
  • Within ten years we shall have whatever is necessary to kill 80 million Russians. Well I reckon one does not light-heartly attack people who are able to kill 80 million Russians, even if one can kill 800 million French, that is if there were 800 million French.
    • « Dans dix ans, nous aurons de quoi tuer 80 millions de Russes. Eh bien je crois qu'on n'attaque pas volontiers das gens qui ont de quoi tuer 80 millions de Russes, même si on a soi-même de quoi tuer 800 millions de Français, à supposer qu'il y eût 800 millions de Français ».
    • About French nuclear deterrence
    • Serge Gadal, (2009). Forces aériennes stratégiques: histoire des deux premières composantes de la dissuasion nucléaire française. Economica. p.86. ISBN 2717857583.
  • Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.
  • They make me laugh with their "Rubicon": "Rubicon", "Rubicon", what does it mean ?
    • Ils me font bien rire avec leur Rubicon : Rubicon, Rubicon, à quoi ça rime ?
    • untranslatable pun on "à quoi ça rime" ("what does it mean?", but literally "what does it rhyme with?") ; "Rubicon" rhymes with "con" ("cunt")
  • One does not put Voltaire in prison.
    • De Gaulle's response when encouraged to lock up Jean-Paul Sartre on a technical charge.
  • Gold is absolute objectivity. It is blind, like justice. It has no politics and ideology, no likes or dislikes, no friends or enemies. All it recognizes is its possessor, whom it serves faithfully so long as he has it.