Friday - 01 August 2014

De Gaulle’s original call to arms revived

14 June 2010Written by ATG Reporter

WITH the retreat from Dunkirk so much in the news at the moment, Aguttes have a particularly topical offering in their June 18 sale of manuscripts, postcards and historical documents.

The Neuilly-based étude is selling three posters, reproducing Général de Gaulle's first rallying call to arms to the French nation from exile in London, that was put out over the BBC airwaves on June 18, 1940 in response to Maréchal Pétain's announcement that he was to sign the armistice.

The posters reproduce the text of de Gaulle's now famous appeal addressed A Tous Les Français and beginning La France à perdu une bataille mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre (France has lost a battle but not lost the war).

The first and most expensive to be offered, carrying an estimate of 10,000-15,000 Euros, is a first impression of the version printed in London by Achille Olivier Fallek for display in London and other British towns on August 3 and 4, 1940, which has a small English translation of the speech inset to the lower left corner.

The poster, which measures 2ft 6in x 22in (75.5 x 55.5cm) comes with a provenance to Lieutenant Emmanuel Dupont, who was part of the Free French forces, departing on expeditions to Africa before he returned to Normandy in 1944 to take part in Général Leclerc's advance on Paris where he was killed at Fresnes, just outside the city.

The poster was found folded among a large portfolio of geographic sketches that Dupont had kept from his study days at military school. It has survived in very good state with just the fold marks and four holes at the corners where it was secured to the wall with drawing pins.

Also on offer is a smaller version of the poster printed in 1944, with slight variations of the original London text and no English translation. This is offered with two 7 1/2 x 5in (19 x 13 cm) handbills carrying an inscription translating as Distributed by your Friends in the RAF, that were intended to be dropped over France by British planes.

The lot is estimated at 1000-1500 Euros and a 15 x 11in (38 x 28cm) poster printed in Beirut in 1941 for the Free French Territories is guided at 500-700 Euros.

By Anne Crane

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