We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France

De Gaulle’s Home
1 July 2011, 18:20
Filed under: Officers, WWII | Tags: ,

I am always interested in learning more about France. In particular, about small towns in France. In my wanderings, I came across a woman who had visited Charles De Gaulle’s adopted home, Colombey-les-deux-Eglises. Colombey is south west from Paris, near Chaumont.

De Gaulle is often thought of as so full of Gallic pride as to be arrogant. I find it interesting that he would choose such a small village and simply try to blend in as a normal villager. This is reinforced when one considers his gravesite, which is simple and humble.

When De Gaulle came ashore on the 14th of June, it rankled the Allies. There was great uncertainty about De Gaulle and, I suspect, Allied leadership wanted someone they could control more easily than De Gaulle. Actually, as French leaders had learned in the 1930s and the early days of the war, no one could control De Gaulle, except De Gaulle. By August, De Gaulle had moved from being only the leader of the Free French Forces to being the Chairman of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (gouvernement provisoire de la République française or GPRF). Seeing him march down the Champs Élysées on film on the 26th, while there were still snipers around (apparently right in Hotel de Crillon) with hordes of his countrymen around is simply stirring.

Perhaps it is fitting that a man often seen as the height of Gallic arrogance turns out to be just another small town boy.

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