Seventy years ago this month, the Germans rolled into Paris where they stayed until August 1944. The German tanks arrived on the 14th and even today, the pictures of those swastika emblazoned vehicles and the goosestepping troops marching down Avenue Foch can give you a chill. Charles de Gaulle, then a brigadier general in the French army, escaped to England after the disastrous Battle of France. And it was from there, on June 18, 1940, that he made his historic call to the French people over the BBC. De Gaulle's message was one of hope and determination, its power such that, although he made numerous radio addresses over the course of the occupation, it is this one that has become iconic.
On Friday night, there was a sound and light show at Les Invalides to commemorate the famous address with military music and stunning projections onto the building of photographic stills and moving images. My pictures didn't come out very well (check out the one posted by Eric Tenin at Paris Daily Photo) but what I can share with you is this miniature version of the address (complete with context setting introduction and references) that was being handed out to the crowd.
It even has the author and title on the binding so when I shelve it with my other teeny tiny books, I won't have any trouble finding it in case I want to relive those stirring sentiments. It's nice to have my own copy. Now I just need a stronger pair of glasses.