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- 11 -152016

Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 19

MA BA marseillaise 1901 232x300 Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 19

During the Second World War

Throughout the Second World War, La Marseillaise remained the French national anthem both for the État Français [French State of the Vichy Government] and the French Resistance. Although the anthem was forbidden in the so-called “occupied zone” it was still authorized in the “free zone”. The head of the État Français, Marshal Philippe Pétain wished to retain the lyrics that well served the ideology his regime such as : “Drive on sacred patriotism” and the “Arise children of the Fatherland”. The French national anthem was played each time Marshal Pétain made a state address and during all his official visits. In 1941, Admiral François Darlan, at the time head of the Vichy government, limited the use of La Marseillaise and the French flag in order to prevent the Resistance to appropriate unto its members French national symbols and when a government official was not present, a special written request was required to be allowed to sing the national anthem. However, this did not prevent the French resistance fighters sentenced to death to sing it in front the firing squads as the twenty-seven hostages of Châteaubriand, amongst which the young Guy Môquet, did on 22 October 1941. The deportees and the Free French sung it often, along with other songs such as Le Chant des Partisans [The Song of the Partisans] that was written by Joseph Kessel and Maurice Druon. During the war years, several underground newspapers published by the French Resistance used the name La Marseillaise for their newspapers. In September 1944, the Minister of Education of the Vichy Government issued a circular making the teaching of La Marseillaise mandatory in all French schools.

MA BA marseillaise 1902 300x182 Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 19

The two leaflets above were either inspired by or a reinterpretation of La Marseillaise by Rude. Still, they have in common the French colours, the Cross of Lorraine as the emblem of Free France and the first verse of the chorus of the national anthem. They were printed in Great-Britain in 1942 by the Political Warfare Executive (PWE), and smuggled into France by the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

General de Gaulle Sings

MA BA marseillaise 1903 285x300 Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 19The above photograph was taken on 18 June 1943. Brigadier General Charles de Gaulle and Army General Georges Catroux (1877-1969) who was Governor General of Algeria from 1943 to 1944, are seen both singing La Marseillaise on the occasion of the third anniversary of Charles de Gaulle’s Appeal of 18 June in front of the Monument aux Morts (First World War Memorial) in Algers, designed by French sculptor Paul Landowski at the bottom of which they just laid a wreath.  On this occasion, General de Gaulle made a broadcast.  Following the Liberation of Paris, Charles de Gaulle sung La Marseillaise as he walked down the Champs-Élysées in Paris…

General de Gaulle Listens…

MA BA marseillaise 1904 285x300 Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 19 MA BA marseillaise 1905 300x239 Rouget de Lisle & La Marseillaise : episode 19

On 4 February 1944, General Charles de Gaulle and his spouse Yvonne attended a charity gala for the benefit of the Children of France given at the Théâtre de l’Empire in Algers. French actress Gisèle Grandpré (1912-2002), made her stage appearance fully wrapped in the Tricolore and surrounded by members of different communities all dressed in traditional clothing. Photographs on the right were taken as Gisèle Grandpré was singing La Marseillaise during the final scene. General de Gaulle, his wife and the spectators stood up respectfully as the National Anthem was being sung.

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