The French Resistance 1940

Charles Tillon’s Appeal of June 17, 1940

Source: Charles Tillon, F.T.P., Soldats sans uniformes. Paris, Julliard, 1962;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor

Translator’s note: Charles Tillon, leader in 1919 of the mutiny of the French Black Sea fleet against intervention in the USSR, member of the Central Committee of the French Communist Party (PCF) since 1932, issued this call for resistance in the immediate aftermath of the French surrender to the Nazis. It is important to note that Charles De Gaulle issued his more famous call only the following day. Tillon would subsequently head the Communist fighters of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans, and was named minister five times after the liberation. In 1952, along with André Marty, he was victim of a scabrous campaign within the PCF and removed from his leadership positions. He remained a party member until 1970.

The bourgeois governments have surrendered Spain, Austria, Albania, Czechoslovakia, and now France to Hitler and Mussolini.

They are guilty of betrayal.

After having surrendered the armies of the North and the east, after having surrendered Paris, its factories, and its workers, they think they can, with Hitler’s assistance, surrender the entire country to fascism.

But the French people want nothing to do with the poverty and slavery of fascism.

No more than they wanted the capitalists’ war.

They have numbers; united, they will have strength.

For a people’s government relying on the masses, liberating the workers, establishing the legality of the Communist Party, fighting against Hitlerite fascism and the two hundred families, reaching an understanding with the USSR for a just peace, fighting for national independence, and taking measures against fascist organizations.

People of the factories, of the fields; of shops, of offices; merchants, artisans and intellectuals; soldiers, sailors, and airmen still under arms UNITE IN ACTION!

Charles Tillon, Gradignan, June 17, 1940