Maurice Thorez 1944

Paris Has Liberated Itself

Source: Maurice Thorez, Un grand francais vous parle. Editions du Parti Communiste Francais, Paris [n.d.];
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2004.

Broadcast over Radio Moscow August 24, 1944.


Paris is free. The people of Paris have chased out the Germans. The people of Paris have put a term to the activities of the traitors. Paris, ardent and tremulous rose up against the occupiers at the call of the Conseil National de la Résistance and the Comité Parisien de la Libération. Paris has liberated Paris.

Honor to the Representatives of Greater Paris who died for France

You didn’t die in vain, glorious martyrs of the French cause, representatives of Greater Paris, imprisoned by the Munichois and the Vichyssois and assassinated by the Hitlerite bandits. In these days of victory, your names are in all hearts, on all lips: Charles Michels, deputy of Paris; Gabriel Péri, deputy of Argenteuil; Carriou, Frot, Gardette, Le Gall, Losserand, munipal councillors of Paris; Pierre Sémard, Auffray, Grandel, General Councillors of the Seine.

You didn’t die in vain, my brave companions: Catelas, Cadras, Rebière, Sampaix, Lampe, Timbault, Granet, Mourre, Dalidet, Pierre Rigault, Guinsburg, Delaune, Moulie, Politzer, Solomon, Decour, Pitard, Gasteur, and a thousand, ten thousand valorous militants, ferocious patriots, organizers and animators of the fight for the liberation of Paris and of France.

You didn’t die in vain, young students, assassinated by the Germans near the Tomb of the your elder, the Unknown Soldier, the evening of November 11,1940. And all of you, men and women, Frenchmen and -women of all parties and all beliefs who shed your blood for the fatherland during those four years of foreign occupation.

All of France will follow Paris’s example

Frenchmen and women,

Paris has been liberated. And hundreds of cities and thousands of French villages have been liberated. The Allied armies are rapidly progressing in all directions. They have crossed the Seine to the north and the south of the capital. They have reached Meaux and Sens. In the west an American column has passed Angouleme and is rolling at top speed to Bordeaux. In the south the Allied troops have liberated Toulon, Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles. They are at the gates of Lyons, which have been blocked for the past two weeks by the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans.

The Allied armies to the west and the south have carried out a junction with the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans, who now control half the national territory. The Forces Francaises de l'Interieur have liberated Toulouse, Tarbes, Pau, Agen, Montauban, Rodez, Perigueux, Limoges, Chateauroux. The Francs-Tireurs took Vichy in an attack from which the traitors Petain and Laval had precipitously fled. Our three colors float above all the frontier posts of the Pyrenees, from Hendaye to Port-Bou, as well as at the Swiss frontier, from Geneva to Saint Guingolph. The patriots in arms attack the Germans everywhere. The Germans are attempting to move their forces further to the north. They will doubtless attempt to resist from new positions within France itself. “The German retreat must be cut off. They must be prevented from fleeing and regrouping. They must be prevented from maintaining a grip on our soil.” the national command of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans ordered.

That which the partisans have done — the armed, organized, disciplined, and victorious uprising against the occupiers and traitors — those from Lille, Amiens, Nancy, Strasbourg are preparing to carry out. As are the miners of the Nord and the Pas-de-Calais, and the steel workers of the Sambre basin, of the valley of the Meuse, of the Briey-Longwy region. The strike is already total in many cities and industrial centers. The railroad workers have stopped working. The peasants of the Argonne and the Woevre, like their ancestors in 1792, have taken down their rifles to fire on the retreating Prussinas. The patriot’s slogan is :Exterminate the invaders! Exterminate the traitors!

Frenchmen and women!

The Germans have been chased from a portion of our land. But with the assistance of our Allies it is all of France we must liberate as quickly as possible. The liberation of the fatherland doesn’t yet signify the end of the war. The Germans have in their claws two million of our people: prisoners of war, deported workers, hostages. If the war were to be prolonged few of our compatriots would see France again. The Hitlerite bandits would massacre them, just as they massacred thousands at Lublin and other death camps in Germany and Poland. In order to save our sons and brothers, in order to save our young people, we must quickly deliver the coup de grace to the Hitlerite beast backed into his lair.

The Allied armies are striking redoubled blows against the enemy. While the battle of France is unfurling with growing success, the Red Army, joined in battle with the main forces of the German army, pursues its victorious offensive. It is smashing the furious and desperate counter-attacks of the Germans. It is destroying as many as 300 tanks in one day. And it irresistibly advances. Twice the day before yesterday, and three times yesterday, the cannons rang out in Moscow to salute the great victories carried off by the Red Army against the Germans and their Romanian satellites.

Victory is not yet certain

Frenchmen and women

Our friends and allies have assisted us and are assisting us in liberating France. It is up to us now to assist our allies in the accomplishing of the common task: crushing Hitlerite Germany as quickly as possible. There will still be difficult combats to carry out. Victory will yet demand of us many efforts, many sacrifices. It demands the mobilization of all our strength, of all our resources, the mobilization of all Frenchmen and women. In order to grab final victory, to assure our fatherland a place worthy of its past in the world of tomorrow, we must form a powerful national, popular and democratic army, encompassing the regular units reconstituted in Africa and the enormous mass of our Francs-Tireurs et Partisans. In order to meet the needs of our army we must, without delay, put back in order our shattered national economy, ruined by the Germans, we must reorganize transports and get our factories working again. And in order to fully carry out our war effort at the side of the Allies, in order to lay down the solid foundation of a greater, more beautiful, more radiant France than ever, we must proceed to the radical and total liquidation of the Vichy regime. We must reestablish freedoms, reinstall the municipalities, appeal with confidence to the initiative of the popular masses, to their spirit of sacrifice, to their capacities for organization and leadership. Above all, we must assure the continued reinforcement of national unity, cemented by the blood of our martyrs. National unity has been and remains the essential factor of our strength in the fight against the German invaders and the traitors. National unity will be the condition for an effective rebirth for France.

People of France, arise against the tyrants

Frenchmen and women,

Permit me a historical reminder. Today is the anniversary of the sublime decree of the Convention on the levée en masse. A century and a half later, the enflamed appeal of the great and terrible Convention remains the law for each of us. Listen well, Frenchmen and women:

“from this moment forward, all Frenchmen are permanently requisitioned for service in the army.

“The young will go into combat; married men will forge arms and will transport essential goods; women will make tents and clothing and will serve in the hospitals; children will tear old cloths into lint; the elderly will be taken to public places in order to excite the courage of the warriors, to preach hatred of tyrants and the unity of the Republic.

“The national homes will be converted to barracks, the public squares into arms manufactories; the ground of caves will be cleaned to furnish saltpeter...

“The levée will be general. Unmarried and widowed citizens without children aged from 16-25 years will march first...

“The battalion organized in each district shall gather under a banner bearing this inscription: The French people rise against the tyrants!”

Frenchmen and women

Like in ’93, answer France’s call, the Republic’s call with fervor and enthusiasm. Once again Paris has given the signal and the example. Paris will be followed. The French people have risen against the tyrants. The French people have been set in motion for the supreme combat, for victory over fascism, for a strong, democratic and independent France.