25 August 1944 - Speech at the Hotel de Ville in Paris
Why should we try to hide our emotion which we all of us here, men and women, feel ? We are back home in Paris which is on its feet to liberate itself and which has been able to achieve it singlehanded.
No, we should not try to conceal this profound and sacred emotion. We are living through moments which transcend each of our poor lives.
Paris ! Outraged Paris ! Broken Paris ! Martyred Paris, but liberated Paris ! Liberated by the people of Paris with help from the armies of France, with the help and support of the whole of France, of France which is fighting, of the only France, the real France, eternal France.
Because the enemy which held Paris has capitulated to us France goes home to Paris. She goes home bloody but very resolute. She goes home wiser from the tremendous lesson she has learnt, but more sure than ever before of her duties and her rights.
I put duties first and I would include them all if, at the moment, I said her warlike duties. The enemy totters but is not yet beaten. He remains on our soil. It would not even be enough, after what has happened, if with the help of our dear and admirable allies we chased him out of our country. We want to go to his country as we should, as conquerors. This is why the French advance guard reached Paris with cannon shots. This is why a great French army from Italy landed in the South and is advancing rapidly up the Rhone valley. This is why our courageous and dear Forces of the Interior are going to be armed with modern weapons. It is for revenge ; for revenge and justice that we shall continue to fight to the last day ; until the day when victory is total and complete. All the men who are here today and all who hear me elsewhere in France know that this warlike duty demands national unity. In the present situation the nation would not allow national unity to be disrupted. The nation well knows that to conquer, to reconstruct and to be great all Frenchmen are needed. The nation well knows that the sons and daughters of France - all the sons and daughters except for a few unhappy traitors who gave themselves over to the enemy and who are tasting or will taste the rigours of the law - yes ! all the sons and daughters of France must march towards France's goal, fraternally and hand in hand.
Vive la France !