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l'Appel du 18 Juin by Steve Payne & Scott Palter

Author says: what if Charles De Gaulle fled Vichy France only to find a worse bunch of cowards in London?. Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

June 18th 1940,

on this day, ironically the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Charles de Gaulle was arrested upon his arrival at the BBC Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus. Winston Churchill who was preparing his own "blood, sweat and tears" speech had made the offer to broadcast on the BBC, to declare that "France has lost a battle, but not the war". Neither speech would be given because the Tory Caucus had overruled Winston Churchill, insisting upon peace negotiations with Nazi Germany.

The British Cabinet had met that morning without Churchill who was busy with his speech. The Minister of Information, Duff Cooper, mentioned that de Gaulle was planning to talk on the BBC that evening and gave an outline of what the Frenchman planned to say. The Cabinet decided that the broadcast would be "undesirable". Britain was still hoping to maintain a relationship with the new government set up in Bordeaux under the First World War hero, Marshal Petain, to avoid it siding with the Germans. Churchill was particularly anxious to ensure that the powerful French fleet did not fall into Nazi hands.

The war being advocated by both [Churchill and de Gaulle] would most surely have not only bankcrupted the country, but also meant the end for both the British Empire and the Class System.Unaware of this, de Gaulle worked on his text before lunching with Duff Cooper, who did not tell him of the Cabinet decision. But Cooper did tip off Edward Spears, a general who had been Churchill's personal envoy to the previous French government and had brought de Gaulle to England in his plane the day before. The war being advocated by both [Churchill and de Gaulle] would most surely have not only bankcrupted the country, but also meant the end for both the British Empire and the Class System.Spears went to see Churchill in the afternoon to argue that the general should go ahead with his broadcast because it would give French resistance a focus and might induce the remnants of France's air force to fly to Britain. The prime minister replied that he would authorise the broadcast if members of the Cabinet would change their minds. Looking 'miserable and hot; according to an eyewitness, Spears set off to speak to the ministers individually.

Consulted one by one, Cabinet members agreed that de Gaulle should be authorised to speak,' according to a note added to the record of the earlier decision. In the early evening, wearing a uniform with leggings and polished boots, the Frenchman took a taxi to BBC Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus. And yet de Gaulle would not after all become the "L'homme du destin" because immense pressure was being exerted by the Tory Caucus, and by the end of the day both de Gaulle and Churchill would be disempowered before they could prevent the commencement of peace negotiations with Nazi Germany. Because the war being advocated by both, would most surely have not only bankrupted the country, but also meant the end for both the British Empire and the Class System.

Author says original content has been repurposed to celebrate the author's genius Jonathan Fenby's biography, The General: De Gaulle and the France He Saved (June 2010) and also the Spartacus Schoolnet web site. To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

Other Contemporary Stories

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Steve Payne, Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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