Myth, Dialogue, and Co-operation in the ‘Freedom Papers’: De Gaulle and Anglo-French Correspondence (1941–44)

Myth, Dialogue, and Co-operation in the ‘Freedom Papers’: De Gaulle and Anglo-French... Abstract This article performs a close reading of a newly discovered archive of letters to and from Charles de Gaulle, written between 1941 and 1944, to show how de Gaulle engaged in a process of auto-mythification. The archive features wartime correspondence between de Gaulle and various leaders of the British government, intelligence, and military, such as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1941) Anthony Eden, and Chief of the Imperial General Staff General Alan Brooke. The study illuminates the problematic nature of Anglo-French collaboration in terms of shifting cultural perspectives, particularly with regard to the notion of authority. Such notions are inevitably contested, and this collection of letters is an unusually effective resource to reconstruct the essentially dialogic aspects of this contestation. Through contextualization of the correspondence, including both contemporary and retrospective accounts of the war, the article enriches our understanding of the implicit and explicit conflicts between British and French forces and the rhetorical strategies utilized to further each writer’s aims. Writing in his diary on 16 December 1941, General Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, observed of Charles de Gaulle: ‘Lunched with De Gaulle a most unattractive specimen. We made a horrid mistake when we decided to make use of him!’1 His characterization of de Gaulle undermines and objectifies the French general, then a pivotal figure in the France libre movement. While this period and the figures who shaped it have been studied in great detail, the surfacing of a new collection of correspondence between de Gaulle and various leaders of the British government, military, and intelligence, from 1941 to 1944, suggests the potential for a dialogic understanding of the era. Housed at Kansas State University’s Hale Libraries Special Collections and entitled the Freedom Papers, the collection contains twenty-seven letters in French and English. The correspondence came from Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli, who obtained the top-secret correspondence due to his work as a courier for La France libre.2 He viewed the letters as a singular document that detailed ‘some of the internal struggles of de Gaulle’s Free French government in their fight against the Germans’.3 The archive sheds light on the ways in which Anglo-French collaboration at this time was marked by misunderstandings as well as clashes of personality evidenced in Brooke’s diary entry. Indeed, the archive offers the opportunity to examine a transnational ‘contact zone’.4 Through a close reading of the archive, we examine the ways in which identity (in particular, de Gaulle’s identity as leader of La France libre) is negotiated and communicated. We offer a rhetorical analysis of the dialogic nature of the correspondence and how the same events are recounted in later texts such as de Gaulle’s Mémoires.5 This approach is inspired by recent scholarship that encourages an inclusive, unified examination of archives.6 Read as a single whole, the Freedom Papers permit a nuanced examination of the way in which de Gaulle and his British counterparts dialogue with one another in this transnational contact zone, revealing struggles for control and authority, both real and rhetorical. Several recent publications have, to various degrees, and based on different archives, addressed the question of myth-making and de Gaulle. Lawrence Kritzman describes him as a ‘mythiculteur’ (a term borrowed from de Gaulle biographer Jean Lacouture) who underscored the importance of the written and spoken word as the impetus to incite action: ‘In a sense, fighting the war became a question of rhetorical efficacy’.7 Kritzman identifies the themes of ‘reason, affection, and most of all, grandeur’ in de Gaulle’s creation of the ‘certain idea of France’, themes that do, indeed, appear in the correspondence we study.8 However, the themes are alternately undermined and reinforced in our analysis through the emphasis on the dialogic. Sudhir Hazareesingh, relying both on de Gaulle’s public addresses and on his reception by the adoring French public (largely through letters written to the general) argues that the myth of de Gaulle is perhaps ‘the French national political myth’.9 Hazareesingh sees de Gaulle as very much a shaper of this myth, ‘defining himself and drawing his own portrait’ as ‘an idealized image of the “soul of France”’.10 He also observes de Gaulle’s ability, from the very beginning, to harness sentimental concepts such as grief, sorrow, and faith in the creation of this myth.11 In contrast to Hazareesingh’s use of letters written to de Gaulle by the French public and Kritzman’s reliance on the general’s speeches and Mémoires, our examination of de Gaulle focuses on the early, in-process, dialogic creation and assertion of this auto-mythification in the military correspondence contained in the Freedom Papers archive. Such an approach problematizes our understanding of de Gaulle’s role as ‘mythiculteur’ by acknowledging the potential for failure in communication that has heretofore been overlooked. To better highlight this process of becoming, we have grouped the letters from the archive thematically. The first group of letters treats assertions and denials of de Gaulle’s authority over La France libre. The second focuses on an exemplary moment of conflict over said authority: Vice-amiral Émile Muselier’s resignation from La France libre. The third describes the difficulties that arose in collaboration between La France libre and the British. The fourth section describes a symbolic example of conflict over collaboration: the dropping of a French flag on the Champs-Élysées by the Royal Air Force. Our discussions of these groups of letters are held together by three common themes that contribute to a nuanced understanding of de Gaulle’s process of auto-mythification within a transnational contact zone rather than isolated within a French context: de Gaulle’s myth-making (and British resistance to the same); the vast differences in tone and content between the letters and accounts (both contemporary and retrospective) of the events discussed; and conflicts both material and cultural over French and British co-operation during this period, with particular emphasis on the juxtaposition of the ultimate success of the Franco-British alliance and the isolated moments within the correspondence where communication fails. Assertions and denials of de Gaulle’s authority Shortly after the Appel du 22 juin in 1940, de Gaulle was explicitly recognized by the British (though not the Americans) as the ‘leader of all the Free French, wherever they are to be found, who rally to him in support of the Allied cause’.12 By the end of September 1941, he was the unequivocal head of the Comité national français. However, while de Gaulle saw himself as the ‘sole repository of French sovereignty’, the British were generally more reluctant to accept his authority, especially given de Gaulle’s volatile temper.13 His relations with Roosevelt and the US government were little better.14 During this time, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, while never publicly denying de Gaulle’s authority, also encouraged various challenges to his leadership of La France libre — cultivating Vice-amiral Muselier as an ‘intriguer’ who could destabilize de Gaulle’s power and authorizing Desmond Morton (his personal assistant), to explore the feasibility of installing other leaders for La France libre (in particular Général Henri Giraud).15 Gino Raymond observes, about this moment, that ‘if ever there was a self-promoted leader in need of a unifying myth, it was Charles de Gaulle in the summer of 1940’.16 We see this conflict over de Gaulle’s authority play out, in more or less oblique terms, in the Freedom Papers. De Gaulle and those attached to him show a firm commitment to his control over all things French, whereas British figures, while never directly questioning de Gaulle’s leadership, subtly undermine him. A letter from Pierre Billotte (de Gaulle’s Chef de l’État-Major particulier) to Desmond Morton, dated 14 April 1943, is a strong example of the confidence that the French express in de Gaulle. In the letter, Billotte writes to Morton to describe four ‘personnalités’ in London. These personages are important, Billotte writes, because ‘[ils] ont rapporté des indications du plus haut intérêt concernant la résistance du peuple français et sa confiance dans le Chef des Français Libres’.17 One of de Gaulle’s greatest strengths was his rallying of the French, both in France and abroad. Hazareesingh describes the ‘symbolic fervor’ for de Gaulle as well as his ability to ‘shape the way the French people see the world’.18 According to Hazareesingh, de Gaulle was a ‘charismatic figure’ capable of creating ‘a sense of optimism and defiance among the people’.19 This optimism is evident in Billotte’s conclusion: ‘du point de vue de l’avenir, l’importance du ralliement au Général de Gaulle de ces personnalités ne saurait vous échapper’.20 A memo from André Philip (Commissaire à l’Intérieur who played a vital role in connecting the Resistance in France and La France libre in London) to Anthony Eden (one of Churchill’s closest confidants, the liaison between Churchill’s government and La France libre, and member of the executive committee of the Political Warfare Executive) dated 4 August 1942 and marked ‘Secret’ similarly expresses French confidence in de Gaulle’s leadership. In point 3 Philip asserts, after outlining the available existing networks of various groups in France, that leadership of these forces must be handled by de Gaulle: ‘Mais, pour être efficace, tout ce travail préparatoire doit s’accomplir sous une direction unique, exclusivement française, celle du Général de Gaulle, la seule que les mouvements de résistance acceptent, ainsi qu’ils l’ont fait connaître de manière irréfutable’.21 In the discussion of the material needs for preparing such missions, Philip asks that they be ‘réunis et placés à la disposition du Général de Gaulle, assisté du Comité National français et de son Etat-Major’. Philip concludes, ‘le Général de Gaulle, qui recevra du Grand Etat-Major allié les directions de stratégie générale, doit être le Chef suprême du Front Intérieur Français’.22 These moments in the memo, where Philip literally underscores the need for control to be handed to de Gaulle, leap off the page. Philip places emphasis on efficiency, asserting that the French general is the only one who could unify and effectively lead these troops. These letters show that de Gaulle’s own assertions of his authority are not merely rhetorical; members of La France libre also strongly believed in de Gaulle’s leadership. The British, however, were less keen on accepting de Gaulle’s authority, although their distaste for de Gaulle is never made explicit in the correspondence. A letter from Churchill to de Gaulle, dated 7 December 1941 (at a moment when he was still actively authorizing people in his government to explore other possible leaders for La France libre), both affirms and undermines de Gaulle’s leadership. Churchill refers to a France libre Brigade as ‘your men’, and describes their deployment as ‘in accordance with your wishes’.23 However, Churchill’s praise tends to focus on La France libre generally, rather than de Gaulle specifically. When he praises the troops, he asserts that General Auchinleck is ‘most anxious to use a Free French Brigade immediately’.24 This use of objectifying language, emphasizing British control over French troops, echoes Brooke’s ‘use’ of de Gaulle in the citation that opened this article. Similarly, in his response to Billotte, Morton is very complimentary towards the ‘personnalités’ described, while avoiding the topic of de Gaulle’s authority. He asserts, ‘I would indeed be glad to meet any brave Frenchman who has come over here to see General de Gaulle or to join the Free French movement’.25 However, Morton also (very politely) claims that he is unable to meet these figures presently because his ‘time is so greatly filled now with various special duties for the Prime Minister’.26 Morton’s letter tends to place emphasis on La France libre, rather than on de Gaulle, skilfully ignoring what appears to be the main point of Billotte’s missive, the ‘importance du ralliement’ around de Gaulle. Morton, on the contrary, expresses his confidence in the movement as a whole: ‘I feel sure that the Free French movement will always pass to the British Authorities any information which their contacts may obtain, and which is of value to the prosecution of the war’.27 Here, the assumption implied in ‘I feel sure’ implies a belief in La France libre as subordinate in both rank and function to British interests. Morton’s use of ‘always’ is likely an indirect reference to the fact that Morton hoped that de Gaulle might not perpetually be the leader of La France libre — he expected collaboration from La France libre no matter who led them.28 It is the dialogic nature of this exchange, or perhaps the failure of meaningful dialogue, that is so revealing. Morton maintains a placating tone and politely ignores the main thrust of Billotte’s letter, the rallying around de Gaulle, while focusing his attention on La France libre instead. Here, the dialogic nature of the exchange reveals the purposeful disregard on the part of the British of French autonomy — Morton chooses not to engage with Billotte. The confusion and conflict caused by this undermining of de Gaulle’s leadership plays out in the Muselier affair, which is newly illuminated by the Freedom Papers. The Muselier affair In letters in the archive dated June and July of 1942, de Gaulle and Eden corresponded regarding the removal of important France libre figure Vice-amiral Muselier from London, given his renunciation of ties to de Gaulle and La France libre.29 In his letter, de Gaulle asserts that Muselier’s conduct would be considered treasonous on French soil, but that the Comité national’s presence in England ‘empêche provisoirement l’autorité française de procéder à l’application de la loi’.30 This citation encapsulates the continual challenge La France libre faced: they were, in essence, outsiders among those who viewed them as interlopers who should recognize British control. De Gaulle affirms that Muselier is agitating the naval forces, arguing that his public position and continual agitation are untenable and ‘constituent un danger grave pour la discipline et pour le moral des Forces Françaises Libres’.31 De Gaulle’s letter focuses on Muselier’s betrayal and its potential public consequences, relying heavily on affective language and rhetorical constructions. He explains why he had not already signed a written accord with Muselier: il ne me serait naturellement jamais venu à l’esprit de faire signer un engagement écrit à un Vice-Amiral qui était venu se placer sous mes ordres, qui tenait son poste de soi-même, qui commandait sous l’autorité et sous la responsabilité du Comité National français.32Using strong language here, such as ‘naturellement’ and ‘ne […] jamais’, de Gaulle emphasizes the completely unexpected and unacceptable nature of Muselier’s actions. The use of an iterative and accusatory list of Muselier’s actions legalistically outlines the extent of his unfaithfulness. While Muselier has not betrayed the French to the Germans, or to Vichy, he has undermined de Gaulle’s control publicly. De Gaulle evokes ‘l’attitude prise publiquement par l’Amiral Muselier’ and then asks: S’il devait être entendu qu’un Officier général peut, impunément, quitter [ un] son poste, rejeter son devoir, et inciter ses anciens subordonnés à imiter son exemple, parce qu’il se trouve en territoire allié, que penseront les soldats, marins, aviateurs français qui combattent et dont certains meurent tous les jours, pour leur pays à côté des vôtres?33De Gaulle’s stylized, rhetorical questioning is both dramatic and pointed, underscoring the shared and equal sacrifice of British and French forces. His keen awareness of the public consequences of the Muselier affair points, perhaps, to his myth-making in process, undertaking a ‘travail d’automythification’ in order to open the ‘épopée gaullienne’ evoked by Jean-Luc Barré.34 Highly attuned to his own public image as the embodiment of La France libre, de Gaulle rhetorically pressurizes Eden into conformation with his view on the topic: ‘je suis sûr que vous penserez comme moi qu’il est nécessaire, dans l’intérêt commun, de faire cesser le scandale causé au point de vue militaire, par la conduite et par l’action de l’Amiral Muselier’.35 De Gaulle strategically frames the request in terms of ‘intérêt commun’, exposing, perhaps, his awareness of the precarity of his position as, in his view, a French leader on foreign soil. He concludes with a request for Eden: ‘J’ai donc l’honneur de vous demander que les autorités britanniques éloignent de Londres et des environs l’Amiral Muselier, lui assignent une résidence déterminée et lui interdisent toute communication directe ou indirecte avec les militaires des Forces Françaises Libres’.36 The formulaic commencement as well as the tone of this sentence imply that de Gaulle expects the British to acquiesce unquestioningly to his request. De Gaulle’s positioning reveals the military general’s desire to maintain control and quash any other possible uprisings against his authority, British-backed or otherwise. Eden diplomatically but firmly refuses de Gaulle’s requests, pointing out that ordering Muselier to stay in Britain, and merely expelling him from London (which was de Gaulle’s proposed solution), would ‘hardly be effective’, and suggesting instead on 20 July 1942 that Muselier should be shipped off to the United States at the next appropriate opportunity.37 In fact, this option had already been proposed by the British to the French, on 19 February 1942. A letter in the archive from H. Somerville-Smith (Export Credits Guarantee Department) informs Paul Ortoli (de Gaulle’s personal Chief of Staff), ‘if Admiral Muselier applied for a visa to proceed to Washington, it would be granted’.38 In his letter to de Gaulle, Eden proposes the plan of Muselier’s exile to the United States as provisional and recent, rather than something that has been developing for months. Although he worries, dramatically, that ‘the difficulty is to find a suitable place for him to reside’, Eden then ‘realizes’, ‘he is, I understand, not unwilling to visit the United States’.39 This bit of theatre is counterbalanced by diplomatic language that softens the blow of Eden’s alternative plan: ‘I fully understand’, and ‘I hope you will agree’. He also calls attention to the public relations nightmare that the incident could create, observing: [I]t would be necessary to keep Admiral Muselier in a state of virtual confinement and to do this would almost certainly entail that an affair which is now being rapidly forgotten would be brought back once more into the realm of public discourse.40Here, de Gaulle’s mythification is seen from the outside by Eden, who recognizes the importance of public image to de Gaulle, and effectively uses the maintenance of de Gaulle’s public persona as incentive to agree to his plan. This is also, perhaps, wishful thinking on Eden’s part: the British would very much like the Muselier incident to be ‘rapidly forgotten’, a factor contributing to their desire to send Muselier as far away (geographically and in memory) as possible. While Eden’s response attempts to distance the events surrounding Muselier, relegating them to a forgotten past that has no real bearing on the present, de Gaulle does not rapidly forget the incident, although, in his Mémoires, he does recall a rather specific version of events. In de Gaulle’s telling, the incident ends when Muselier cuts off ties with La France libre. ‘[C]et officier général, qui avait beaucoup fait pour notre marine, me notifia que sa collaboration à la France Libre était terminée. Je l’ai regretté pour lui.’41 This is a far more positive conclusion than that retold in the correspondence. De Gaulle positions himself here as a calm and benevolent statesman, recalling the vocabulary of ‘chagrin’ in his description of the event.42 He maintains a figure of authority: one who always had control despite the attempts of others to challenge him. This contrasts starkly with his letter of June 1942 wherein the emotional response and tone reveal how very much this episode truly shook him. Moreover, de Gaulle’s desired outcome does not coincide with the actual outcome. (Muselier did go to the United States.) This is an excellent example of the myth-making process and resulting product. In the letter, de Gaulle asserts his authority and presents himself as the statesman making a request. However, he does not succeed — Eden does. In contrast, the final product of de Gaulle in the Mémoires imagines a different version of events: one in which his control, both sentimental and real, is never really in question. Through the lens of the dialogic reality of the transnational contact zone represented by this archive, a more nuanced understanding of de Gaulle’s process of auto-mythification comes to light. Co-operating at cross-purposes: the dialogue of power in the Freedom Papers Allusions to co-operation, or rather the deficiencies thereof, pepper the missives contained in the archive. This should not be surprising given the contentious nature of combined operations during the war. As Sébastien Albertelli recounts in his study of the Bureau central de renseignements et d’actions (BCRA), the attempt at co-operation between the British Secret Services and the French was often problematic and lopsided, in particular with regard to recognizing de Gaulle’s leadership: ‘Jusqu’au bout, les Alliés tinrent de Gaulle à l’écart des grandes décisions concernant la France, refusant de le reconnaître comme le représentant du pays pendant la guerre et comme le prétendant naturel au pouvoir après la Libération’.43 In truth, de Gaulle was in a particularly precarious position: the reliance of the BCRA and French forces in general on the material support of the British in the form of supplies, aircraft, armaments, and even intelligence networks led to a perpetual need to reassert authority and, at times, undermined the co-operation among Allied forces.44 Through an analysis of various episodes detailed in the correspondence, a picture emerges of the dialogue of power and the rhetorical nature of ‘co-operation’ as a strategy of conciliation and assuagement on the side of the British in the face of affective and moralistic argumentation on the part of de Gaulle. The most common rhetorical strategy employed by the British correspondents in the archive is that of reconciliation and placation. For example, Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, in a letter dated 30 April 1942, emphasizes the egalitarian nature of co-operation while never conceding control of forces.45 He uses the phrase ‘exactly the same’ on three separate occasions to clarify the formation of what Mountbatten calls the ‘Free French Commando’ units under the command of British officer Brigadier Robert Laycock. Of course, while Mountbatten underscores this equality of standing and creation, paralleling the structure of the units with those of their British counterparts, he assigns leadership and command thereof to the British. Rhetorically, Mountbatten uses conciliatory and unifying language (‘To confirm our conversation it is agreed’; ‘we will together draw up the combined plan for our joint approval’; ‘It is further agreed’; ‘I am most grateful to you’; ‘We shall, of course, be delighted for you to inspect this Troop’) while maintaining ultimate control (‘By my Directive from the Chiefs of Staff I am responsible for all raids and I therefore suggest’) and concludes the letter with a warm reference to Anglo-French co-operation: I am convinced that this has been a great day in the history of Anglo-French relations as from now on I shall feel that we are more than ever partners in our determination to throw the Germans out of your beautiful country.46Emphasis in this conclusion falls on the future (‘from now on’) as though to distinguish from past difficulties or lack of clarity. The spirit of collaboration is prized in lexical choices such as ‘partners’ and ‘our’ while collectively planning action to reclaim France, yet the use of possessives and subject pronouns (in particular the emphasis given to the use of ‘our’ and ‘we’ throughout the letter) illuminates how important the question of control was to Mountbatten. Balancing conciliatory language and multiple references to gratitude (placating strategies) with clear delineation of command ultimately residing with the British, Mountbatten masterfully reconciles the opposing tensions inherent in the Anglo-French alliance. Another strategy utilized by the British is praise of the French troops and their contribution to the war effort: an affective argument that echoes de Gaulle’s own rhetorical disposition. In a letter about the ‘magnificent fight’ of a ‘gallant Brigade’ of France libre forces at Bir Hakeim, Libya, Brooke narrates La France libre’s ‘heroic’ actions with the thrilling vocabulary of a novelist: Although continuously attacked by tanks, heavy artillery and aircraft, the heroic Free French forces repelled all assaults, and contemptuously disdained every call to surrender. By their indomitable will and tenacity, they not only imposed on the enemy a delay which he could ill afford, but they inflicted heavy casualties on the Axis forces.47Brooke adds, ‘such exploits as these are fully in accord with the noblest traditions of France and cannot fail to quicken the hearts of all your countrymen and indeed of all free peoples’.48 The quickening of the hearts of de Gaulle’s countrymen here is a telling turn of phrase, mirroring many of de Gaulle’s own rhetorical constructions rather than rebuking or openly mollifying the general. The epic tone, which Brooke utilizes to describe the ‘indomitable will and tenacity’ of the France libre forces, echoes de Gaulle’s own grandstanding with regard to descriptions of French interventions in the war. This use of praise actually complements the placation inherent in British correspondence with de Gaulle in the archive. Brooke underscores the best, most heroic characteristics of the France libre forces, affirming that they ‘contemptuously disdained every call to surrender’, which is legible as a none-too-veiled reference to the collapse of 1940. Indeed, when it comes to analysing de Gaulle’s rhetorical strategies, it is important to recognize his skill in asserting and positioning both himself and the French in relation to the other Allies. Kritzman proposes that de Gaulle’s active mythmaking was essential for France’s defence and survival during the Second World War and the post-war era.49 Through the use of key topoi such as reason, affection, and grandeur, de Gaulle capitalized on the power of the written word assertively to position both himself and the France libre forces as equally contributing members to the Allied fight. In his letters contained in the archive, we note the frequent recourse to affective terminology and moralistic argument, in particular in moments when negotiating the terms of Anglo-French co-operation. In a letter dated 18 July 1942, addressed to Eden, de Gaulle characterizes the collaboration of British and French intelligence as not ‘entièrement satisfaisante’: Je ne saurais méconnaître que les services secrets britanniques ont souvent aidé et, en revanche, utilisé nos propres services. Mais nous pensons que l’aide que les services britanniques fournissent actuellement aux nôtres n’est pas proportionnée à l’importance du but à atteindre et qu’elle est en outre compliquée d’ingérences et de délais qui ne nous facilitent pas la tâche.50De Gaulle’s use of the word ‘tâche’ inevitably recalls the Appel du 22 juin 1940, in which he underscores the importance of the ‘tâche nationale’ that the French face and that he promises to undertake while in Britain. In this letter, as a means of rectifying what he identifies as a disproportionate and hence unequal collaboration, de Gaulle suggests un appui plus large fourni à la France Combattante par le Gouvernement de Sa Majesté, pour ce qui concerne l’action des services secrets, faciliterait, dans la situation présente, le concours matériel et moral de la France à l’effort commun des alliés.Emphasizing the potential for not only material but moral co-operation, de Gaulle’s letter presents an early example of what Hazareesingh views as the sentimental dimension as well as the emphasis on faith in the Gaullian myth.51 Rhetorically seeking recourse in logic and morality, de Gaulle fashions a multifaceted argument that again asserts an image of France as a unified nation partaking in equal measure in the work of the Allies and rejecting the fragmented image of the nation that the British and Americans seem to present.52 The use of affective strategies in de Gaulle’s correspondence is echoed in the Mémoires, first published in 1954, particularly when it concerns the question of co-operation. In retrospect, reflecting on the end of July 1942, de Gaulle recalls that the desire of the British and Americans was to take control of North African operations and to exclude him in favour of Giraud: [J]e pressentais ce qui allait advenir. Bien qu’on nous cachât avec soin ce qu’on projetait de faire, il me paraissait très probable […] que les Alliés y emploieraient le général Giraud, qu’ils me tiendraient en dehors de l’affaire et qu’ainsi ces préliminaires de notre libération, pour heureux qu’ils fussent à maints égards, comporteraient, cependant, pour nous de nouveaux obstacles devant l’unité nationale.53Co-operation, as described in de Gaulle’s role as ‘witness’ of history, is at times at odds with French desire for national unity in the face of the Allies.54 The use of the verb ‘pressentir’ at once positions de Gaulle as always in control while recalling his tendency to express through theological and messianic imagery his own role in the war effort. Moreover, he underscores the moralistic contradictions of this co-operation at cross-purposes in terms of broken promises: Je partis le 5 août, ayant vu auparavant MM Churchill et Eden et, tiré de leurs propos, quelque peu embarrassés, confirmation de mon sentiment qu’ils allaient prêter la main à une entreprise contraire au pacte qui nous liait depuis juin 1940.55Referring to the Allies, he underscores their political manoeuvring as founded in ‘l’égoisme sacré’,56 further undercutting any action that was contrary to de Gaulle’s express wishes and, by extension, the French national interest, as inherently amoral. While morality forms the basis for many of his arguments, de Gaulle utilizes a language characterized by its passion and emotion, in particular when referring to successful French initiatives. A handwritten correction to a 4 May 1942 letter to Brooke provides an excellent example of de Gaulle’s myth-making prowess. De Gaulle affirms, ‘je suis heureux de la contribution que cette opération a pu apporter à celles conduites par le Général Auchinleck’.57 He has then added by hand, referring, we assume, to the joint operations, ‘celles-là si essentielles et si glorieuses’. This handwritten correction adds nothing to the content of the letter, which is otherwise a relatively routine remerciement for a previous communication. However, it reveals an obvious flair for the language of sensibility and passion evoked by Hazareesingh. This is a clear example of the process of auto-mythification. De Gaulle, rereading a finished letter, decided to add in by hand the evocation of the ‘essential’ and ‘glorious’ nature of the French contribution to the joint military operation. Even within this typically formulaic military correspondence, de Gaulle the statesman makes an appearance glorifying an image of France as a unified whole, an equal partner with the British forces in all aspects of the operation. Of course, this vision of a unified whole was rhetorical rather than real, and efforts to collaborate between the two groups remained extremely contentious. Nowhere is this dialogue at cross-purposes clearer than in the episode of the dropping of a tricolore on the Champs-Élysées, discussed below as an exemplary case study. While perhaps the most colourful of the episodes recounted in the archive, it is by no means the sole instance of the oppositional co-operation that, in spite of itself, won the war. The Champs-Élysées ‘tricolore’ One particularly illuminating incident for the question of myth-making revolves around the propagandistic dropping of a French flag on the Champs-Élysées during June of 1942. This ‘tonic for French morale’, known as Operation Squabble, has been documented by Denis Richards and Hilary St George Saunders, although de Gaulle’s role in the mission is, perhaps unsurprisingly, ignored in the British account of the action.58 In Richards’s and Saunders’s account of the event, ‘someone’ (likely Conservative MP Lieutenant-General John Moore-Brabazon) suggested that a mission should be undertaken to strafe a regular parade of German soldiers along the Champs-Élysées.59 Due to potential civilian casualties, the ‘shooting up’ of the parade was replaced by the ‘inspired notion of throwing out a tricolore’ before the mission took place.60 In the account of the incident found in the Freedom Papers archive, the inspiration for the mission is French rather than British. Archibald Sinclair, the Secretary of State for Air, writes to de Gaulle regarding the proposal: I quite understood the feelings which prompted le Capitaine de Corvette Jubelin to renew the proposal to drop a French flag on the Champs Elysées. I could see the encouragement which it would give to the French people confined in the prison house which Paris now is, and I admire the spirit of your gallant officer.61The letter goes on to clarify that de Gaulle proposed that a French pilot in a long-range Spitfire would drop a French flag on the Champs-Élysées. We immediately recognize here de Gaulle the statesman and myth-maker: he wishes to undertake a risky air operation with a solely propagandistic goal — evidencing Hazareesingh’s assertion, ‘De Gaulle’s mythical power appears in his ability to produce sacredness in all its forms’.62 Given that the Royal Air Force would have needed to supply both the aeroplane and the logistical support for the mission, it is unsurprising that Sinclair informed de Gaulle on 16 June 1942 that ‘there was no margin at all to make it a practicable operation. Accordingly, the Air Staff advised strongly against it.’63 British forces did manage to drop a flag as part of another operation. Sinclair provides a stirring account of the mission, on which Flight Lieutenant A. K. Gatward circled round the Arc de Triomphe again in order to make certain that the German troops were not hiding in any corner, flew again down the Champs Elysées, gave the Ministère de la Marine another peppering, and came home. He dropped two tricolores — one at each end of the Champs Elysées.This account skilfully employs the kind of affective language associated with de Gaulle’s myth, emphasizing heroism. One might think that this mission would have pleased de Gaulle since it corresponds in nearly every way to the mission he had proposed. However, de Gaulle was greatly displeased. He clarifies that the fly-over had been requested ‘pour des raisons psychologiques et morales qui ne doivent pas être négligées’.64 He asserts his disappointment that ‘une opération différente’ from the one he proposed was executed: ‘je ne puis que vous exprimer mon regret que la Royal Air Force britannique n’ait pas jugé possible qu’un Officier français pût jeter un drapeau français sur la capitale de la France’. De Gaulle’s repetition of ‘français’ demonstrates the extent of his desire to exert precise control over missions related to France, La France libre, and La France combattante. His insistence on controlling this propagandistic action points to his need to shape the construction of his own myth and that of La France libre. A critique made by General Alan Brooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff) during the same period reveals the British view: Whatever good qualities he may have had were marred by his overbearing manner, his megalomania, and lack of co-operative spirit. He is supposed to have said at that time, ‘Je suis la France’. Whether he did or not he certainly adopted that attitude.65Sinclair’s response to the incident is typical of the British handling of de Gaulle at the time: there are strong efforts made to placate him, while simultaneously circumventing de Gaulle’s seemingly unreasonable demands. In a response to de Gaulle’s letter, dated 22 June 1942, Sinclair is, at moments, lightly chastising. Fitting with the British tendency to characterize de Gaulle as irrational and overly emotional, he writes, ‘I did not realise that you were particularly anxious that this task should be carried out by a French officer’.66 Although he does issue a back-handed apology — ‘if I erred I deeply regret it’ — his tone verges on exasperated, as he emphasizes that he had ‘already explained’ the mission and its difficulties to de Gaulle. At moments, though, Sinclair also mimics de Gaulle’s use of affective language, shoring up de Gaulle’s authority with the possessive ‘your gallant French pilots’. He also placates de Gaulle: It never occurred to me for one moment that when I wrote my letter to you of the 16th June that you would think it possible that I or any of the officers in the R.A.F., have the slightest vestige of doubt in our minds about the ability of any number of French officers to carry out the difficult and dangerous task of dropping a tricolore in Paris.67This particular event is described, both in British and in French accounts, as inherently heroic, dangerous, and necessary — yet the originator of the action differs, depending on the national identity of the speaker. Sinclair and de Gaulle both claim this event, and de Gaulle’s anger at it having been carried out by the British rather than the French underscores the importance that this emblematic moment had in his attempt to consolidate power, establishing himself as the representative for La France libre. Although in this dialogue both are deploying propagandistic language, this is a moment of failure for de Gaulle who is unable to claim responsibility for this ‘almost legendary’ event.68 This failure will be underscored in later British accounts of the event, which characterize it as a moment of British heroism, essentially robbing de Gaulle and the French of any possible agency in this symbolic event. This dialogue between isolated interlocutors has been echoed in historical accounts of the event, creating a meta-dialogue surrounding air operations. Although the British retain this heroic moment as exemplary of their invaluable contribution and agency in war, the memory of this moment is elided from de Gaulle’s typically detailed accounts of the war. When he does speak to the larger question of French air operations, there is a definite melancholic tone that colours the account. For example, when recalling, in the Mémoires, the lack of action of the French air force, de Gaulle characterizes it as a lost opportunity. In a particularly relevant section, he describes the inaction of French maritime and air forces with sadness: [L]es navires perdus dans l’inaction, évoquant l’occasion historique que cette guerre offrait à la vocation maritime de la France, je me sens inondé de tristesse. […] En voyant ce qu’ils valent et, d’autre part, en songeant à tout ce qu’aurait pu faire […] l’armée de l’air française pour peu qu’on l’eût laissé combattre, j’ai l’impression d’une grande chance nationale gaspillée.69De Gaulle’s memory here is marked heavily by a lexicon that evokes sadness, failure, and lack (‘perdus’, ‘inaction’, ‘inondé de tristesse’, ‘gaspillé’). Both structurally and lexically, de Gaulle emphasizes the lost potential of the French forces (‘ce qu’on aurait pu faire’, ‘pour peu qu’on l’eût laissé combattre’, and even ‘en songeant’). In using the verb ‘valoir’, he might well be alluding to the lack of material support on the part of the British, rendering the entire memory a veiled rebuke towards the British for wasting French potential. The structuring of the entire episode remains vague and abstract (the use of ‘on’, the lack of concrete subject), inevitably recalling de Gaulle’s constant struggle to establish agency and authority within combined operations. The reference to ‘occasion historique’ further situates this account as a dialogue with the past, and a critique of the British. Although tinged with melancholy and loss, there is no sense that de Gaulle identifies himself as to blame for that loss. Rather, it is another moment where the full potential of the French and, by extension, de Gaulle, has not been fully realized. Conclusions The Freedom Papers offer a unique opportunity to examine the intercultural reception of de Gaulle as leader of the France libre movement. The nature of the documents, not only de Gaulle’s letters but also the responses of his British counterparts, is particularly promising for those interested in the construction of the Gaullian myth within the context of a transnational contact zone. Hilary Footitt has affirmed that such zones are ‘multivocal spaces in which identities are translated and communication attempted’, adding that war itself may be understood as ‘spatially transnational’ and thus inherently ‘multilingual’: ‘filled with cultural products and cultural analysis from a much broader range of sources than those we normally encounter’.70 This study, emphasizing a polyphonic positioning of de Gaulle’s letters within the broader context of the general’s own writings and those of his correspondents, is unique and permits a fuller consideration of the process of auto-mythification at its earliest stages. While de Gaulle’s rhetorical strategies focus on asserting a unified France represented in La France libre and his leadership thereof, the British often politely ignore such attempts, removing individual references to de Gaulle in favour of broader characterizations of La France libre as a whole, to Frenchmen, or to various generals. De Gaulle himself addressed his rhetorical self-fashioning in an interview with Churchill on 29 September 1942, reproduced in Lettres, notes et carnets, after Churchill asserted: ‘le Général parle toujours comme s’il était la France. Il n’a jamais été d’accord pour accepter ce point de vue’. Churchill chastised de Gaulle, explaining that ‘il voit en la personne du Général une partie très honorable de la France, mais non la France’. Churchill added: ‘Mais il pourrait y avoir d’autres parties de la France qui seraient appelées, à la suite des événements, à prendre une place plus importante qu’aujourd’hui’.71 Churchill’s discussion here seems quite fitting with the tone of the Freedom Papers: the reluctance on the part of British authorities to accept de Gaulle’s leadership of France; their acceptance, nonetheless, of de Gaulle’s important role; and their use of flowery language, such as ‘très honorable’ and ‘le sentiment combattant’ to placate him. Indeed, in the evocation of sentiment and honour, Churchill seems to be reproducing the myth of de Gaulle almost exactly. However, again echoing the letters in the archive, de Gaulle does not accept Churchill’s rebuke and subsequent assuagement. In an ultimate myth-making moment, he rejects Churchill’s assertion that he represents only a very honourable part of France. He insists that his person is ‘négligeable’: ‘le Général ne peut avoir d’autre position que celle de représentant de la France’.72 While the struggle continues this assertion on de Gaulle’s part represents the coalescence of the myth-making process, moving firmly from the realm of process to product; and de Gaulle could hardly be speaking to a more appropriate interlocutor than Churchill, himself a master of self-mythologization. Guide to the Freedom Papers Winston Churchill, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 7 December 1941 (Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University Hale Library), KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 1. Published in Winston Churchill and Martin Gilbert, The Churchill War Papers, 3 vols (New York: Norton, 1993–2001), iii, 1572. Keywords: Auchinleck, Claude; Cyrenaica; La France libre. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Hastings Ismay, 29 December 1941, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 2. Keywords: Cameroon; Chad; Comité national français; Libya; Soviet collaboration; Syria. Pierre Billotte, Letter to Desmond Morton, 14 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 3. Keywords: Farman, Pierre; Mangin, Stanislas; Pacot (no first name); Veil-Curiel (this may be a reference to André Weil-Curiel, a lawyer who worked for the Resistance). Desmond Morton, Letter to Pierre Billotte, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 4. Keywords: Eden, Anthony; La France libre; Mack, Henry. Anthony Eden, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 5. Keywords: Beirut; Catroux, Georges; Damascus; Lebanon; Spears, Edward; Syria. Louis Mountbatten, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 30 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 6. Keywords: Billotte, Pierre; Maury, Pedro José Isidro Manuel Ricardo Mones Maury, Free French Commando; Laycock, Robert. Alan Brooke, Letter to Pierre Billotte, 1 May 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 7. Keywords: Auchinleck, Claude; Fezzan; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 4 May 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 8. Keywords: Auchinleck, Claude; Fezzan; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. H. Somerville-Smith, Letter to Paul Ortoli, 19 February 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 9. Keywords: Canadian Legion in Washington; Dominions Government; Muselier, Émile; United States. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. Published in Charles de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, 2 vols (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2010), ii, 93–94. Keywords: La France libre; Muselier, Émile. Anthony Eden, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 20 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 11. Keywords: Muselier, Émile; United States. Alan Brooke, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 15 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 12. Keywords: Bir Hakeim; La France libre; Koenig, Marie-Pierre. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 16 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 13. Keywords: La France combattante. Archibald Sinclair, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 16 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 14. Keywords: Champs-Élysées; Gatward, Ken; Jubelin; tricolore. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Archibald Sinclair, 17 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 15. Published in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 98. Keywords: Arc de Triomphe; tricolore. Archibald Sinclair, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 22 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 16. Keywords: Champs-Élysées; tricolore. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 18 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 17. Keywords: La France combattante; North Africa; Vichy. André Philip, Memo to Anthony Eden, 4 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 18. Keywords: British Secret Service; La France combattante; French Resistance. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 5 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 19. Keywords: Comité national français; La France combattante. NB. This letter is unpublished, but another letter with the same recipient and the same date does appear in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 135–36. Anthony Eden, Letter to René Pleven, 17 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 20. Keywords: La France libre; Palmer, Roundell, Earl of Selborne; Philip, André. Anthony Eden, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 26 October 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 21. Keywords: Comité national français; La France combattante; Palmer, Roundell, Earl of Selborne; Philip, André; Pleven, René. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 15 November 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 22. Published in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 215. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George (1st Earl Alexander of Tunis); Fezzan; Koufra; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe; Libya; Mourzouk; Syria; Tripoli. Alan Brooke, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 18 November 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 23. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George; Fezzan; La France combattante; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 9 January 1943, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 24. Published in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 254–55. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George; 8th Army; Fezzan; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Alan Brooke, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 12 January 1943, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 25. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George; 8th Army; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Archibald Nye, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 19 January 1943, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 26. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George; Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS); 8th Army; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Eugène Mordant, 29 February 1944, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 27. Keywords: Blaizot, Roger; Chunking; Comité français de la Libération nationale (CFLN); Comité national français; Gibon-Guilhem, François; MacArthur, Douglas; Pechkoff, Zinovi; Pleven, René; Tonkin. Footnotes 1 Quoted in David Fraser, Alanbrooke (London: Collins, 1982), p. 211. 2 Thyraud de Vosjoli wrote an autobiography detailing his intelligence work in 1970: see Philippe L. Thyraud de Vosjoli, Lamia (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970). Thyraud de Vosjoli’s role as a courier for La France libre during this period has been documented (see John Barry, ‘The French Spy Scandal’, LIFE Magazine, 26 April 1968, 30–40), and, given the existence of copies of several of the letters in the collected war correspondence of both de Gaulle and Churchill (see ‘Guide to the Freedom Papers’, below), the authenticity of the letters is quite plausible. 3 Sarah Hoyt, ‘World War II Letters: Special Collections and the French Freedom Papers’, Kansas State University Libraries Magazine, 2 (2016), 8–11, <https://www.lib.k-state.edu/sites/default/files/documents/LibraryMag-Winter2016_web.pdf > [accessed 18 September 2017], p. 10. 4 See Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 2008); quoted in Hilary Footitt, ‘War and Culture Studies in 2016: Putting “Translation” into the Transnational?’, Journal of War and Culture Studies, 9 (2016), 209–21 (p. 215). 5 Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires, ed. by Marius-François Guyard and Jean-Luc Barré (Paris: Gallimard, 2000). 6 Tiphaine Samoyault, ‘Du goût de l’archive au souci du document’, Littérature, 166 (2012), 3–6, <http://www.cairn.info/revue-litterature-2012-2-page-3.htm> [accessed 18 September 2017]. Samoyault criticizes the inherent ‘segmentation’ and ‘partition des savoirs’ that strictly divides up archives. 7 Lawrence D. Kritzman, ‘A Certain Idea of de Gaulle’, Yale French Studies, 111 (2007), 157–68 (p. 158) 8 Kritzman, ‘A Certain Idea’, p. 159. 9 Sudhir Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General: Modern France and the Myth of de Gaulle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 4; italics original. 10 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, p. 20. 11 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, pp. 10–11. 12 Churchill, cited in Julian Jackson, France: The Dark Years, 1940–1944 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 390. 13 Jackson, France, pp. 392–93. 14 See Jackson, France, pp. 393–94. 15 See Jackson, France, p. 395. 16 Gino Raymond, ‘Sarkozy–de Gaulle: Recycling the Resistance Myth’, French Cultural Studies, 24 (2013), 93–103 (p. 95). See also Donald Reid, ‘Resistance and its Discontents: Affairs, Archives, Avowals, and the Aubracs’, Journal of Modern History, 77 (2005), 97–137. 17 Pierre Billotte, Letter to Desmond Morton, 14 April 1942, Kansas State University Hale Library (Manhattan, KS), Kansas State University (henceforward KSU) Freedom Papers, fol. 3. 18 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, pp. 22 and xiv. 19 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, p. 18. 20 Billotte, Letter to Morton, 14 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 3. 21 André Philip, Memo to Anthony Eden, 4 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 18; emphasis original. 22 Philip, Memo to Eden, 4 August 1942, fol. 18. 23 Winston Churchill, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 7 December 1941, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 1. 24 Churchill, Letter to de Gaulle, 7 December 1941, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 1. 25 Desmond Morton, Letter to Pierre Billotte, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 4. 26 Morton, Letter to Billotte, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 4. 27 Morton, Letter to Billotte, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 4. 28 Biographies of Morton confirm this supposition. Morton had previously investigated whether de Gaulle could feasibly be replaced as leader of La France libre. See Gill Bennett, Churchill’s Man of Mystery: Desmond Morton and the World of Intelligence (London: Routledge, 2007), p. 234. 29 Vice-amiral Émile Muselier had a contentious relationship with de Gaulle, at times blatantly ignoring a command, as in the episode of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. Muselier resigned at a 3 March 1942 meeting of the Comité national français and then encouraged France libre forces to rise up against de Gaulle. For an extensive account of de Gaulle’s relationship with Muselier, see Robert Mengin, Douze patriotes condamnés par les gaullistes (Paris: Grancher, 2001) and Richard Sinding, ‘Le Ralliement de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon à la France Libre en 1941 et le conflit entre de Gaulle et Muselier’, Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains, 194 (1999), 163–72. 30 Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10; published in Charles de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ed. by Philippe de Gaulle, 2 vols (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2010), ii, 93–94. 31 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 32 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 33 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 34 Jean-Luc Barré, Devenir de Gaulle: 1939–1943 (Paris: Perrin, 2003), pp. 12–13. 35 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 36 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 37 Anthony Eden, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 20 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 11. 38 H. Somerville-Smith, Letter to Paul Ortoli, 19 February 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 9. 39 Eden, Letter to de Gaulle, 20 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 11. 40 Eden, Letter to de Gaulle, 20 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 11. 41 De Gaulle, Mémoires, p. 223. 42 Barré has noted the preponderance of the term ‘chagrin’ in what he calls the ‘terminologie gaullienne’ (Barré, Devenir de Gaulle, p. 18). 43 Sébastien Albertelli, ‘Les Services secrets de la France Libre: le Bureau central de renseignement et d’action (BCRA), 1940–1944’, Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains, 242 (2011), 7–26 (p. 13). 44 Albertelli elaborates, in his article, the challenges that the BCRA faced in their attempts to collaborate with the British Secret Service and with the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS). While there was constant tension between the French and their British counterparts, he notes that the OSS officers, eager to gain the upper hand in relation to the British, often volunteered to serve as the ‘pont entre les Britanniques et les gaullistes en favorisant une coopération tripartite’ (‘Les Services secrets de la France Libre’, pp. 14–15). 45 Louis Mountbatten, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 30 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 6. 46 Mountbatten, Letter to de Gaulle, 30 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 6. 47 Alan Brooke, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 15 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 12. 48 Brooke, Letter to de Gaulle, 15 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 12. 49 Kritzman, ‘A Certain Idea’, pp. 157–58. 50 Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 18 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 17. 51 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, p. 10. 52 This is echoed in another letter from de Gaulle where he once more discusses the lack of co-operation between French and British intelligence groups and expresses the ‘regret’ he feels faced with this ‘état de confusion’. Again, de Gaulle attempts to legitimize the authority of the Comité national français over missions undertaken on French soil. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 5 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 19. 53 De Gaulle, Mémoires, p. 276. 54 Kritzman affirms: ‘de Gaulle’s narrative [in the War Memoirs] foregrounds his consciousness of the fact that his act of witnessing is also being witnessed’ (‘A Certain Idea’, p. 165). 55 De Gaulle, Mémoires, pp. 276–77. 56 De Gaulle, Mémoires, p. 288. 57 Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 4 May 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 8. 58 Denis Richards and Hilary St George Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939–1945, ii: The Fight Avails (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1954), p. 143. This incident is also noted by Lindsey Dodd and Andrew Knapp, ‘“How many Frenchmen did you kill”: British Bombing Policy towards France (1940–1945)’, French History, 22 (2008) 469–92 (p. 475, n. 33). 59 Richards and Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939–1945, ii, 141–42; John Moore-Brabazon, Letter to Archibald Sinclair, 24 March 1942, National Archives, Kew, AIR 19/217. 60 Richards and Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939–1945, ii, 142. 61 Archibald Sinclair, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 16 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 14. 62 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, p. 14. 63 Sinclair, Letter to de Gaulle, 16 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 14. 64 Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Archibald Sinclair, 17 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 15; published in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 98. 65 Fraser, Alanbrooke, p. 190. Kritzman makes a remarkably similar observation: ‘In his self-representation, de Gaulle attributes to the figure of France characteristics that parallel the qualities of his own self-image’ (‘A Certain Idea’, p. 163). 66 Archibald Sinclair, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 22 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 16. 67 Sinclair, Letter to de Gaulle, 22 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 16. 68 Richards and Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939–1945, ii, 141. 69 De Gaulle, Mémoires, pp. 247–48. 70 Footitt, ‘War and Culture Studies in 2016’, pp. 215 and 218. 71 De Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 186. 72 De Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 186. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for French Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png French Studies Oxford University Press

Myth, Dialogue, and Co-operation in the ‘Freedom Papers’: De Gaulle and Anglo-French Correspondence (1941–44)

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Oxford University Press
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© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for French Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
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0016-1128
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1468-2931
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10.1093/fs/knx233
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Abstract

Abstract This article performs a close reading of a newly discovered archive of letters to and from Charles de Gaulle, written between 1941 and 1944, to show how de Gaulle engaged in a process of auto-mythification. The archive features wartime correspondence between de Gaulle and various leaders of the British government, intelligence, and military, such as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1941) Anthony Eden, and Chief of the Imperial General Staff General Alan Brooke. The study illuminates the problematic nature of Anglo-French collaboration in terms of shifting cultural perspectives, particularly with regard to the notion of authority. Such notions are inevitably contested, and this collection of letters is an unusually effective resource to reconstruct the essentially dialogic aspects of this contestation. Through contextualization of the correspondence, including both contemporary and retrospective accounts of the war, the article enriches our understanding of the implicit and explicit conflicts between British and French forces and the rhetorical strategies utilized to further each writer’s aims. Writing in his diary on 16 December 1941, General Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, observed of Charles de Gaulle: ‘Lunched with De Gaulle a most unattractive specimen. We made a horrid mistake when we decided to make use of him!’1 His characterization of de Gaulle undermines and objectifies the French general, then a pivotal figure in the France libre movement. While this period and the figures who shaped it have been studied in great detail, the surfacing of a new collection of correspondence between de Gaulle and various leaders of the British government, military, and intelligence, from 1941 to 1944, suggests the potential for a dialogic understanding of the era. Housed at Kansas State University’s Hale Libraries Special Collections and entitled the Freedom Papers, the collection contains twenty-seven letters in French and English. The correspondence came from Philippe Thyraud de Vosjoli, who obtained the top-secret correspondence due to his work as a courier for La France libre.2 He viewed the letters as a singular document that detailed ‘some of the internal struggles of de Gaulle’s Free French government in their fight against the Germans’.3 The archive sheds light on the ways in which Anglo-French collaboration at this time was marked by misunderstandings as well as clashes of personality evidenced in Brooke’s diary entry. Indeed, the archive offers the opportunity to examine a transnational ‘contact zone’.4 Through a close reading of the archive, we examine the ways in which identity (in particular, de Gaulle’s identity as leader of La France libre) is negotiated and communicated. We offer a rhetorical analysis of the dialogic nature of the correspondence and how the same events are recounted in later texts such as de Gaulle’s Mémoires.5 This approach is inspired by recent scholarship that encourages an inclusive, unified examination of archives.6 Read as a single whole, the Freedom Papers permit a nuanced examination of the way in which de Gaulle and his British counterparts dialogue with one another in this transnational contact zone, revealing struggles for control and authority, both real and rhetorical. Several recent publications have, to various degrees, and based on different archives, addressed the question of myth-making and de Gaulle. Lawrence Kritzman describes him as a ‘mythiculteur’ (a term borrowed from de Gaulle biographer Jean Lacouture) who underscored the importance of the written and spoken word as the impetus to incite action: ‘In a sense, fighting the war became a question of rhetorical efficacy’.7 Kritzman identifies the themes of ‘reason, affection, and most of all, grandeur’ in de Gaulle’s creation of the ‘certain idea of France’, themes that do, indeed, appear in the correspondence we study.8 However, the themes are alternately undermined and reinforced in our analysis through the emphasis on the dialogic. Sudhir Hazareesingh, relying both on de Gaulle’s public addresses and on his reception by the adoring French public (largely through letters written to the general) argues that the myth of de Gaulle is perhaps ‘the French national political myth’.9 Hazareesingh sees de Gaulle as very much a shaper of this myth, ‘defining himself and drawing his own portrait’ as ‘an idealized image of the “soul of France”’.10 He also observes de Gaulle’s ability, from the very beginning, to harness sentimental concepts such as grief, sorrow, and faith in the creation of this myth.11 In contrast to Hazareesingh’s use of letters written to de Gaulle by the French public and Kritzman’s reliance on the general’s speeches and Mémoires, our examination of de Gaulle focuses on the early, in-process, dialogic creation and assertion of this auto-mythification in the military correspondence contained in the Freedom Papers archive. Such an approach problematizes our understanding of de Gaulle’s role as ‘mythiculteur’ by acknowledging the potential for failure in communication that has heretofore been overlooked. To better highlight this process of becoming, we have grouped the letters from the archive thematically. The first group of letters treats assertions and denials of de Gaulle’s authority over La France libre. The second focuses on an exemplary moment of conflict over said authority: Vice-amiral Émile Muselier’s resignation from La France libre. The third describes the difficulties that arose in collaboration between La France libre and the British. The fourth section describes a symbolic example of conflict over collaboration: the dropping of a French flag on the Champs-Élysées by the Royal Air Force. Our discussions of these groups of letters are held together by three common themes that contribute to a nuanced understanding of de Gaulle’s process of auto-mythification within a transnational contact zone rather than isolated within a French context: de Gaulle’s myth-making (and British resistance to the same); the vast differences in tone and content between the letters and accounts (both contemporary and retrospective) of the events discussed; and conflicts both material and cultural over French and British co-operation during this period, with particular emphasis on the juxtaposition of the ultimate success of the Franco-British alliance and the isolated moments within the correspondence where communication fails. Assertions and denials of de Gaulle’s authority Shortly after the Appel du 22 juin in 1940, de Gaulle was explicitly recognized by the British (though not the Americans) as the ‘leader of all the Free French, wherever they are to be found, who rally to him in support of the Allied cause’.12 By the end of September 1941, he was the unequivocal head of the Comité national français. However, while de Gaulle saw himself as the ‘sole repository of French sovereignty’, the British were generally more reluctant to accept his authority, especially given de Gaulle’s volatile temper.13 His relations with Roosevelt and the US government were little better.14 During this time, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, while never publicly denying de Gaulle’s authority, also encouraged various challenges to his leadership of La France libre — cultivating Vice-amiral Muselier as an ‘intriguer’ who could destabilize de Gaulle’s power and authorizing Desmond Morton (his personal assistant), to explore the feasibility of installing other leaders for La France libre (in particular Général Henri Giraud).15 Gino Raymond observes, about this moment, that ‘if ever there was a self-promoted leader in need of a unifying myth, it was Charles de Gaulle in the summer of 1940’.16 We see this conflict over de Gaulle’s authority play out, in more or less oblique terms, in the Freedom Papers. De Gaulle and those attached to him show a firm commitment to his control over all things French, whereas British figures, while never directly questioning de Gaulle’s leadership, subtly undermine him. A letter from Pierre Billotte (de Gaulle’s Chef de l’État-Major particulier) to Desmond Morton, dated 14 April 1943, is a strong example of the confidence that the French express in de Gaulle. In the letter, Billotte writes to Morton to describe four ‘personnalités’ in London. These personages are important, Billotte writes, because ‘[ils] ont rapporté des indications du plus haut intérêt concernant la résistance du peuple français et sa confiance dans le Chef des Français Libres’.17 One of de Gaulle’s greatest strengths was his rallying of the French, both in France and abroad. Hazareesingh describes the ‘symbolic fervor’ for de Gaulle as well as his ability to ‘shape the way the French people see the world’.18 According to Hazareesingh, de Gaulle was a ‘charismatic figure’ capable of creating ‘a sense of optimism and defiance among the people’.19 This optimism is evident in Billotte’s conclusion: ‘du point de vue de l’avenir, l’importance du ralliement au Général de Gaulle de ces personnalités ne saurait vous échapper’.20 A memo from André Philip (Commissaire à l’Intérieur who played a vital role in connecting the Resistance in France and La France libre in London) to Anthony Eden (one of Churchill’s closest confidants, the liaison between Churchill’s government and La France libre, and member of the executive committee of the Political Warfare Executive) dated 4 August 1942 and marked ‘Secret’ similarly expresses French confidence in de Gaulle’s leadership. In point 3 Philip asserts, after outlining the available existing networks of various groups in France, that leadership of these forces must be handled by de Gaulle: ‘Mais, pour être efficace, tout ce travail préparatoire doit s’accomplir sous une direction unique, exclusivement française, celle du Général de Gaulle, la seule que les mouvements de résistance acceptent, ainsi qu’ils l’ont fait connaître de manière irréfutable’.21 In the discussion of the material needs for preparing such missions, Philip asks that they be ‘réunis et placés à la disposition du Général de Gaulle, assisté du Comité National français et de son Etat-Major’. Philip concludes, ‘le Général de Gaulle, qui recevra du Grand Etat-Major allié les directions de stratégie générale, doit être le Chef suprême du Front Intérieur Français’.22 These moments in the memo, where Philip literally underscores the need for control to be handed to de Gaulle, leap off the page. Philip places emphasis on efficiency, asserting that the French general is the only one who could unify and effectively lead these troops. These letters show that de Gaulle’s own assertions of his authority are not merely rhetorical; members of La France libre also strongly believed in de Gaulle’s leadership. The British, however, were less keen on accepting de Gaulle’s authority, although their distaste for de Gaulle is never made explicit in the correspondence. A letter from Churchill to de Gaulle, dated 7 December 1941 (at a moment when he was still actively authorizing people in his government to explore other possible leaders for La France libre), both affirms and undermines de Gaulle’s leadership. Churchill refers to a France libre Brigade as ‘your men’, and describes their deployment as ‘in accordance with your wishes’.23 However, Churchill’s praise tends to focus on La France libre generally, rather than de Gaulle specifically. When he praises the troops, he asserts that General Auchinleck is ‘most anxious to use a Free French Brigade immediately’.24 This use of objectifying language, emphasizing British control over French troops, echoes Brooke’s ‘use’ of de Gaulle in the citation that opened this article. Similarly, in his response to Billotte, Morton is very complimentary towards the ‘personnalités’ described, while avoiding the topic of de Gaulle’s authority. He asserts, ‘I would indeed be glad to meet any brave Frenchman who has come over here to see General de Gaulle or to join the Free French movement’.25 However, Morton also (very politely) claims that he is unable to meet these figures presently because his ‘time is so greatly filled now with various special duties for the Prime Minister’.26 Morton’s letter tends to place emphasis on La France libre, rather than on de Gaulle, skilfully ignoring what appears to be the main point of Billotte’s missive, the ‘importance du ralliement’ around de Gaulle. Morton, on the contrary, expresses his confidence in the movement as a whole: ‘I feel sure that the Free French movement will always pass to the British Authorities any information which their contacts may obtain, and which is of value to the prosecution of the war’.27 Here, the assumption implied in ‘I feel sure’ implies a belief in La France libre as subordinate in both rank and function to British interests. Morton’s use of ‘always’ is likely an indirect reference to the fact that Morton hoped that de Gaulle might not perpetually be the leader of La France libre — he expected collaboration from La France libre no matter who led them.28 It is the dialogic nature of this exchange, or perhaps the failure of meaningful dialogue, that is so revealing. Morton maintains a placating tone and politely ignores the main thrust of Billotte’s letter, the rallying around de Gaulle, while focusing his attention on La France libre instead. Here, the dialogic nature of the exchange reveals the purposeful disregard on the part of the British of French autonomy — Morton chooses not to engage with Billotte. The confusion and conflict caused by this undermining of de Gaulle’s leadership plays out in the Muselier affair, which is newly illuminated by the Freedom Papers. The Muselier affair In letters in the archive dated June and July of 1942, de Gaulle and Eden corresponded regarding the removal of important France libre figure Vice-amiral Muselier from London, given his renunciation of ties to de Gaulle and La France libre.29 In his letter, de Gaulle asserts that Muselier’s conduct would be considered treasonous on French soil, but that the Comité national’s presence in England ‘empêche provisoirement l’autorité française de procéder à l’application de la loi’.30 This citation encapsulates the continual challenge La France libre faced: they were, in essence, outsiders among those who viewed them as interlopers who should recognize British control. De Gaulle affirms that Muselier is agitating the naval forces, arguing that his public position and continual agitation are untenable and ‘constituent un danger grave pour la discipline et pour le moral des Forces Françaises Libres’.31 De Gaulle’s letter focuses on Muselier’s betrayal and its potential public consequences, relying heavily on affective language and rhetorical constructions. He explains why he had not already signed a written accord with Muselier: il ne me serait naturellement jamais venu à l’esprit de faire signer un engagement écrit à un Vice-Amiral qui était venu se placer sous mes ordres, qui tenait son poste de soi-même, qui commandait sous l’autorité et sous la responsabilité du Comité National français.32Using strong language here, such as ‘naturellement’ and ‘ne […] jamais’, de Gaulle emphasizes the completely unexpected and unacceptable nature of Muselier’s actions. The use of an iterative and accusatory list of Muselier’s actions legalistically outlines the extent of his unfaithfulness. While Muselier has not betrayed the French to the Germans, or to Vichy, he has undermined de Gaulle’s control publicly. De Gaulle evokes ‘l’attitude prise publiquement par l’Amiral Muselier’ and then asks: S’il devait être entendu qu’un Officier général peut, impunément, quitter [ un] son poste, rejeter son devoir, et inciter ses anciens subordonnés à imiter son exemple, parce qu’il se trouve en territoire allié, que penseront les soldats, marins, aviateurs français qui combattent et dont certains meurent tous les jours, pour leur pays à côté des vôtres?33De Gaulle’s stylized, rhetorical questioning is both dramatic and pointed, underscoring the shared and equal sacrifice of British and French forces. His keen awareness of the public consequences of the Muselier affair points, perhaps, to his myth-making in process, undertaking a ‘travail d’automythification’ in order to open the ‘épopée gaullienne’ evoked by Jean-Luc Barré.34 Highly attuned to his own public image as the embodiment of La France libre, de Gaulle rhetorically pressurizes Eden into conformation with his view on the topic: ‘je suis sûr que vous penserez comme moi qu’il est nécessaire, dans l’intérêt commun, de faire cesser le scandale causé au point de vue militaire, par la conduite et par l’action de l’Amiral Muselier’.35 De Gaulle strategically frames the request in terms of ‘intérêt commun’, exposing, perhaps, his awareness of the precarity of his position as, in his view, a French leader on foreign soil. He concludes with a request for Eden: ‘J’ai donc l’honneur de vous demander que les autorités britanniques éloignent de Londres et des environs l’Amiral Muselier, lui assignent une résidence déterminée et lui interdisent toute communication directe ou indirecte avec les militaires des Forces Françaises Libres’.36 The formulaic commencement as well as the tone of this sentence imply that de Gaulle expects the British to acquiesce unquestioningly to his request. De Gaulle’s positioning reveals the military general’s desire to maintain control and quash any other possible uprisings against his authority, British-backed or otherwise. Eden diplomatically but firmly refuses de Gaulle’s requests, pointing out that ordering Muselier to stay in Britain, and merely expelling him from London (which was de Gaulle’s proposed solution), would ‘hardly be effective’, and suggesting instead on 20 July 1942 that Muselier should be shipped off to the United States at the next appropriate opportunity.37 In fact, this option had already been proposed by the British to the French, on 19 February 1942. A letter in the archive from H. Somerville-Smith (Export Credits Guarantee Department) informs Paul Ortoli (de Gaulle’s personal Chief of Staff), ‘if Admiral Muselier applied for a visa to proceed to Washington, it would be granted’.38 In his letter to de Gaulle, Eden proposes the plan of Muselier’s exile to the United States as provisional and recent, rather than something that has been developing for months. Although he worries, dramatically, that ‘the difficulty is to find a suitable place for him to reside’, Eden then ‘realizes’, ‘he is, I understand, not unwilling to visit the United States’.39 This bit of theatre is counterbalanced by diplomatic language that softens the blow of Eden’s alternative plan: ‘I fully understand’, and ‘I hope you will agree’. He also calls attention to the public relations nightmare that the incident could create, observing: [I]t would be necessary to keep Admiral Muselier in a state of virtual confinement and to do this would almost certainly entail that an affair which is now being rapidly forgotten would be brought back once more into the realm of public discourse.40Here, de Gaulle’s mythification is seen from the outside by Eden, who recognizes the importance of public image to de Gaulle, and effectively uses the maintenance of de Gaulle’s public persona as incentive to agree to his plan. This is also, perhaps, wishful thinking on Eden’s part: the British would very much like the Muselier incident to be ‘rapidly forgotten’, a factor contributing to their desire to send Muselier as far away (geographically and in memory) as possible. While Eden’s response attempts to distance the events surrounding Muselier, relegating them to a forgotten past that has no real bearing on the present, de Gaulle does not rapidly forget the incident, although, in his Mémoires, he does recall a rather specific version of events. In de Gaulle’s telling, the incident ends when Muselier cuts off ties with La France libre. ‘[C]et officier général, qui avait beaucoup fait pour notre marine, me notifia que sa collaboration à la France Libre était terminée. Je l’ai regretté pour lui.’41 This is a far more positive conclusion than that retold in the correspondence. De Gaulle positions himself here as a calm and benevolent statesman, recalling the vocabulary of ‘chagrin’ in his description of the event.42 He maintains a figure of authority: one who always had control despite the attempts of others to challenge him. This contrasts starkly with his letter of June 1942 wherein the emotional response and tone reveal how very much this episode truly shook him. Moreover, de Gaulle’s desired outcome does not coincide with the actual outcome. (Muselier did go to the United States.) This is an excellent example of the myth-making process and resulting product. In the letter, de Gaulle asserts his authority and presents himself as the statesman making a request. However, he does not succeed — Eden does. In contrast, the final product of de Gaulle in the Mémoires imagines a different version of events: one in which his control, both sentimental and real, is never really in question. Through the lens of the dialogic reality of the transnational contact zone represented by this archive, a more nuanced understanding of de Gaulle’s process of auto-mythification comes to light. Co-operating at cross-purposes: the dialogue of power in the Freedom Papers Allusions to co-operation, or rather the deficiencies thereof, pepper the missives contained in the archive. This should not be surprising given the contentious nature of combined operations during the war. As Sébastien Albertelli recounts in his study of the Bureau central de renseignements et d’actions (BCRA), the attempt at co-operation between the British Secret Services and the French was often problematic and lopsided, in particular with regard to recognizing de Gaulle’s leadership: ‘Jusqu’au bout, les Alliés tinrent de Gaulle à l’écart des grandes décisions concernant la France, refusant de le reconnaître comme le représentant du pays pendant la guerre et comme le prétendant naturel au pouvoir après la Libération’.43 In truth, de Gaulle was in a particularly precarious position: the reliance of the BCRA and French forces in general on the material support of the British in the form of supplies, aircraft, armaments, and even intelligence networks led to a perpetual need to reassert authority and, at times, undermined the co-operation among Allied forces.44 Through an analysis of various episodes detailed in the correspondence, a picture emerges of the dialogue of power and the rhetorical nature of ‘co-operation’ as a strategy of conciliation and assuagement on the side of the British in the face of affective and moralistic argumentation on the part of de Gaulle. The most common rhetorical strategy employed by the British correspondents in the archive is that of reconciliation and placation. For example, Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, in a letter dated 30 April 1942, emphasizes the egalitarian nature of co-operation while never conceding control of forces.45 He uses the phrase ‘exactly the same’ on three separate occasions to clarify the formation of what Mountbatten calls the ‘Free French Commando’ units under the command of British officer Brigadier Robert Laycock. Of course, while Mountbatten underscores this equality of standing and creation, paralleling the structure of the units with those of their British counterparts, he assigns leadership and command thereof to the British. Rhetorically, Mountbatten uses conciliatory and unifying language (‘To confirm our conversation it is agreed’; ‘we will together draw up the combined plan for our joint approval’; ‘It is further agreed’; ‘I am most grateful to you’; ‘We shall, of course, be delighted for you to inspect this Troop’) while maintaining ultimate control (‘By my Directive from the Chiefs of Staff I am responsible for all raids and I therefore suggest’) and concludes the letter with a warm reference to Anglo-French co-operation: I am convinced that this has been a great day in the history of Anglo-French relations as from now on I shall feel that we are more than ever partners in our determination to throw the Germans out of your beautiful country.46Emphasis in this conclusion falls on the future (‘from now on’) as though to distinguish from past difficulties or lack of clarity. The spirit of collaboration is prized in lexical choices such as ‘partners’ and ‘our’ while collectively planning action to reclaim France, yet the use of possessives and subject pronouns (in particular the emphasis given to the use of ‘our’ and ‘we’ throughout the letter) illuminates how important the question of control was to Mountbatten. Balancing conciliatory language and multiple references to gratitude (placating strategies) with clear delineation of command ultimately residing with the British, Mountbatten masterfully reconciles the opposing tensions inherent in the Anglo-French alliance. Another strategy utilized by the British is praise of the French troops and their contribution to the war effort: an affective argument that echoes de Gaulle’s own rhetorical disposition. In a letter about the ‘magnificent fight’ of a ‘gallant Brigade’ of France libre forces at Bir Hakeim, Libya, Brooke narrates La France libre’s ‘heroic’ actions with the thrilling vocabulary of a novelist: Although continuously attacked by tanks, heavy artillery and aircraft, the heroic Free French forces repelled all assaults, and contemptuously disdained every call to surrender. By their indomitable will and tenacity, they not only imposed on the enemy a delay which he could ill afford, but they inflicted heavy casualties on the Axis forces.47Brooke adds, ‘such exploits as these are fully in accord with the noblest traditions of France and cannot fail to quicken the hearts of all your countrymen and indeed of all free peoples’.48 The quickening of the hearts of de Gaulle’s countrymen here is a telling turn of phrase, mirroring many of de Gaulle’s own rhetorical constructions rather than rebuking or openly mollifying the general. The epic tone, which Brooke utilizes to describe the ‘indomitable will and tenacity’ of the France libre forces, echoes de Gaulle’s own grandstanding with regard to descriptions of French interventions in the war. This use of praise actually complements the placation inherent in British correspondence with de Gaulle in the archive. Brooke underscores the best, most heroic characteristics of the France libre forces, affirming that they ‘contemptuously disdained every call to surrender’, which is legible as a none-too-veiled reference to the collapse of 1940. Indeed, when it comes to analysing de Gaulle’s rhetorical strategies, it is important to recognize his skill in asserting and positioning both himself and the French in relation to the other Allies. Kritzman proposes that de Gaulle’s active mythmaking was essential for France’s defence and survival during the Second World War and the post-war era.49 Through the use of key topoi such as reason, affection, and grandeur, de Gaulle capitalized on the power of the written word assertively to position both himself and the France libre forces as equally contributing members to the Allied fight. In his letters contained in the archive, we note the frequent recourse to affective terminology and moralistic argument, in particular in moments when negotiating the terms of Anglo-French co-operation. In a letter dated 18 July 1942, addressed to Eden, de Gaulle characterizes the collaboration of British and French intelligence as not ‘entièrement satisfaisante’: Je ne saurais méconnaître que les services secrets britanniques ont souvent aidé et, en revanche, utilisé nos propres services. Mais nous pensons que l’aide que les services britanniques fournissent actuellement aux nôtres n’est pas proportionnée à l’importance du but à atteindre et qu’elle est en outre compliquée d’ingérences et de délais qui ne nous facilitent pas la tâche.50De Gaulle’s use of the word ‘tâche’ inevitably recalls the Appel du 22 juin 1940, in which he underscores the importance of the ‘tâche nationale’ that the French face and that he promises to undertake while in Britain. In this letter, as a means of rectifying what he identifies as a disproportionate and hence unequal collaboration, de Gaulle suggests un appui plus large fourni à la France Combattante par le Gouvernement de Sa Majesté, pour ce qui concerne l’action des services secrets, faciliterait, dans la situation présente, le concours matériel et moral de la France à l’effort commun des alliés.Emphasizing the potential for not only material but moral co-operation, de Gaulle’s letter presents an early example of what Hazareesingh views as the sentimental dimension as well as the emphasis on faith in the Gaullian myth.51 Rhetorically seeking recourse in logic and morality, de Gaulle fashions a multifaceted argument that again asserts an image of France as a unified nation partaking in equal measure in the work of the Allies and rejecting the fragmented image of the nation that the British and Americans seem to present.52 The use of affective strategies in de Gaulle’s correspondence is echoed in the Mémoires, first published in 1954, particularly when it concerns the question of co-operation. In retrospect, reflecting on the end of July 1942, de Gaulle recalls that the desire of the British and Americans was to take control of North African operations and to exclude him in favour of Giraud: [J]e pressentais ce qui allait advenir. Bien qu’on nous cachât avec soin ce qu’on projetait de faire, il me paraissait très probable […] que les Alliés y emploieraient le général Giraud, qu’ils me tiendraient en dehors de l’affaire et qu’ainsi ces préliminaires de notre libération, pour heureux qu’ils fussent à maints égards, comporteraient, cependant, pour nous de nouveaux obstacles devant l’unité nationale.53Co-operation, as described in de Gaulle’s role as ‘witness’ of history, is at times at odds with French desire for national unity in the face of the Allies.54 The use of the verb ‘pressentir’ at once positions de Gaulle as always in control while recalling his tendency to express through theological and messianic imagery his own role in the war effort. Moreover, he underscores the moralistic contradictions of this co-operation at cross-purposes in terms of broken promises: Je partis le 5 août, ayant vu auparavant MM Churchill et Eden et, tiré de leurs propos, quelque peu embarrassés, confirmation de mon sentiment qu’ils allaient prêter la main à une entreprise contraire au pacte qui nous liait depuis juin 1940.55Referring to the Allies, he underscores their political manoeuvring as founded in ‘l’égoisme sacré’,56 further undercutting any action that was contrary to de Gaulle’s express wishes and, by extension, the French national interest, as inherently amoral. While morality forms the basis for many of his arguments, de Gaulle utilizes a language characterized by its passion and emotion, in particular when referring to successful French initiatives. A handwritten correction to a 4 May 1942 letter to Brooke provides an excellent example of de Gaulle’s myth-making prowess. De Gaulle affirms, ‘je suis heureux de la contribution que cette opération a pu apporter à celles conduites par le Général Auchinleck’.57 He has then added by hand, referring, we assume, to the joint operations, ‘celles-là si essentielles et si glorieuses’. This handwritten correction adds nothing to the content of the letter, which is otherwise a relatively routine remerciement for a previous communication. However, it reveals an obvious flair for the language of sensibility and passion evoked by Hazareesingh. This is a clear example of the process of auto-mythification. De Gaulle, rereading a finished letter, decided to add in by hand the evocation of the ‘essential’ and ‘glorious’ nature of the French contribution to the joint military operation. Even within this typically formulaic military correspondence, de Gaulle the statesman makes an appearance glorifying an image of France as a unified whole, an equal partner with the British forces in all aspects of the operation. Of course, this vision of a unified whole was rhetorical rather than real, and efforts to collaborate between the two groups remained extremely contentious. Nowhere is this dialogue at cross-purposes clearer than in the episode of the dropping of a tricolore on the Champs-Élysées, discussed below as an exemplary case study. While perhaps the most colourful of the episodes recounted in the archive, it is by no means the sole instance of the oppositional co-operation that, in spite of itself, won the war. The Champs-Élysées ‘tricolore’ One particularly illuminating incident for the question of myth-making revolves around the propagandistic dropping of a French flag on the Champs-Élysées during June of 1942. This ‘tonic for French morale’, known as Operation Squabble, has been documented by Denis Richards and Hilary St George Saunders, although de Gaulle’s role in the mission is, perhaps unsurprisingly, ignored in the British account of the action.58 In Richards’s and Saunders’s account of the event, ‘someone’ (likely Conservative MP Lieutenant-General John Moore-Brabazon) suggested that a mission should be undertaken to strafe a regular parade of German soldiers along the Champs-Élysées.59 Due to potential civilian casualties, the ‘shooting up’ of the parade was replaced by the ‘inspired notion of throwing out a tricolore’ before the mission took place.60 In the account of the incident found in the Freedom Papers archive, the inspiration for the mission is French rather than British. Archibald Sinclair, the Secretary of State for Air, writes to de Gaulle regarding the proposal: I quite understood the feelings which prompted le Capitaine de Corvette Jubelin to renew the proposal to drop a French flag on the Champs Elysées. I could see the encouragement which it would give to the French people confined in the prison house which Paris now is, and I admire the spirit of your gallant officer.61The letter goes on to clarify that de Gaulle proposed that a French pilot in a long-range Spitfire would drop a French flag on the Champs-Élysées. We immediately recognize here de Gaulle the statesman and myth-maker: he wishes to undertake a risky air operation with a solely propagandistic goal — evidencing Hazareesingh’s assertion, ‘De Gaulle’s mythical power appears in his ability to produce sacredness in all its forms’.62 Given that the Royal Air Force would have needed to supply both the aeroplane and the logistical support for the mission, it is unsurprising that Sinclair informed de Gaulle on 16 June 1942 that ‘there was no margin at all to make it a practicable operation. Accordingly, the Air Staff advised strongly against it.’63 British forces did manage to drop a flag as part of another operation. Sinclair provides a stirring account of the mission, on which Flight Lieutenant A. K. Gatward circled round the Arc de Triomphe again in order to make certain that the German troops were not hiding in any corner, flew again down the Champs Elysées, gave the Ministère de la Marine another peppering, and came home. He dropped two tricolores — one at each end of the Champs Elysées.This account skilfully employs the kind of affective language associated with de Gaulle’s myth, emphasizing heroism. One might think that this mission would have pleased de Gaulle since it corresponds in nearly every way to the mission he had proposed. However, de Gaulle was greatly displeased. He clarifies that the fly-over had been requested ‘pour des raisons psychologiques et morales qui ne doivent pas être négligées’.64 He asserts his disappointment that ‘une opération différente’ from the one he proposed was executed: ‘je ne puis que vous exprimer mon regret que la Royal Air Force britannique n’ait pas jugé possible qu’un Officier français pût jeter un drapeau français sur la capitale de la France’. De Gaulle’s repetition of ‘français’ demonstrates the extent of his desire to exert precise control over missions related to France, La France libre, and La France combattante. His insistence on controlling this propagandistic action points to his need to shape the construction of his own myth and that of La France libre. A critique made by General Alan Brooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff) during the same period reveals the British view: Whatever good qualities he may have had were marred by his overbearing manner, his megalomania, and lack of co-operative spirit. He is supposed to have said at that time, ‘Je suis la France’. Whether he did or not he certainly adopted that attitude.65Sinclair’s response to the incident is typical of the British handling of de Gaulle at the time: there are strong efforts made to placate him, while simultaneously circumventing de Gaulle’s seemingly unreasonable demands. In a response to de Gaulle’s letter, dated 22 June 1942, Sinclair is, at moments, lightly chastising. Fitting with the British tendency to characterize de Gaulle as irrational and overly emotional, he writes, ‘I did not realise that you were particularly anxious that this task should be carried out by a French officer’.66 Although he does issue a back-handed apology — ‘if I erred I deeply regret it’ — his tone verges on exasperated, as he emphasizes that he had ‘already explained’ the mission and its difficulties to de Gaulle. At moments, though, Sinclair also mimics de Gaulle’s use of affective language, shoring up de Gaulle’s authority with the possessive ‘your gallant French pilots’. He also placates de Gaulle: It never occurred to me for one moment that when I wrote my letter to you of the 16th June that you would think it possible that I or any of the officers in the R.A.F., have the slightest vestige of doubt in our minds about the ability of any number of French officers to carry out the difficult and dangerous task of dropping a tricolore in Paris.67This particular event is described, both in British and in French accounts, as inherently heroic, dangerous, and necessary — yet the originator of the action differs, depending on the national identity of the speaker. Sinclair and de Gaulle both claim this event, and de Gaulle’s anger at it having been carried out by the British rather than the French underscores the importance that this emblematic moment had in his attempt to consolidate power, establishing himself as the representative for La France libre. Although in this dialogue both are deploying propagandistic language, this is a moment of failure for de Gaulle who is unable to claim responsibility for this ‘almost legendary’ event.68 This failure will be underscored in later British accounts of the event, which characterize it as a moment of British heroism, essentially robbing de Gaulle and the French of any possible agency in this symbolic event. This dialogue between isolated interlocutors has been echoed in historical accounts of the event, creating a meta-dialogue surrounding air operations. Although the British retain this heroic moment as exemplary of their invaluable contribution and agency in war, the memory of this moment is elided from de Gaulle’s typically detailed accounts of the war. When he does speak to the larger question of French air operations, there is a definite melancholic tone that colours the account. For example, when recalling, in the Mémoires, the lack of action of the French air force, de Gaulle characterizes it as a lost opportunity. In a particularly relevant section, he describes the inaction of French maritime and air forces with sadness: [L]es navires perdus dans l’inaction, évoquant l’occasion historique que cette guerre offrait à la vocation maritime de la France, je me sens inondé de tristesse. […] En voyant ce qu’ils valent et, d’autre part, en songeant à tout ce qu’aurait pu faire […] l’armée de l’air française pour peu qu’on l’eût laissé combattre, j’ai l’impression d’une grande chance nationale gaspillée.69De Gaulle’s memory here is marked heavily by a lexicon that evokes sadness, failure, and lack (‘perdus’, ‘inaction’, ‘inondé de tristesse’, ‘gaspillé’). Both structurally and lexically, de Gaulle emphasizes the lost potential of the French forces (‘ce qu’on aurait pu faire’, ‘pour peu qu’on l’eût laissé combattre’, and even ‘en songeant’). In using the verb ‘valoir’, he might well be alluding to the lack of material support on the part of the British, rendering the entire memory a veiled rebuke towards the British for wasting French potential. The structuring of the entire episode remains vague and abstract (the use of ‘on’, the lack of concrete subject), inevitably recalling de Gaulle’s constant struggle to establish agency and authority within combined operations. The reference to ‘occasion historique’ further situates this account as a dialogue with the past, and a critique of the British. Although tinged with melancholy and loss, there is no sense that de Gaulle identifies himself as to blame for that loss. Rather, it is another moment where the full potential of the French and, by extension, de Gaulle, has not been fully realized. Conclusions The Freedom Papers offer a unique opportunity to examine the intercultural reception of de Gaulle as leader of the France libre movement. The nature of the documents, not only de Gaulle’s letters but also the responses of his British counterparts, is particularly promising for those interested in the construction of the Gaullian myth within the context of a transnational contact zone. Hilary Footitt has affirmed that such zones are ‘multivocal spaces in which identities are translated and communication attempted’, adding that war itself may be understood as ‘spatially transnational’ and thus inherently ‘multilingual’: ‘filled with cultural products and cultural analysis from a much broader range of sources than those we normally encounter’.70 This study, emphasizing a polyphonic positioning of de Gaulle’s letters within the broader context of the general’s own writings and those of his correspondents, is unique and permits a fuller consideration of the process of auto-mythification at its earliest stages. While de Gaulle’s rhetorical strategies focus on asserting a unified France represented in La France libre and his leadership thereof, the British often politely ignore such attempts, removing individual references to de Gaulle in favour of broader characterizations of La France libre as a whole, to Frenchmen, or to various generals. De Gaulle himself addressed his rhetorical self-fashioning in an interview with Churchill on 29 September 1942, reproduced in Lettres, notes et carnets, after Churchill asserted: ‘le Général parle toujours comme s’il était la France. Il n’a jamais été d’accord pour accepter ce point de vue’. Churchill chastised de Gaulle, explaining that ‘il voit en la personne du Général une partie très honorable de la France, mais non la France’. Churchill added: ‘Mais il pourrait y avoir d’autres parties de la France qui seraient appelées, à la suite des événements, à prendre une place plus importante qu’aujourd’hui’.71 Churchill’s discussion here seems quite fitting with the tone of the Freedom Papers: the reluctance on the part of British authorities to accept de Gaulle’s leadership of France; their acceptance, nonetheless, of de Gaulle’s important role; and their use of flowery language, such as ‘très honorable’ and ‘le sentiment combattant’ to placate him. Indeed, in the evocation of sentiment and honour, Churchill seems to be reproducing the myth of de Gaulle almost exactly. However, again echoing the letters in the archive, de Gaulle does not accept Churchill’s rebuke and subsequent assuagement. In an ultimate myth-making moment, he rejects Churchill’s assertion that he represents only a very honourable part of France. He insists that his person is ‘négligeable’: ‘le Général ne peut avoir d’autre position que celle de représentant de la France’.72 While the struggle continues this assertion on de Gaulle’s part represents the coalescence of the myth-making process, moving firmly from the realm of process to product; and de Gaulle could hardly be speaking to a more appropriate interlocutor than Churchill, himself a master of self-mythologization. Guide to the Freedom Papers Winston Churchill, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 7 December 1941 (Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University Hale Library), KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 1. Published in Winston Churchill and Martin Gilbert, The Churchill War Papers, 3 vols (New York: Norton, 1993–2001), iii, 1572. Keywords: Auchinleck, Claude; Cyrenaica; La France libre. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Hastings Ismay, 29 December 1941, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 2. Keywords: Cameroon; Chad; Comité national français; Libya; Soviet collaboration; Syria. Pierre Billotte, Letter to Desmond Morton, 14 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 3. Keywords: Farman, Pierre; Mangin, Stanislas; Pacot (no first name); Veil-Curiel (this may be a reference to André Weil-Curiel, a lawyer who worked for the Resistance). Desmond Morton, Letter to Pierre Billotte, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 4. Keywords: Eden, Anthony; La France libre; Mack, Henry. Anthony Eden, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 5. Keywords: Beirut; Catroux, Georges; Damascus; Lebanon; Spears, Edward; Syria. Louis Mountbatten, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 30 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 6. Keywords: Billotte, Pierre; Maury, Pedro José Isidro Manuel Ricardo Mones Maury, Free French Commando; Laycock, Robert. Alan Brooke, Letter to Pierre Billotte, 1 May 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 7. Keywords: Auchinleck, Claude; Fezzan; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 4 May 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 8. Keywords: Auchinleck, Claude; Fezzan; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. H. Somerville-Smith, Letter to Paul Ortoli, 19 February 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 9. Keywords: Canadian Legion in Washington; Dominions Government; Muselier, Émile; United States. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. Published in Charles de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, 2 vols (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2010), ii, 93–94. Keywords: La France libre; Muselier, Émile. Anthony Eden, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 20 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 11. Keywords: Muselier, Émile; United States. Alan Brooke, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 15 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 12. Keywords: Bir Hakeim; La France libre; Koenig, Marie-Pierre. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 16 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 13. Keywords: La France combattante. Archibald Sinclair, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 16 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 14. Keywords: Champs-Élysées; Gatward, Ken; Jubelin; tricolore. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Archibald Sinclair, 17 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 15. Published in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 98. Keywords: Arc de Triomphe; tricolore. Archibald Sinclair, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 22 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 16. Keywords: Champs-Élysées; tricolore. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 18 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 17. Keywords: La France combattante; North Africa; Vichy. André Philip, Memo to Anthony Eden, 4 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 18. Keywords: British Secret Service; La France combattante; French Resistance. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 5 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 19. Keywords: Comité national français; La France combattante. NB. This letter is unpublished, but another letter with the same recipient and the same date does appear in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 135–36. Anthony Eden, Letter to René Pleven, 17 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 20. Keywords: La France libre; Palmer, Roundell, Earl of Selborne; Philip, André. Anthony Eden, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 26 October 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 21. Keywords: Comité national français; La France combattante; Palmer, Roundell, Earl of Selborne; Philip, André; Pleven, René. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 15 November 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 22. Published in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 215. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George (1st Earl Alexander of Tunis); Fezzan; Koufra; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe; Libya; Mourzouk; Syria; Tripoli. Alan Brooke, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 18 November 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 23. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George; Fezzan; La France combattante; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 9 January 1943, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 24. Published in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 254–55. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George; 8th Army; Fezzan; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Alan Brooke, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 12 January 1943, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 25. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George; 8th Army; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Archibald Nye, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 19 January 1943, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 26. Keywords: Alexander, Harold Rupert Leofric George; Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS); 8th Army; Leclerc, Jacques-Philippe. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Eugène Mordant, 29 February 1944, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 27. Keywords: Blaizot, Roger; Chunking; Comité français de la Libération nationale (CFLN); Comité national français; Gibon-Guilhem, François; MacArthur, Douglas; Pechkoff, Zinovi; Pleven, René; Tonkin. Footnotes 1 Quoted in David Fraser, Alanbrooke (London: Collins, 1982), p. 211. 2 Thyraud de Vosjoli wrote an autobiography detailing his intelligence work in 1970: see Philippe L. Thyraud de Vosjoli, Lamia (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970). Thyraud de Vosjoli’s role as a courier for La France libre during this period has been documented (see John Barry, ‘The French Spy Scandal’, LIFE Magazine, 26 April 1968, 30–40), and, given the existence of copies of several of the letters in the collected war correspondence of both de Gaulle and Churchill (see ‘Guide to the Freedom Papers’, below), the authenticity of the letters is quite plausible. 3 Sarah Hoyt, ‘World War II Letters: Special Collections and the French Freedom Papers’, Kansas State University Libraries Magazine, 2 (2016), 8–11, <https://www.lib.k-state.edu/sites/default/files/documents/LibraryMag-Winter2016_web.pdf > [accessed 18 September 2017], p. 10. 4 See Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 2008); quoted in Hilary Footitt, ‘War and Culture Studies in 2016: Putting “Translation” into the Transnational?’, Journal of War and Culture Studies, 9 (2016), 209–21 (p. 215). 5 Charles de Gaulle, Mémoires, ed. by Marius-François Guyard and Jean-Luc Barré (Paris: Gallimard, 2000). 6 Tiphaine Samoyault, ‘Du goût de l’archive au souci du document’, Littérature, 166 (2012), 3–6, <http://www.cairn.info/revue-litterature-2012-2-page-3.htm> [accessed 18 September 2017]. Samoyault criticizes the inherent ‘segmentation’ and ‘partition des savoirs’ that strictly divides up archives. 7 Lawrence D. Kritzman, ‘A Certain Idea of de Gaulle’, Yale French Studies, 111 (2007), 157–68 (p. 158) 8 Kritzman, ‘A Certain Idea’, p. 159. 9 Sudhir Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General: Modern France and the Myth of de Gaulle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 4; italics original. 10 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, p. 20. 11 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, pp. 10–11. 12 Churchill, cited in Julian Jackson, France: The Dark Years, 1940–1944 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 390. 13 Jackson, France, pp. 392–93. 14 See Jackson, France, pp. 393–94. 15 See Jackson, France, p. 395. 16 Gino Raymond, ‘Sarkozy–de Gaulle: Recycling the Resistance Myth’, French Cultural Studies, 24 (2013), 93–103 (p. 95). See also Donald Reid, ‘Resistance and its Discontents: Affairs, Archives, Avowals, and the Aubracs’, Journal of Modern History, 77 (2005), 97–137. 17 Pierre Billotte, Letter to Desmond Morton, 14 April 1942, Kansas State University Hale Library (Manhattan, KS), Kansas State University (henceforward KSU) Freedom Papers, fol. 3. 18 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, pp. 22 and xiv. 19 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, p. 18. 20 Billotte, Letter to Morton, 14 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 3. 21 André Philip, Memo to Anthony Eden, 4 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 18; emphasis original. 22 Philip, Memo to Eden, 4 August 1942, fol. 18. 23 Winston Churchill, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 7 December 1941, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 1. 24 Churchill, Letter to de Gaulle, 7 December 1941, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 1. 25 Desmond Morton, Letter to Pierre Billotte, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 4. 26 Morton, Letter to Billotte, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 4. 27 Morton, Letter to Billotte, 15 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 4. 28 Biographies of Morton confirm this supposition. Morton had previously investigated whether de Gaulle could feasibly be replaced as leader of La France libre. See Gill Bennett, Churchill’s Man of Mystery: Desmond Morton and the World of Intelligence (London: Routledge, 2007), p. 234. 29 Vice-amiral Émile Muselier had a contentious relationship with de Gaulle, at times blatantly ignoring a command, as in the episode of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. Muselier resigned at a 3 March 1942 meeting of the Comité national français and then encouraged France libre forces to rise up against de Gaulle. For an extensive account of de Gaulle’s relationship with Muselier, see Robert Mengin, Douze patriotes condamnés par les gaullistes (Paris: Grancher, 2001) and Richard Sinding, ‘Le Ralliement de Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon à la France Libre en 1941 et le conflit entre de Gaulle et Muselier’, Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains, 194 (1999), 163–72. 30 Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10; published in Charles de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ed. by Philippe de Gaulle, 2 vols (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2010), ii, 93–94. 31 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 32 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 33 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 34 Jean-Luc Barré, Devenir de Gaulle: 1939–1943 (Paris: Perrin, 2003), pp. 12–13. 35 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 36 De Gaulle, Letter to Eden, 13 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 10. 37 Anthony Eden, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 20 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 11. 38 H. Somerville-Smith, Letter to Paul Ortoli, 19 February 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 9. 39 Eden, Letter to de Gaulle, 20 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 11. 40 Eden, Letter to de Gaulle, 20 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 11. 41 De Gaulle, Mémoires, p. 223. 42 Barré has noted the preponderance of the term ‘chagrin’ in what he calls the ‘terminologie gaullienne’ (Barré, Devenir de Gaulle, p. 18). 43 Sébastien Albertelli, ‘Les Services secrets de la France Libre: le Bureau central de renseignement et d’action (BCRA), 1940–1944’, Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains, 242 (2011), 7–26 (p. 13). 44 Albertelli elaborates, in his article, the challenges that the BCRA faced in their attempts to collaborate with the British Secret Service and with the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS). While there was constant tension between the French and their British counterparts, he notes that the OSS officers, eager to gain the upper hand in relation to the British, often volunteered to serve as the ‘pont entre les Britanniques et les gaullistes en favorisant une coopération tripartite’ (‘Les Services secrets de la France Libre’, pp. 14–15). 45 Louis Mountbatten, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 30 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 6. 46 Mountbatten, Letter to de Gaulle, 30 April 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 6. 47 Alan Brooke, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 15 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 12. 48 Brooke, Letter to de Gaulle, 15 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 12. 49 Kritzman, ‘A Certain Idea’, pp. 157–58. 50 Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 18 July 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 17. 51 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, p. 10. 52 This is echoed in another letter from de Gaulle where he once more discusses the lack of co-operation between French and British intelligence groups and expresses the ‘regret’ he feels faced with this ‘état de confusion’. Again, de Gaulle attempts to legitimize the authority of the Comité national français over missions undertaken on French soil. Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Anthony Eden, 5 August 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 19. 53 De Gaulle, Mémoires, p. 276. 54 Kritzman affirms: ‘de Gaulle’s narrative [in the War Memoirs] foregrounds his consciousness of the fact that his act of witnessing is also being witnessed’ (‘A Certain Idea’, p. 165). 55 De Gaulle, Mémoires, pp. 276–77. 56 De Gaulle, Mémoires, p. 288. 57 Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Alan Brooke, 4 May 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 8. 58 Denis Richards and Hilary St George Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939–1945, ii: The Fight Avails (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1954), p. 143. This incident is also noted by Lindsey Dodd and Andrew Knapp, ‘“How many Frenchmen did you kill”: British Bombing Policy towards France (1940–1945)’, French History, 22 (2008) 469–92 (p. 475, n. 33). 59 Richards and Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939–1945, ii, 141–42; John Moore-Brabazon, Letter to Archibald Sinclair, 24 March 1942, National Archives, Kew, AIR 19/217. 60 Richards and Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939–1945, ii, 142. 61 Archibald Sinclair, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 16 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 14. 62 Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General, p. 14. 63 Sinclair, Letter to de Gaulle, 16 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 14. 64 Charles de Gaulle, Letter to Archibald Sinclair, 17 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 15; published in de Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 98. 65 Fraser, Alanbrooke, p. 190. Kritzman makes a remarkably similar observation: ‘In his self-representation, de Gaulle attributes to the figure of France characteristics that parallel the qualities of his own self-image’ (‘A Certain Idea’, p. 163). 66 Archibald Sinclair, Letter to Charles de Gaulle, 22 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 16. 67 Sinclair, Letter to de Gaulle, 22 June 1942, KSU Freedom Papers, fol. 16. 68 Richards and Saunders, Royal Air Force 1939–1945, ii, 141. 69 De Gaulle, Mémoires, pp. 247–48. 70 Footitt, ‘War and Culture Studies in 2016’, pp. 215 and 218. 71 De Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 186. 72 De Gaulle, Lettres, notes et carnets, ii, 186. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for French Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com

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French StudiesOxford University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2018

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