Simon Kitson's






Welcome to Simon Kitson's Vichy web-site. 


This section of the site is designed to offer some English Language documentation about France during the Second World War. It has been noted that colleagues in history departments in English speaking countries often find it difficult to access primary sources in the English language for teaching purposes. The aim of the current page is to offer at least a partial remedy to that problem.


The extent to which this page expands depends on your help. Although I will be contributing some texts myself I would also ask community-spirited colleagues to contribute English language translations of primary sources that they use in their teaching so that these may be made available to the wider community. Any colleague who contributes to the page will of course be fully credited for their contribution.


I shall be updating the page at regular intervals. Please let me have any feedback and any documentation at: 


Other sources of English language documentation include Nicholas Atkin's book, 'The French at War, 1934-1944', London, Longman, 2001 and the forthcoming Simon Kitson, 'Experiencing Nazi Occupation', Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2008 which have/will have a selection of documents in the appendices. If you are interested in using oral interviews of Resisters as documents for teaching some interviews are available in Rod Kedward's books on Resistance. See H.R.Kedward, 'Resistance in Vichy France', Oxford, OUP, 1978 and H.R.Kedward, 'In Search of the Maquis', Oxford, OUP, 2003. Carmen Calill's book 'Bad Faith' London, Jonathan Cape, 2006 which concerns the role of Louis Darquier de Pellepoix during the Vichy years features in its appendix an English version of the complete text of the interview conducted with Darquier by L'Express in 1979 (the interview in which he said only lice were gassed at Auschwitz). 'The Diary of Pierre Laval', introduced and edited by his daughter Josée Laval was published by Scribner in 1948. It includes 60 pages of appendices, some of them facsimiles (Thanks to Robert Good for this piece of information). There's also the edited collection from the Hoover Institution that includes essays by many Vichy players, (self-justifications), 'France during the German Occupation 1940-1944', trans Philip Whitcomb, Stanford, Hoover, 1957. (Thanks to Sarah Fishman for that information). Lee Whitfield has been kind enough to pass on information about another English language document: Lisa Di Caprio and Merry Wiesner's collection of primary sources, 'Lives and Voices:Sources in European Women's History', includes as selection 158, an excerpt from Verine-Marguerite Lebrun, 'God, Work, Family and Fatherland' which appeared in the 1941 issue of the 'Education', exemplifying Lebrun's outspoken advocacy of Pétain's National Revolution and family policies.


The Avalon project website at Yale University also has some English-language documents amongst which feature some relating to France during the Second World War. The address for that site is: . Thanks go to Kirrily Freeman for providing me with that information. 


An English language version of the 1940 armistice is available at:

Some documents are available at the Jewish Virtual Library: .

Sue Roberts, the Librarian for European and Commonwealth History at Yale University, reports: 

There are several collections that might provide English language material from teh British point of view:

- A microfilm collection: 'Conditions and politics in occupied Western Europe : 1940-1945'. (Brighton, England : Harvester Press Microform Publications, 1981-1985.)  This is Foreign Office material FO371.

- Also from  Foreign Office sources, a documentary  collection in print: 'British documents on foreign affairs--reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print'. Part III, From 1940 through 1945. Series F, Europe / general editors, Paul Preston and Michael Partridge. (Bethesda, MD : University Publications of America, 1997- ).
For France: v. 12. France, Belgium and Luxemburg and the Netherlands, January 1940--December 1941; v. 14. Western Europe, January 1942-December, 1942 -- v. 15. Western Europe, January 1943-September 1943 -- v. 16. Western Europe, October 1943-June1944 -- v. 17. Western Europe, July 1944-December 1944 -- v. 18. Western Europe, January 1945-June 1945 -- v. 19. Western Europe, July 1945-December 1945

- A collection of French and related newspapers (filmed at Colindale): 'Voices from Wartime France, 1939-45: Clandestine Resistance and Vichy Newspapers' (Primary Source Microforms/Gale)
contains a few English language titles such as "France Forever", "France Speaks," and "Free France" (all published in New York). There is a online guide at: 




Maréchal Petain’s Speech of 17 June 1940


Speech delivered over French radio on the eve of the French surrender to Germany.



Frenchmen and women! 

At the request of Monsieur the President of the Republic, I am assuming the direction of the government of France as of today.  Sure of the affection of our admirable army, which is fighting with a heroism worthy of its long military traditions against an enemy that is superior in numbers and in weapons, sure that it has fulfilled its duty to our allies by its magnificent resistance, sure of the support of the combat veterans that I have been so proud to command, sure of the confidence of the entire French people, I make the gift of my person to France to mitigate her misfortune.



In these painful times, I think of the unfortunate refugees who are streaming along our roads totally stripped of all they own.  I offer them my compassion and my solicitude.  It is with a breaking heart that I tell you today that we must stop fighting.


I have spoken with the enemy tonight to ask him if he is ready to seek with us, among soldiers, after battle and with honor, the means of putting an end to the hostilities.



May all French men and women group themselves around the government that I will lead during these harsh trials and silence their anguish in order to hear nothing but their faith in the country.



This translation was kindly donated by

Jean Elisabeth Pedersen

Associate Professor of History

Humanities Department

Eastman School of Music

University of Rochester

26 Gibbs Street

Rochester, NY  14604, USA




Maréchal, nous voila


Under Vichy this song became the unofficial second national anthem.

Words by André Montagnard. Music by André Montagnard and Georges Courtieux


Une flamme sacrée                      
A sacred flame

Monte du sol natal                        
Rises from our native soil

Et la France enivrée                     
And enraptured France
Te salue Maréchal !                      
Salutes you, Marshal!
Tous tes enfants qui t'aime
All your children who love you

Et vénèrent tes ans                      
And venerate your years

A ton appel supreme                   
Have answered your supreme appeal

Ont répondu "Présent"                
By saying “Here.”

[Refrain] :                        [Chorus] :                                           
Maréchal nous voilà !                        
Marshal, here we are!

Devant toi, le sauveur de la France  
Before you, the saviour of France

Nous jurons, nous, tes gars                   
We, your boys, all swear

De servir et de suivre tes pas                
To serve you and follow your path 
Maréchal nous voilà !                               
Marshal, here we are!

Tu nous as redonné l'espérance            
You have given us back the hope

La Patrie renaîtra !                                    
That the Country will be reborn!

Maréchal, Maréchal, nous voilà !              
Marshal, Marshal, here we are!

Tu as lutté sans cesse                             
You have worked ceaselessly

Pour le salut commun                               
For the common salvation
On parle avec tendresse                          
Everyone speaks tenderly 

Du héros de Verdun                                  
Of the hero of Verdun

En nous donnant ta vie                              
In giving us your life

Ton génie et ta foi                                      
Your genius and your faith

Tu sauves la Patrie                                     
You are saving the country

Une seconde fois.                                     
For a second time.

[Repeat chorus]


Quand ta voix nous répète                          
When your voice repeats to us

Afin de nous unir :                                        
In order to unite us:

"Français levons la tête,                              
“Frenchmen raise your heads,

Regardons l'avenir !"                                     
Let us look to the future!”

Nous, brandissant la toile                             
We, brandishing the folds

Du drapeau immortel,                                   
Of the immortal flag,

Dans l'or de tes étoiles,                               
See the heavens shining

Nous voyons luire un ciel.                           
In the gold of your stars.

[Repeat chorus]



This translation was kindly donated by

Jean Elisabeth Pedersen

Associate Professor of History

Humanities Department

Eastman School of Music

University of Rochester

26 Gibbs Street

Rochester, NY  14604, USA




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Page maintained by 

Simon Kitson 

French Studies, University of Birmingham,

Edgbaston, B15 2TT,

West Midlands, UK