- A menu from a 1942 dinner at the Chambre de Commerce Francaise in London signed by Charles de Gaulle
- At the time of signing de Gaulle was leader in exile of the Free French resistance
- An extraordinary piece of WW2 memorabilia from a towering figure in French history
Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970) was a fascinating and controversial figure. He graduated from France’s prestigious Saint Cyr military academy in 1912 and became a decorated hero during the first world war. When WW2 broke out, he was appointed Undersecretary of War. He fled to England after the French government surrendered to the Nazis in 1940, becoming leader of the French resistance. After the war he was appointed chair of the transitional government. He was prime minister from 1948-49 and elected president of France from 1958-1969, establishing the Fifth Republic and carefully piloting the nation through the cold war. As a result, De Gaulle is seen by many as the founding father of modern France.
In 1940, Charles de Gaulle broadcast his celebrated Appeal du 18 Juin across the English channel to the people of France. The general had been forced to leave the country after the invasion of Germany made him a target for arrest and possible execution.
In his speech, De Gaulle exhorted French soldiers to continue the fight against the invaders. This put him in opposition with the ruling Vichy government, which signed an armistice with Germany and began working in collaboration. This included adopting the Nazis' cruel persecution of Jews and other minorities.
This meal took place at the Chambre de Commerce Francaise at Grosvenor House, London on January 6, 1942. De Gaulle signs the 4.1 x 6.7 inch menu in bold black pen to the top left.
At this date he has been living in London for two years, masterminding the French Resistance’s guerrilla war against the occupying German army. He was backed in his efforts by Winston Churchill, who agreed to loan him the funds for the fight, to be paid back by France after the war.
When you buy this item you also get a July 1, 1941 Chambre de Commerce Francaise menu signed by Alfred Boucher (president of the Free French Chamber of Commerce), Greek diplomat Charalambos Simopolous and Yugoslavian attaché MN Domovic.
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