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Portraits of a stormy relationship : the "mésentente cordiale"

« Pauvre Churchill ! He’s betraying us, and he’s angry at us because he’s forced to betray us ! ».
Charles de Gaulle, 1 October 1942

« Si vous m’obstaclerez, je vous liquiderai. ».
Winston Churchill to Charles de Gaulle, in approximate French, 22 January 1943

The links formed between Churchill and de Gaulle in the summer of 1940 were quickly put to the test by national interests. General de Gaulle, who felt himself too weak to compromise, regularly opposed British policy, especially on the question of territories administered by France in the Middle East. The bilateral relationship between de Gaulle and Churchill was further upset by the entry of the United States into the war in December 1941. For Churchill, the Anglo-American alliance was vital, and moreover, President Roosevelt showed himself to be particularly hostile towards de Gaulle. The result was a series of crises over the difficult questions of relations with Vichy, of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, of North Africa, and finally, of the administration of France after liberation.

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interview of the British historian David Reynolds
about United States

© ECPAD / musée de l'Armée

« Déclaration »,
poster distributed on the occasion
of the Teheran conference where
Roosevelt, Staline and Churchill have met
1943 - Printed on paper


Charles de Gaulle
La bataille suprême est engagée
6 June 1944


Anfa Conference : Winston Churchill,
Franklin D. Roosevelt with general Giraud and general de Gaulle
26 January 1943

© Paris - Musée de l'Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Emilie Cambier

propaganda leaflet denouncing
Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories (AMGOT)
1944 - Printed on paper - Private collection

© Paris - Musée de l'Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/image musée de l'Armée

10 francs note produced by the United States
in the frame of the
Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories(AMGOT)
1944 - Printed on paper, front - Private collection

© Paris, musée de l’Armée/Anne-Sylvaine Marre-Noël