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The war of waves : propaganda and counter propaganda



« I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. ».
Winston Churchill, 13 May 1940

« Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not and shall not die. ».
Charles de Gaulle, 18 June 1940.


Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill both knew that they could mobilise their talents as writers to issue instructions to unite their people, another quality which they had in common. In this war, which was also a war of waves, their extraordinarily brilliant use of radio ensured their popularity and their renown. While radio was the dominant medium, other means, such as leaflets, newspapers, brochures and newsreels were utilized in the intense propaganda and counter-propaganda efforts which demonstrated that this was a total war. Public opinion in occupied France, a major goal in advance of a future landing, was at the heart of this struggle, and this was symbolized by the clash between Radio Londres and Radio Paris.

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Winston Churchill
Blood, toil, tears and sweat (The New Administration)
13 May 1940

[Public Domain]


Charles de Gaulle
Albert Hall speech
11 november 1942

©INA


"Est-ce la libération promise? ",
German propaganda
leaflet denouncing Allies bombing over France
1944 - Printed on paper

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


Thompson submachine gun M1928 A1
Put in operation in 1940 - metal

© Paris - Musée de l'Armée, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Anne-Sylvaine Marre-Noël


General de Gaulle, the Technician,,
biographical notes on general de Gaulle
June 1940 - Typed on paper

Cambridge, Churchill Archives Centre © Droits réservés