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Sarkozy in London for WWII appeal anniversary

media General Charles de Gaulle, during his appeal over the BBC airwaves Le Général Charles de Gaulle, lors de l'enregistrement de son «appel», depuis les studios de la BBC à Londres, le 18 juin 1940. Photo : BBC /AFP

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has arrived in London Friday morning to mark the 70th birthday of Charles de Gaulle’s rousing radio appeal to his compatriots to fight the Nazi occupation

On 14 June 1940, four days after the fall of Paris to German troops and, as France prepared to sign an armistice with Germany; the exiled general issued an appeal over the BBC airwaves to those left behind.

“Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not and will not be extinguished,” de Gaulle said. He urged the one who had escaped to Britain to join him in London.

Sarkozy is the first French president to travel to London to commemorate the event.

As a part of his visit, the French leader and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy will see the BBC studio where De Gaulle made his speech and the general’s wartime offices.

The words of the speech will be read again by a student from the French High School in London in a ceremony attended by the president and 800 others.

Sarkozy will go back to France in the afternoon to attend the usual ceremony in the Mont Valérien, in the west part of Paris, where hundred of French resistance fighters were shot by the Nazi.

The ceremony will take place at 6h45 (local time).


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