The French Yellow Book

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No. 355 :
Message addressed by M. Albert Lebrun, President of the Republic, to the French Parliament. September 2, 1939 (Chamber of Deputies. Sitting of Saturday, September 2, 1939 (Journal Officiel, of September 3, 1939).)

GENTLEMEN of the Senate, Gentlemen of the Chamber of Deputies,

You have been summoned at a critical time in our national life. War has broken out in Central Europe; men are killing one another; innocent victims are falling under machine-gun fire from the air.

How has this come about?

Two nations had differences to settle. They could do this by way of free and fair negotiations, as they had been advised from every side. At the moment when their plenipotentiaries were about to meet, Germany brutally attacked Poland, thus bringing about a state of war which nothing could justify. (Applause.)

England and France, steadfastly devoted to a policy of prudence, wisdom and moderation, did all that was humanly possible to avert this crisis. The voices of their Heads of Government, together with the voices of the highest moral and political authorities in the world, joined in adjuring the men who held war or peace in their hands, to give careful thought to their decisions before unleashing the dread scourge.

That was of no avail. And, unless they should be, even at this hour, willing to listen to the appeal of universal conscience which is rising towards them, the worst must be expected.

With great calmness, with cool resolve and in perfect order, France has taken the steps required by her own safety and her faithfulness to her obligations. (Loud applause on the left, on the extreme left, in the centre, and on the right.)

For the last few days already, our young men have been keeping watch on the frontiers. Today general mobilization summons all the forces to the defence of our country.

On behalf of the nation I send our land, sea and air forces an affectionate greeting and the expression of the unanimous confidence which the country has in them. (Loud applause everywhere.)

The people within the country also are doing their whole duty. The union of all citizens, more sacred than ever, has once more come about spontaneously. Fortitude, discipline, hopefulness have one and all stirred their innermost souls. (Fresh applause.)

They realise that over and above the fate of their own country the freedom of the world and the future of civilization are both at stake.

They can be relied on to face the most portentous decisions unflinchingly.

Let us remain united! Long live France!

(The deputies rise. Prolonged applause.)

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