Fighting French

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Fighting French


(French, La France Combattante), a movement headed by General C. De Gaulle during World War II (1939–45) to liberate France from the fascist German occupiers and the collaborationist Vichy regime. The movement was affiliated with the anti-Hitlerite coalition. (From June 18, 1940, to Apr. 13,1942, it was called the Free French movement.)

On Sept. 24, 1941, the central body of the movement, the French National Council, was established in London. The leadership of the movement relied for support on those French colonial possessions that sided with De Gaulle’s movement, including Chad, Cameroon, the Middle Congo, Ubangi-Shari, and Gabon.

The movement maintained armed forces and participated in a series of military operations of the anti-Hitlerite coalition. In November 1942 a group of French pilots, later known as the Normandy-Neman Regiment, was dispatched by the French National Council to the Soviet Union to take part in a joint struggle against Hitlerite Germany.

The success of the Fighting French movement was facilitated by the support of the Resistance Movement within France and by contacts established between the French Communist Party and the Fighting French movement in January 1943 for the purpose of organizing joint actions against the aggressors. Representatives of the Fighting French joined the Council of National Resistance, created in May 1943 by various Resistance groups.

After the entry of Anglo-American forces into Algeria in November 1942, the French National Council moved from London to Algeria and was reorganized on June 3, 1943, as the French Committee of National Liberation, a central body that represented the state interests of France in 1943 and 1944. On Aug. 26, 1943, the committee was officially recognized by the governments of the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain. Members of the French Communist Party joined it in April 1944. On June 2, 1944, the committee began calling itself the Provisional Government of the French Republic, headed by De Gaulle.


Sovetsko-frantsuzskie otnosheniia vo vremia Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny 1941–1945 gg. Moscow, 1959.
De Gaulle, C. Voennye memuary, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1957–60. (Translated from French.)
Antiukhina-Moskovchenko, V. I. “O kapituliatsii Frantsii v 1940 g. i ee mezhdunarodnykh posledstviiakh.” In Frantsuzskii ezhegodnik, 1961. Moscow, 1962.
Antiukhina-Moskovchenko, V. I. “SharP de Goll’.” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1971, nos. 3–6.
Smirnov, V. P. Dvizhenie soprotivleniia vo Frantsii v gody vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Moscow, 1974.
Histoire du parti communiste français. Paris, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Churchill promised that Fighting French representatives would be admitted to inter-allied strategic planning on this basis.
Now there seemed a glimmer of hope that the State Department might accede to Gaullist pressure prior to Roosevelt's departure for the imminent Big Three meeting at Tehran.(62) But State Department views were unlikely to prevail while Roosevelt remained unconvinced of the strategic imperative behind Fighting French participation in the Pacific War, particularly if according a role to de Gaulle implied a snub to Chiang Kai-shek.
The only modification to this was a subsequent verbal accord concluded between Mountbatten and Chiang in October 1943 which left both commanders equally free to mount attacks against Thailand and Indo-China as opportunity allowed.(66) It would clearly be stretching this unwritten agreement to infer that Chiang had thus authorized the British to support Fighting French efforts to organize a nationwide resistance against the Japanese in Indo-China.
The Fighting French also seemed determined to expand their independent radio propaganda station at the French enclave of Pondicherry in southern India, whose broadcasts were bound to compete with British transmissions organised by the Political Warfare Executive.(83) Still more prejudicial to SEAC interests was intelligence information decoded through ULTRA, indicating that Pechkoff's mission to Chungking had opened secret talks with Chiang promising China special economic privileges in Indo-China, including the establishment of a Chinese treaty port concession at Haiphong.

Full browser ?