In the Thick of the Fight, 1930-1945

In the Thick of the Fight, 1930-1945

In the Thick of the Fight, 1930-1945

In the Thick of the Fight, 1930-1945

Excerpt

During my long years in prison, I conceived it a duty to my country--provided that the enemy did not bring my task to an abrupt conclusion--to explain to France how she had gravitated into war and why her army had been crushed in 1940.

Before I was deported, I contrived to have the pages which I had already written circulated through the ranks of the Resistance Movement.

When, in 1945, victory snatched me from German clutches, I had already broken the back of my work. Yet, what I had accomplished was only a first rough draft. The most difficult part yet remained: I still had to correlate my impressions, to weave them into a harmonious picture by giving to each its exact value and its true proportion.

I counted on completing this second part on my return to France. The public, eager to learn the vicissitudes of the drama, would not grant me the leisure to do this. How was it possible for me to deny its urgent demand for information?

In such circumstances, and against my own inclination, I consented to the publication of a book which was merely the rough draft of the one I had intended.

Whilst giving way, however, to the impatience of the public, and publishing this book, I privately made the resolution that I would, at my leisure, once more resume my tentative effort, and so provide my country and its Allies with the testimony which it was my duty to offer them.

It is this testimony which I offer today.

I have collated it with the numerous documents published since my first book, and with the testimonies of the other protagonists or spectators of the drama. Of all its great leading actors, Stalin alone did not give his version.

Since my return from captivity, I have made it a point of honour to collaborate in the unveiling of the truth. My co-operation could always be counted on in the inquiries which have taken place (and which still continue) into those very controversial years. At its sitting of May 18, 1951, the Committee of Inquiry, appointed by the French National Assembly, coming to the end of its task, made a point of recognizing . . .

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