Unknown: none stated: British government, presumed, 1940. Presumed first and only edition. Leaflet. This wartime leaflet is the French-language issue of British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill’s 21 October 1940 broadcast speech to the French people. This is the only example we have ever encountered. Owing to the perishable nature and wartime issue of the publication, this is perhaps unsurprising.
The publisher is unknown but presumed to be the British Ministry of Information. The sole print information on the leaflet is a cryptic “205” printed at the lower right of the verso. The leaflet is printed on both sides of an 8.375 x 5.3125 inches (21.27 x 13.49 cm) sheet of thin, wartime stock reminiscent of newsprint. This example is nonetheless well-preserved, in very good condition. The leaflet is complete, with only light wear to extremities, including a tiny hole and .5 inch (1.27 cm) closed tear confined to the blank margin of the bottom edge and lesser, fractional closed tears to the left and bottom edges. There is a single horizontal fold and inevitable, though mild, overall age-toning. The leaflet is protected within a clear, removable, archival sleeve.
Churchill's October 21, 1940 broadcast speech to the French people was made from the Cabinet War Rooms very close to the end of the Battle of Britain. About this speech, Churchill wrote after the war: "I took great pains to prepare this short address, as it had to be given in French. I was not satisfied with the literal translation at first provided, which did not give the spirit of what I could say in English and could feel in French, but Mr. Dejean, one of the Free French Staff in London, made a far better rendering, which I rehearsed several times and delivered from the basement of the Annexe, amid the crashes of an air raid." (Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p.509)
Appealing to French pride and reassuring the French of British intentions and resolve, Churchill asked: "Frenchmen - re-arm your spirits before it is too late... Now what is it we British ask of you in this present hard and bitter time? What we ask at this moment in our struggle to win the victory which we will share with you, is that if you cannot help us, at least you will not hinder us... Good night, then. Sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come." (Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 511-512). Item #006553