Thursday, November 14 2019


De Gaulle’s war memoir translated

Update: May, 18/2016 - 09:00
Memories of a top leader: The Vietnamese version of the first volume of War Memoirs by the late French President Charles de Gaulle is now available in major libraries. VNS Photo Bạch Liên
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI - The first volume of War Memoirs by late French President Charles de Gaulle was recently published in Vietnamese.

French and Vietnamese experts have gathered at the French cultural centre L’Espace to discuss the book, which quickly became a classic of modern French literature after its publication.

The book, entitled War Memoirs: The Call to Honour, is the first of three volumes of de Gaulle’s War Memoirs, which were published in France in 1954.

In the first volume, the author, who resigned as France’s leader in 1969, talked about the military’s fight to ‘Free France’ during World War II from 1940 to 1942.

The book recounts the confusion and despair triggered by Hitler’s blitzkrieg takeover of France.

This first-person narrative reveals the magnitude of the task that the then General de Gaulle undertook as he launched his famous appeal of June 18, 1940,
 exhorting the French people to fight against Nazi Germany and the collaborationist Vichy regime.

Unlike many other leaders with memoirs, de Gaulle wrote the book himself. Through this book, readers can begin to understand the most important period of his life, including the difficulties, loneliness and despair he faced while in exile in London, as well as the long-lasting influence of his political visions on the French political scene.

The literary work was nominated for a Nobel Prize in 1963 for its refined and beautiful writing style.

“In French history, only two presidents were true writers: Francois Mittérand and de Gaulle,” said French historian Pierre Journoud,
 professor of contemporary history at the Paul-Valéry Montpellier University. 

Nguyễn Văn Khánh, history professor and rector of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said he admired de Gaulle because he was a hero who helped liberate France from German Nazi invaders while living a very simple life.

Experts at the conference said de Gaulle had many similarities with Việt Nam’s President Hồ Chí Minh.

“They had many good virtues in common. They dedicated their lives to the independence of their countries,” said Journoud. “They were both talented politicians, great writers. They were both keen on preserving their dignity under all circumstances.”

The life of de Gaulle is not only closely related to French history of the 20th century, but also incarnated the independent foreign policy of the Fifth Republic. His opposition to the military actions of the American army in Việt Nam less than 10 years after the Điện Biên Phủ battle proved his progressive vision towards international relations. 

Experts said that through his activities he played an important part in developing the strong and durable bilateral relations between France and Việt Nam.

De Gaulle’s War Memoir, published in three separate volumes covering three distinct periods, encompasses his personal writings from the fall of France in 1940 to the aftermath of the war in 1946.

The Vietnamese version of the first volume, published by Alpha Books, is available in the country’s major libraries. VNS

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