Glorifying “the French spirit of resistance”, the Head of State commemorated in the Aisne the battles of the Battle of France in May 1940.
A modest monument in the middle of the Picardy countryside, erected where a tank of the 4e division under the orders of colonel de Gaulle was destroyed by the Luftwaffe, with all these occupants, while he was trying “Desperately to stop the German invasion”, can we read, engraved in stone. It is here, at the edge of a road in the department of Aisne, that Emmanuel Macron chose to inaugurate a year of tributes to the man of June 18, 40. He explained this in an address delivered before a handful of elected officials and personalities, including Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts-de-France region, Yves de Gaulle, grandson of the general, and Hervé Gaymard, president of the Charles de Gaulle foundation.
Referring to the brief counter-offensive he commanded on May 17, 40, the future leader of the resistance will confide in these Memories that it was there, near the village of Montcornet, that he forged the convictions which were to lead him, a month later, to fly to London to continue the fight. “So it was here that de Gaulle met his destiny, […] that an invincible hope sprang into the heart of a man who was soon to lead the free forces of our people to Liberation. To French people in the grip of doubt and despondency, this man penetrated with the love of his country offered by his example and his word […] his unshakable confidence in the destiny of France ”, Macron said to explain the choice of Montcornet.
An implicit reference to failures in the battle against the epidemic?
In a France that had barely emerged from confinement with potentially devastating effects, this memory exercise could hardly fail to take on very contemporary political overtones. After having himself spoken of “war” about the fight against the epidemic, it is hard not to think of this spring when the head of state evokes “stupor and amazement “ of the country just 80 years ago when he suffered “One of the toughest defeats in its history.” Macron would not have in mind the failures in the battle against the epidemic when he evokes “Courageous defeats which carry within them the germ of victories to come” ? Wouldn’t he be tempted to compare himself to this colonel de Gaulle, “Promoter of the movement and the offensive”, that we “Listened too little”, while a “Fatalistic majority thought it was necessary to stop” ?
Contested by the Elysée in its historical part, the reference to the contemporary situation was however clear in the conclusion of the speech. “De Gaulle tells us that France is strong when it knows its destiny, when it stands united, when it seeks the path of cohesion in the name of a certain idea of France, which brings us together beyond discord then become accessories ”, said Macron who, for two months, has been constantly appealing for unity or harmony to confront the coming economic and social crisis. Throughout his speech, he called a “French spirit of resistance” that he’d obviously like to see reborn.
The head of state’s political opponents naturally did not hesitate to immediately shout at “Recovery”, see at “Indecency”. Paradoxically, it is Marine Le Pen’s party, the one that carries anti -ullism more than any other in its DNA, that are the most critical critics. “Macron? This is the absolute anti-De Gaulle “, said the head of the RN. Sunday on RTL, she lambasted “Globalist action” from the founder of En Marche, adding that she considered herself perfectly legitimate to claim Gaullism. It’s not new. Another possible, although undeclared, candidate for the 2022 presidential election, Xavier Bertrand is no less virulent. Before going to the Montcornet ceremony, he published in the Sunday Journal some murderous lines: “For De Gaulle, a chef must not speak constantly, wrongly and through. […] He must not have the pathological need to be loved but must be entirely in France. ”
Of all the participants in this ceremony where physical distancing was scrupulously respected, the president of Hauts-de-France was the only one to have deemed it useful to wear a mask. Failing to protect him from an improbable infection, the accessory will have enabled him to meet his protocol obligations while putting himself at a distance, thus showing that he did not think less. Questioned after the ceremony, the general’s grandson, Yves de Gaulle, described as “Completely foolish” the recovery trial against the head of state. Without specifying, however, who was targeted.