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Chronology 1940-1945

Period Free French movement Resistance movement
JUNE 1940

17 : General de Gaulle arrives in London

18: Around 8 p.m., Appeal to Resistance by General De Gaulle on the BBC

20: Chandernagor (Bengal) joins the Free French movement

22 : Second radio speech by De Gaulle

24: In radio speech, De Gaulle denounces the armistice. The men of age from Ile de Sein go to England

26: Radio speech by De Gaulle in response to Pétain

28: De Gaulle is recognized by the British as head of the Free French

29: 1,300 men of the Bethouart brigade are rallied up

COLLAPSE : 7 million refugees and 1.8 million prisoners of war.

14 : Paris is occupied by the Germans

16: Paul Reynaud resigns; Pétain becomes Prime Minister

17: Pétain announces on the radio his request for an armistice. Jean Moulin, Magistrate of Eure-et-Loire, attempts suicide rather than sign a dishonorable document

22: Signing of the Franco-German armistice. Pétain gives another speech on the radio

24: Signing of the Franco-Italian armistice

25: Pétain gives a radio speech to justify the armistice

JULY 1940

The "Appeal to all French People" poster is put up in England.

1: The Free French Navy (FNFL) is created

3: The English fleet attacks the French ships in the natural harbor of Mers-el-Kebir

8: The Free French Air Force (FAFL) is created

14: Review of the French troops in London (approx. 2,000).

22: The New Hebrides join the Free French movement.

24: the General Headquarters of the Free French movement are set up at Carlton Gardens.

1: The Government is set up in Vichy

10: The Parliament votes to give full power to Pétain (569 for, 80 against, 17 abstentions)

17: The first agent of the Free French movement, Jacques Mansion, is sent to France.

27: Pétain and Weygand sign a decree that sentences all members of the Free French Movement to death.


The first Free French Committees are created.

2: De Gaulle is sentenced to death in his absence.

7: Franco-British agreements on the status of the Free French Forces (FFL)

26: Chad and Cameroon join the Free French movement

28: Congo joins the Free French movement

29: Oubangui-Chari joins the French Movement

31: The "Menace" operation (Dakar) leaves from Liverpool

The first clandestine newspaper, "Conseils à l'occupé", by Jean Texcier, is published in Paris.

Henri Frenay writes about the foundations of a secret army and found the National Liberation Movement

3 : Maurice Duclos (Saint-Jacques), an agent of the Free French movement is sent to France


2: Tahiti joins the Free French movement

9: The French territories in India join the Free French movement

15: The 1st. Marine Infantry Battalion incorporated into the British troops begins an operation against the Italians at (Egypt)

23-25: Failure of the "Menace" expedition at Dakar

24: New Caledonia joins the Free French movement


8: De Gaulle spends time in Free French Africa (until November 17th)

22: The Free French Brigade of Orient is created

27: The Empire Defense Council is created in Brazzaville. Beginning of the Gabon campaign

The first clandestine publications: Pantagruel, Arc, Université Libre

3: the Vichy Decree on the "status" of Jews

24: Pétain and Hitler meet in Montoire


12: Gabon joins: All of French Equatorial Africa has now joined the Free French movement

16 : Creation of the Order of the Liberation

The "Liberté" Resistance movement is born

The "France-Liberté" movement is born (future "Franc-Tireur")

Gilbert Renault (alias Rémy) founds the "Confrérie Notre-Dame" – the Brotherhood of Notre Dame

11: A student protest on the Champs-Élysées is repressed with the use of force





13: First broadcast of "Radio Brazzaville", the spokesperson for the Free French movement

15: The FNFL submarine "Narval" disappears in action

24: The British Government officially recognizes the Empire Defense Council

The "O.C.M. " and the "Ceux de la Libération" movements are born in the occupied zone

1: first issue of the resistant paper "Libération-nord", the instrument of a movement bearing the same name

15: First issue of the paper "Résistances" (Museum of Mankind group)

Period Free French movement Resistance movement


11: Victorious raid of the FFL Leclerc over Mourzouk (Libya)


20: Victory of skirmish battalion No. 3 at Kub-Kub (Eritrea)

24: First FNFL victory over an enemy warship


MARCH 1941

1: Leclerc's armored column takes over the Koufra Oasis (Libya)

27: The Orient Brigade takes over Keren (Eritrea)

31: The FAFL fight in Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia and north of Great Britain

The first Socialist Action Committee is created in Nimes

APRIL 1941

6: Beginning of the Allied blockade on Somali territories and Djibouti

8: British troops and the Orient Brigade take over Massaoua (Eritrea)

MAY 1941

14: First FAFL victory in the skies of Tobrouk (Libya)

26: General De Gaulle reviews the troops of the 1st. Light Infantry Division at Qastina (Palestine)

15: The resistance movement "Front National" is created

26: Beginning of the miner strike in the North and in Pas-de-Calais

JUNE 1941

8: The FFL and the British troops enter Syria

21: Takeover of Damascus

22: Beginning of the German offensive in the USSR (Operation Barbarossa)

JULY 1941

14: Armistice of Saint John of Acre (Galilee)

25: Gaulle-Lyttelton Agreements regarding the Middle East

First issue of clandestine paper "Libération-Sud", instrument of the organization bearing the same name

14: The paper "Défense de la France" is distributed in the North – instrument of the organization bearing the same name


31: The FAFL reorganizes, and each formation takes on the name of a French province

21: Fabien assassinates officer Moser at Metro Barbès station

29: Execution of Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves, Yan Doornik and Maurice Barlier at Mont Valérien


24: The French National Committee is formed in London – the true government of the Free French

27: General Catroux proclaims the independence of Syria

4: First Lysander operation (clandestine England – France trip via airplane)


8: The Secret Service Agency (SR) of the Free French becomes the Central Information and Action Bureau (BCRA)

20: Jean Moulin reaches London via Spain. Assassination of Lieutenant-Colonel Holtz, the feldkommandant at Nantes

22: The Germans execute 48 hostages at Nantes, Chateaubriant and Mont Valérien

24: 50 hostages executed at the Souges camp near Bordeaux


27: General Catroux proclaims the independence of Lebanon

1: Henri Frenay founds the "Combat" movement in Grenoble

11: Nantes is named Companion of the Liberation


7: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. The United States enter the war.

8: Free France declares war on Japan

24: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon join the Free French movement thanks to Admiral Muselier

Period Free French movement Resistance movement

2: Free France adheres to the Declaration of the United Nations

17: Takeover of Halfaya in Libya by the 1st. Free French brigade and the South Africans

2: Jean Moulin named Delegate to General De Gaulle for the southern zone; he is parachuted into Provence


28: Raid on Fezzan (Libya) by Leclerc until mid March

The Minuit publishing house publishes Le Silence de la Mer (Silence of the Sea), Vercors

The National Committee of Franc-Tireurs, Partisans and Communists, is founded

19: The Riom case goes to court

23: Seven members of the Museum of Mankind group are executed at Mont Valérien

MARCH 1942

3: Admiral Muselier leaves the French National Committee

27: Jews are deported from France to Auschwitz for the first time

APRIL 1942  

From London, Christian Pineau brings the first political message from De Gaulle to the Interior Resistance movement

27 : Pierre Brossolette goes to London via a Lysander airplane

17: The Germans return the command to Laval

MAY 1942

12: Wallis and Futuna joins thanks to the FNFL advice boat  "Chevreuil"

27: Beginning of the Battle of Bir-Hakeim (Libya)

The first issue of Populaire comes out in the southern zone

1: Patriotic demonstrations in many cities in the southern zone

29: Jews are forced to wear the yellow star

JUNE 1942

11: In the middle of the night, the FFL forces led by General Koenig leave Bir-Hakeim

JULY 1942

14: Free France becomes France in Combat (at War)

14: More patriotic demonstrations in the southern zone

16-17: The Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup. 12,884 Parisian Jews are arrested by the French police and held at the Winter Velodrome


5: De Gaulle leaves to inspect troops in the Levant and in Africa

19: Raid on Dieppe with the participation of FFL units

4: The first German laws concerning Forced Labor Duty


23: Beginning of the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt (until November 4th) where the two Free French Brigades join in combat

22: General Delestraint is Head of the Secret Army. Merger of the "Action" groups of the movements in the southern zone


8: Anglo-American landing on the coast of northern Africa

28: Reunion Island joins France in Combat

The first maquis fighter groups are formed in the southern zone

Founding of the Coordination Committee of movements in the southern zone (Jean Moulin is named its President)

11: The Germans invade the southern zone

27: Scuppering of the French fleet in Toulon


14: Madagascar is placed under the authority of France in Combat

16: Leclerc begins the conquest of Fezzan

24: Admiral Darlan is assassinated in Algiers

28: The Somali territories join France in Combat

1: General Frère founds the Army Resistance Organization (ORA)

Period Free French movement Resistance movement

23: De Gaulle and Giraud meet for the first time in Anfa (Morocco)

Maquis fighter groups form in the northern zone
The movement "Ceux de la Résistance" is founded in the occupied zone

8: the Communist Party adheres to France in Combat

26: Creation of the United Resistance Movements (MUR)

27: Pierre Brossolette arrives in France (the "Brumaire" mission)

30: The collaborationist militia commanded by Darnand is established in Vichy


1: Official birth of the 1st. Free French division, under the command of General de Larminat

9: a decree creates the French Resistance Medal

14: Jean Moulin is back in London

15: Extension of the Forced Labor Duty

26 : Colonel Passy arrives in France ("Arquebuse")

MARS 1943

11: The FNFL corvette "Aconit" sinks two German submarines

18: French Guyana is rallied up under the Giraud administration

20: Jean Moulin is General Delegate of the National French Committee (CNF) for the Resistance, back in France

APRIL 1943

12: the L Force (Leclerc) enters Kairouan (Tunisia)

Creation of the Service National Maquis

MAY 1943

1: The 1st DFL reaches Tunisia

13: End of the Tunisia campaign

30: De Gaulle arrives in Algiers

27: First meeting of the National Resistance Council (CNR) in Paris, presided by Jean Moulin

31 : Berty Albrecht dies in the Fresnes prison

JUNE 1943

3: The French National Liberation Committee (CFLN) is formed, and is presided by De Gaulle and Giraud

8-10: the 1st and the 2nd DFL (Leclerc), are declared to be undesirable in Tunisia by the Giraud cabinet, and are sent to Tripolitaine

9: Delestraint arrested in Paris

21: Jean Moulin arrested by Klaus Barbie in Caluire, located in the Lyon suburbs

JULY 1943

13: Martinique joins France in Combat

8: Death of Jean Moulin


26: The CFLN is recognized by the Big Three

30 : Georges Bidault, President of the National Resistance Council


17: A CFLN edict institutes a Provisional Advisory Assembly

27: The United States grants the benefit of the Loan-lease law to the CFLN

 9: Insurrection of the Corsican patriots

15 : Emile Bollaert is appointed General Delegate of the C.F.L.N in France

OCTOBER 1943  

4: Liberation of Corsica


3: Inaugural session of the Advisory Assembly in Algiers

9: Giraud resigns from the CFLN. De Gaulle is its one and only President

22: The first units of the French Expedition Corps (CEF) of General Juin land in Naples

11: The Resistance parades in Oyonnax (Ain region)


12: Important speech by General De Gaulle at Constantine about the status of Muslims in Algeria

29: Cooperation agreement between the Secret Army and the Franc-Tireurs and Partisans (FTP)

Period Free French movement Resistance movement

10: An edict creates the Prefects of the Republic

30: Beginning of the Conference on Decolonization in Brazzaville

5: The United Resistance Movements (MUR) become the National Liberation Movement (MLN)

31 : Jacques Delmas, aka Chaban, is appointed National Military Delegate (replacing Bourgès-Maunoury)


1: CFLN edict that creates the French Forces of the Interior (FFI)

1: C.F.L.N. edict that creates the French Forces of the Interior (FFI)

3: Brossolette and Bollaert are arrested in Audierne

21: The FTP / MOI are executed in Paris (Immigrant laborers) of the Manouchian Group

MARCH 1944

23: General Koenig is appointed Commander-in Chief of the FFI

27: General De Gaulle announces that after the Liberation, a National Constituent Assembly and local and regional elections would be organized

The MLN creates the Corps Francs de la Libération

10 : Alexandre Parodi is appointed General Delegate of the C.F.L.N in France

15: Publication of the CNR program

22: Pierre Brossolette commits suicide

26: The Germans and their collaborationist militia attack the Plateau des Glières near Annecy

APRIL 1944

8: Giraud resigns from his post as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and retires

13: Leclerc’s 2nd Armored Division goes to England

20: the 1st DFL lands in Italy

21: Women win the right to vote by an edict dealing with the organization of public authorities in France

20: The Germans launch a mountain division against the Vercors region

MAY 1944

The Prefects of the Republic are named

10: Beginning of the General Allied offensive in Italy. The CEF and the 1st DFL attack the Garigliano area

1: the Resistance movement concentrates on destroying locomotives

4: Grenoble is named Companion of the Liberation


3: The CFLN becomes the Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF) presided by De Gaulle

6: Allied landing in Normandy. FAFL and FNFL units and the commandoes of Commander Philippe Kieffer participate in the landing

14: General De Gaulle lands in Courseulles in Normandy

17-18: The island of Elba is taken over by the troops of General de Lattre de Tassigny

6: The Resistance applies the plans known as Green, Blue, Violet, Frog and Turtle, which are meant to facilitate the Allied landing

7: The maquis fighters and the FFI troops begin the attack on the entire French territory

10: The massacres of Oradour-sur-Glane (642 civilian victims)

16-20: Combats in the maquis of Mont-Mouchet (Auvergne region)

18: Combats in the maquis of Saint-Marcel (Morbihan region)

27: Combats in the maquis of Saffré (Nantes region)

JULY 1944

5-12: General De Gaulle travels to the United States and Canada

17: In the USSR, the fighter squadron "Normandie" is given a new name by Stalin: "Normandie-Niemen"

31: The 2nd Armored division in Normandy

9: By means of a GPRF edict signed in Algiers, the Republic becomes legal again in France Vassieux-en-Vercors is attacked and destroyed


15: The 1st Army of Lattre and the 1st DFL land in Provence

25: Paris liberated by the 2nd Armored Division and the FFI. De Gaulle enters the capital

27-29: Liberation of Toulon, Marseilles and Montpellier by the 1st Army

31: The seat of the GPRF is transferred from Algiers to Paris

9: By means of a GPRF edict signed in Algiers, the Republic becomes legal again in France

16: the last convoy of deported Jews leaves Drancy

19: Beginning of Parisian insurrection under the orders of Rol-Tanguy (FFI)

25: Paris liberated by the 2nd Armored Division and the FFI. De Gaulle enters the capital

26: General De Gaulle and figureheads of the free French movement and the Resistance movement march down the Champs Elysées


3: Lyon is liberated by the 1st DFL

12: The French armies coming from the West (2nd Armored Division) and the south (1st DFL and 1st French Army) meet at Montbard (Côte d’Or region). Beginning of the Vosges campaign

14-18: De Gaulle travels to the French countryside

7: Pétain and Laval go to Germany

9: Representatives of the Resistance movement join in the Provisional Government

19: The FFI are integrated into the regular army


23: The GPRF is recognized by the Allies

28: The patriotic Militias are disbanded


2: beginning of the Alsace campaign (1st DFL and 2nd Armored Division)

20: The Army of Lattre liberates Mulhouse

23: The 2nd Armored Division liberates Strasburg

30: The DFL is reinstated and sent to the west to capture the German pockets on the Atlantic side


3-11: General De Gaulle visits the USSR

16-31: German offensive by von Rundstedt in the Ardennes region. The DFL is recalled in an emergency to Alsace

Period Free French movement Resistance movement

1-25: German offensive in Alsace

30: The 1st DFL and the 2nd Armored Division fight in Alsace


2: De Lattre liberates Colmar

4-11: the Yalta Conference (Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin). France obtains an area of occupation in Germany

MARCH 1945

15: The 1st DFL is assigned to the front in the Alps

23: The Allies, supported by FAFL fighter squadrons, cross the Rhine

31: The 1st French Army crosses the Rhine

APRIL 1945

15-20: The 2nd Armored Division participates in the capture of Royan and Pointe de Grave

26: Pétain returns to France. He is detained, judged and sentenced to death (July-August 1945), and later pardoned by De Gaulle

27: the 1st Army enters Austria

28: Mussolini is killed by Italian partisans

30: Hitler commits suicide in Berlin

MAY 1945

4: the 2nd Armored Division reaches Berchtesgaden

7-9: the Wehrmacht surrenders unconditionally. The war comes to an end in Europe

16: France becomes a permanent member of the UN Security Council


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