The Order of Liberation was established in 1940 by General de Gaulle to reward civilian and military communities or individuals who distinguished themselves in efforts to liberate France and the French Empire.
The Law of 13 July 2018 relating to military planning propelled the Order of Liberation into the future by conferring on it a new global mission (while retaining its traditional missions): to develop the spirit of defence through the commitment of the Companions of the Liberation.
Army units began to form following the appeal of 18 June 1940. These were mainly simple battalions or even simple companies, which, as the territories rallied and new volunteers came in, were gradually transformed into regiments.
Free France's air arm – the Free French Air Forces (FAFL) – was officially created on 1 July 1940. But its structured units, which each bore the name of a French province, did not truly emerge until the summer of 1941. Six of them bear the title of Companion of the Liberation.
Free France's naval arm – the Free French Naval Forces (FAFL) – was created on 1 July 1940. For exceptional feats in action, three of its units, two vessels and the First Regiment of Fusiliers Marins received the Cross of Liberation.