Free French


Free French

French movement to continue warfare against Germany after France's 1940 defeat in World War II. Led by Charles de Gaulle in exile in London, the Free French Forces gained power in 1942 with the growing underground Resistance movement in France and the defection of many Vichy France troops stationed in North Africa. After a power struggle with Henri Honore Giraud, commander in chief of French forces in North Africa, de Gaulle succeeded by 1944 in controlling the entire French war effort. The 300,000 Free French forces took part in the Allied invasions of southern France and Normandy (see Normandy Campaign) and were the first Allied troops to liberate Paris.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Free French, visit Britannica.com.

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