"Europe will bleed!," vows de Gaulle on the day of Germany's invasion of Poland, the attack that ignited World War II
ALS in French, signed “C. de Gaulle,” five pages, 5.25 x 7, September 1, 1939. Exceptional handwritten letter to a friend dated to the day that Nazi Germany invaded Poland, an event that marked the beginning of the Second World War. In full (translated): “Well here is the infamous war that our peacemakers told us was impossible. Here it is this improbable war that the tocsin rings for the men of 14 and their sons. Do you hear it my friend. Do you hear the voices urging heroism and love of the Fatherland. Do you hear those tribunes in hats who today speak German in the most belligerent tone while they frantically applauded each of the agreements that law and reason conceded to violence and doctrine. This is the war that peace gave birth to and that at the end of a chaotic gestation it spreads over the world, thus reminding men that bad treaties always lead to just conflicts. Here we are now, yesterday's brothers and today's sons, wearing the same uniform, kissing the same cheeks on the platforms of our stations, pressing the same hearts to our chests. How many widowed wives, orphaned children and mater dolorosa in our countryside in response to the errors of those who lead us straight into the abyss through their disastrous policies. I will walk alongside my men, I will walk alongside France, but how much disappointment, how much disillusionment in each of my steps. When the past becomes present again, history as a whole collapses. And in its rubble, in its gaping flaws, in its entrails, we see, contrite, each of our vain promises, our false pretenses, our partisan errors, and we regret that the wise man, the man of reason, the man of virtue is ultimately only the last memory of an age when the very idea of being a man still had meaning. Europe will bleed! The bloodshed was not enough to drain this tired old body of its life. You know my fears, may you, my dear Antoine, hear me say in a few months that they were wrong and that your old friend was wrong. On this dark day, I invite you to remember the work accomplished and to be proud of it. Be well.” In fine condition.