FRANCE: Maréchal, nous voilà!

Regarding the Vichy anthem,  Christopher Jones says; Maréchal, nous voilà! has its own spritely music, slightly reminiscent of the WWI song, Overthere.  André Dassary became famous and later infamous for his rendition of the song that was blasted over the airwaves by Vichy authorities.  Dassary (b.1912) was a Basque rugby and pelota enthusiast who was born in Biarritz.  He managed to pick up the shambles of his career after a brief exile and moved into the world of operettas. [It was very dangerous for him in 1944-1945; even mega-star Maurice Chevalier was arrested by the new authorities because he sang for French POWs in Germany] Dassary passed away in his beloved Biarritz, cherished by all, in 1987.

There is some good news however.  Phoenix-like, Maréchal, nous voilà! has made something of a comeback. During labor unrest, the opening lines of the song were changed to "Raffarin, nous voilà!" a reference to the current French prime minister, and was belted out by the strikers in front of
his residence.  Unfortunately, in a world dominated by the generation of '68 and Mr Bush's "you're with us or against us" government, (yes, both the politically-correct, capitalist right and socialist left) the right to one's own opinions, and in particular the ability to simply discuss the pros and cons of a major political figure like Henri-Philippe Pétain is becoming increasingly dangerous.  Happily, as the "arrêt" of the court in Strasbourg shows, some real democrats, who refuse to forget what Pétain tried to do for France in its darkest hour, have protected this precious right to defend him.

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 16, 2005