The Partisans' Song

<em>The Partisans' Song</em>

  • The song of the Liberation (the song of the Partisans)

    LEFEBVRE René (1914 - 1975)

  • The song of the Liberation (the song of the Partisans)

    LEFEBVRE René (1914 - 1975)

To close

Title: The song of the Liberation (the song of the Partisans)

Author : LEFEBVRE René (1914 - 1975)

Creation date : 1944

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emile Cambier

Picture reference: 09-518556 / My 1

The song of the Liberation (the song of the Partisans)

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emile Cambier

To close

Title: The song of the Liberation (the song of the Partisans)

Author : LEFEBVRE René (1914 - 1975)

Creation date : 1944

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emile Cambier

Picture reference: 09-518556 / My 1

The song of the Liberation (the song of the Partisans)

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Emile Cambier

Publication date: April 2016

Historical context

The image of a song

Made in 1944 by René Lefebvre, this drawing illustrates the famous Song of liberation (The Partisans' Song). It is therefore subsequent to the latter, whose music and lyrics in Russian, signed Anna Marly, date from 1941 and the French adaptation by Joseph Kessel and Maurice Druon, from May 1943. It is above all the printing date and dissemination of this image (summer 1944) which should be clarified to better understand its context.

A context where the Resistance comes out of confidentiality and underground to become a real political coalition (from the Communists to the Gaullists) which fights alongside the Allies, but also in relation to them to rebuild an autonomous power in a France in the process of liberation since the D-Day landings. It is in this perspective that we should understand the issue of the increasingly massive dissemination of song from this period, as well as that of the image that now accompanies it.

Indeed, before becoming, over time, the true anthem of the French Resistance, The Partisans' Song first known only for his tune, chosen as the show's "musical signature" Honor and homeland produced by Free France and broadcast on the BBC since May 1943. On the other hand, it was not until 1944 that the words and this drawing really became known more and more widely, this time beyond the sole circles resistance fighters, who are more and more numerous.

If several drawings have illustrated this song, it is one of the first known. Less famous than the song itself, this drawing nevertheless became familiar, anchoring in consciousnesses and representations a certain image of the Resistance, both before and after the end of the war.

Image Analysis

An allegory of liberty and liberation

René Lefebvre is a French illustrator. Known for his cinema and advertising posters, he also worked regularly with the Parisian world of entertainment (cabarets, theaters) and music (illustrations for record covers) in the 1940s and 1950s.

This illustration was probably published after the liberation of Paris, in August 1944. Indeed, the Editions Raoul Breton (musical and general editions) being located in the capital (text of the banner at the bottom of the document), they could not have been published. publish and distribute it freely under the Occupation.

The illustration, in red ink on a white background and fairly stylized, represents a "typical" French village (the steeple surmounted by the rooster, a few houses and trees) shackled in heavy chains (thickness of the line), while black (red here) crows fly in his sky. The Statue of Liberty, seen from a low angle, rises above the village and seems to be animated by a certain force, already capable of breaking some bonds of bondage (right).

In addition to the design and the author's signature, in the center of the image, the cover of the score has text in the same color as the illustration. He first recalls, on the right, the names of the composer and the lyricists. At the bottom left, a quote from the journalist writer Quentin Reynold, dated January 1944, describes the fate, nature and essence of this song: "It is the song of freedom, the song of the French partisans ... C ' is the song of a people who want to be free… It is the song of men who do not want to be slaves… It is: “THE NEW MARSEILLAISE”… »

Interpretation

" The new Marseillaise »

The drawing and the accompanying text are naturally didactic and designed to be directly understandable. It is about depicting Nazi oppression and opposing it with a liberation movement that resembles a new revolution (reference to The Marseillaise), that is to say to a rebirth of France as such, in its essence, as a Republic, as a country of enlightenment and a homeland of freedom. A freedom here personified in the figure both glorious, in the almost religious sense, and imposing of the famous statue, which in any case evokes the powerful movement (breaking the heaviest chains) and the inevitable advent of a sort of ideal and immortal principle (high in the sky of moral ideas).

Certain elements refer directly to the text of the song, and in particular to the first verse which opens with the two stanzas: "Friend, do you hear the black flight of crows on our plains / Friend, do you hear the deaf cries of the country that we chain. The crows thus speak of shadow and the lurking Nazi ominous omens, black with threats and humiliations. The channels refer to "slavery" and deprivation of liberty. Finally, the village symbolizes metonymically (and quite traditionally) France as a whole, echoing the “plains” of song, or even the “countryside” of The Marseillaise.

Almost amazing here, the Statue of Liberty, which is usually associated more with the urban universe of New York and which dominates this small village complex. Besides its undeniable graphic qualities, it seems to have been chosen as the only immediately and universally recognizable symbol of freedom. Finally, and perhaps above all, it constitutes an obvious sign of the country's recognition for the American soldiers who, in 1944-1945, still fought on French soil. We also understand that the French "origins" of the statue recall the historical solidarity between two peoples who have loved freedom since their respective revolutions (hence the reference to The Marseillaise), indicating in hollow that the French have always been and remain the actors of their own emancipation, in particular through the resistance fighters whose song is the hymn.

  • War of 39-45
  • Resistance
  • patriotism
  • allegory
  • engaged art

Bibliography

AZÉMA Jean-Pierre, New history of contemporary France. XIV: From Munich to the Liberation (1938-1944), Paris, Le Seuil, coll. "Points: History" (no 114), 1979.

AZÉMA Jean-Pierre, WIEVIORKA Olivier, Vichy (1940-1944), Paris, Perrin, 1997.

BROCHE François, CAÏTUCOLI Georges, MURACCIOLE Jean-François (dir.), Free French Dictionary, Paris, Robert Laffont, coll. “Books”, 2010.

MARCOT François (dir.), Historical Dictionary of the Resistance: internal resistance and free France, Paris, Robert Laffont, coll. “Books”, 2006.

MARLY Anna, Anna Marly: troubadour of the Resistance. Briefs, Paris, Tallandier, coll. “Historia”, 2000, book + audio CD.

MURACCIOLE Jean-François, History of Free France, Paris, University Press of France, coll. "What do I know? ”(No 1078), 1996.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, " The Partisans' Song »


Video: PARTISAN SONG