Maréchal Nous Voilà!

Marechal, nous voilà!

Une Flamme Sacrée
monte Du Sol Natal
et La France Enivrée
te Salue Maréchal !
tous Tes Enfants Qui T'aiment
et Vénèrent Tes Ans
a Ton Appel Suprême
ont Répondu "présent"

maréchal Nous Voilà !
devant Toi, Le Sauveur De La France
nous Jurons, Nous, Tes Gars
de Servir Et De Suivre Tes Pas
maréchal Nous Voilà !
tu Nous As Redonné L'espérance
la Patrie Renaîtra !
maréchal, Maréchal, Nous Voilà !

tu As Lutté Sans Cesse
pour Le Salut Commun
on Parle Avec Tendresse
du Héros De Verdun
en Nous Donnant Ta Vie
ton Génie Et Ta Foi
tu Sauves La Patrie
une Seconde Fois :
{Au Refrain}

quand Ta Voix Nous Répète
afin De Nous Unir :
"français Levons La Tête,
regardons L'avenir !"
nous, Brandissant La Toile
du Drapeau Immortel,
dans L'or De Tes Étoiles,
nous Voyons Luire Un Ciel :
{Au Refrain}

la Guerre Est Inhumaine
quel Triste Épouvantail !
n'écoutons Plus La Haine
exaltons Le Travail
et Gardons Confiance
dans Un Nouveau Destin
car Pétain, C'est La France,
la France, C'est Pétain !
{Au Refrain}

Maréchal Nous Voilà! (Eng)

Marshal, here we are!

A sacred flame
Rises from our native soil
And enraptured France
Salutes you, Marshal
All your children who love you
And revere your years
Have answered your supreme call
By saying 'We're here.'

Marshal, here we are!
Before you,
The saviour of France.
We swear this,
We, your boys,
To serve you and follow your footsteps.
The nation will be reborn
Marshal, Marshal, here we are!

You have given us back the hope
That the country will be reborn
Marshal, here we are!
When your voice repeats to us
In order to unite us
'People of France, raise your heads
and let us look to the future!'
We, brandishing folds
of the immortal flag
In the gold of your stars
We see the heavens shining

War is inhuman
What a sad spectre
Let us hear no more hatred
Let us exalt in work
and remain confident
In a new destiny
Because Pétain is France
France is Pétain!


La Marseillaise

La Marseillaise

Allons enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
Contre nous de la tyrannie,
L'étendard sanglant est levé,(bis)
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes
Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Égorger nos fils et nos compagnes !

Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos bataillons,
Marchons, marchons !
Qu'un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons !

Amour sacré de la Patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs ! (bis)
Sous nos drapeaux que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents,
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire !

La Marseillaise (Eng)

The Song of Marseilles

Arise children of the Fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us from tyranny,
The bloody flag is raised, (repeat)
Do you hear in the countryside
The howling of these fearsome soldiers?
They come right into our arms
To slit the throats of our son and our friends!

To arms, citizens,
Form your battalions,
Let’s march, let’s march!
Impure blood
Water our furrows!

Sacred love of the Fatherland,
Lead, support our avenging arms
Liberty, beloved Liberty,
Fight with your defenders! (repeat)
Under our flags, let victory
Hurry to your manly tone,
That your dying enemies
See your triumph and our glory!

Virtually every political regime has possessed a hymn as a symbol of its values and aspirations. Accordingly, changes of regime have frequently demanded a change of song, as was seen in 1830 when ‘La Parisienne’ (The Song of Paris) became the face of the July Monarchy in France. The establishment of the Vichy regime in 1940 followed this historic pattern: while there was no official anthem in the northern part of France occupied by the Nazis, two were adopted in the unoccupied, collaborationist south.

The first of these anthems was ‘La Marseillaise’ (The Song of Marseille). Originally entitled ‘Chant de Guerre pour l’Armée’ (War Song for the Army), it was composed by Rouget de Lisle, a French army officer of the Revolution in 1792, and was adopted as the first official national anthem for France in 1795. With the outbreak of WWII it was banned in northern France but persisted in southern Vichy France in a revised form. Chief of state Philippe Pétain selected particular verses for their relevance to his new political mission, travail, famille, patrie (work, family, country), including those beginning ‘Amour sacre de la patrie’ (Sacred love of the fatherland) and ‘Allons enfants de la patrie’ (Let us proceed, children of the fatherland). The hymn was played whenever Pétain gave a speech or made an entrance to a town. Despite these attempts to use the song to unite the population in support of the Vichy regime, there were fears that the anthem had lost some of its original power as a symbol of France. So in 1941, the deputy leader of Vichy, Francois Darlan, called for a law that obliged people to give symbols such as the anthem and the flag their due respect. This coincided with a renewed public emphasis on singing to foster community spirit, with posters for the Chantiers de jeunesse (youth camps) sporting the slogan Chanter, c’est s’unir (To sing is to unite). Darlan also insisted that if a member of government was not present at a ceremony, ‘La Marseillaise’ could not be sung without authorisation. Punishment ran as far as imprisonment. This rule gave the regime monopoly over the usage of the song and helped to defend against Resistance efforts to appropriate the old hymn as a symbol of lost French heritage. Despite this, nightclubs in Paris still incorporated fragments of ‘La Marseillaise’ into their mixes and played them defiantly to the Germans.

The second Vichy hymn was ‘Marechal, nous voilà!’ (Marshal, here we are!), which was composed in 1941 and gained popularity in part due to its performers. These included well-known French singers Andrex and André Dassary (who was held prisoner in Germany for the first part of the war before being released) and the orchestra of Ray Ventura, a French jazz legend. In order to ensure its acceptance among the population, it was taught to children in schools and sung at major sporting events and public spectacles. Although never used in official programmes or formal situations, it has often been remembered as the official hymn of Vichy in order to downplay the role played by ‘La Marseillaise’. The association of the latter with such a heinous period of French history could threaten its status as an emblem of France.

Ironically, although ‘Marechal, nous voilà!’ was believed to have been composed by two French citizens, André Montagard and Charles Courtiouz, it was in fact a plagiarised version of ‘La Margoton du bataillon’ (Margoton’s batallion)  by Casimir Oberfeld, a Pole murdered in Auschwitz in 1945. In other words, the regime for which Oberfeld’s song came to be used collaborated with the regime that caused his death. There is perhaps some historic vengeance in the fact that ‘Marechal, nous voilà!’ was taken over and parodied by Resistance movements. For example, Julien Clément, head of music for the Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur (Forces for the French Resistance), set up in the later stages of the war, changed the lyrics to ‘General, nous voilà!’ (General, here we are!), referring to Charles de Gaulle, the head of the Free French Forces. Clément’s other resistance activities included publishing an ode to Pétain which had ‘merde pour Hitler’ (death to Hitler) as an acrostic. Unaware of its clandestine message, Radio Vichy broadcast the song on one of its programmes.

By Daisy Fancourt


Alviset, Josette ‘La programmation musicale à Vichy : les apparences de la continuité’ La Vie Musicale Sous Vichy, ed. Chimenes, (Brussels, 2001)

Dompnier, Nathalie ‘Entre La Marseillaise et Maréchal, nous voilà ! Quel hymne pour le régime de Vichy?’ La Vie Musicale Sous Vichy, ed. Chimenes, (Brussels, 2001)

Jaconom, Jean-Marie ‘Marseille en liberté surveillée ? Les ambiguïtés de la vie musicale’ La Vie Musicale Sous Vichy, ed. Chimenes, (Brussels, 2001)

Krivopissko, Guy and Virieux, Daniel ‘Musiciens : une profession en résistance ?’ La Vie Musicale Sous Vichy, ed. Chimenes, (Brussels, 2001)

Sprout, Leslie ‘Les commandes de Vichy, aube d’une èra nouvelle’ La Vie Musicale Sous Vichy, ed. Chimenes, (Brussels, 2001)