Beyond their historical value and the incomparable, often lyrical, style of their author, Mémoires de guerre (War Memoirs) is first and foremost a record of one man’s relentless fight for his country, France, which he always believed had “an eminent and exceptional destiny”, says Commissioner Barnier.
“These memoirs also service indirectly to measure the progress made by a Europe which in our parents’ or grandparents’ time was deeply divided, with its bomb-ravaged cities and families impoverished by war.
Our success in rebuilding this Europe in ruins is thanks to the remarkable intuition of individuals like Schuman, Monnet, Spaak and de Gasperi, and to a tenacious will to achieve reconciliation, personified in the formidable characters of De Gaulle and Adenauer.
Sixty years later, it is now time to combine the vision of de Gaulle and that of the founding fathers. Would this be such a utopian ambition? In this age of globalisation, the digital revolution and the ascendency of BRICS States such as China, India and Brazil, I am convinced that de Gaulle would agree that the defence of national interest can no longer be national alone, and that France, like its partners, will fulfil its “destiny” only through a united European front”, added Mr Barnier.