Martin Thomas
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The empire between the Axis and the Allies, 1940–41
in The French empire at war 1940–45
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During August 1940 Winston Churchill's government confirmed its support for Free France. Following an agreement reached with the Prime Minister on August, Charles de Gaulle was officially permitted to recruit armed forces under Free French jurisdiction. By late 1940 the banks of Free French Africa relied upon the assurance of regular sterling transactions within individual colonies to assure their liquidity. Writing in mid-November 1940, the British Colonial Secretary, Lord Lloyd, concluded that the recent spate of Free French successes in Africa was at an end. The British blockade of Vichy Africa did not yield immediate results. With Operation Menace (the codename for the Dakar assault), de Gaulle became openly complicit in British attempts to destroy what remained of Vichy's overseas armed forces. In the event, the British and Free French contacts with Weygand were soon undermined by increased Vichy collaborationism.

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