(Saint-Cloud, France, June 18, 2020) – Eighty years after General de Gaulle’s appeal of 18 June, Dassault Aviation is proud and honored to support the French Order of Liberation. To officialize this patronage, a meeting was held today at the Chancellery of the Order of Liberation, between General Christian Baptiste, national delegate of the Order, and Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO.
On June 18, 1940 General de Gaulle broadcast his call to resistance after France was left destroyed and defeated. He continued the fight and restored the honor of our nation by placing it in the winning camp. As of 1958, he went on to achieve tremendous progress, notably in the areas of the constitution, economy, diplomacy and defense.
On November 16, 1940 General de Gaulle created the Order of Liberation to reward individuals or military and civilian groups (Companions) for their distinguished deeds in the liberation of France. Today, the Order pursues the mission of developing the spirit of Defense through the achievements of French Liberation Companions and Resistance Medal awardees.
There are many similarities between De Gaulle’s work and Dassault Aviation, and although the years and generations pass, they remain firmly rooted in the identity of our company, our management and our teams.
Marcel Dassault was an engineer, an aviation genus, detained with his family and deported because he refused to collaborate with the occupying regime. After the war, he took the name Dassault, the alias given in the Resistance to his brother, General Paul Bloch; Paul Bloch was appointed Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor by De Gaulle in 1946.
Marcel Dassault was also a great industrialist, who recreated his family business after the Liberation with his engineers from the 1930s, many of whom had distinguished themselves in the fight against the enemy: Benno-Claude Vallières, future CEO of Avions Dassault, and Henri Déplante, future design office director, served remarkably in the SAS; Xavier d’Iribarne, later head of production, was an officer in the 1st Army of General de Lattre de Tassigny. During the post-war decades, Dassault numbered four Liberation Companions (Pierre Guillain de Bénouville, Pierre Clostermann, Louis Cortot, Jacques Maillet) and over 170 Resistance Medal honorees in its ranks.
The aviation and defense industry owes much of its current success to industrial Gaullism. France’s great champions, including Dassault Aviation, have inherited from political governance aiming to restore a sovereign ecosystem for France built on national independence and deterrence. “If France must carry a sword, it must be her own“.
This patriotism and economic sovereignty, put back on the agenda by the crisis our country is facing, run through Dassault Aviation’s blood. As an industrial actor, the great majority of our teams work on the national territory, where we pay our taxes, where our employees are consumers and pay their taxes, and where our facilities contribute to the economic development of many regions of France.
Charles de Gaulle and Marcel Dassault shared a social vision of the role of business. They were very much in favor of profit-sharing, established by the former and thoroughly implemented by the latter. At Dassault Aviation, an agreement dating back to 1959 organizes profit-sharing in four almost equal shares: one for shareholders, one for corporate income tax and one for the employees, the last one being retained by the company. This is a cornerstone of Dassault’s model.
General de Gaulle also left us a European legacy, a legacy of French-German cooperation, with the Elysée Treaty. We must pursue these efforts to build European strategic independence so that together, countries in Europe can take control of their future while remaining sovereign. The FCAS (Future Combat Air System) project is part of this process, to give participating European countries the benefit of proprietary military systems. Because as the General taught us, unless we have our own resources, there is no freedom of action. And sovereignty is pure illusion. We are therefore working with our German and Spanish partners to prepare the future of combat aviation in Europe. We are proud of our prime contractor role on the New Generation Fighter (NGF) of which the first demonstrator phase was launched in January. This program will enable us to continue the great aviation adventure for the sovereignty and independence of France in the context of a Europe that protects.
Dassault Aviation is a flagship French industry which innovates continually, from the post-war Flamant to Ouragan, Mystère, Mirage, Falcon, Rafale and nEUROn, and now to the NGF of tomorrow. Like General de Gaulle, “never tired of waiting in the dark for a glimmer of hope”, we trust in our lucky star, our talisman, this four-leaf clover returned to Marcel Dassault after the hell of the concentration camps, as a symbol of hope preserved and a venture to pursue.
True to our predecessors, we must continue the work they began over a century ago, with the same determination and energy, to ensure the sovereignty of French and European wings.
About Dassault Aviation
With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets, military drones and space systems. In 2019, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €7,3 billion. The company has 12,750 employees.