Shortly before the D-DAY landings of 6 June 1944 in Normandy, Radio Londres, a radio broadcast from 1940 to 1944 from the BBC in London to Nazi occupied France, broadcast the first stanza of Paul Velaine’s’s poem “Chanson d’autome” to let the resistance know that the invasion would soon begin .
- Les sanglots longs
- Des violons
- De l’automne
- Blessent mon cœur
- D’une langueur
In preparation for Operation Overlord, the BBC had signaled to the French Resistance that the opening lines of the 1866 Verlaine poem “Chanson d’Automne” were to indicate the start of D-Day operations. The first three lines of the poem, “Les sanglots longs / des violons / de l’automne” (“Long sobs of autumn violins”), meant that Operation Overlord was to start within two weeks.
These lines were broadcast on 1 June 1944. The next set of lines, “Blessent mon coeur / d’une langueur / monotone” (“wound my heart with a monotonous languor”), meant that it would start within 48 hours and that the resistance should begin sabotage operations especially on the French railroad system; these lines were broadcast on 5 June at 23:15, the call to action.