This poem was published in Poésies et vérités in 1942 by the Editions de Minuit. The volume is a collection of poems dedicated to the struggle for freedom, designed to be learned by heart and to sustain the hope of the French people.
France was struggling under the Nazi occupation, and the French Resistance was coming together. Paul Eluard was among their number; he wrote this poem, which, with weapons and munitions, was parachuted across the country to the underground. The poem became the rallying cry for those who continued to hope for the liberation of France, and has a permanent place in cultural memory.