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Bastille Day
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Revolutionaries! Keep your eyes peeled on Friday
for a dedicated War Thunder Bastille Day Special! 

Bastille Day is the celebration of 'French National Day', which is held each year on the 14th of July. Those native to France refer to this event as ‘La Fête Nationale’. Bastille Day, as portrayed by the name, commemorates the storming of the Bastille Prison in Paris, in the year of 1789. This location was historically considered a symbol of the absolute power held by Paris’ monarch, Louis XVI.

The Bastille Prison, which could have also been described as a fortress, is known to have held political prisoners that, at the behest of the French Crown, were entirely unable to appeal their indictment. Prisoners of this nature were known to have committed actions which had displeased the royal government, such as the illustration of anti-monarchical documents. At the time,  many of the inmates held at the Bastille were considered to be innocent by the French people, and were not believed to have committed crimes that were deserving of such a punishment. Hence, the Bastille served as a symbol of royal absolutism.

In addition to this, infamy surrounding the prison-fortress grew in the 1700’s. Its existence served to convince the common people that they were deeply oppressed by the Crown.

On the 14th of July, 1789, the Bastille was stormed by the residence of Paris. Eventually reinforced by mutinous gardes françaises, the crowd fought against the Prison’s defences in what was considered to have been an evenly matched fight. Seeing this, and so to avoid a total massacre, the Bastille’s Commander opened the gates. Despite this, and possibly due to a misunderstanding, the battle resumed shortly after. At the time of its collapse, there had been only 7 prisoners, but nevertheless, it was seen as a victory of the people over the king, and was regarded as the beginning of the French Revolution.

Bastille Day officially became a national holiday in 1880. Celebrations often begin in the evening of July 13th, where the storming of the Bastille is often re-enacted. People also are known to proceed down French streets, holding candle lanterns known as “lampions”.

On the 14th, the largest and oldest military parade in all of Europe is held in commemoration of this day, taking place on the Champs-Élysées avenue, Paris, in front of the President of the Republic, French officials and important foreign guests. Troops salute the President, who is considered a symbol of the French Republic. The parade also incorporates musical performances, including a rendition of the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise”. 

Bastille Day is also marked by an aviation show from the French military force 'La Patrouille de France". The official ceremony ends with a spectacular fireworks show near the Eiffel tower. We would like to salute our friends in France, and wish you a Bonne fête du 14 juillet!

The War Thunder Team

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