!No Pasaran!

On ne passe pas!. 1918 French propaganda poster by Maurice Neumont [fr]: "Twice I have stood and vanquished on the Marne. Brother civilian, the underhand offensive of 'white peace' will attack you in turn; and like me you must stand firm and vanquish. Be strong and shrewd. Beware of Boche hypocrisy".[1]

"They shall not pass" (French: Ils ne passeront pas; Romanian: Pe aici nu se trece; Spanish: No pasarán) is a slogan, most notably used by France in World War I, to express a determination to defend a position against an enemy. It was also used during the Spanish Civil War by the Republican faction.


Halte la! On ne passe pas!
French card, 1915

The widespread use of the slogan originates from the 1916 Battle of Verdun in the First World War when French General Robert Nivelle urged his troops not to let the enemy pass.[2] The simplified slogan of "they shall not pass" appeared on French war propaganda posters, most notably by French artist Maurice Neumont [fr] in the last year of the war after the Allied victory at the Second Battle of the Marne.[2]

Later during the First World War, the slogan was used by Romanian soldiers during the Battle of Mărășești, with the Romanian translation of the phrase being "Pe aici nu se trece", translating as "One does not pass through here".

The slogan was adopted on uniform badges by French units manning the Maginot Line.

Léon Blum, in 1934, used this sentence "ils ne passeront pas!" against the Ligue's demonstration of the 6 February.[3] "Ils" ("they") designated the fascist protesters.

It was also used during the Spanish Civil War, this time at the siege of Madrid by Dolores Ibárruri Gómez, a member of the Communist Party of Spain, in her famous "No pasarán" speech on 18 July 1936.[4] The leader of the Nationalist forces, Generalísimo Francisco Franco, upon gaining Madrid, responded to this slogan by declaring "Hemos pasado" ("We have passed").

"¡No pasarán!" was used by British anti-fascists during the October 1936 Battle of Cable Street, and is still used in this context in some political circles. It was often accompanied by the words nosotros pasaremos (we will pass) to indicate that communists rather than fascists will be the ones to seize state power.[5]

The phrase was brought to the public consciousness again following action in December 1943 by French-Canadian officer Paul Triquet of the Royal 22e Regiment; his action included his use of Nivelle's phrase "to win a key objective at Ortona, Italy, in the face of overwhelming German opposition."[6]

In the 1980s, the phrase ¡No pasarán! was a theme in the civil wars in Central America, particularly in Nicaragua.[7] Nicaragua no pasarán is also the title of a 1984 documentary by David Bradbury about the events in Nicaragua that led to the overthrow of Somoza's dictatorship.[8][9][10]

In popular culture[]


See also[]


  1. ^ "Allied Posters of World War I: Par deux fois j'ai tenu et vaincu sur la Marne". Temple University Libraries. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b Robinson, Tony (September 2018). Battles that Changed History: Epic Conflicts Explored and Explained. DK. p. 197. ISBN 978-0241301937.
  3. ^ "1936, le Front Populaire et des lendemains qui chantent". www.franceinter.fr (in French). Retrieved 2020-11-20.
  4. ^ Ibárruri, D.; Ibárruri, I.D.; Partido Comunista de España (1966). They Shall Not Pass: The Autobiography of La Pasionaria. New world paperbacks. International Publishers. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-7178-0468-9. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
  5. ^ Audrey Gillan (2006-10-02). "Day the East End said No pasaran to Blackshirts". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
  6. ^ "French Canadian Wins Victoria Cross". Ottawa Citizen. March 6, 1944. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Kunzle, David (1995). The Murals of Revolutionary Nicaragua, 1979–1992. University of California Press. p. 168. ISBN 9780520081925.
  8. ^ Kallen, Stuart A. (2009). The Aftermath of the Sandinista Revolution. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 152. ISBN 9780822590910.
  9. ^ "Nicaragua: No Pasaran". Frontline Films. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  10. ^ FitzSimons, Trish; Laughren, Pat; Williamson, Dugald (2011). Australian Documentary: History, Practices and Genres. Cambridge University Press. p. 267. ISBN 9780521167994.
  11. ^ "Battlefield 1 Update Notes – They Shall Not Pass Update". Battlefield. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  12. ^ "Battlefield 1: They Shall Not Pass guide: trench raider class, new maps, tanks, weapons, release date – everything you need to know". VG247.com. Retrieved 2017-10-22.