The essay analyses de Gaulle's leadership in order to describe a form of personal charisma legitimated, at least initially, by mainly military considerations. De Gaulle's denunciation of the Vichy regime as illegitimate, and the necessity to bring the French troops over to the British side, enabled him to emphasise the structural causes of French military weakness and to derive therefrom authoritativeness and credibility. However, the process was neither immediate nor linear. Recognition of his leadership was impeded by the misgivings of the British and by the reluctance among high-ranking French officials to accept him as leader of the new organization that would lead the dissident front. While the military character of his charisma was the cause of his initial weakness, de Gaulle's ability to transfer his power to the political sphere was the resource that enabled him to reinforce his leadership, reconciling internal and external resistances, and merging military and political aspects together.