The music of this beautiful song was composed in 1956 by Charles Dumont, while the lyrics were written by Michel Vaucaire.
The singer, Edith Piaf, made this song popular and gave it an extraordinary relief by dedicating it to the French Foreign Legion, at a period marked by the Algerian War.
Thus, in April 1961, when the four generals - Salan, Challe, Jouhaud and Zeller – who had rebelled against the French government realized they had failed and ordered them to lay down their arms, the green berets of the 1st Foreign Parachutist regiment left Algiers, singing this song at the top of their voices. The song soon propagated to other equally prestigious regiments, which were ordered to be dissolved immediately by General De Gaulle.
In order to keep Algeria under France and in a last-ditch stand, they lifted up their arms against the Republic, but laid them down lest they spill the blood of their brothers.