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Charles de Gaulle
- Created 2012-02-26
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle
(ˈtʃɑrlz or ˈʃɑrl_dəˈɡɔːl; ʃaʁl də ɡollang; 22 November 1890 – 9 November 1970) was a French
and statesman who led the
Free French Forces
World War II
. He later founded the
French Fifth Republic
in 1958 and served as its first
from 1959 to 1969.
De Gaulle came to the fore in the interwar army as a proponent of mobile armoured divisions. During World War II, he attained the rank of
(retained throughout his life). De Gaulle led the
Free French Forces
(composed of French soldiers in Britain) and a
government in exile
against France's pro-German Vichy government while he was in London and Africa, gained control of most French colonies, and participated in the liberation of Paris. Despite his initial defeat, de Gaulle insisted that France be treated as a great power by the other Allies. His promotion of French national interests led to confrontations with
Franklin D. Roosevelt
, as did his refusal to participate in the D-Day landings in June 1944.
De Gaulle secured a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for France in 1945. After the war ended, de Gaulle became
French Provisional Government
, resigning in 1946 because of political conflicts. He founded his own political party, the
Rally of the French People
- Rassemblement du Peuple Francais, (RPF) in 1947. When the Algerian war crisis was ripping apart the Fourth Republic, the Assembly brought him back to power as
President of the Council of Ministers
May 1958 crisis
. De Gaulle led the writing of a new constitution founding the
, and was elected
President of France
, de Gaulle's foreign policy strategy as president, asserted that France is a major power and should not rely on other countries, such as the United States, for its national security and prosperity. Often criticized for his "Politics of Grandeur", de Gaulle oversaw the development of French atomic weapons and promoted a foreign policy independent of "Anglo Saxon" (American and British) influences. He withdrew France from
military command—although remaining a member of the Western alliance—and twice vetoed Britain's entry into the
, he appeared likely to lose power amidst widespread protests by students and workers, but survived the crisis with an increased majority in the Assembly. However, de Gaulle resigned in 1969 after losing a referendum in which he proposed more decentralization.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 10 December), licensed under
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News, speech excerpts and quotations
Speeches (in original French) collected by the Charles de Gaulle foundation
Biographical elements from the Charles de Gaulle foundation
Mémorial Charles de Gaulle
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