Charles de Gaulle

President of France from 1959 to 1969

General Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (22 November 1890 - 9 November 1970) was a French military and political leader. He was president of France from 1959 to 1969. He was a founding member and leader of the French Resistance during the Second World War.

Charles de Gaulle

18th President of the French Republic
In office
January 8, 1959 – April 28, 1969
Preceded byRené Coty
Succeeded byGeorges Pompidou
149th Prime Minister of France
In office
1 June 1958 – 8 January 1959
Preceded byPierre Pflimlin
Succeeded byMichel Debré
Personal details
Born22 November 1890
Lille, France
Died9 November 1970 (aged 79)
Colombey-les-deux-Églises, France
Political partyUDR
Spouse(s)Yvonne de Gaulle
Élisabeth (dead)
Anne (dead)

De Gaulle chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic from 1944 to 1946 in order to re-establish democracy in France.

In 1958, he came out of retirement: the Algerian War was happening. He rewrote the Constitution of France and founded the Fifth Republic after it was approved by a referendum. He was elected President of France later that year, a position to which he was re-elected in 1965 and held until his resignation in 1969.

The National Assembly brought him back to power in May 1958. He granted independence to Algeria. 900,000 French people in Algeria (called les pieds-noire) left for France. The Organisation armée secrète (OAS) tried to kill him. Frederick Forsyth used this incident as a basis for his novel The Day of the Jackal.

After the Algerian conflict, de Gaulle wanted to improve the French economy, and have an independent foreign policy. This was called by foreign observers the "politics of grandeur" (politique de grandeur).[1] See Gaullism.

The French economy recorded high growth rates. In 1964, for the first time in nearly 100 years, France's GDP overtook that of the United Kingdom. This period is still remembered in France with some nostalgia as the peak of the Trente Glorieuses ("Thirty Glorious Years" of economic growth between 1945 and 1974).[2]

De Gaulle had many admirers, but he was also one of the most hated men in modern French history.[3][4]

  • His most famous saying was: "L'etat? c'est moi!", roughly "The State? it's me!"

Death change

De Gaulle died in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises in 1970 while playing cards because of a brain aneurysm.

References change

  1. Kolodziej, Edward A (1974). French International Policy under de Gaulle and Pompidou: The Politics of Grandeur. p. 618.
  2. Haine, W. Scott (1974). Culture and Customs of France. Westport CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. p. 315. ISBN 978-0-313-32892-3.
  3. Jackson, Julian. 1999. General de Gaulle and his enemies: Anti-Gaullism in France since 1940. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6th Ser., vol. 9, pp. 43–65. JSTORE [1]
  4. Berstein, Serge, and Peter Morris. The Republic of de Gaulle 1958–1969 (The Cambridge History of Modern France) (2006) excerpt and text search