Historical Figures

Charles de Gaulle

Born in Lille in 1890, de Gaulle came from a cultured Catholic family. He headed very early for a military career. He published, before the Second World War, essays on the military strategy of armored vehicles.

Appointed Under-Secretary of State for National Defense in June 1940, he was in favor of a continuation of the war:he went to London on June 17, and the next day launched the appeal for June 18 on the airwaves of the BBC. He organized the Free French Forces, coordinated the Resistance, and became a legitimate interlocutor with the Allies. President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic, he resigned in January 1946, his draft constitution being deemed too unparliamentary.

Withdrawn from political life, he was called back to power to manage the Algerian conflict in 1958. He proposed a constitution which was approved by referendum:this was the beginning of the V th Republic. Its policy is marked by a strong desire for independence from France on the international level. Gaullism was challenged during the events of May 68, and de Gaulle resigned from his functions as President of the Republic after the French rejected by referendum his plan for regionalization and reform of the Senate, in 1969. He retired definitively from political life.

1890 - 1970




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