Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle

Overview
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (ˈtʃɑrlz or ˈʃɑrl dəˈɡɔːl; ʃaʁl də ɡol; 22 November
November
November is the 11th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with the length of 30 days. November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar...

 1890 – 9 November 1970) was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He later founded the French Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

 in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969.

A veteran of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, in the 1920s and 1930s de Gaulle came to the fore as a proponent of mobile armoured divisions, which he considered would become central in modern warfare.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Charles de Gaulle'
Start a new discussion about 'Charles de Gaulle'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Timeline

1940   Appeal of June 18 by Charles de Gaulle.

1944   World War II: Charles de Gaulle enters Paris.

1958   May 1958 crisis: a group of French military officers lead a coup in Algiers demanding that a government of national unity be formed with Charles de Gaulle at its head in order to defend French control of Algeria.

1958   Charles de Gaulle comes out of retirement to lead France by decree for six months.

1959   General Charles de Gaulle, President of France, declares in a speech in Strasbourg his vision for a "Europe, "from the Atlantic to the Urals."

1960   French forces crack down in a violent clash with protesters in French Algeria during a visit by French president Charles de Gaulle.

1961   In France a referendum supports Charles de Gaulle's policies in Algeria.

1962   French President Charles De Gaulle calls for Algeria to be granted independence.

1962   An attempt to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle fails.

1963   The Elysée treaty of cooperation between France and Germany is signed by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer.

 
Quotations

I have understood you!

Je vous ai compris !

Long live free Quebec!

Vive le Québec libre!

France has no friends, only interests.

Clementine Churchill: "General, you must not hate your friends more than you hate your enemies"

Yes, it is Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals, it is Europe, it is the whole of Europe, that will decide the fate of the world.

Oui, c'est l'Europe, depuis l'Atlantique jusqu'à l'Oural, c'est toute l'Europe, qui décidera du destin du monde.

Now she is like the others.

Maintenant, elle est comme les autres.

France has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war.

La France a perdu une bataille, mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre.

At the root of our civilization, there is the freedom of each person of thought, of belief, of opinion, of work, of leisure.

A la base de notre civilisation, il y a la liberté de chacun dans sa pensée, ses croyances, ses opinions, son travail, ses loisirs.

Let us be firm, pure and faithful; at the end of our sorrow, there is the greatest glory of the world, that of the men who did not give in.

Soyons fermes, purs et fidèles ; au bout de nos peines, il y a la plus grande gloire du monde, celle des hommes qui n'ont pas cédé.

"A foreign military leader whose daring was feared by those who profited by it." De Gaulle said that MacArthur's critics should "pay deserved tribute to the legendary service of a great soldier".

from William Manchester's "American Caesar".

I am a man who belongs to no-one and who belongs to everyone.

Je suis un homme qui n'appartient à personne et qui appartient à tout le monde.
Encyclopedia
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (ˈtʃɑrlz or ˈʃɑrl dəˈɡɔːl; ʃaʁl də ɡol; 22 November
November
November is the 11th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with the length of 30 days. November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar...

 1890 – 9 November 1970) was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He later founded the French Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

 in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969.

A veteran of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, in the 1920s and 1930s de Gaulle came to the fore as a proponent of mobile armoured divisions, which he considered would become central in modern warfare. During World War II, he reached the temporary rank of Brigadier General
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

, leading one of the few successful armoured counter-attacks during the 1940 Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, and then briefly served in the French government as France was falling.

He escaped to Britain and gave a famous radio address, broadcast by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 on 18 June 1940, exhorting the French people to resist Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and organised the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 with exiled French officers in Britain. As the war progressed de Gaulle gradually gained control of all French colonies except Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 most of which had at first been controlled by the pro-German Vichy regime. Despite earning a reputation for being a difficult man to do business with, by the time of the Allied invasion of France in 1944 he was heading what amounted to a French government in exile, but although he insisted that France be treated as a great independent power by the other Allies, the Americans in particular remained deeply suspicious of his motives. De Gaulle became prime minister
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

 in the French Provisional Government
Provisional Government of the French Republic
The Provisional Government of the French Republic was an interim government which governed France from 1944 to 1946, following the fall of Vichy France and prior to the Fourth French Republic....

, resigning in 1946 due to political conflicts.

After the war he founded his own political party, the Rally of the French People
Rally of the French People
The Rally of the French People was a French political party, led by Charles de Gaulle.-Foundation:...

 (RPF). Although he retired from politics in the early 1950s after the RPF's failure to win power, he was voted back to power as prime minister
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

 by the French Assembly during the May 1958 crisis. De Gaulle led the writing of a new constitution founding the Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

,
and was elected President of France, an office which now held much greater power than in the Third
French Third Republic
The French Third Republic was the republican government of France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed due to the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to 1940, when France was overrun by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the German and Italian occupations of France...

 and Fourth Republics
French Fourth Republic
The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic, which was in place before World War II, and suffered many of the same problems...

.

As President, Charles de Gaulle ended the political chaos that preceded his return to power. A new French currency was issued in January 1960 to control inflation and industrial growth was promoted. Although he initially supported French rule over Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, he controversially decided to grant independence to that country, ending an expensive and unpopular war but leaving France divided and having to face down opposition from the white settlers and French military who had originally supported his return to power.

Immensely patriotic, de Gaulle and his supporters held the view, known as Gaullism
Gaullism
Gaullism is a French political ideology based on the thought and action of Resistance leader then president Charles de Gaulle.-Foreign policy:...

, that France should continue to see itself as a major power and should not rely on other nations - like the US - 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 U.S. and British influence. He withdrew France from NATO military command — although remaining a member of the western alliance—and twice vetoed Britain's entry into the European Community. He travelled widely in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world and recognised Communist China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. On a visit to Canada in 1967 he gave encouragement to Quebec Separatism
Quebec sovereignty movement
The Quebec sovereignty movement refers to both the political movement and the ideology of values, concepts and ideas that promote the secession of the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada...

.

During his term, de Gaulle also faced controversy and political opposition from Communists
French Communist Party
The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

 and Socialists. Despite having been re-elected as President, this time by direct popular ballot, in 1965, in May 1968 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 after losing a referendum in 1969. He is considered by many to be the most influential leader in modern French history.

Early life



De Gaulle was born in the industrial region of Lille
Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

 in French Flanders
French Flanders
French Flanders is a part of the historical County of Flanders in present-day France. The region today lies in the modern-day region of Nord-Pas de Calais, the department of Nord, and roughly corresponds to the arrondissements of Lille, Douai and Dunkirk on the Belgian border.-Geography:French...

, the third of five children of Henri de Gaulle
Henri de Gaulle
Henri de Gaulle was a French bureaucrat and later a teacher. He was the father of Charles de Gaulle, a military general and President of France....

, a professor of philosophy and literature at a Jesuit college, who eventually founded his own school. He was raised in a family of devout Roman Catholics who were nationalist and traditionalist, but also quite progressive.

De Gaulle's parents were cousins. His father, twelve years older than his wife, came from a long line of aristocrats
Aristocracy (class)
The aristocracy are people considered to be in the highest social class in a society which has or once had a political system of Aristocracy. Aristocrats possess hereditary titles granted by a monarch, which once granted them feudal or legal privileges, or deriving, as in Ancient Greece and India,...

 from Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 and Burgundy, while his mother, Jeanne Maillot, descended from a family of rich entrepreneurs from Lille
Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

. According to Henri, the family's true origin was never determined, but could have been Celtic. He thought that the name could be derived from the word gaule—a long pole which was used in the Middle Ages to beat olives from the trees. Another source has the name deriving from Galle, meaning "oak" in the Gaulish language
Gaulish language
The Gaulish language is an extinct Celtic language that was spoken by the Gauls, a people who inhabited the region known as Gaul from the Iron Age through the Roman period...

, and the sacred tree of the druids.

De Gaulle inherited his conservative views from his deeply religious parents. They were fervent royalists who looked back to an older, more romantic vision of France. His father, a veteran of the 1870 conflict with Germany
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

, deeply resented the governing Third Republic; his great-great grandfather Jean-Baptiste de Gaulle served as legal councillor to the king in 1750, and was imprisoned for his loyalty by the revolutionaries, leaving him with the belief that the revolution of 1789
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 had been 'satanic in its essence'.

Henri encouraged historical and philosophical debate between his children at mealtimes, and through his encouragement, Charles grew familiar with French history from an early age. Struck by his mother’s tale of how she cried as a child when she heard of the French capitulation to the Germans at Sedan in 1870, he developed a keen interest in militart strategy and endlessly questioned his father about the other failures of the brief war at Vionville and Mars-la-Tour, and though a naturally shy person his entire life, often organised other children to re-enact ancient French battles.

The wider de Gaulle family were also very literary and academic, and he was raised on tales of the flight of the Scottish Stuarts into France, to whom he was related on his mother's side. He was also impressed by his uncle, also called Charles, who was an historian and passionate nationalist who wrote books and pamphlets advocating the union of the Welsh, Scots, Irish and Bretons into one people. His grandfather Julien-Philippe was also an historian and his grandmother Josephine-Marie wrote poems which impassioned his Christian faith.

When he was eight years old, the young Charles suffered what he regarded as the most traumatic event of his childhood; the French humiliation at being forced to withdraw its expeditionary force from the upper Nile region to prevent the Fashoda Incident
Fashoda Incident
The Fashoda Incident was the climax of imperial territorial disputes between Britain and France in Eastern Africa. A French expedition to Fashoda on the White Nile sought to gain control of the Nile River and thereby force Britain out of Egypt. The British held firm as Britain and France were on...

 developing into outright war with Britain. This marked the beginning of his lifelong mistrust of Great Britain.

Always a voracious reader, he particularly loved to read his father’s books by the great German philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

 and Johann Goethe, the works of Socrates and Plato and the prose of the romanticist poet François-René de Chateaubriand
François-René de Chateaubriand
François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian. He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.-Early life and exile:...

. By the time he was ten, he was reading medieval history, such as the Froissart’s Chronicles of the Hundred Years War. He began his own writing in his early teens, and later his family paid for one composition, a one-act play in verse about a traveller to be privately published.

When he was 11, the family moved to Paris, where he loved to climb the tower at Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris , also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra of...

 to look out over the city, and also visit the Catholic Church Saint Sulpice with his parents to listen to the world famous organ music.

De Gaulle was educated in Paris at the College Stanislas
Collège Stanislas de Paris
Le Collège Stanislas de Paris is a private Catholic school in Paris, situated on "Rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs" in the Montparnasse arrondissement. It has approximately 3,000 students, and is the largest private school in France....

 and also briefly in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 where he continued to display his interest in reading and studying history, and shared the great pride many of his countrymen felt in their nation’s achievements. France made a significant contribution to European culture with its Impressionist painters, the sculpture of Rodin
Rodin
- People :* Auguste Rodin , French sculptor, for whom is named:** The Musée Rodin in Paris, France** The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA** The Rodin Gallery in Seoul, South Korea** Rodin , a crater on the Moon...

, writers such as Émile Zola
Émile Zola
Émile François Zola was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism...

 and Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu...

 and the music of Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions...

, and helped lead the way with technological advances such as with the construction of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 and the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is a puddle iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889, it has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world...

 and in recent developments in aviation, the cinema and the motor car. As he grew older, he also developed a profound belief in his destiny to achieve great things, and, eager to avenge the French defeat of 1870, decided upon a military career as being the best way to make a name for himself.

Officer cadet


Before he could become an officer cadet, regulations which had recently been introduced dictated that he had to spend a year as an ordinary soldier. But as an individualist, de Gaulle was a poor soldier, ungainly and often badly turned out for inspection. He hated barrack life and what he saw as pointless regulations, not because he objected to military discipline, but because he considered the procedures to be time wasting and out of date to the point of possibly damaging the military potential of the best new recruits.

Afterwards, de Gaulle spent four years studying and training at the elite military academy, Saint-Cyr
École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr
The École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr is the foremost French military academy. Its official name is . It is often referred to as Saint-Cyr . Its motto is "Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre": literally "They study to vanquish" or "Training for victory"...

. While there, and because of his height, high forehead, and nose, he acquired the nicknames of "the great asparagus" and "Cyrano
Cyrano de Bergerac
Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac was a French dramatist and duelist. He is now best remembered for the works of fiction which have been woven, often very loosely, around his life story, most notably the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand...

".

He did well at the academy and received praise for his conduct, manners, intelligence, character, military spirit and resistance to fatigue. However, he constantly quarrelled with his company commander and other officers that there was a lack of preparation for war with Germany, and that the French training and equipment were inadequate to deal with a numerically superior adversary. Graduating in 1912 in 13th place out of 210 cadets, his passing out report noted that he was a highly gifted cadet who should go on to make an excellent officer. Preferring to serve in France rather than far away in North Africa or Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

, he joined the 33rd infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 regiment of the French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

, based at Arras and commanded by Colonel (and future Marshal) Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

. De Gaulle's career would follow Pétain's for the next 20 years.

First World War


While at Arras in the build up to World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, de Gaulle developed a good rapport with his commanding officer Petain with whom he shared a number of ideas on French military affairs, and was often seen on exercise and in officer’s quarters with his superior debating great battles and the likely outcome of any coming war. Both men agreed that the invention of the machine gun and rapid-firing artillery rendered cavalry virtually obsolete and would require a shift to semi-static positions from which rapid attacks would be made under the protection of heavy artillery barrage.

When war finally broke out in late July 1914, the 33rd Regiment, considered one of the best fighting units in France was immediately thrown into checking the German advance at Dinant, however, the traditionally minded French Fifth Army commander, General Charles de Lanrezac threw his units into pointless bayonet charges with bugles and full colours flying against the German artillery, incurring heavy losses.

Promoted to platoon commander, de Gaulle was involved in fierce fighting from the outset but was among the first to be wounded. In hospital, he grew bitter at the tactics used, and spoke out to other injured men against the outdated methods of General Joseph Joffre
Joseph Joffre
Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre OM was a French general during World War I. He is most known for regrouping the retreating allied armies to defeat the Germans at the strategically decisive First Battle of the Marne in 1914. His popularity led to his nickname Papa Joffre.-Biography:Joffre was born in...

 in particular, although with the arrival of British units and changes in the command structure, the rapid German advance eventually stalled by mid September at the First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Marne was a First World War battle fought between 5 and 12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German Army under Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. The battle effectively ended the month long German offensive that opened the war and had...

. Returning to find many of his former comrades dead, de Gaulle's unit gained recognition for repeatedly crawling out into no-mans-land to listen to the conversations of the enemy in their trenches, and the information he brought back was so valuable that in January 1915 he received a citation for his bravery. After a more serious wound which incapacitated him for 4 months, he was promoted to Captain in September 1915. Taking charge of his first company, he narrowly escaped death shortly afterwards when he was blown up by a mine, leaving him with a wound in his left hand which later obliged him later to wear his wedding ring on his right hand.

At the Battle of Verdun
Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun was one of the major battles during the First World War on the Western Front. It was fought between the German and French armies, from 21 February – 18 December 1916, on hilly terrain north of the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France...

 in March 1916, while leading a charge to try to break out of a position which had become surrounded by the enemy, he received a bayonet wound to the leg and, passing out from the effects of poisoned gas, was captured at Douaumont
Douaumont
Douaumont is a commune in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.The village was destroyed during World War I. Today the Douaumont ossuary, which contains the remains of more than 100,000 unknown soldiers of both French and German nationalities found on the battlefield, stands...

, one of the few survivors of his battalion. Initially giving him up for dead, Petain, who was to later to achieve great acclaim for his role in the battle, wrote in the regimental journal that de Gaulle had been "an outstanding officer in all respects".

In captivity de Gaulle acquired yet another nickname, Le Connétable ("The Constable
Constable of France
The Constable of France , as the First Officer of the Crown, was one of the original five Great Officers of the Crown of France and Commander in Chief of the army. He, theoretically, as Lieutenant-general of the King, outranked all the nobles and was second-in-command only to the King...

"). This came about because of his reading German newspapers (he had earlier spent time in the Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

 region to learn German) and giving talks on his view of the progress of the conflict to fellow prisoners. These were delivered with such patriotic ardour and confidence in victory that they called him by the title which had been given to the commander-in-chief of the French army during the monarchy.

While being held as a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

, de Gaulle wrote his first book, co-written by Matthieu Butler, "L'Ennemi et le vrai ennemi" (The Enemy and the True Enemy), analysing the issues and divisions within the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 and its forces; the book was published in 1924.

In all, he made five unsuccessful escape attempts, being moved to higher security accommodation and punished on his return with long periods of solitary confinement and with the withdrawal of privileges such as newspapers and tobacco. In his letters to his parents he constantly spoke of his frustration that the war was continuing without him, calling the situation "a shameful misfortune" and compared it to being cuckolded
Cuckold
Cuckold is a historically derogatory term for a man who has an unfaithful wife. The word, which has been in recorded use since the 13th century, derives from the cuckoo bird, some varieties of which lay their eggs in other birds' nests...

. As the war neared its end, he grew depressed that he was playing no part in the victory, but despite his efforts, he remained in captivity until the German surrender. On 1 December 1918, three weeks after the armistice, he returned to his father's house in the Dordogne to be reunited with his three brothers, who had all served in the army yet somehow survived the war.

Between the wars


After the armistice
Armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

, de Gaulle continued to serve in the army, and was with the staff of General Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand was a French military commander in World War I and World War II.Weygand initially fought against the Germans during the invasion of France in 1940, but then surrendered to and collaborated with the Germans as part of the Vichy France regime.-Early years:Weygand was born in Brussels...

's military mission to Poland
French Military Mission to Poland
The French Military Mission to Poland was an effort by France to aid the nascent Second Polish Republic after it achieved its independence in November, 1918, at the end of the First World War. The aim was to provide aid during the Polish-Soviet War , and to create a strong Polish military to serve...

 as an instructor of Polish Infantry during its war with Communist Russia
Polish-Soviet War
The Polish–Soviet War was an armed conflict between Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine and the Second Polish Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic—four states in post–World War I Europe...

 (1919–1921). He distinguished himself in operations near the River Zbrucz and won the highest Polish military decoration, the Virtuti Militari
Virtuti Militari
The Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari is Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war...


- although the award was granted in five classes at the time, with Class I and Class II reserved largely for royalty and field marshals
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

, and de Gaulle received the Class V award sans cross.

He was promoted to Commandant in the Polish Army and offered a further career in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, but chose instead to return to France, where he taught at the École Militaire
École Militaire
The École Militaire is a vast complex of buildings housing various military training facilities located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, southeast of the Champ de Mars....

. Although he was a protégé of his old commander, Marshal Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

, De Gaulle believed in the use of tanks and rapid manoeuvres rather than trench warfare.

De Gaulle served with the Army of Occupation in the Rhineland in the mid 1920s. As a Commandant
Commandant
Commandant is a senior title often given to the officer in charge of a large training establishment or academy. This usage is common in anglophone nations...

 (Major) by the late 1920s, he briefly commanded a light infantry battalion at Treves and then served a tour of duty in Syria, then a French protectorate under a mandate from the League of Nations
French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon
Officially the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon was a League of Nations mandate founded after the First World War and the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire...

. During the 1930s, now a lieutenant-colonel, he served as a staff officer in France. In 1934 he wrote "Vers l’Armée de Métier" (Toward a Professional Army), which advocated a professional army based on mobile armoured divisions. Such an army would both compensate for the poor French demography, and be an efficient tool to enforce international law, particularly the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 which forbade Germany from rearming. The book sold only 700 copies in France, where Pétain advocated an infantry-based, defensive army, but 7,000 copies in Germany, where it was read aloud to Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

.

The Battle of France



At the outbreak of World War II, de Gaulle was only a colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

, having antagonised the leaders of the military through the 1920s and 1930s with his bold views. Initially commanding a tank regiment in the French Fifth Army, de Gaulle implemented many of his theories and tactics for armoured warfare against an enemy whose strategies resembled his own. After the German breakthrough at Sedan
Sedan, France
Sedan is a commune in France, a sub-prefecture of the Ardennes department in northern France.-Geography:The historic centre is built on a peninsula formed by an arc of the Meuse River. It is around from the Belgian border.-History:...

 on 15 May 1940 he was given command of the improvised 4th Armored Division.

On 17 May, de Gaulle attacked German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 tank forces at Montcornet
Montcornet, Aisne
Montcornet is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-Battle of Montcornet:On 14 May 1940, Charles de Gaulle was given command of the new 4th Armored Division and ordered to execute a counterattack toward Montcornet, with the objective of slowing the German advance...

 with 200 tanks but no air support. Although de Gaulle's tanks forced the German infantry to retreat to Caumont
Caumont
Caumont is the same as Chaumont in common French and the name or part of the name of several communes in France:*Caumont, Aisne, Picardy*Caumont, Ariège, Aquitaine*Caumont, Eure, Haute-Normandie*Caumont, Gers, Aquitaine*Caumont, Gironde, Aquitaine...

 the action brought only temporary relief and did little to slow the spearhead of the German advance. Nevertheless, it was one of the few successes the French enjoyed while suffering defeats elsewhere across the country, and as recognition for his efforts, De Gaulle was promoted to brigadier general
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

, a rank he would hold for the rest of his life.

On 5 June, Prime Minister Paul Reynaud
Paul Reynaud
Paul Reynaud was a French politician and lawyer prominent in the interwar period, noted for his stances on economic liberalism and militant opposition to Germany. He was the penultimate Prime Minister of the Third Republic and vice-president of the Democratic Republican Alliance center-right...

 appointed him Under Secretary of State for National Defence and War
Minister of Defence (France)
The Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs is the French government cabinet member charged with running the military of France....

 and put him in charge of coordination with the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

As a junior member of the French government, he unsuccessfully opposed surrender, advocating instead that the government remove itself to North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and carry on the war as best it could from France's African colonies. While serving as a liaison with the British government, de Gaulle telephoned Paul Reynaud, the French prime minister, from London on 16 June informing him of the offer by Britain of a Declaration of Union. The declaration, inspired by Jean Monnet
Jean Monnet
Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet was a French political economist and diplomat. He is regarded by many as a chief architect of European Unity and is regarded as one of its founding fathers...

, would have merged France and the United Kingdom into one country, with a single government and army. The offer was a desperate, last-minute effort to strengthen the resolve of Reynaud's government; his cabinet's hostile reaction to the offer contributed to Reynaud's resignation.

In rejecting the proposal, Marshal Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

, believing that Germany would soon defeat Britain as well and who later went on to lead the collaborationist Vichy regime, told British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 that "in three weeks, England will have its neck wrung like a chicken" and that such a plan would be like "fusion with a corpse".

Returning the same day to Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

, the temporary wartime capital, de Gaulle learned that Marshal Pétain had become prime minister and was planning to seek an armistice
Armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

 with Nazi Germany. De Gaulle and other allied officers rebelled against the new French government; on the morning of 17 June, de Gaulle and a few senior French officers flew to Britain with 100,000 gold francs in secret funds provided to him by the ex-prime minister Paul Reynaud. Narrowly escaping the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

, he landed safely in London that afternoon.

Leader of the Free French



De Gaulle strongly denounced the French government's decision to seek armistice with the Nazis and set about building the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 from the soldiers and officers deployed outside France or who had fled France with him. On 18 June, de Gaulle delivered a famous radio address via the BBC Radio
BBC Radio
BBC Radio is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which has operated in the United Kingdom under the terms of a Royal Charter since 1927. For a history of BBC radio prior to 1927 see British Broadcasting Company...

 service. Although the British cabinet initially attempted to block the speech, they were overruled by Churchill.

De Gaulle's Appeal of 18 June exhorted the French people not to be demoralised and to continue to resist the occupation of France and work against the collaborationist Vichy regime
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

, which had signed an armistice with Nazi Germany. Although the original speech could only be heard in a few parts of occupied France, de Gaulle's subsequent ones reached many parts of the territories under the Vichy regime, helping to rally the French resistance movement and earning him much popularity amongst the French people and soldiers. On 4 July 1940, a court-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

 in Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

 sentenced de Gaulle in absentia to four years in prison. At a second court-martial on 2 August 1940 de Gaulle was condemned to death for treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 against the Vichy regime
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

.

With British support, the de Gaulle family settled in Berkhamsted
Berkhamsted
-Climate:Berkhamsted experiences an oceanic climate similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.-Castle:...

 (36 miles northwest of London) from October 1941 to September 1942. He organised the Free French forces and gradually the Allies gave increasing support and recognition to de Gaulle's efforts. In dealings with his British allies and the United States, de Gaulle insisted at all times on retaining full freedom of action on behalf of France and he was constantly on the verge of being cut off by the Allies. Many denials of the deep and mutual antipathy between de Gaulle and political leaders of Anglo-American allies of the French are on historical record.

He harboured a suspicion of the British in particular, believing that they were surreptitiously seeking to steal France's colonial possessions in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

. A self-confessed lover of all things French, Winston Churchill was often frustrated at de Gaulle's patriotic egocentricity, but also wrote of his "immense admiration" for him during the early days of his British exile. Though their relationship later became strained, Churchill tried to explain the reasons for de Gaulle's behaviour in the second volume of his history of World War II;
"He felt it was essential to his position before the French people that he should maintain a proud and haughty demeanour towards "perfidious Albion", although in exile, dependent upon our protection and dwelling in our midst. He had to be rude to the British to prove to French eyes that he was not a British puppet. He certainly carried out this policy with perseverance".


Clementine Churchill, who admired de Gaulle, once cautioned him, "General, you must not hate your friends more than you hate your enemies." De Gaulle himself stated famously, "France has no friends, only interests." The situation was nonetheless complex, and de Gaulle's mistrust of both British and U.S. intentions with regards to France was mirrored by a mistrust of the Free French among the U.S. political leadership, who for a long time refused to recognise de Gaulle as the representative of France, preferring to deal with representatives of the Vichy government. Roosevelt in particular hoped that it would be possible to wean Pétain away from Germany.

Working with the French resistance
French Resistance
The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...

 and other supporters in France's colonial African possessions after the Anglo-U.S. invasion of North Africa
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

 in November 1942, de Gaulle moved his headquarters to Algiers
Algiers
' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

 in May 1943. He became first joint head (with the less resolutely independent General Henri Giraud
Henri Giraud
Henri Honoré Giraud was a French general who fought in World War I and World War II. Captured in both wars, he escaped each time....

, the candidate preferred by the U.S. who wrongly suspected de Gaulle of being a British puppet) and then – after squeezing out Giraud by force of personality – sole chairman of the French Committee of National Liberation
French Committee of National Liberation
The French Committee of National Liberation was a body formed by the French leaders Gens. Henri Giraud and Charles de Gaulle to provide united leadership, organize and coordinate the campaign to liberate France from Nazi Germany during World War II. The committee was formed on June 3, 1943 and...

.


Preparations for D-Day


As preparations for the liberation of Europe gathered pace, the Americans in particular found de Gaulle's tendency to view everything from the French perspective to be extremely tiring. Roosevelt, who refused to recognise any provisional authority in France until elections had been held, considered de Gaulle to be a potential dictator, a view backed by a number of leading Frenchmen in Washington, including Jean Monnet
Jean Monnet
Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet was a French political economist and diplomat. He is regarded by many as a chief architect of European Unity and is regarded as one of its founding fathers...

, who later became an instrumental figure in the setting up of the European Coal and Steel Community
European Coal and Steel Community
The European Coal and Steel Community was a six-nation international organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and create the foundation for the modern-day developments of the European Union...

 that led to the modern European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. He also refused to allow Churchill to provide de Gaulle with strategic details of the imminent invasion because he did not trust him to keep the information to himself (this fear was later proved groundless). French codes were known to be weak, but because Gallic pride prevented the Free French from using British or American codes, this posed a major security risk.

Nevertheless, a few days before D-Day Churchill, whose relationship with the General had deteriorated since the days he first came to Britain, decided he needed to keep him more or less informed of developments, and on 2 June he sent two passenger aircraft and his representative, Duff Cooper
Duff Cooper
Alfred Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich GCMG, DSO, PC , known as Duff Cooper, was a British Conservative Party politician, diplomat and author. He wrote six books, including an autobiography, Old Men Forget, and a biography of Talleyrand...

 to Algiers to bring de Gaulle back to Britain. De Gaulle refused because of Roosevelt's intention to install a provisional Allied military government in the former occupied territories pending elections, but he eventually relented and flew to Britain the next day.

Upon his arrival at RAF Northolt on 4 June 1944 he received an official welcome, and a letter reading "My dear general! welcome to these shores, very great military events are about to take place!" Later, on his personal train, Churchill informed him that he wanted him to make a radio address, but when informed that the Americans continued to refuse to recognise his legitimate right to power in France, and after Churchill suggested he request a meeting with Roosevelt to improve his relationship with the president, de Gaulle became angry, demanding to know why he should "lodge my candidacy for power in France with Roosevelt; the French government exists".

De Gaulle was concerned at a general break down of civil order and of a potential communist takeover in the vacuum which might follow a German withdrawal of France. During the general conversation which followed with those present, de Gaulle was involved in an angry exchange with the Labour minister, Ernest Bevin, and, raising his (justified) concerns about the validity of the new currency to be circulated by the Allies after the liberation, de Gaulle commented scornfully, "go and wage war with your false money".

Churchill then also lost his temper, saying that Britain could not act separately from America, and that under the circumstances, if they had to choose between France and the US, Britain would always choose the latter. De Gaulle replied that he realised that this would always be the case. The next day, de Gaulle refused to address the French nation because the script again made no mention of his being the legitimate interim ruler of France. It instructed the French people to obey Allied military authorities until elections could be held, and so the row continued, with de Gaulle calling Churchill a "gangster". Churchill in turn accused the general of treason in the height of battle, and demanded he be flown back to Algers "in chains if necessary".

In the years to come, the hostile dependent wartime relationship of de Gaulle and his future political peers re-enacted the historical national and colonial rivalry and lasting enmity between the French and English, and foreshadowed the deep distrust of France for post-war Anglo-American partnerships.

Return to France


Perhaps inevitably, de Gaulle ignored les Anglo-Saxons, and proclaimed the authority of the Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 in France the next day. Under the leadership of General de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
Jean Joseph Marie Gabriel de Lattre de Tassigny, GCB, MC was a French military hero of World War II and commander in the First Indochina War.-Early life:...

, France fielded an entire army –a joint force of Free French together with French colonial troops from North Africa – on the western front. Initially landing as part of Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon
Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944, during World War II. The invasion was initiated via a parachute drop by the 1st Airborne Task Force, followed by an amphibious assault by elements of the U.S. Seventh Army, followed a day later by a force made up...

, in the south of France, the French First Army
French First Army
The First Army was a field army of France that fought during World War I and World War II. It was also active during the Cold War.-First World War:...

 helped to liberate almost one third of the country and actively rejoined the Allies in the struggle against Germany. As the invasion slowly progressed and the Germans were pushed back, de Gaulle made preparations to return to France.

On 14 June he left Britain for France for what was supposed to be a one day trip. Despite an agreement that he would bring only two staff, he was accompanied by a large entourage with extensive luggage, and although many rural Normans remained mistrustful of him, he was warmly greeted by the inhabitants of the towns he visited, such as the badly damaged Isigny. Finally he arrived at the city of Bayeux, which he now proclaimed as the capital of Free France. Appointing his Aide-de-Camp Francois Coulet as head of the civil administration, de Gaulle returned to England that same night on a French destroyer, and although the official position of the supreme military command remained unchanged, local Allied officers found it more practical to deal with the fledgling administration in Bayeux in everyday matters

De Gaulle flew to Algiers on 16 June and then went on to Rome to meet the Pope and the new Italian Government. At the beginning of July he at last visited Roosevelt in Washington, where he received the 17 gun salute of a senior military leader rather than the 21 guns of a visiting head of state. The visit was ‘devoid of trust on both sides’ according to the French representative, however Roosevelt did make some concessions towards recognising the legitimacy of the Bayeux administration.

Meanwhile, with the Germans retreating in the face of the Allied onslaught, harried all the way by the resistance, there were widespread instances of revenge attacks on those accused of collaboration. A number of prominent officials and members of the feared Milice
Milice
The Milice française , generally called simply Milice, was a paramilitary force created on January 30, 1943 by the Vichy Regime, with German aid, to help fight the French Resistance. The Milice's formal leader was Prime Minister Pierre Laval, though its chief of operations, and actual leader, was...

 were murdered, often by exceptionally brutal means, provoking the German's into appalling reprisals, such as in the entire destruction of the village of Oradour-sur-Glane and the killing of its 642 inhabitants Of little strategic value, Paris was initially not high on the list of Allied objectives, but both de Gaulle and the commander of the 2nd Armoured Division, General Philippe Leclerc
Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque
Philippe François Marie, comte de Hauteclocque, then Leclerc de Hauteclocque, by a 1945 decree that incorporated his French Resistance alias Jacques-Philippe Leclerc to his name, , was a French general during World War II...

 were concerned that a possible communist attempt to take over of the capital would plunge France into civil war. De Gaulle successfully lobbied for Paris to be made a priority for liberation on humanitarian grounds and obtained from Allied Supreme Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 an agreement that French troops would be allowed to enter the capital first. A few days later, General Leclerc's French Armoured Division entered the outskirts of the city, and after six days of fighting
Liberation of Paris
The Liberation of Paris took place during World War II from 19 August 1944 until the surrender of the occupying German garrison on August 25th. It could be regarded by some as the last battle in the Battle for Normandy, though that really ended with the crushing of the Wehrmacht forces between the...

 in which the resistance played a major part, the German garrison of 5000 men surrendered on 25 August, although some sporadic outbreaks of fighting continued for several days. In surrendering, the German commander General Dietrich von Choltitz
Dietrich von Choltitz
General der Infanterie Dietrich von Choltitz was the German military governor of Paris during the closing days of the German occupation of that city during World War II...

 ignored his orders to raze the city to the ground.

It was fortunate for de Gaulle that the Germans had forcibly removed members of the Vichy government and taken them to Germany a few days earlier on 20 August; it allowed him to enter Paris as a liberator in the midst of the general euphoria, but there were serious concerns that communist elements of the resistance, which had done so much to clear the way for the military would try to seize the opportunity to proclaim their own 'Peoples' Government' in the capital. De Gaulle made contact with Leclerc demanded the presence of the 2nd Armoured Division to accompany him on a massed parade down the Champs Elysees, "as much for prestige as for security". This was in spite of the fact that Leclerc's unit was fighting as part of the American 1st Army and were under strict orders to continue their next objective without obeying orders from anyone else. In the event, the American General Omar Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

 decided that Leclerc's division would be indispensable for the maintenance of order and the liquidation of the last pockets of resistance in the French capital. Earlier, on 21 August, de Gaulle had appointed his military advisor General Marie Koenig as Governor of Paris.
As his procession came along the Place de la Concorde on Saturday 26 August, it came under machine gun fire by Vichy militia and fifth columnists who were unable to give themselves up. Later, on entering the cathedral at Notre Dame to be received as head of the provisional government by the Committee of Liberation, loud shots broke out again, and Leclerc and Koenig tried to hustle him through the door, but De Gaulle shook off their hands and never faltered. While the battle began outside, he walked slowly down the aisle. Before he had gone far a machine pistol fired down from above, at least two more joined in, and from below the F.F.I, and police fired back. A BBC correspondent who was present reported;
“…the General is being presented to the people. He is being received…they have opened fire!… firing started all over the place... that was one of the most dramatic scenes I have ever seen.... General de Gaulle walked straight ahead into what appeared to me to be a hail of fire... but he went straight ahead without hesitation, his shoulders flung back, and walked right down the centre aisle, even while the bullets were pouring about him. It was the most extraordinary example of courage I have ever seen.. . there were bangs, flashes all about him, yet he seemed to have an absolutely charmed life."


Later, in the great hall of the Hotel de Ville, de Gaulle was greeted by a jubilant crowd and, proclaiming the continuity of the Third Republic
Third Republic
Third Republic may refer to:* French Third Republic * Third Republic of South Korea * Third and current Democratic Republic of the Congo * Third and current Hellenic Republic of Greece...

, delivered a characteristically Franco-centric proclamation;
"Paris outraged, Paris broken, Paris martyred, but Paris liberated! By herself, liberated by her people, with the help of the whole of France! We will not rest until we march, as we must, into enemy territory as conquerors. France has a right to be in the first line among the great nations who are going to organize the peace and the life of the world. She has a right to be heard in all four corners of the world. France is a great world power. She knows it and will act so that others may know it."


That night the Germans launched a massive artillery and air bombardment on Paris by way of revenge, killing over a thousand people and wounding several thousand others. The situation in Paris remained tense, and a few days later de Gaulle, still unsure of the trend of events asked General Eisenhower to send some American troops into Paris as a show of strength. This he did 'not without some satisfaction', and so on the 29 August, the US 28th Infantry Division was rerouted from its journey to the front line and paraded down the Champs Elysees.
The same day, Washington and London bowed to the inevitable and finally came to an agreement to accept the position of the Free French. The following day General Eisenhower gave his de facto blessing with a visit to the General in Paris.

Prime Minister of France 1944–1946


With the pre-war parties and many of their leaders discredited, there was little opposition to de Gaulle and his associates forming an interim administration. In order not to be seen as presuming on his position in such austere times, de Gaulle did not use one of the grand official residences such as Hotel de Matignon or the Presidential palace on the Elysee, but resided briefly in his old office at the War Ministry. When he was joined by his wife and daughters a short while later, they moved into a small state owned villa on edge of Bois de Boulogne
Bois de Boulogne
The Bois de Boulogne is a park located along the western edge of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, near the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine...

 which had once been set aside for Hermann Goering.

Living conditions immediately after the liberation were even worse than under Nazi rule. A quarter of housing had been damaged or destroyed, basic public services were at a standstill, petrol and electricity was extremely scarce and, apart from the wealthy who could afford high prices, the population had to get by on very little food. Large scale public demonstrations erupted all over France protesting at the apparent lack of action at improving the supply of food, while in Normandy, bakeries were pillaged. The problem was that although wheat production was around 80% of pre war levels, transport was paralysed over virtually the whole of France. Large areas of track had been destroyed by bombing, most modern equipment, rolling stock, lorries and farm animals had been taken to Germany and all the bridges over the Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

, the Loire
Loire
Loire is an administrative department in the east-central part of France occupying the River Loire's upper reaches.-History:Loire was created in 1793 when after just 3½ years the young Rhône-et-Loire department was split into two. This was a response to counter-Revolutionary activities in Lyon...

 and the Rhone
Rhône
Rhone can refer to:* Rhone, one of the major rivers of Europe, running through Switzerland and France* Rhône Glacier, the source of the Rhone River and one of the primary contributors to Lake Geneva in the far eastern end of the canton of Valais in Switzerland...

 between Paris and the sea had been destroyed. The black market pushed real prices to four times the level of 1939, causing the government to print money to try to improve the money supply, which only added to inflation.

Break with the Resistance


After the celebrations had died down, de Gaulle began conferring with leading Resistance figures who, with the Germans gone intended to continue as a political and military force, and asked to be given a government building to serve as their headquarters. The Resistance, which was heavily influenced by the Communists had developed its own manifesto for social and political change known as the National Council of the Resistance (CNR) Charter, and wanted special status to enter the army under their own flags, ranks and honours. Despite their decisive support in backing him against Giraud, de Gaulle disappointed the resistance leaders by telling them that although their efforts and sacrifices had been recognised, they had no further role to play and that unless they joined the regular army they should lay down their arms and return to civilian life.

Believing them to be a dangerous revolutionary force, de Gaulle moved to break up the liberation committees and other militias. The political outlook of the Communists represented the complete opposite of his own views, and he was concerned at the amount of support they were receiving from the public. The potential power of the Communists also troubled the American government. As early as May 1943, the US Secretary of State Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull
Cordell Hull was an American politician from the U.S. state of Tennessee. He is best known as the longest-serving Secretary of State, holding the position for 11 years in the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during much of World War II...

 had written to Roosevelt urging him of need to take action to attempt to kerb the rise of Communism in France.

The provisional government of the French republic


On 10 September 1944, the Provisional Government of the French Republic, or Government of National Unanimity was formed. It included many of de Gaulle’s Free French associates such as Gaston Palewski
Gaston Palewski
Gaston Palewski , French politician, was a close associate of Charles de Gaulle during and after World War II. He is also remembered as the lover of the English novelist Nancy Mitford, and appears in a fictionalised form in two of her novels.-Biography:Palewski was born in Paris, the son of an...

, Claude Guy, Claude Mauriac
Claude Mauriac
Claude Mauriac was a French author and journalist, eldest son of the author François Mauriac.He was the personal secretary of Charles de Gaulle from 1944 to 1949, before becoming a cinema critic and arts person of Figaro. He is the author of several novels and essays, and co-scripted the movie of...

 and Jacques Soustelle
Jacques Soustelle
Jacques Soustelle was an important and early figure of the Free French Forces and an anthropologist specializing in pre-Columbian civilizations. He became vice-director of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris in 1938. He was elected to the Académie française in 1983.- Biography :Jacques Soustelle was...

, together with members of the main parties, which included the Socialists and a new Christian Democratic Party, the MRP under the leadership of Georges Bidault, who served as Foreign Minister. The President of the prewar Senate Jules Jeanneney
Jules Jeanneney
Jules Émile Jeanneney was a French lawyer and politician.Jules Jeanneney was born in Besançon in the department of Doubs. His mother died soon after his birth, leaving his father, an auctioneer, to raise the child. Jeanneney said that he felt that his mother's death affected him greatly in later...

 was brought back as second ranking member, but because of their links with Russia, de Gaulle allowed the Communists only two minor positions in his government. Although they were now a major political force with over a million members, of the full cabinet of 22 men, only Augustin Laurent and Charles Tillon
Charles Tillon
Charles Tillon was a French politician.- Biography :Tillon was born in Rennes in the Ille-et-Vilaine département....

 - who as head of Francs-Tireurs-Partisans had been one of the most active members of the resistance – were given ministries. However, de Gaulle did pardon the Communist’s leader Maurice Thorez
Maurice Thorez
thumb|A Soviet stamp depicting Maurice Thorez.Maurice Thorez was a French politician and longtime leader of the French Communist Party from 1930 until his death. He also served as vice premier of France from 1946 to 1947....

, who had been sentenced to death in absentia by the Vichy government for desertion. On his return home from Russia, Thorez delivered a speech supporting de Gaulle in which he said that for the present, the war against Germany was the only task that mattered.

There were also a number of new faces in the government, including a literary academic, Georges Pompidou
Georges Pompidou
Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 1962 to 1968, holding the longest tenure in this position, and later President of the French Republic from 1969 until his death in 1974.-Biography:...

, who had written to one of de Gaulle’s recruiting agents offering his services, and Jean Monnet, who in spite of his past opposition to the General now recognised the need for unity and served as Commissoner for Economic Planning. Of equal rank to Ministers and answerable only to the Prime Minister, a number of Commissioners of the Republic (Commissaires de la République) were appointed to re-establish the democratic institutions of France and to extend the legitimacy of the provisional government. A number of former Free French associates served as Commissioners, including Henri Fréville
Henri Fréville
Henri Fréville was a French history professor, resistor, writer and politician.-Life:...

, Raymond Aubrac
Raymond Aubrac
Raymond Aubrac is a French engineer, and was a member of the French Resistance.Born Raymond Samuel in Vesoul, Haute-Saône in a Jewish family, Aubrac and wife, Lucie in 1940 were in the Resistance in Lyon and took pseudonym Aubrac to escape the persecution of the occupation...

 and Michel Debré
Michel Debré
Michel Jean-Pierre Debré was a French Gaullist politician. He is considered the "father" of the current Constitution of France, and was the first Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic...

, who was charged with reforming the Civil Service. Controversially, de Gaulle also appointed Maurice Papon
Maurice Papon
Maurice Papon was a French civil servant, industrial leader and Gaullist politician, who was convicted for crimes against humanity for his participation in the deportation of over 1600 Jews during World War II when he was secretary general for police of the Prefecture of Bordeaux.Papon also...

 as Commissioner for Aquitaine in spite of his involvement in the deportation of Jews while serving as a senior police official in the Vichy regime during the occupation. Over the years, Papon remained in high official positions but would continue to be implicated in controversial events such as the Paris Massacre of 1961
Paris massacre of 1961
The Paris massacre of 1961 was a massacre in Paris on 17 October 1961, during the Algerian War . Under orders from the head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, the French police attacked a demonstration of some 30,000 pro-FLN Algerians...

, eventually being convicted of crimes against humanity in 1998.

Tour of major cities


De Gaulle’s policy was to postpone elections as long as 2.6 million French were in Germany as prisoners of war and forced labourers. In mid-September he embarked upon a tour of major provincial cities to increase his public profile and to help cement his position. Although he received a largely positive reception from the crowds who came out to see him, he reflected that only a few months previously the very same people had come out to cheer Marshal Pétain when he was serving the Vichy regime. Raymond Aubrac said that the General showed himself to be ill at ease at social functions; in Marseilles and Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

 he displayed great irritation when he was forced to sit next to local Resistance leaders at the post-rally banquet and was particularly scathing at what he regarded as the vulgar displays of exuberance among young men and women during the Masquisards parades which preceded his speech. When he reached Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

, de Gaulle also had to confront the leaders of a group which had proclaimed themselves to be the provincial government of the city.

During the tour, de Gaulle showed his customary lack of concern for his own safety by mixing with the crowds and thus making himself an easy target for an assassin. Although he was naturally shy and did not have a particularly impressive speaking voice, the good use of amplification and patriotic music enabled him to deliver his message that though all of France was fragmented and suffering together they would rise again. During every speech he would stop half way through to invite the crowd to join him in singing La Marseillaise, before continuing and finishing by raising his hands in the air and crying Vive la France!

The legal purges (Épuration légale)


As the war entered its final stages, the nation was forced to confront the reality of how many of its people had behaved under German rule. In France, collaborators were more severely punished than in most other occupied countries Immediately after the liberation, countless women accused of fraternising with the enemy were publicly shaved in the steets or daubed with feathers, although a significant number were less fortunate, being viciously killed. With so many of their former members having been hunted down and killed by the Nazis and paramilitary Milice, the Partisans had already summarily executed an estimated 4500 people, and the Communists in particular continued to press for severe action against collaborators. In Paris alone, over 150,000 people were at some time detained on suspicion of collaboration, although most were later released. Famous figures accused included the industrialist Louis Renault
Louis Renault
Louis Renault may refer to:* Louis Renault * Louis Renault * A character from the film Casablanca...

, the actress Arletty
Arletty
Arletty was a French actress, singer, and fashion model.-Life and career:Arletty was born Léonie Marie Julie Bathiat in Courbevoie , to a working-class family. Her early career was dominated by the music hall, and she later appeared in plays and cabaret. Arletty was a stage performer for ten years...

, who had lived openly with a German officer in the Ritz, the opera star Tino Rossi
Tino Rossi
Tino Rossi was a singer and film actor.Born Constantino Rossi in Ajaccio, Corsica, France, he became a tenor of French cabaret and one of the great romantic idols of his time. Gifted with an operatic voice, a "Latin Lover" persona made him a movie star as well...

, the stage actor Sacha Guitry
Sacha Guitry
Alexandre-Pierre Georges Guitry was a French stage actor, film actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright of the Boulevard theatre.- Biography :...

 and Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist thought, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion. She was the founder of one of the most famous fashion brands, Chanel...

, who was briefly detained but fled to Switzerland.

Keenly aware of the need to seize the initiative and to get the process under firm judicial control, de Gaulle appointed Justice Minister François de Menthon
François de Menthon
François de Menthon was a French politician and professor of law.-Early and private life:Menthon was born in Montmirey-la-Ville in Jura. He was a son of an old noble family from Menthon-Saint-Bernard. He studied law in Dijon, where he joined Action catholique de la Jeunesse française . He also...

 to lead the Legal Purge (Épuration Légale
Épuration légale
The Épuration légale was the wave of official trials that followed the Liberation of France and the fall of the Vichy Regime...

) to punish traitors and to clear away the traces of the Vichy regime. Knowing that he would need to excuse many of the ‘economic collaborators’ – such as police and civil servants who held minor roles under Vichy in order to keep the country running as normally as possible, he assumed, as head of state the right to commute death sentences. In all, of the near 2000 people who received the death sentence from the courts, less than 800 were actually executed. De Gaulle commuted 998 of the 1554 capital sentences submitted before him, including all those involving women. Many others were given jail terms or sentenced to national humiliation (loss of civil rights). It is generally agreed that the purge was not well conducted, with often absurdly severe or overly lenient punishments being handed down. It was also notable that the less well-off people who were unable to pay for laywers were more harshly treated. As time went by and feelings grew less extreme, a number of people who had held fairly senior positions under the Vichy government – such as Maurice Papon and René Bousquet
René Bousquet
René Bousquet was a high-ranking French civil servant, who served as secretary general to the Vichy regime police from May 1942 to 31 December 1943.-Biography:...

 - escaped justice by claiming to have worked secretly for the resistance or to have played a double game, working for the good of France by serving the established order.

Later, there was the question of what to do with the former Vichy leaders when they were finally returned to France. Marshal Pétain and Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand was a French military commander in World War I and World War II.Weygand initially fought against the Germans during the invasion of France in 1940, but then surrendered to and collaborated with the Germans as part of the Vichy France regime.-Early years:Weygand was born in Brussels...

 were war heroes from World War I and were now extremely old; convicted of treason, Pétain received a death sentence which his old protégé de Gaulle commuted to life imprisonment, while Weygand was eventually acquitted. In all, three Vichy leaders were executed; Joseph Darnand
Joseph Darnand
Joseph Darnand was a French soldier and later a leader of the Vichy French collaborators with Nazi Germany....

, who became an SS officer and led the Milice paramilitaries who hunted down members of the Resistance was executed in October 1945, while Fernand de Brinon
Fernand de Brinon
Fernand de Brinon, Marquis de Brinon was a French lawyer and journalist who was one of the architects of French collaboration with the Nazis during World War II...

, the third ranking Vichy official was found guilty of war crimes and executed in April 1947. The two trials of the most infamous collaborator of all, Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval
Pierre Laval was a French politician. He was four times President of the council of ministers of the Third Republic, twice consecutively. Following France's Armistice with Germany in 1940, he served twice in the Vichy Regime as head of government, signing orders permitting the deportation of...

, who was heavily implicated in the murder of Jews were widely critisiced as being unfair for depriving him of the opportunity to properly defend himself, although Laval antagonised the court throughout with his bizarre behaviour. He was found guilty of treason in May 1945 and de Gaulle was adamant that there would be no commuting the death sentence, saying that Laval’s execution was "an indispenable symbolic gesture required for reasons of state". There was a widespread belief, particularly in the years that followed, that de Gaulle was trying to appease both the Third Republic politicians and the former Vichy leaders who had made Laval their scapegoat.

Winter of 1944


The winter on 1944-45 was a miserable time. Inflation showed no sign of slowing down and the lives of ordinary people were still blighted by severe shortages. The Prime Minister and the other Gaullists were forced to try to balance the desires of ordinary people and public servants for a return to normal life with pressure from Bidault’s MRP and the Communists for the large scale nationalisation programme and other social changes that formed the main tenets of the CNR Charter. At end of 1944 the coal industry and other energy companies were nationalised, followed shortly afterwards by major banks and finance houses, the merchant navy, the main aircraft manufactueres, airlines and a number of major private enterprises such as the Renault
Renault
Renault S.A. is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans and also buses/coaches. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the world's third largest automaker...

 car company at Boulogne-Billancourt
Boulogne-Billancourt
Boulogne-Billancourt is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris. Boulogne-Billancourt is a sub-prefecture of the Hauts-de-Seine department and the seat of the Arrondissement of Boulogne-Billancourt....

, whose owner had been implicated as a collaborator and accused of having made huge profits working for the Nazis. In some cases unions, feeling that things were not progressing quickly enough took matters into their own hands, occupying premises and setting up workers committees to run the companies. Women were also allowed the vote for the first time, a new social security system was introduced to cover most medical costs, unions were expanded and price controls introduced to try to kerb inflation. At de Gaulle’s request, the newspaper Le Monde
Le Monde
Le Monde is a French daily evening newspaper owned by La Vie-Le Monde Group and edited in Paris. It is one of two French newspapers of record, and has generally been well respected since its first edition under founder Hubert Beuve-Méry on 19 December 1944...

 was founded in December 1944 to provide France with a quality daily journal similar to those in other countries. Le Monde took over the premises and facilities of the older Le Temps
Le Temps
Founded in 1998, Le Temps is a Swiss newspaper edited in French. Le Temps consists of a daily newspaper , several supplements , thematic special editions, a performing website and digital applications.Le Temps is the...

, whose independence and reputation had been badly compromised during the Vichy years.

During this period there were a number of minor disagreements between the French and the other Allies. The British Ambassador to France Duff Cooper said that during this time de Gaulle seemed to seek out real or imagined insults to take offence at wherever possible. De Gaulle believed that Britain and American were intending to keep their armies in France after the war and were secretly working to take over her overseas possessions and to prevent her from regaining her political and economic strength. In late October he complained that the Allies were failing to adequately arm and equip the new French army and instructed Bidault to use the French veto at the European Council.

On Armisice day 1944 Winston Churchill made his first visit to France since the liberation and received a good reception in Paris where he laid a wreath to Clemenceau. The occasion also marked the first official appearance of de Gaulle’s wife Yvonne, but the visit was less friendly than it appeared. De Gaulle had given strict instructions that there should be no excessive displays of public affection towards Churchill and no official awards without his prior agreement. When crowds cheered Churchill during a parade down the Elysee, de Gaulle was heard to remark, "Fools and cretins! Look at the rabble cheering the old bandit".

Visit to Russia


With the Russian forces making more rapid advances into German held territory than the Allies, there was a sudden public realisation that the Soviet Union was about to dominate large parts of Eastern Europe. In fact, at the Cairo
Cairo Conference
The Cairo Conference of November 22–26, 1943, held in Cairo, Egypt, addressed the Allied position against Japan during World War II and made decisions about postwar Asia...

 and Tehran Conferences
Tehran Conference
The Tehran Conference was the meeting of Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill between November 28 and December 1, 1943, most of which was held at the Soviet Embassy in Tehran, Iran. It was the first World War II conference amongst the Big Three in which Stalin was present...

 in 1943 Britain and America had already agreed to allow Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary to fall under the Russian sphere of influence after the war, with shared influence in Yugoslavia. Britain was to retain hedgemony over Greece, although there had been no agreement over Poland, whose eastern territories were already in Russian hands under the Brest-Litovsk agreement with Germany, and which retained a government in exile in London. De Gaulle had not been invited to any of the ‘Big Three’ Conferences, although the decisions made by Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt in dividing up Europe were of huge importance to France.

By now it was clear that although for the time being they remained allies, in the coming years the western capitalist democracies would increasingly clash with the Communist ideology. De Gaulle and his Foreign Minister Bidault stated that they were not in favour of a ‘Western Bloc’ that would be separate from the rest of Europe, and hoped that a resurgent France might be able to act as a ‘third force’ in Europe to temper the ambitions of the two emerging superpowers, America and Russia. He began seeking an audience with Stalin to press his ‘facing both ways’ policy, and finally received an invitation in late 1944. In his Memories, de Gaulle devoted 24 pages to his visit to Russia, but a number of writers make the point that his version of events differs significantly from that of the Russians, of foreign news correspondents, and with their own eye witness accounts.

De Gaulle wanted access to German coal in the Ruhr
Ruhr
The Ruhr is a medium-size river in western Germany , a right tributary of the Rhine.-Description:The source of the Ruhr is near the town of Winterberg in the mountainous Sauerland region, at an elevation of approximately 2,200 feet...

, the left bank of the Rhine to be incorporated into French territory, and for the Oder-Neisse line
Oder-Neisse line
The Oder–Neisse line is the border between Germany and Poland which was drawn in the aftermath of World War II. The line is formed primarily by the Oder and Lusatian Neisse rivers, and meets the Baltic Sea west of the seaport cities of Szczecin and Świnoujście...

 in Poland to become Germany's official Eastern border. De Gaulle began by requesting that France enter into a treaty with the Soviet Union on this basis, but Stalin, who remained in contact with Churchill throughout the visit, said that it would be impossible to make such a agreement without the consent of Britain and America. But he suggested that it might possible to add France’s name to the existing Anglo-Soviet Agreement
Anglo-Soviet Agreement
The Anglo-Soviet Agreement was a formal military alliance signed by the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union against Germany on July 12, 1941; shortly after the German invasion of the latter...

 if they agreed to recognise the Soviet-backed provisional Polish government known as the Lublin Committee as rightful rulers of Poland. De Gaulle responded that this would be ‘un-French’, as it would mean her being a junior partner in an alliance.

During the visit, de Gaulle accompanied the deputy Russian leader Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

 on a visit to the Stalingrad battleground where he was deeply moved by the scene of carnage he witnessed and surprised Molotov by referring to "our joint sacrifice"

The treaty which was eventually signed by Bidault and Molotov was of little relevance to Stalin because of France’s lack of political and military power, and it did not affect the outcome of the post-war settlement, but it carried a symbolic importance in that it enabled de Gaulle to demonstrate that he was representing France as official head of state and that France’s voice was being heard. However, Stalin later commented that he found Gaulle awkward and stubborn, that he lacked realism by claiming the same rights as the great powers and believed that he was ‘not a complicated person’ He also did not object to Roosevelts refusal to allow de Gaulle to attend the Big Three
Big three
Big Three is a term used colloquially to refer to the three most prominent entities in any given grouping or subject.It may refer to:- People :* The leaders of the three major Allies of World War I: David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, and Woodrow Wilson...

 conferences that were to come at Yalta and Potsdam

Strasbourg


At the end of 1944 French forces continued to advance as part of the American armies, but during the Ardennes Offensive there was a dispute over Eisenhower’s order to French troops to evacuate Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, which had just been liberated so as to straighten the defensive line against the German counterattack. Strasbourg was an important political and psychological symbol of French sovereignty in Alsace and Lorraine, and de Gaulle, saying that its loss would bring down the government, refused to allow a retreat, predicting that "Strasbourg will be our Stalingrad" At a cabinet meeting he said that the French should be willing to die there alone if the US pulled out its own troops. Churchill backed the French, and Eisenhower was so impressed with the French resolve that he eventually left his own troops in the city even at the risk of being cut off, for which de Gaulle expressed his extreme gratitude.

By early 1945 it was clear that the price controls which had been introduced to control inflation had only served to boost the black market and prices continued to move ever upwards. By this time the army had swelled to over 1.2 million men and almost half of state expenditure was going to military spending. De Gaulle was faced with his first major ministerial dispute when the very able but tough minded economics minister Pierre Mendes-France
Pierre Mendès-France
Pierre Mendès France was a French politician. He descended from a Portuguese Jewish family that moved to France in the sixteenth century.-Third Republic and World War II:...

 demanded a programme of severe monetary reform which was opposed by the Finance Ministry headed by Aime Lepercq
Aimé Lepercq
Aimé Marie Antoine Lepercq was a French soldier, industrialist and political figure.Born in Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or, Rhône, as the eldest of nine children, he graduated from the École Polytechnique in 1911, and then the École des Mines.Lepercq fought in World War I, in which he was wounded three...

, who favoured a programme of heavy borrowing to stimulate the economy. When de Gaulle, knowing there would be little appetite for further austerity measures sided with Lepercq, Mendes-France tendered his resignation, which was rejected because de Gaule knew he needed him. Lepercq was killed in a road accident a short time afterwards and was succeeded by Pleven, but when in March, Mendes-France asked unsuccessfully for taxes on capital earnings and for the blocking of certain bank accounts, he again offered his resignation and it was accepted.

The Yalta Conference


After the Rhine crossings, the French First Army captured a large section of territory in southern Germany, but although this later allowed France to play a part in the signing of the German surrender, Roosevelt in particular refused to allow any discussion about de Gaulle participating in the Big Three conferences that would shape Europe in the post war world. Because the Americans were planning to bring their troops home from Europe soon after the war was over, Churchill, who shared many of de Gaulle’s concerns over the inexperience of Russia and America in world affairs, realised the need for French troops to help administer Germany and pressed very hard for France to be included ‘at the inter-allied table’, but on December 6, 1944 the American president wired both Stalin and Churchill to say that de Gaulle’s presence would "merely introduce a complicating and undesirable factor".

At the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 in February 1945, Churchill and Roosevelt agreed that Poland should be ruled by the Lublin Committee and that she should give Russia her eastern lands in return for Germany territory. It was also agreed that Germany should be disarmed and occupied after the war, that war criminals would be brought to justice and that Russia would enter the war against Japan, from whom she would detach certain disputed territories.

Despite Stalin’s opposition though, Churchill and Roosevelt insisted that France be allowed a post-war occupation zone in Germany, and also made sure that she was included among the five nations that invited others to the conference to establish the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. This was important because it guaranteed France a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, a prestigious position that despite pressure from emerging nations she still holds today. Although Churchill had tried to have him involved and went to great lengths to fight for French interests during Yalta, assistance he never acknowledged, de Gaulle never forgave the Big Three leaders for not inviting him to the summit and continued to rage against it as having been a negative factor in European politics for the rest of his life.

President Truman


On his way back from Yalta, Roosevelt asked de Gaulle to meet him in Algiers for talks. The General refused, believing that there was nothing more to be said, and for this he received a rebuke from George Bidualt and from the French press, and a severely angered Roosevelt criticised de Gaulle in the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

. Soon after, on 13 April 1945, Roosevelt died, and despite their uneasy relationship de Gaulle declared a week of mouring in France and forwarded an emotional and concillitory letter to the new American President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

, in which he said of Roosevelt, "all of France loved him".

Unfortunately, de Gaulle’s relationship with Truman was to prove just as difficult as it had been with Roosevelt. With Allied forces advancing deep into Germany, another serious situation developed between American and French forces in Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

 and Karlsruhe
Karlsruhe
The City of Karlsruhe is a city in the southwest of Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, located near the French-German border.Karlsruhe was founded in 1715 as Karlsruhe Palace, when Germany was a series of principalities and city states...

, when French soldiers were ordered to transfer the occupation zones to US troops. Wishing to retain as much German territory in French hands as possible, de Gaulle ordered his troops, who were using American weapons and ammunition to resist, and an armed confrontation seemed imminent. Truman threatened to cut off supplies to the French Army and to take the zones by force, leaving De Gaulle with little choice but to back down. De Gaulle never forgave the new President, while Truman told his staff simply, "I don’t like the son of a bitch."

The first visit by de Gaulle to Truman in America was not a success. Truman told his visitor that it was time that the French got rid of the Communist influence from her government, to which de Gaulle replied that this was France’s own business. But Truman, who admitted that his feelings towards the French were becoming ‘less and less friendly’, went on to say that under the circumstances, the French couldn’t expect much economic aid and refused to accept de Gaulle’s request for control of the West bank of the Rhine. During the argument which followed, de Gaulle reminded Truman that the US was using the French island of Noumea
Nouméa
Nouméa is the capital city of the French territory of New Caledonia. It is situated on a peninsula in the south of New Caledonia's main island, Grande Terre, and is home to the majority of the island's European, Polynesian , Indonesian, and Vietnamese populations, as well as many Melanesians,...

 in New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia is a special collectivity of France located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, east of Australia and about from Metropolitan France. The archipelago, part of the Melanesia subregion, includes the main island of Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands, the Belep archipelago, the Isle of...

 as a base against the Japanese.

Victory in Europe


When, in May 1945 the German armies surrendered to the Americans and British at Reims, a separate armistice was signed with France in Berlin. De Gaulle refused to allow any British participation in the victory parade in Paris. However, among the vehicles that took part was an ambulance from from the Hadfield-Spears Ambulance Unit
Hadfield-Spears Ambulance Unit
The Hadfield-Spears Ambulance Unit was an Anglo-French volunteer medical unit which served initially with the 4th French army in Lorraine, eastern France, during the Second World War from February 1940 until it was forced to retreat on 9 June ahead of the German advance. Its official French...

, staffed by French Doctors and British nurses. One of the nurses was Mary Spears, who had set up the unit and had worked almost continuously since the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 with Free French forces in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy. Mary’s husband was General Edward Spears, the British liaison to the Free French who had personally spirited de Gaulle to safety in Britain in 1940. When de Gaulle saw the Union flags
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

 and Tricolours
Flag of France
The national flag of France is a tricolour featuring three vertical bands coloured royal blue , white, and red...

 side by side on the ambulance, and heard French soldiers cheering, “Voilà Spears! Vive Spears!” he ordered that the unit be closed down immediately and its British staff sent home. A number of French troops returned their medals in protest and Mary wrote, “it is a pitiful business when a great man suddenly becomes small.”

Another confrontation with the Americans broke out soon after the armistice when the French sent troops to occupy the French-speaking Italian border region of Val d’Aosta. The French commander threatened to open fire on American troops if they tried to stop them, and an irate Truman ordered the immediate end to all arms shipments to France, and sent de Gaulle an angry letter saying that he found it unbelievable that the French could threaten to attack American troops after they had done so much to liberate France.

Confrontation in the Levant


On VE Day, there were also serious riots in French Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, while soon after there came a dispute with Britain over Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 which quickly developed into a major diplomatic incident. The two Arabian countries, occupying a region known as the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, had been ruled under a French mandate given by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 at the end of World War I, but for several months both countries had seen demonstrations against the French. Bidault told reporters that France intended to defend her economic and cultural rights in Syria and Lebanon, and that there would be "no problem, as long as the British do not interfere" In May, de Gaulle sent General Beynet to establish an air base in Syria and a naval base in the Lebanon, provoking an outbreak of nationalism in which some French nationals were attacked and killed.

On 20 May, French troops opened fire on demonstrators in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 with artillery and mortars while aircraft dropped bombs. Later, colonial Senegalese troops were sent in with machine guns and after several days there were hundreds of dead Syrians lying in the bazaars and narrow streets of the capital, with reports of looting by the attacking forces. The British, who had substantial forces in the region, said that they would be forced to intervene if the violence didn’t stop. They were backed by President Truman, who declared "those French ought to be taken out and castrated".

Following the visit to Paris the previous year, and in spite of his efforts to preserve French interests at Yalta, Churchill’s relationship with de Gaulle was now at rock bottom. In January he told a colleague that he believed that de Gaulle was "a great danger to peace and for Great Britain. After five years of experience, I am convinced that he is the worst enemy of France in her troubles… he is one of the greatest dangers to European peace.… I am sure that in the long run no understanding will be reached with General de Gaulle".

Finally, on 31st May, with the death toll exceeding a thousand Syrians, Churchill sent de Gaulle a message saying; "In order to avoid a collision between British and French forces, we request you immediately to order French troops to cease fire and withdraw to their barracks". Meanwhile the British, under General Bernard Paget moved in with troops and tanks and cut French General Oliva Roget's telephone line with his base at Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

. Paget ordered Roget to tell his men to cease fire, but the Frenchman said that he would not take orders from the British. Eventually, heavily outnumbered, Roget ordered his men back to their base near the coast, angry that the British had arrived only after he had "restored order". He told a Syrian journalist: "You are replacing the easygoing French with the brutal British". But that night, with the Syrians killing any French or Senegalese troops they could find, the French were forced to accept the British escort back to the safety of their barracks. Later, Roget was sacked, but a furious broke out between Britain and France.

In France, there were accusations that Britain had armed the demonstrators. De Gaulle raged against ‘Churchill’s ultimatum’, saying that "the whole thing stank of oil". He summoned Duff Cooper and told him; "I recognise that we are not in a position to wage war against you, but you have betrayed France and betrayed the West. That cannot be forgotten".

France was isolated and suffering a diplomatic crisis. The secretary of the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 Edward Atiyah
Edward Atiyah
Edward Selim Atiyah was a Lebanese author and political activist. He was born in 1903 and died in 1964. He is best known for his 1946 autobiography An Arab Tells His Story, and his 1955 book The Arabs....

 said; "France put all her cards and two rusty pistols on the table". In turn, the French press attacked Britain as an enemy of France and accused the U.S. of helping Italy and Germany more than it helped France. It also criticised the Russians when they made it clear that they believed that France was in the wrong.

The Potsdam Conference


During the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

 in July, to which de Gaulle was again not invited, Churchill was defeated at the British general election and replaced by the Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 leader Clement Attlee
Clement Attlee
Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS was a British Labour politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, and as the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955...

. The Potsdam Conference brought a decision to divide Vietnam, which had been a French colony for over a hundred years, into British and Chinese spheres of influence. Soon after the surrender of Japan in August 1945, de Gaulle sent the French Far East Expeditionary Corps
French Far East Expeditionary Corps
The French Far East Expeditionary Corps was a colonial expeditionary force of the French Union Army sent in French Indochina in 1945 during the Pacific War.-Pacific War :...

 to re-establish French sovereignty in French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

, making Admiral d'Argenlieu
Georges Thierry d'Argenlieu
Georges Thierry d'Argenlieu, in religion Louis de la Trinité was a priest, diplomat and French Navy officer and admiral; he became one of the major personalities of the Free French Forces and the Forces navales françaises libres...

 High Commissioner and General Leclerc
Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque
Philippe François Marie, comte de Hauteclocque, then Leclerc de Hauteclocque, by a 1945 decree that incorporated his French Resistance alias Jacques-Philippe Leclerc to his name, , was a French general during World War II...

 commander-in-chief and commander of the expeditionary corps. However, the resistance leaders in Indo-China proclaimed the freedom and independence of Vietnam, and with the rise of nationalism in the region there were serious rumblings throughout the French Empire, and she would never be able to fully reclaim her former territory.

New elections and resignation


Since the liberation, the only parliament in France had been an enlarged version of the Algiers Consultative Assembly, and at last, in October 1945, elections were held for a new Constituent Assembly whose main task was to provide a new constitution for the Fourth Republic. De Gaulle favoured a strong executive for the nation, however all three of the main parties wished to severely restrict the powers of the President. The Communists wanted an assembly with full constitutional powers and no time limit, whereas de Gaulle, the Socialists and the Popular Republican Movement
Popular Republican Movement
The Popular Republican Movement was a French Christian democratic party of the Fourth Republic...

 (MRP) advocated one with a term limited to only seven months, after which the draft constitution would be submitted for another referendum.

In the election, which was run on the basis of proportional representation, the second option was approved by 13 million of the 21 million voters. The big three parties won 75% of the vote, with the Communists winning 158 seats, the MRP 152 seats, the Socialists 142 seats and the remaining seats going to the various far right parties.

On 13 November 1945, the new assembly unanimously elected Charles de Gaulle head of the government, but problems immediately arose when it came to selecting the cabinet, due to his unwillingness once more to allow the Communists any important ministries. The Communists, now the largest party and with their charismatic leader Maurice Thorez back at the helm, were not prepared to accept this for a second time, and a furious row ensued, during which de Gaulle sent a letter of resignation to the speaker of the Assembly and declared that he was unwilling to trust a party that he considered to be an agent of a foreign power (Russia) with authority over the police and armed forces of France.

Eventually, the new cabinet was finalised on 21 November, with the Communists receiving five out of the twenty two ministries, and although they still did not get any of the key portfolios, Thorez did manage to obtain one of the four prestigious Ministry of State posts.

De Gaulle found working under the new Constituent Assembly very different to the old Provisional Government, which ruled by decree. He found dealing with the "regime of parties" frustrating and believed that the draft constitution placed too much power in the hands of parliament with its shifting party alliances. One of his ministers described him as "a man equally incapable of monopolizing power as of sharing it".

De Gaulle outlined a programme of further nationalisations and a new economic plan which were passed, but a further row came when the Communists demanded a 20% reduction in the military budget. Refusing to ‘rule by compromise', de Gaulle once more threatened to resign. There was a general feeling that he was trying to blackmail the assembly into complete subservience by threatening to withdraw his personal prestige which he insisted was what alone kept the ruling coalition together. Although the MRP managed to broker a compromise which saw the budget approved with amendments, it was little more than a stop-gap measure.

Barely two months after forming the new government, de Gaulle abruptly resigned on 20 January 1946. The move was called "a bold and ultimately foolish political ploy", with de Gaulle hoping that as a war hero, he would be soon brought back as a more powerful executive by the French people. However, that did not turn out to be the case. With the war finally over, the initial period of crisis had passed. Although there were still shortages, particularly of bread, France was now on the road to recovery, and de Gaulle suddenly did not seem so indispensable. The Communist publication Combat wrote; “There was no cataclym, and the empty plate didn’t crack”.

He was succeeded by Félix Gouin
Félix Gouin
Félix Gouin was a French Socialist politician, member of the French Section of the Workers' International .-Personal life:Félix Gouin was born in Peypin, Bouches-du-Rhône, the son of school teachers...

 (French Section of the Workers' International, SFIO), then Georges Bidault
Georges Bidault
Georges-Augustin Bidault was a French politician. During World War II, he was active in the French Resistance. After the war, he served as foreign minister and prime minister on several occasions before he joined the Organisation armée secrète.-Early life:...

 (MRP) and finally Léon Blum
Léon Blum
André Léon Blum was a French politician, usually identified with the moderate left, and three times the Prime Minister of France.-First political experiences:...

 (SFIO).

1946–58: Out of power


After monopolising French politics for six years, Charles de Gaulle suddenly dropped out of sight, and returned to his home at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises
Colombey-les-Deux-Églises
Colombey-les-Deux-Églises is a commune in the Haute-Marne department in north-eastern France.The municipality Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises was created administratively in 1793, and it became part of the district of Chaumont and the canton Blaise. In 1801, under the name Colombey, it passed to the...

 to write his war memoirs.

The famous opening paragraph of Mémoires de guerre begins by declaring, "All my life, I have had a certain idea of France (une certaine idée de la France)", comparing his country to an old painting of a Madonna, and ends by declaring that, given the divisive nature of French politics, France cannot truly live up to this ideal without a policy of "grandeur" (roughly "greatness"). During this period of formal retirement, however, de Gaulle maintained regular contact with past political lieutenants from wartime and RPF days, including sympathisers involved in political developments in French Algeria
French Algeria
French Algeria lasted from 1830 to 1962, under a variety of governmental systems. From 1848 until independence, the whole Mediterranean region of Algeria was administered as an integral part of France, much like Corsica and Réunion are to this day. The vast arid interior of Algeria, like the rest...

, becoming "perhaps the best-informed man in France".

In April 1947 de Gaulle made a renewed attempt to transform the political scene by creating a Rassemblement du Peuple Français (Rally of the French People, or RPF), which he hoped would be able to move above the familiar party squabbles of the parliamentary system. Despite taking 40% of vote in local elections and 121 seats in 1951, lacking its own press and access to television, support for the new party ebbed away. In May 1953, he withdrew again from active politics, though the RPF lingered until September 1955.

As with a number of other European countries during this period, France began to suffer the loss of its overseas possessions amid the surge of nationalism which came in the aftermath of WW2. Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

, (now Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 and Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

) colonised by France during the mid nineteenth century had been lost to the Japanese after the defeat of 1940. Although de Gaulle had moved quickly to reclaim the territory during his brief tenure as president, the communist Vietminh, under Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

 began a determined campaign for independence from 1946 onwards. The French fought a bitter 7 ½ year war (the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

) to hold onto Indochina until their decisive defeat after the siege of Dien Bien Phu
Dien Bien Phu
Điện Biên Phủ is a city in northwestern Vietnam. It is the capital of Dien Bien province, and is known for the events there during the First Indochina War, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, during which the region was a breadbasket for the Việt Minh.-Population:...

 in May 1954

With 90,000 French people already killed during the conflict, Pierre Mendes-France
Pierre Mendès-France
Pierre Mendès France was a French politician. He descended from a Portuguese Jewish family that moved to France in the sixteenth century.-Third Republic and World War II:...

 was made Prime Minister with the main objective of ending the war, and by July 1954 a ceasefire had been arranged, following which French Forces left and the country was partitioned into North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 and South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

. This was only a short interlude before the even more savage Second Indochina War, more widely known in the west as the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, into which America was slowly dragged, but from which France was able to remain largely uninvolved

The defeat in Indochina had a profound influence on France’s North African empire and severely stretched the credibility of the Fourth Republic. By 1956, Morocco and Tunisia had all but won their independence, while in Algeria, some 350,000 French troops were fighting 150,000 members of the Algerian Liberation Movement (FLN), a conflict which was to become increasingly savage and bloody over the next few years, and threaten mainland France itself.

Between 1946 and 1958 there were no less than 24 separate ministries. The president retained relatively little real executive power, and manoeverings among various radical and socialist groups in the Assembly led to the government being repeatedly overthrown. Governments were so short lived that they achieved little, and the politics of the 4th Republic began to show the same characteristics of the 3rd Republic. Endlessly frustrated by the devisiveness of the Fourth Republic, de Gaulle famously asked; how can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?

The public showed their frustration with a marked shift of support towards the extreme right, particularly the Poujadists, a far right party who championed the cause of shopkeepers, farmers and other small businesses who were concerned at increased taxes and price controls brought in to try to curb inflation. Led by Pierre Poujade
Pierre Poujade
Pierre Poujade was a French populist politician after whom the Poujadist movement was named.-Biography:Poujade was born in Saint-Céré, Lot, France, Europe. When he was only 8 years old, his father died, in 1928....

, the party were anti semitic, anti American and imperialist, but won 2.6 million votes in 1956, giving them 52 seats.

1958: Collapse of the Fourth Republic



The Fourth Republic
French Fourth Republic
The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic, which was in place before World War II, and suffered many of the same problems...

 was tainted by political instability, failures in Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 and inability to resolve the Algerian question
Algerian War of Independence
The Algerian War was a conflict between France and Algerian independence movements from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria's gaining its independence from France...

. It did, however, pass the 1956 loi-cadre Deferre which granted independence to Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 and Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, while the Premier Pierre Mendès-France
Pierre Mendès-France
Pierre Mendès France was a French politician. He descended from a Portuguese Jewish family that moved to France in the sixteenth century.-Third Republic and World War II:...

 put an end to the Indochina War through the Geneva Conference
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

 of 1954.
Under Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

, while he survived the 1956 Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

, French prestige suffered a humiliating defeat with the forced withdrawal from Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 under international pressure.

On 13 May 1958, settlers seized the government buildings in Algiers, attacking what they saw as French government weakness in the face of demands among the Arab majority for Algerian independence. A "Committee of Civil and Army Public Security" was created under the presidency of General Jacques Massu
Jacques Massu
Jacques Émile Massu was a French general who fought in World War II, the First Indochina War, the Algerian War and the Suez crisis.-Early life:Jacques Massu was born in Châlons-sur-Marne to a family of military officers; his father was an artillery officer...

, a Gaullist sympathiser. General Raoul Salan
Raoul Salan
Raoul Albin Louis Salan was a French Army general and the fourth French commanding general during the First Indochina War. Salan was one of four generals who organized the 1961 Algiers Putsch operation and then founded the Organisation de l'armée secrète....

, Commander-in-Chief in Algeria, announced on radio that he was assuming provisional power, and appealed for "confidence in the Army and its leaders".

Under the pressure of Massu, Salan declared Vive de Gaulle! from the balcony of the Algiers Government-General building on 15 May. De Gaulle answered two days later that he was ready to "assume the powers of the Republic". Many worried as they saw this answer as support for the army.

At a 19 May press conference, de Gaulle asserted again that he was at the disposal of the country. As a journalist expressed the concerns of some who feared that he would violate civil liberties, de Gaulle retorted vehemently:
A constitutionalist by conviction, he maintained throughout the crisis that he would accept power only from the lawfully constituted authorities. De Gaulle did not wish to repeat the difficulty the Free French movement experienced in establishing legitimacy as the rightful government. He told an aide that the rebel generals "will not find De Gaulle in their baggage".

The crisis deepened as French paratroops from Algeria seized Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

 and a landing near Paris was discussed (Operation Resurrection
Operation Resurrection
Operation Resurrection was a planned military operation of the French Army that sought to take over the capital Paris in order to force the return of French leader Charles de Gaulle to head the government. Masterminded by Gen. Jacques Massu, the operation was preceded by the "Operation Corse",...

). Political leaders on many sides agreed to support the General's return to power, except François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

, Pierre Mendès-France
Pierre Mendès-France
Pierre Mendès France was a French politician. He descended from a Portuguese Jewish family that moved to France in the sixteenth century.-Third Republic and World War II:...

, Alain Savary
Alain Savary
Alain Savary was a French Socialist politician, deputy to the National Assembly of France during the Fourth and Fifth Republic, chairman of the Socialist Party and a government minister in the 1950s and in 1981, when he was nominated by President François Mitterrand as Minister of National...

, the Communist Party, and certain other leftists. On 29 May the French President, René Coty
René Coty
René Jules Gustave Coty was President of France from 1954 to 1959. He was the second and last president under the French Fourth Republic.-Early life and politics:...

, appealed to the "most illustrious of Frenchmen" to confer with him and to examine what was immediately necessary for the creation of a government of national safety, and what could be done to bring about a profound reform of the country's institutions.

De Gaulle remained intent on replacing the constitution of the Fourth Republic, which he blamed for France's political weakness. He set as conditions for his return that he be given wide emergency powers for six months and that a new constitution be proposed to the French people
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

. On 1 June 1958, de Gaulle became Premier and was given emergency powers for six months by the National Assembly, fulfilling his desire for parliamentary legitimacy.

On 28 September 1958, a referendum
French constitutional referendum, 1958
A constitutional referendum was held in France on 28 September 1958. Voters were asked whether they approved of the adoption of a constitution for the French Fifth Republic written by Charles de Gaulle. It was overwhelmingly approved, with 82.6% in favour...

 took place and 79.2 percent of those who voted supported the new constitution and the creation of the Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

. The colonies
French colonial empire
The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

 (Algeria was officially a part of France, not a colony) were given the choice between immediate independence
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 and the new constitution. All African colonies voted for the new constitution and the replacement of the French Union
French Union
The French Union was a political entity created by the French Fourth Republic to replace the old French colonial system, the "French Empire" and to abolish its "indigenous" status.-History:...

 by the French Community
French Community
The French Community was an association of states known in French simply as La Communauté. In 1958 it replaced the French Union, which had itself succeeded the French colonial empire in 1946....

, except Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

, which thus became the first French African colony to gain independence, at the cost of the immediate ending of all French assistance.

According to de Gaulle, the head of state should represent "the spirit of the nation" to the nation itself and to the world: "une certaine idée de la France" (a certain idea of France).

1958–62: Founding of the Fifth Republic



In the November 1958 elections
French legislative election, 1958
- National Assembly by Parliamentary Group:...

, de Gaulle and his supporters (initially organised in the Union pour la Nouvelle République-Union Démocratique du Travail, then the Union des Démocrates pour la Vème République, and later still the Union des Démocrates pour la République
Union des Démocrates pour la République
The Union for the Defence of the Republic or Union of Democrats for the Republic , commonly abbreviated UDR, was a Gaullist political party of France from 1968 to 1976....

, UDR) won a comfortable majority. In December, de Gaulle was elected President by the electoral college
French presidential election, 1958
The French presidential election of 1958, the first of the French Fifth Republic, took place on December 21, 1958. This was the only French presidential election by the electoral college .-First round:To win, a candidate...

 with 78% of the vote, and inaugurated in January 1959.

He oversaw tough economic measures to revitalise the country, including the issuing of a new franc
Franc
The franc is the name of several currency units, most notably the Swiss franc, still a major world currency today due to the prominence of Swiss financial institutions and the former currency of France, the French franc until the Euro was adopted in 1999...

 (worth 100 old francs). Internationally, he rebuffed both the United States and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, pushing for an independent France with its own nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s, and strongly encouraged a "Free Europe", believing that a confederation of all European nations would restore the past glories of the great European empires.

He set about building Franco-German cooperation
Franco-German cooperation
The relations between France and Germany is embodied in a cooperation called Franco-German Friendship . This came about after 1945, when a French-German enmity between the two countries ended....

 as the cornerstone of the European Economic Community (EEC), paying the first state visit
State visit
A state visit is a formal visit by a foreign head of state to another nation, at the invitation of that nation's head of state. State visits are the highest form of diplomatic contact between two nations, and are marked by ceremonial pomp and diplomatic protocol. In parliamentary democracies, heads...

 to Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 by a French head of state since Napoleon. In January 1963, Germany and France signed a treaty of friendship, the Élysée Treaty
Élysée Treaty
Élysée Treaty also known as the Treaty of Friendship, was concluded by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer in 1963. It set the seal on reconciliation between the two countries...

. France also reduced its dollar reserves, trading them for gold from the U.S. government, thereby reducing the US' economic influence abroad.

On 23 November 1959, in a speech in Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, de Gaulle announced his vision for Europe:

His expression, "Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals", has often been cited throughout the history of European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

. It became, for the next ten years, a favourite political rallying cry of de Gaulle's. His vision stood in contrast to the Atlanticism
Atlanticism
Atlanticism is a philosophy of cooperation among Western European and North American nations regarding political, economic, and defense issues, with the purpose to maintain the security of the participating countries, and to protect the values that unite them: "democracy, individual liberty and...

 of the United States and Britain, preferring instead a Europe that would act as a third pole between the United States and the Soviet Union. By including in his ideal of Europe all the territory up to the Urals, de Gaulle was implicitly offering détente
Détente
Détente is the easing of strained relations, especially in a political situation. The term is often used in reference to the general easing of relations between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 1970s, a thawing at a period roughly in the middle of the Cold War...

 to the Soviets, while his phrase was also interpreted as excluding the United Kingdom from a future Europe.

Algeria


Upon becoming president, de Gaulle was faced with the urgent task of finding a way to bring to an end the bloody and divisive war in Algeria. His intentions were obscure. He had immediately visited Algeria and declared, Je vous ai compris - 'I have understood you', and each competing interest had wished to believe it was them that he had undertsood. Whatever his intentions, "he soon came to realize that Algerian independence was inevitable." French left-wingers were in favour of granting independence to Algeria and urged him to seek a way to achieve peace while, at the same time, avoiding a French loss of face. Although the military's near-coup had contributed to his return to power, de Gaulle soon ordered all officers to quit the rebellious Committees of Public Safety. Such actions greatly angered the French settlers and their military supporters.

He was forced to suppress two uprisings in Algeria by French settlers and troops, in the second of which (the Generals' Putsch in April 1961) France herself was again threatened with invasion by rebel paratroops. De Gaulle's government also covered up the Paris massacre of 1961
Paris massacre of 1961
The Paris massacre of 1961 was a massacre in Paris on 17 October 1961, during the Algerian War . Under orders from the head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, the French police attacked a demonstration of some 30,000 pro-FLN Algerians...

, issued under the orders of the police prefect Maurice Papon
Maurice Papon
Maurice Papon was a French civil servant, industrial leader and Gaullist politician, who was convicted for crimes against humanity for his participation in the deportation of over 1600 Jews during World War II when he was secretary general for police of the Prefecture of Bordeaux.Papon also...

, who had begun his career as a Vichy
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 functionary deporting Jews from south-west France. He was also targeted by the settlers' resistance group Organisation de l'armée secrète (OAS) and several assassination attempts were made on him; the most famous is that of 22 August 1962, when he and his wife narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when their Citroën DS
Citroën DS
The Citroën DS is an executive car produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1955 and 1975. Styled by Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre, the DS was known for its aerodynamic futuristic body design and innovative...

 was targeted by machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

 fire arranged by Colonel Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry
Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry
Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry was a French military air weaponry engineer who attempted to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle on 22 August 1962, following Algerian independence...

 at Petit-Clamart
Clamart
Clamart is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.The town is divided into two parts, separated by a forest: bas Clamart, the historical centre, and petit Clamart with urbanization developed in the 1960s replacing pea fields. The canton of...

. Visitors to the French capital around this time heard, "the eerie sounds of car horns, beating out the five count of Al-gé-rie-Fran-çaise".

After a referendum on Algerian self-determination
French referendum on Algerian self-determination, 1961
A referendum on self-determination for Algeria was held in France on 8 January 1961. It was approved by 75.0% of voters overall and 69.5% in Algeria. Voter turnout was 92.2%.-Results:-Algeria:...

 carried out in 1961, de Gaulle arranged a cease-fire in Algeria with the March 1962 Evian Accords
Évian Accords
The Évian Accords comprise a treaty which was signed in 1962 in Évian-les-Bains, France by France and the F.L.N. . The Accords put an end to the Algerian War with a formal cease-fire proclaimed for March 19, and formalized the idea of cooperative exchange between the two countries...

, legitimated by another referendum
French Évian Accords referendum, 1962
A referendum to approve the Évian Accords ending the Algerian War and granting self determination to Algeria was held in France on 8 April 1962...

 a month later. Although the Algerian issue was settled, Prime Minister Michel Debré resigned over the final settlement and was replaced with Georges Pompidou on 14 April 1962. France recognised Algerian independence on 3 July 1962, while an amnesty was belatedly issued covering all crimes committed during the war, including the genocide against the Harkis. In just a few months in 1962, 900,000 French settlers left the country. After 5 July, the exodus accelerated in the wake of the French deaths during the Oran massacre of 1962
Oran massacre of 1962
The Oran massacre of 1962 was a massacre of European—mostly French—civilians in Oran, Algeria on July 5, 1962, at the end of the Algerian War . Although the majority of deaths were European, Algerians were also massacred. Estimates of the death toll vary widely, from a low of 95 to a high of 3,500....

. Historian Julian Jackson
Julian T. Jackson
Julian T. Jackson is a prominent British historian. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society. Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London Julian Jackson is one of the leading authorities on twentieth-century France.He was educated at the University of...

 : "The Pieds-Noirs peddled a fantasy of a harmonious country of Muslims and Europeans, but the history of the French in Algeria had always been one of violence, expropriation and exploitation. After the terrorist organisation OAS adopted a kind of scorched earth policy toward the end, it was made certain the Pieds-Noirs could not stay on in Algeria - [there followed] an influx of a million embittered and dispossessed refugees into France - where they now formed a reservoir of passionate, right-wing, anti-Gaullism."

Direct presidential elections


In September 1962, de Gaulle sought a constitutional amendment to allow the president to be directly elected by the people and issued another referendum to this end
French presidential election referendum, 1962
A referendum on the direct election of the President was held in France on 28 October 1962. It was approved by 62.3% of voters with a 77.0% turnout...

. After a motion of censure voted by the Parliament on 4 October 1962, de Gaulle dissolved the National Assembly and held new elections
French legislative election, 1962
- National Assembly by Parliamentary Group:...

. Although the left progressed, the Gaullists won an increased majority—this despite opposition from the Christian democratic Popular Republican Movement
Popular Republican Movement
The Popular Republican Movement was a French Christian democratic party of the Fourth Republic...

 (MRP) and the National Centre of Independents and Peasants
National Centre of Independents and Peasants
The National Centre of Independents and Peasants is a liberal-conservative and conservative-liberal political party in France, founded in 1949 by the merger of the National Centre of Independents with the...

 (CNIP) who criticised de Gaulle's euroscepticism
Euroscepticism
Euroscepticism is a general term used to describe criticism of the European Union , and opposition to the process of European integration, existing throughout the political spectrum. Traditionally, the main source of euroscepticism has been the notion that integration weakens the nation state...

 and presidentialism.

De Gaulle's proposal to change the election procedure for the French presidency was approved at the referendum on 28 October 1962 by more than three-fifths of voters despite a broad "coalition of no" formed by most of the parties, opposed to a presidential regime. Thereafter the President was to be elected by direct universal suffrage for the first time since Louis Napoleon in 1848.

1962–68: Politics of grandeur


With the Algerian conflict behind him, de Gaulle was able to achieve his two main objectives: to reform and develop the French economy, and to promote an independent foreign policy and a strong stance on the international stage. This was named by foreign observers the "politics of grandeur" (politique de grandeur). See Gaullism
Gaullism
Gaullism is a French political ideology based on the thought and action of Resistance leader then president Charles de Gaulle.-Foreign policy:...

.

"Thirty glorious years"


In the immediate post war years France was in a bad way; wages remained at around half prewar levels, the winter of 1946-1947 did extensive damage to crops - leading to a reduction in the bread ration, hunger and disease remained rife and the black market continued to flourish. Germany was in an even worse position but after 1948 things began to improve dramatically with the introduction of Marshall Aid - large scale American financial assistance given to help rebuild European economies and infrastructure. This laid the foundations of a meticulously planned programme of investment in energy, transport and heavy industry, overseen by the government of prime minister Georges Pompidou
Georges Pompidou
Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 1962 to 1968, holding the longest tenure in this position, and later President of the French Republic from 1969 until his death in 1974.-Biography:...

.

In the context of a population boom unseen in France since the 18th century, the government intervened heavily in the economy, using dirigisme
Dirigisme
Dirigisme is an economy in which the government exerts strong directive influence. While the term has occasionally been applied to centrally planned economies, where the state effectively controls both production and allocation of resources , it originally had neither of these meanings when...

— a unique combination of capitalism and state-directed economy — with indicative five-year plans as its main tool. This brought about a rapid transformation and expansion of the French economy.
High-profile projects, mostly but not always financially successful, were launched: the extension of Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

 harbour (soon ranking third in Europe and first in the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

); the promotion of the Caravelle
Sud Aviation Caravelle
The Sud Aviation SE 210 Caravelle was the first short/medium-range jet airliner produced by the French Sud Aviation firm starting in 1955 . The Caravelle was one of the more successful European first generation jetliners, selling throughout Europe and even penetrating the United States market, with...

 passenger jetliner (a predecessor of Airbus
Airbus
Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Based in Blagnac, France, surburb of Toulouse, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners....

); the decision to start building the supersonic Franco-British Concorde
Concorde
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...

 airliner in Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

; the expansion of the French auto industry with state-owned Renault
Renault
Renault S.A. is a French automaker producing cars, vans, and in the past, autorail vehicles, trucks, tractors, vans and also buses/coaches. Its alliance with Nissan makes it the world's third largest automaker...

 at its centre; and the building of the first motorways between Paris and the provinces.

With these projects, the French economy recorded growth rates unrivalled since the 19th century. In 1964, for the first time in nearly 100 years France's GDP overtook that of the United Kingdom, a position it held until the 1990s. This period is still remembered in France with some nostalgia as the peak of the Trente Glorieuses
Trente Glorieuses
Les Trente Glorieuses refers to the thirty years from 1945-1975 following the end of the Second World War in France. The name was first used by the French demographer Jean Fourastié...

 ("Thirty Glorious Years" of economic growth between 1945 and 1974).

Fourth nuclear power


During his first tenure as President, de Gaulle became enthusiastic about the possibilities of nuclear power. France had carried out important work in the early development of atomic energy and in October 1945 he established the French Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, (CEA) responsible for all scientific, commercial, and military uses of nuclear energy. However, partly due to communist influences in government who opposed proliferation, research stalled, and France was excluded from American, British, and Canadian nuclear efforts.

By October 1952 Britain became the third country - after America and the Soviet Union - to independently test and develop nuclear weapons. This gave Britain the capability to launch a nuclear strike via its Vulcan bomber force and it began developing its own ballistic missile programme known as Blue Streak.

As early as April 1954 while out of power, de Gaulle had proposed that France should also have its own nuclear weapons; at the time nuclear weapons were seen as a national status symbol and a way of maintaining international prestige with a place at the ‘Top Table’ of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. Full-scale research began again in late 1954 when Prime Minister Pierre Mendes-France authorized a plan to develop the atomic bomb; large deposits of uranium had been discovered near Limoges, in central France, providing the researchers with an unrestricted supply of nuclear fuel. France's independent force de frappe (strike force) came into being soon after de Gaulle’s election with his authorisation for the first nuclear test.

With the cancellation of Blue Streak, the US agreed to supply Britain with its Skybolt and later Polaris
Polaris
Polaris |Alpha]] Ursae Minoris, commonly North Star or Pole Star, also Lodestar) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor. It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star....

 weapons systems, and in 1958 the two nations signed the Mutual Defence Agreement forging close links which have seen the US and UK cooperate on nuclear security matters ever since. Although at the time it was still a full member of NATO, France proceeded to develop its own independent nuclear technologies - this would enable it to become a partner in any reprisals and would give it a voice in matters of atomic control.

After six years of development, on 13 February 1960 France became the world's fourth nuclear power when an extremely high powered nuclear device was exploded in the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 some 700 miles south-south-west of Algiers. In August 1963 France decided against signing the Partial Test Ban Treaty
Partial Test Ban Treaty
The treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water, often abbreviated as the Partial Test Ban Treaty , Limited Test Ban Treaty , or Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is a treaty prohibiting all test detonations of nuclear weapons...

 designed to slow the arms race because it would have prohibited her from testing nuclear weapons above ground. France continued to carry out tests at the Algerian site until 1966, despite the independence of Algeria in 1962. France's testing program then moved to the Mururoa and Fangataufa Atolls in the South Pacific.

In November 1967, an article by the French Chief of the General Staff (but inspired by de Gaulle) in the Revue de la Défense Nationale caused international consternation. It was stated that French nuclear force should be capable of firing "in all directions" – thus including even America as a target. This surprising statement was intended as a declaration of French national independence, and was in retaliation to a warning issued long ago by Dean Rusk
Dean Rusk
David Dean Rusk was the United States Secretary of State from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Rusk is the second-longest serving U.S...

 that US missiles would be aimed at France if it attempted to employ atomic weapons outside an agreed plan. However, criticism of de Gaulle was growing over his tendency to act alone with little regard for the views of others. In August, concern over de Gaulle's policies had been voiced by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing when he queried ‘the solitary exercise of power’.

NATO


With the onset of the Cold War and the perceived threat of invasion from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and the countries of the eastern bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

, America, Canada and the other western European countries set up the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to co-ordinate a military response to any possible attack. France played a key role during the early days of the organisation, providing a large military contingent and agreeing - after much soul-searching - to the participation of West German forces. But after his election in 1958 Charles de Gaulle took the view that the organisation was too dominated by the US and UK, and that with its problems in Vietnam, America would not fulfil its promise to defend Europe in the event of a Russian invasion.

De Gaulle demanded political parity with Britain and America in NATO, and for its geographic coverage to be extended to include French territories abroad, including Algeria, then experiencing civil war. This was not forthcoming, and so in March 1959 France, citing the need for it to maintain its own independent military strategy, withdrew its Mediterranean fleet from NATO, and a few months later de Gaulle demanded the removal of all US nuclear weapons from French territory.

In 1964 de Gaulle visited Russia, where he hoped to establish France as an alternative influence in the Cold War. Later, he proclaimed a new alliance between the nations, but although the Soviet statesman Alexei Kosygin made a return visit to France, the Russians did not accept France as a super power, knowing that in any future conflict they would have to rely on the overall protection of the Western Alliance.In 1965, de Gaulle pulled France out of SEATO, the Southeast Asian equivalent of NATO and refused to participate in any future NATO manoeuvres.

In February 1966, France withdrew from NATO military command, but remained within the organisation. However, secret protocols were agreed whereby French forces could quickly be re-integrated into NATO command, demonstrating that the move was little more that a symbolic show of defiance to America and Britain. De Gaulle, haunted by the memories of 1940, wanted France to remain the master of the decisions affecting it, unlike in the 1930s, when it had to follow in step with its British ally. He also declared that all foreign military forces had to leave French territory and gave them one year to redeploy. This latter action was particularly badly received in the US, prompting Dean Rusk
Dean Rusk
David Dean Rusk was the United States Secretary of State from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Rusk is the second-longest serving U.S...

, the US Secretary of State to ask de Gaulle if the cemeteries containing the 50,000 American war dead from the two world wars were also to be removed.

EEC


Despite its success in the war, Britain experienced a difficult time in the post war world. While France and other European countries were enjoying booming economies, Britain experienced high inflation, stagnant growth and poor labour relations.
A number of her important colonial possessions - not least India and Palestine - quickly gained independence, and following the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

, where Britain and France unsuccessfully sought to prevent the Egyptians from nationalalising the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

, Britain struggled to adjust to its reduced world position. The US Secretary of State
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

 Dean Acheson
Dean Acheson
Dean Gooderham Acheson was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War...

 commented that Britain had "lost an empire and had not yet found a role"

France meanwhile, experiencing the disintegration of her own empire and severe problems in Algeria, turned towards Europe after Suez, and to Germany in particular. In the years after, the economies of both nations came together and they became leading partners in the drive towards European unity.

One of the conditions of Marshall Aid was that the nation’s leaders must get together to co-ordinate economic efforts and to pool the supply of raw materials. By far the most critical commodities in driving growth were coal and steel. France assumed it would receive large amounts of high quality German coal from the Ruhr as reparations for the war, but America refused to allow this, fearing it could lead to a repeat of the renewed bitterness after the Treaty of Versailles which partly caused World War 2.

Under the inspiration of the French statesmen Jean Monnet
Jean Monnet
Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet was a French political economist and diplomat. He is regarded by many as a chief architect of European Unity and is regarded as one of its founding fathers...

 and Robert Schuman
Robert Schuman
Robert Schuman was a noted Luxembourgish-born French statesman. Schuman was a Christian Democrat and an independent political thinker and activist...

, together with the German leader Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Adenauer
Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer was a German statesman. He was the chancellor of the West Germany from 1949 to 1963. He is widely recognised as a person who led his country from the ruins of World War II to a powerful and prosperous nation that had forged close relations with old enemies France,...

, the rift between the two nations had begun to heal and along with Italy and the Benelux
Benelux
The Benelux is an economic union in Western Europe comprising three neighbouring countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. These countries are located in northwestern Europe between France and Germany...

 countries, they formed the European Coal and Steel Community
European Coal and Steel Community
The European Coal and Steel Community was a six-nation international organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and create the foundation for the modern-day developments of the European Union...

, which following the Treaty of Rome
Treaty of Rome
The Treaty of Rome, officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, was an international agreement that led to the founding of the European Economic Community on 1 January 1958. It was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany...

 of 1957 became the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

, also known as the Common Market, beginning around the same time as de Gaulle's presidency. Though he had not been instrumental in setting up the new organisation, de Gaulle spoke enthusiastically of his vision of "an imposing confederation" of European states and of formulating a common European foreign policy.

De Gaulle, who in spite of recent history admired Germany and spoke excellent German in contrast to his poor, mumbling English, established a good relationship with the ageing West Germany Chancellor Konrad Adenauer - culminating in the Elysee Treaty
Élysée Treaty
Élysée Treaty also known as the Treaty of Friendship, was concluded by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer in 1963. It set the seal on reconciliation between the two countries...

 in 1963 - and in the first few years of the Common Market, France's industrial exports to the other five members tripled and its farm export almost quadrupled. The franc became a solid, stable currency for the first time in half a century, and the economy mostly boomed. Adenauer however, all too aware of the importance of American support in Europe, gently distanced himself from the general’s more extreme ideas, wanting no suggestion that any new European community would in any sense challenge or set itself at odds with the U.S. In Adenauer's eyes, the support of the U.S. was more important than any question of European prestige. Adenauer was also anxious to reassure Britain that nothing was being done behind her back and was quick to inform the Prime Minister Harold McMillan of any new developments.

Great Britain initially declined to join the Common Market, preferring to remain with another organisation known as the European Free Trade Area
European Free Trade Area
At present, there are three multi-lateral free trade areas in Europe, plus the European Union which has a single market, and one former-FTA in recent history...

, mostly consisting of the northern European countries and Portugal. By the late nineteen fifties German and French living standards began to exceed those in Britain, and the government of Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

, realising that the EEC was a stronger trading bloc than EFTA, began negotiations to join.

De Gaulle vetoed the British application to join the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

 (EEC) in 1963, famously uttering the single word 'non' into the television cameras at the critical moment, a statement used to sum up French opposition and belligerence towards Britain for many years afterwards. MacMillan said afterwards that he always believed that de Gaulle would prevent Britain joining, but thought he would do it quietly, behind the scenes. He later complained privately that "all our plans are in tatters"

One reason given for de Gaulle's refusal was the recent American agreement to supply Britain with the Skybolt nuclear missile. He did it, he said, because he thought the United Kingdom lacked the necessary political will to be part of a strong Europe. He further saw Britain as a "Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse
The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the stratagem that allowed the Greeks finally to enter the city of Troy and end the conflict. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside...

" for the USA. He maintained there were incompatibilities between continental European and British economic interests. In addition, he demanded that the United Kingdom accept all the conditions laid down by the six existing members of the EEC (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands) and revoke its commitments to countries within its own free trade area (which France had not done with its own). He supported a deepening and an acceleration of common market integration rather than an expansion.

However, in this latter respect, a detailed study of the formative years of the EEC argues that the defence of French economic interests, especially in agriculture, in fact played a more dominant role in determining de Gaulle's stance towards British entry than the various political and foreign policy considerations that have often been cited. The General's attitude was also influenced by resentments which had come about during his exile in Britain during the Second World War.

Dean Acheson believed that Britain made a grave error in not signing up to the European idea right from the start, and that they continued to suffer the political consequences for at least two decades afterwards. However he also stated his belief that de Gaulle used the 'Common Market' (as it was then termed) as an "exclusionary device to direct European trade towards the interest of France and against that of the United states, Britain and other countries."

Claiming continental European solidarity, de Gaulle again rejected British entry when they next applied to join the community in December 1967 under the Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 leadership of Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

. During negotiations, de Gaulle chided Britain for relying too much on the Americans, saying that sooner or later they would always do what was in their best interests. Wilson said he then gently raised the spectre of the threat of a newly powerful Germany as a result of the EEC, which de Gaulle agreed was a risk. The veto on British entry made de Gaulle unpopular in Ireland since it was clear that for economic reasons Ireland would be excluded from the EEC as long as Britain remained outside.

After de Gaulle left office the United Kingdom applied again and finally became a member of the EEC in January 1973. Britain had to give up its exclusive rights to the fishing grounds around its island however, the catch being pooled with other nations as part of the Common Fisheries Policy
Common Fisheries Policy
The Common Fisheries Policy is the fisheries policy of the European Union . It sets quotas for which member states are allowed to catch what amounts of each type of fish, as well as encouraging the fishing industry by various market interventions...

. It also caused great anger in Australia and New Zealand, who lost important trading markets, among them exports of lamb. Britain continued to feel it received a poor deal from Europe for many years, however. In 1984 then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

, went to Brussels and through hard bargaining managed to obtain for Britain a £6 billion per year rebate on the basis that Britain paid a disproportionately high financial contribution in relation to what it received back from the EEC e.g. development grants, farming subsidies through the Common Agricultural Policy
Common Agricultural Policy
The Common Agricultural Policy is a system of European Union agricultural subsidies and programmes. It represents 48% of the EU's budget, €49.8 billion in 2006 ....

 (CAP).

Recognition of the People's Republic of China


De Gaulle was convinced that a strong and independent France could act as a balancing force between the United States and the Soviet Union, a policy seen as little more than posturing and opportunism by his critics, particularly in Britain and the United States, to which France was formally allied. In January 1964, France established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC)—the first step towards formal recognition. This was done without first severing links with the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

), led by Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

. Hitherto the PRC
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 had insisted that all nations abide by a "one China" condition, and at first it was unclear how the matter would be settled. However, the agreement to exchange ambassadors was subject to a delay of three months and in February, Chiang Kai-shek resolved the problem by cutting off diplomatic relations with France. Eight years later U.S. President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 visited the PRC and began normalising relations – a policy which was confirmed in the Shanghai Communiqué
Shanghai Communiqué
The Joint Communiqué of the United States of America and the People's Republic of China, also known as the Shanghai Communiqué , was an important diplomatic document issued by the United States of America and the People's Republic of China on February 27, 1972 during President Richard Nixon's visit...

 of 28 February 1972.

As part of a European tour, Nixon visited France in 1969. He and de Gaulle both shared the same non-Wilsonian approach to world affairs, believing in nations and their relative strengths, rather than in ideologies, international organisations, or multilateral agreements. De Gaulle is famously known for calling the UN the pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

 "le Machin" ("the thingamajig").

Visit to Latin America


In September and October 1964, despite a recent operation for prostate cancer and fears for his security, he set out on a punishing 20,000-mile tour of Latin America. He had visited Mexico the previous year and spoke, in Spanish, to the Mexican people on the eve of their celebrations of their independence at the Palacio Nacional
National Palace (Mexico)
The National Palace, or Palacio Nacional in Spanish), was the seat of the federal executive in Mexico. It is located on Mexico City's main square, the Plaza de la Constitución...

 in Mexico City. During his visit, he was again keen to show the French flag and gain both cultural and economic influence in this new 26-day tour. He spoke constantly of his resentment of US influence (hegemony) in Latin America – "that some states should establish a power of political or economic direction outside their own borders". Yet France could provide no investment or aid to match that from Washington.

Second term


In December 1965, de Gaulle returned as president for a second seven-year term, but this time he had to go through a second round of voting in which he defeated François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

, who did far better than anyone dreamed possible, gaining 45% of the vote. In September 1966, in a famous speech in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the national capital since the French colonized Cambodia, and has grown to become the nation's center of economic and industrial activities, as well as the center of security,...

 (Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

), he expressed France's disapproval of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, calling for a U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam as the only way to ensure peace.
As the Vietnam War had its roots in the previous Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

, in which the United States had provided France with aid, this speech did little to endear de Gaulle to the Americans, even if their leaders later came to the same conclusion. He later visited Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

, in the aftermath of Hurricane Inez
Hurricane Inez
Hurricane Inez was a deadly, destructive, powerful and very long-lived Cape Verde-type hurricane that carved an erratic path through the Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, Florida, and Mexico in 1966...

 for 2 days, bringing aid which totalled billions of francs.

Empty Chair Crisis


During the establishment of the European Community, de Gaulle helped precipitate one of the greatest crises in the history of the EC, the Empty Chair Crisis. It involved the financing of the Common Agricultural Policy
Common Agricultural Policy
The Common Agricultural Policy is a system of European Union agricultural subsidies and programmes. It represents 48% of the EU's budget, €49.8 billion in 2006 ....

, but almost more importantly the use of qualified majority voting in the EC (as opposed to unanimity). In June 1965, after France and the other five members could not agree, de Gaulle withdrew France's representatives from the EC. Their absence left the organisation essentially unable to run its affairs until the Luxembourg compromise
Luxembourg compromise
The Luxembourg compromise or Luxembourg Accords was an agreement reached in January 1966 which resolved differences within the European Economic Community....

 was reached in January 1966. De Gaulle succeeded in influencing the decision-making mechanism written into the Treaty of Rome by insisting on solidarity founded on mutual understanding. He vetoed Britain's entry into the EEC a second time, in June 1967.

Six-Day War


With tension rising in the Middle East in 1967, de Gaulle on 2 June declared an arms embargo against Israel, just three days before the outbreak of the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

. This, however, did not affect spare parts for the French military hardware with which the Israeli armed forces were equipped.

This was an abrupt change in policy. In 1956 France, Britain, and Israel had cooperated in an elaborate effort to retake the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 from Egypt. Israel's air force operated French Mirage
Mirage (aircraft)
Mirage is the name of a series of delta-winged fighters and bombers that have been produced by the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, flown by the French Air Force, and widely exported to foreign counties.* Dassault Mirage III...

 and Mystère jets in the Six-Day War, and its navy was building its new missile boats in Cherbourg
Cherbourg-Octeville
-Main sights:* La Glacerie has a race track.* The Cité de la Mer is a large museum devoted to scientific and historical aspects of maritime subjects.* Cherbourg Basilica* Jardin botanique de la Roche Fauconnière, a private botanical garden.* Le Trident theatre...

. Though paid for, their transfer to Israel was now blocked by de Gaulle's government. But they were smuggled out in an operation that drew further denunciations from the French government. The last boats took to the sea in December 1969, directly after a major deal between France and now-independent Algeria exchanging French armaments for Algerian oil.

Under de Gaulle, following the independence of Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, France embarked on foreign policy more favourable to the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 side. General de Gaulle's position in 1967 at the time of the Six Day War played a part in France's newfound popularity in the Arab world. Israel turned towards the United States for arms, and toward its own industry.

In a televised news conference on 27 November 1967, de Gaulle described the Jewish people as "this elite people, sure of themselves and domineering". In his letter to David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 dated 9 January 1968, he explained that he was convinced that Israel had ignored his warnings and overstepped the bounds of moderation by taking possession of Jerusalem, and so much Jordanian, Egyptian, and Syrian territory by force of arms. He felt Israel had exercised repression and expulsions during the occupation and that it amounted to annexation. He said that provided Israel withdrew her forces, it appeared that it might be possible to reach a solution through the UN framework which could include assurances of a dignified and fair future for refugees and minorities in the Middle East, recognition from Israel's neighbors, and freedom of navigation through the Gulf of Aqaba and the Suez Canal.

Nigerian Civil War


The Eastern Region of Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 declared itself independent under the name of The Independent Republic of Biafra
Biafra
Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, was a secessionist state in south-eastern Nigeria that existed from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, taking its name from the Bight of Biafra . The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious...

 on 30 May 1967. On 6 July the first shots in the Nigerian civil war were fired, marking the start of a conflict would last until January 1970. Britain provided military aid to the Federal Republic of Nigeria—yet more was made available by the Soviet Union. Under de Gaulle's leadership, France embarked on a period of interference outside the traditional French zone of influence. A policy geared toward the break-up of Nigeria put Britain and France into opposing camps. Relations between France and Nigeria had been under strain since the third French nuclear explosion in the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 in December 1960. From August 1968, when its embargo was lifted, France provided limited and covert support to the breakaway province. Although French arms helped to keep Biafra in action for the final 15 months of the civil war, its involvement was seen as insufficient and counterproductive. The Biafran Chief of Staff stated that the French "did more harm than good by raising false hopes and by providing the British with an excuse to reinforce Nigeria."

Vive le Québec libre!



In July 1967, de Gaulle visited Canada, which was celebrating its centennial with a world fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

 in Montreal, Expo 67
Expo 67
The 1967 International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67, as it was commonly known, was the general exhibition, Category One World's Fair held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from April 27 to October 29, 1967. It is considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century, with the...

. On 24 July, speaking to a large crowd from a balcony at Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

's city hall, de Gaulle shouted Vive le Québec! (Long live Quebec!) then added, Vive le Québec libre! (Long live Free Quebec!). The Canadian media harshly criticised the statement, and the Prime Minister of Canada
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

, Lester B. Pearson
Lester B. Pearson
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis...

 stated that "Canadians do not need to be liberated." De Gaulle left Canada abruptly two days later, without proceeding to Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 as scheduled. He never returned to Canada. The speech caused offence in most of English Canada, and led to a significant diplomatic rift between the two countries. However, the event was seen as a watershed moment by the Quebec sovereignty movement
Quebec sovereignty movement
The Quebec sovereignty movement refers to both the political movement and the ideology of values, concepts and ideas that promote the secession of the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada...

, and is still a significant milestone of Quebec's history to the eyes of most French Canadians.

In the following year, de Gaulle visited Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

, where he declaimed a poem written by his uncle (also called Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle (poet)
Charles Jules-Joseph de Gaulle was a French writer who was a pioneer of Pan-Celticism and the bardic revival. He is also known as Charlez Vro-C'hall, the Breton language version of his name. He was the uncle of General de Gaulle.-Life:Born in Valenciennes, Nord, de Gaulle was struck by a...

) in the Breton language
Breton language
Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

. The speech followed a series of crackdowns on Breton nationalism
Breton nationalism
Breton nationalism is the nationalism of the traditional province of Brittany in France. Brittany is considered to be one of the six Celtic nations...

. De Gaulle was accused of hypocrisy, on the one hand supporting a "free" Quebec because of linguistic and ethnic differences from other Canadians, while on the other supposedly "oppressing" a regional and ethnic nationalist movement in Brittany.

May 1968


De Gaulle's government was criticised within France, particularly for its heavy-handed style. While the written press and elections were free, and private stations such as Europe 1
Europe 1
Europe 1, formerly known as Europe n° 1, is a privately owned radio network created in 1955. It is one of the leading French radio broadcasters and heard throughout France...

 were able to broadcast in French from abroad, the state's ORTF
Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française
Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française was the French national public broadcasting organization established on 9 February 1949 to replace the post-war "Radiodiffusion Française" , which had been founded in 1945...

 had a monopoly on television and radio. This monopoly meant that the executive was in a position to bias the news. In many respects, society was traditionalistic and repressive, including the position of women. Many factors contributed to a general weariness of sections of the public, particularly the student youth, which led to the events of May 1968.

The huge demonstrations and strikes in France in May 1968 severely challenged de Gaulle's legitimacy. He and other government leaders feared that the country was on the brink of revolution or civil war. On 29 May de Gaulle disappeared without notifying Prime Minister Pompidou or anyone else in the government, stunning the country. He fled to Baden-Baden, Germany to meet with General Massu, now head of the French military there, to discuss possible army intervention against the protesters. De Gaulle returned to France after being assured of the military's support.

In a private meeting discussing the students' and workers' demands for direct participation in business and government he coined the phrase "La réforme oui, la chienlit
Chienlit
Chienlit is a traditional French term typically translated as masquerade or carnival/chaos. It was brought to notoriety by General Charles de Gaulle in an angry speech during the student protests in Paris during May 1968 in France, when he used the vernacular term as a scatological pun "La...

 non", which can be politely translated as 'reform yes, masquerade/chaos no.' It was a vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 scatological pun
Pun
The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use and abuse of homophonic,...

 meaning 'chie-en-lit
Chienlit
Chienlit is a traditional French term typically translated as masquerade or carnival/chaos. It was brought to notoriety by General Charles de Gaulle in an angry speech during the student protests in Paris during May 1968 in France, when he used the vernacular term as a scatological pun "La...

, no' (crap-in-bed, no). The term is now common parlance in French political commentary, used both critically and ironically referring back to de Gaulle.

But de Gaulle offered to accept some of the reforms the demonstrators sought. He again considered a referendum to support his moves, but on 30 May Pompidou persuaded him to dissolve parliament (in which the government had all but lost its majority in the March 1967 elections) and hold new elections instead. The June 1968 elections were a major success for the Gaullists and their allies; when shown the spectre of revolution or civil war, the majority of the country rallied to him. His party won 352 of 487 seats, but de Gaulle remained personally unpopular; a survey conducted immediately after the crisis showed that a majority of the country saw him as too old, too self-centred, too authoritarian, too conservative, and too anti-American.

Retirement



Charles de Gaulle resigned the presidency at noon, 28 April 1969, following the rejection of his proposed reform of the Senate and local governments in a nationwide referendum
French constitutional referendum, 1969
A constitutional referendum was held in France on 27 April 1969. The reforms would have led to government decentralization and changes to the Senate...

. De Gaulle vowed that if the referendum failed, he would resign his office. Despite an eight-minute-long speech by de Gaulle, the referendum failed and he duly resigned, whereupon he was replaced by Georges Pompidou
Georges Pompidou
Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 1962 to 1968, holding the longest tenure in this position, and later President of the French Republic from 1969 until his death in 1974.-Biography:...

.

De Gaulle retired once again to his beloved nine-acre country estate, La Boisserie (the woodland glade), in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises
Colombey-les-Deux-Églises
Colombey-les-Deux-Églises is a commune in the Haute-Marne department in north-eastern France.The municipality Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises was created administratively in 1793, and it became part of the district of Chaumont and the canton Blaise. In 1801, under the name Colombey, it passed to the...

, 120 miles southeast of Paris. There the General, who often described old age as a "shipwreck," continued his memoirs, dictated to his secretary from notes. To visitors, de Gaulle said, "I will finish three books, if God grants me life." The Renewal, the first of three planned volumes to be called Memoirs of Hope, was quickly finished and immediately became the fastest seller in French publishing history. During the day he also usually also took two strolls, one alone and the other with his wife Yvonne around the village.

He did not accept the sizable pensions to which he was entitled as a retired president and as a retired general, but only a much smaller colonel's pension. He was punctilious with regard to money, taking care to separate his private expenses from those of his official function. He paid for his own haircuts and the stamps for personal correspondence, and had an electricity meter installed in the private accommodation at his official residence.

Private life


Charles de Gaulle married Yvonne Vendroux
Yvonne de Gaulle
Yvonne de Gaulle , born as Yvonne Charlotte Anne Marie Vendroux, was the wife of Charles de Gaulle. They were married on April 7, 1921. She was sometimes known as "Tante Yvonne"...

 on 7 April 1921. They had three children: Philippe
Philippe de Gaulle
Philippe de Gaulle is a French admiral and politician. The son of General Charles de Gaulle, he is a former Senator and was Inspector-General of the French Navy. He married Henriette de Montalambert de Cers in 1947 and had four children including Dr. Charles de Gaulle, Yves de Gaulle and Pierre de...

 (born 1921), Élisabeth (1924), who married General Alain de Boissieu
Alain de Boissieu
Alain de Boissieu was a French general, Free French, Compagnon de la Libération, Army chief of staff and son-in-law of general Charles de Gaulle.-Life:...

, and Anne
Anne de Gaulle
Anne de Gaulle was the youngest daughter of General Charles de Gaulle and his wife, Yvonne. She was born in Trier, Germany, where her father was stationed....

 (1928–1948). Anne had Down's syndrome
Down syndrome
Down syndrome, or Down's syndrome, trisomy 21, is a chromosomal condition caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. It is named after John Langdon Down, the British physician who described the syndrome in 1866. The condition was clinically described earlier in the 19th...

 and died at the age of 20.

De Gaulle always had a particular love for his handicapped daughter; one Colombey resident recalled how he used to walk with her hand-in-hand around the property, caressing her and talking quietly about the things she understood.

One of Charles de Gaulle's grandsons, also named Charles De Gaulle, was a member of the European Parliament
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

 from 1994 to 2004, his last tenure being for the National Front. Another grandson, Jean de Gaulle, was a member of the French Parliament until his retirement in 2007.

Death


On 9 November 1970, two weeks short of what would have been his 80th birthday, Charles de Gaulle died suddenly, despite enjoying very robust health his entire life (except for a prostate
Prostate
The prostate is a compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland of the male reproductive system in most mammals....

 operation a few years earlier). He had been watching the evening news on television and playing Solitaire around 7.40 pm when he suddenly pointed to his neck and said "I feel a pain right here." before collapsing. His wife called the doctor and the local priest, but by the time they arrived he had died from a ruptured blood vessel
Aneurysm
An aneurysm or aneurism is a localized, blood-filled balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Aneurysms can commonly occur in arteries at the base of the brain and an aortic aneurysm occurs in the main artery carrying blood from the left ventricle of the heart...

.

His wife asked that she be allowed to inform her family before the news was released. She was able to contact her daughter in Paris quickly, but their son, who was in the navy was difficult to track down and so the President, Georges Pompidou was not informed until 4am the next morning and went on television some 18 hours after the event to inform the nation of the general's death. He said simply; "General de Gaulle is dead. France is a widow"

De Gaulle had made arrangements that insisted that his funeral would be held at Colombey, and that no presidents or ministers attend his funeral – only his Compagnons de la Libération

Despite his wishes, such were the number of foreign dignitaries who wanted to honour De Gaulle that Pompidou was forced to arrange a separate memorial service at the Notre-Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris , also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra of...

, to be held at the same time as his actual funeral. Among those at the memorial service were 63 present or former heads of state, including US President Nixon, Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny
Nikolai Podgorny
Nikolai Viktorovich Podgorny was a Soviet Ukrainian statesman during the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, or leader of the Ukrainian SSR, from 1957 to 1963 and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet from 1965 to 1977...

, British Prime Minister Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

, the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
Indira Priyadarshini Gandhara was an Indian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms and a fourth term . She was assassinated by Sikh extremists...

, the President of Italy, representatives of 17 of France’s former African colonies and the reigning monarchs of Ethiopia, Iran, The Netherlands, Belgium, Monaco and Luxembourg. Also in the congregation were David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

, Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

, Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

, former West German Chancellors Ludwig Erhard
Ludwig Erhard
Ludwig Wilhelm Erhard was a German politician affiliated with the CDU and Chancellor of West Germany from 1963 until 1966. He is notable for his leading role in German postwar economic reform and economic recovery , particularly in his role as Minister of Economics under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer...

 and Kurt-Georg Kiesinger, Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

 and US Senator Edward Kennedy
Edward Kennedy
Edward Kennedy may refer to:*Ted Kennedy, Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy , United States Senator from Massachusetts*Edward Kennedy , journalist who first reported the German surrender in World War II*Edward Kennedy, Jr., son of U.S...

, who remembered De Gaulle's immediate decision to attend the funeral of his brother John following his assassination in 1963. The Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung was unable to attend but sent a wreath. The only notable absentee was Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

, possibly because he was still angry over de Gaulle's cry of "Vive le Quebec libre" during his 1967 visit.

The funeral on 12th November 1970 was the biggest such event in French history, with hundreds of thousands of French people - many carrying blankets and picnic baskets - and thousands of cars parked in the roads and fields along the routes to the two venues. Special trains were laid on to bring extra mourners to the region and the crowd was packed so tightly that those who fainted had to be passed overhead toward first-aid stations at the rear.

The General was conveyed to the church on an armoured reconnaissance vehicle and carried to his grave, next to his daughter Anne, by eight young men of Colombey. As he was lowered into the ground, the bells of all the churches in France tolled, starting from Notre Dame and spreading out from there.

Madame de Gaulle asked the undertaker to provide the same type of simple oak casket that he used for everyone else, but because of the General's extreme height, the coffin cost $9 more than usual. He specified that his tombstone bear the simple inscription of his name and his years of birth and death. Therefore, it simply says: "Charles de Gaulle, 1890–1970".
The French newspaper Le Monde referred to the days after his death as "a planetary mourning." At the service, President Pompidou said "de Gaulle gave France her governing institutions, her independence and her place in the world." André Malraux, the writer and intellectual who served as his Minister of Culture, called him "a man of the day before yesterday and the day after tomorrow."

His family has turned the La Boisserie residence into a foundation. It is currently the Charles de Gaulle Museum.

Views of Charles de Gaulle's legacy


General Charles de Gaulle remains an important, if controversial historical figure whose memory is greatly cherished in France. France's main airport and only aircraft carrier bear his name, countless streets are named after him and numerous museums have opened in his honour.

In 1990, his old enemy, the left wing President Francois Mitterrand presided over the celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. Mitterrand, having once written a vitriolic critique of him called the ‘Permanent Coup d’ Etat’, quoted a then recent opinion poll, saying; “As General de Gaulle, he has entered the pantheon of great national heroes, where he ranks ahead of Napoleon and behind only Charlemagne”

In 2005 he came out in first place of a poll of great French historical figures undertaken by the TV station France 2
France 2
France 2 is a French public national television channel. It is part of the state-owned France Télévisions group, along with France 3, France 4, France 5 and France Ô...

. An enormous number of biographies have been written about him and he has been heavily discussed elsewhere. Of the memoirs written by the prominent British and American figures such as Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Truman, Montgomery, Acheson and Rusk who dealt with him during and after the war, a large proportion refer to their irritation and mistrust of him. In a letter to Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 just before D-Day, he wrote of de Gaulle, “There is not a scrap of generosity about this man, who only wishes to pose as the saviour of France in this operation…he is a wrong-headed, ambitious and detestable Anglo-phobe”. Nevertheless, writing after the war, the British Prime Minister reflected
"I knew he was no friend of England, but I understood and admired, even while I resented his arrogant demeanor".

De Gaulle's attitude annoyed President Roosevelt, who viewed him as “an utterly sincere megalomaniac”. The Americans were particularly resentful at his lack of expressed gratitude at the major role their forces played in liberating Europe; the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 continually urged its army war correspondents to press the point that young Americans were dying to set France free from the Nazis, and it was noted that in exaggerating the severity of the supposed Parisian famine to the US military, de Gaulle manipulated the situation to his own advantage.

The French writer Jacques Mondal, who was present said “Knowing General de Gaulles character, it is not surprising that during those days he openly demonstrated his determined intention to be master in Paris without worrying any more about whom he owed the position to”. Mondal believed that the determination the General displayed was part of what made him so successful, and that the Americans showed themselves to be very understanding under the circumstances.

On de Gaulle’s demeanor and return to Paris, the historian Anthony Beevor writes of his “almost perverse pleasure at biting the American and British hands that fed him", and of his "...supreme disdain for inconvienient facts, especially anything which might undermine the glory of France; only de Gaulle could write a history of the French army without mentioning the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

”.

Although he initially enjoyed good relations with President Kennedy, who admired his stance against the Soviet Union - particularly when the Berlin Wall was being built - and who called him "a great captain of the western world", their relationship later cooled. He was very much admired by the later President Nixon, however. After a meeting at the Palace of Versaille
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

 just before the general left office, Nixon declared that "He did not try to put on airs but an aura of majesty seemed to envelop him... his performance - and I do not use that word disparagingly - was breathtaking" On arriving for his funeral several months later, Nixon said of him "greatness knows no national boundaries"

Writing in 1970, the German writer Walter Laquer said that de Gaulle displayed “an essentially eighteenth century concept of international politics” and referred to his “colossal egocentricity and dictatorial and capricious style, even when at his best”. Likewise, in his 1994 book ‘Futurist of the Nation’, the French professor and academic Régis Debray
Régis Debray
Jules Régis Debray is a French intellectual, journalist, government official and professor. He is known for his theorization of mediology, a critical theory of the long-term transmission of cultural meaning in human society; and for having fought in 1967 with Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara in...

, who served as Foreign Affairs adviser to President François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

, suggested that he was “an anarchic, ungrateful xenophobe, authoritarian and vaguely fascist” but pointed out that virtually all of his predictions, such as the fall of communism, the reunification of Germany and the resurrection of ‘old’ Russia had come true since his death. Debray compared him with Napoleon ('the great political myth of the nineteenth century'), calling de Gaulle his twentieth century equivalent, "but whereas Bonaparte left two generations of Frenchmen dead on the battlefield, de Gaulle merely left us stranded, alive but dazed".

Debray continued that he could not say if the general ever loved Britain, but that ironically, as a result of reading his account of his time in exile in his autobiography, “Probably no Frenchman since Hastings has done more to create a familiar, attractive and romantic image of the hereditary enemy Britain in the minds of Frenchmen of a certain age that this champion of the French self-interest”.

Despite the almost universal criticism of his manner, virtually all writers agree about his two major achievements; his founding of the Fifth Republic, which despite setbacks has proved much more robust and durable than the Fourth Republic, and of his strength and resolve - despite the human cost - in dealing with the Algerian crisis. By insisting on strong executive powers for the president, and through his use of popular referendums to push through important legislation, he was able to prevent party politics watering down or frustrating his policies and managed to provide France with its first effective leadership since the war.

On Algeria, the Australian historian Brian Crozier
Brian Crozier
Brian Rossiter Crozier is a British-based historian, strategist and journalist.Crozier was born in Australia, although he was raised in France, learning French. Thereafter his family moved to England where he would receive a scholarship to study piano and musical composition at the Trinity College...

 has written “that he was able to part with Algeria without civil war was a great though negative achievement which in all probability would have been beyond the capacity of any other leader France possessed” In April 1961, when two rebel generals seized power in Algeria, he “did not flinch in the face of this daunting challenge”, but appeared on television in his general’s uniform to forbid Frenchmen to obey their orders in an “inflexible display of personal authority”.

The historian K. Perry, while referring to his handling of the Algerian settlement as “a masterly performance”, went on to say that “his impatient shedding of the problem increased the price in human terms that had to be paid. He was so possessed by a burning ambition to restore French greatness and break American leadership in western international affairs that he wished for a speedy end to the Algerian problem, which had become a tiresome distraction for him”. A number of commentators have been critical of de Gaulle for his failure to prevent the massacres after Algerian independence while others take the view that the struggle had been so long and savage that it was perhaps inevitable.

De Gaulle was also a brilliant orator and excellent manipulator of the media, as seen in his shrewd use of television to pursuade around 80% of Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

 to approve the new constitution for the Fifth Republic. In so doing, he refused to yield to the reasoning of his opponents who said that if he succeeded in Algeria, he would no longer be necessary, and afterwards enjoyed massive approval ratings; de Gaulle himself once said that “every Frenchman is, has been or will be Gaulist”.

In its obituary, TIME Magazine said;

"He rescued his nation not once but twice, the first time from the shame of its capitulation to the Nazis in World War II, the second from its own quarrelling factions. With the Fifth Republic, he gave France its first strong governmental framework since the days of Louis Napoleon. He was indeed ‘I'homme du destin,’ (a man of destiny) as Winston Churchill once called him, and even his name, suggestive of both Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 and ancient Gaul, was perfectly suited to the role he took upon himself. But the fact was that France offered De Gaulle too limited a scope and power base. Try as he might, he could not change the basic reality that France simply lacked the specific gravity to offset the force of a superpower.

"Like most crusaders, De Gaulle was extraordinarily farsighted but sometimes, maddeningly, his imperious manner and fragile sensibilities infuriated his nation's closest allies. In a vain effort to force French leadership on Europe, he twice vetoed Britain's entry into the continent's first economic cooperative, the Common Market. At home, he stinted on public welfare in the form of new roads, telephones and a thousand other needed improvements, to pay for symbolically important but ultimately hollow shows of prestige, like the nuclear Force de Frappe"

In Britain, his apparent betrayal at twice preventing the British attempt at joining the EEC was keenly felt for many years. That de Gaulle did not reflect mainstream French public opinion with his veto was illustrated by the decisive majority of French people who voted in favour of British membership when the much more concilitory Pompidou called a referendum on the matter in 1972. His early influence in setting the parameters of the EEC can still be seen today, most notably with the controversial Common Agriculural Policy.

Some writers take the view that Pompidou was a more progressive and influential leader than de Gaulle because, though also a right wing Gaulist he was less autocratic and more interested in social reforms. He was not at all inclined towards unnessary shows of petulance, and although he followed the main tenets of de Gaulle’s foreign policy, he was keen to work towards warmer relations with the US. A banker by profession, Pompidou is also widely credited, as de Gaulle's Prime Minister from 1962 - 1968 with putting in place the reforms which provided the impetus for the economic growth which followed.

In 1968, shortly before leaving office, de Gaulle refused to devalue the Franc on grounds of national prestige, but upon taking over Pompidou reversed the decision almost straight away. It was ironic that during the financial crisis of 1968, France had to rely on American (and West German) financial aid to help shore up the economy. Perry has written “The events of 1968 illustrated the brittleness of de Gaulle’s rule. That he was taken by surprise is an indictment of his rule; he was too remote from real life and had no interest in the conditions under which ordinary French people lived. Problems like inadequate housing and social services had been ignored. The French greeted the news of his departure with some relief as the feeling had grown that he had outlived his usefulness. Perhaps he clung onto power too long, perhaps he should have retired in 1965 when he was still popular. ”

Brian Crozier has said "the fame of de Gaulle outstrips his achievements, he chose to make repeated gestures of petulance and defiance that weakened the west without compensating advantages to France”

However, Daniel Mahoney writes that “such is the level to which de Gaulle has now passed into mythology in France that he is now claimed by all the political parties, though some more than others. No account of de Gaulle that wishes to capture the man and his works can simply be a profile of his time in power, for Charles de Gaulle was undoubtably one of the great human beings of the twentieth century, a member of that distinguished elite who deserve the appellation ‘statesman’”

Writing in 1995, another commentator, Pierre Manent
Pierre Manent
Pierre Manent teaches political philosophy at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, in the Centre de recherches politiques Raymond Aron. Every fall, he is also a visiting teacher at Boston College at the department of Political Science....

 attempted to explain why he remains so popular in France, yet perhaps not so in the wider world;

“It is true that de Gaulle wanted France to take its destiny into its own hands and wished it would cease to depend on American protection. As such, this ambition was legitimate, even if one disagrees with the manner in which it was formulated and put into practice. As for the wartime difficulties with Roosevelt, the great American president was simply mistaken about de Gaulle, whom he took to be an aspiring despot, and this error of judgement was the principle cause of grave political differences that could have been avoided”

Despite spending virtually his entire political career at odds with de Gaulle and his policies, Jean Monnet had no doubt about the positive role he played in leading the Free French during the first years of the war and immediately after the liberation. Speaking in 1965 he told a journalist; First things first, before a united Europe and an Atlantic partnership there had to be a united France, strong, mobilized and able to assume a leading role among the Western allies. Without de Gaulle or against de Gaulle, we could not have liberated or reconstructed France. There was no one but de Gaulle. Whatever his faults, he was a tower of strength and inspiration

Commenting on the difficult relationship with Churchill, the former war correspondent David Schoenbrun
David Schoenbrun
David Schoenbrun , born in New York City, was an American broadcast journalist.He began his career teaching French and in WW2 served as a war correspondent from North Africa through to the liberation of France, for which he was decorated with the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honour.After the...

 said in 1966;
Churchill understood and felt, more than Roosevelt ever could, the frightful misery of the French defeat. Roosevelt never appreciated, as did Churchill, de Gaulle’s psychological need to hold the French flag high, and his complusion, at times, to hit his allies over the head with it, after all, it was the only weapon and shield he possessed

1st Government: 10th September 1944 onwards

  • Charles de Gaulle: Prime Minister
  • Jules Jeaneney
    Jules Jeanneney
    Jules Émile Jeanneney was a French lawyer and politician.Jules Jeanneney was born in Besançon in the department of Doubs. His mother died soon after his birth, leaving his father, an auctioneer, to raise the child. Jeanneney said that he felt that his mother's death affected him greatly in later...

    : Minister of State
  • Pierre Mendes-France
    Pierre Mendès-France
    Pierre Mendès France was a French politician. He descended from a Portuguese Jewish family that moved to France in the sixteenth century.-Third Republic and World War II:...

    : Minister for National Economy
  • Aime Lepercq
    Aimé Lepercq
    Aimé Marie Antoine Lepercq was a French soldier, industrialist and political figure.Born in Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or, Rhône, as the eldest of nine children, he graduated from the École Polytechnique in 1911, and then the École des Mines.Lepercq fought in World War I, in which he was wounded three...

    : Minister of Finance
  • Georges Bidault
    Georges Bidault
    Georges-Augustin Bidault was a French politician. During World War II, he was active in the French Resistance. After the war, he served as foreign minister and prime minister on several occasions before he joined the Organisation armée secrète.-Early life:...

    : Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • François Billoux: Minister of Health
  • Charles Tillon
    Charles Tillon
    Charles Tillon was a French politician.- Biography :Tillon was born in Rennes in the Ille-et-Vilaine département....

    : Minister of Air
  • Augustin Laurent: Minister of Posts and Telegraphs
  • Adrien Tixier
    Adrien Tixier
    Adrien Tixier was a French politician, diplomat, and Free French ambassador to the United States.-Career:He was the son of Pierre-Edouard Tixier, a blacksmith, and Marie-Françoise Derosier...

    : Minister of the Interior
  • René Pléven
    René Pleven
    René Pléven was a notable French politician of the Fourth Republic. A member of the Free French, he helped found the Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance , a political party that was meant to be a successor to the wartime Resistance movement...

    : Minister of Overseas France
  • Georges Catroux
    Georges Catroux
    Georges Catroux was a French Army general and diplomat who served in both World War I and World War II, and served as Grand Chancellor of the Légion d'honneur from 1954 to 1969.-Biography:...

    : Minister of North Africa
  • René Capitant
    René Capitant
    René Marie Alphonse Charles Capitant was a French lawyer and politician.He was the son of a lawyer, Henri Capitant, and attended the Lycée Henri-IV in Paris...

    : Minister of Public Education
  • Robert Lacoste
    Robert Lacoste
    Robert Lacoste was French politician. He was a socialist MP of the Dordogne from 1945 to 1958 and from 1962 to 1967, then senator from 1971 to 1980.- Biography :...

    : Minister of Industrial Production
  • François Tanguy-Prigent
    François Tanguy-Prigent
    François Tanguy-Prigent was a French politician and resistance fighter. ....

    : Minister of Agriculture
  • Andre Diethelm: Minister of National Defence
  • François de Menthon
    François de Menthon
    François de Menthon was a French politician and professor of law.-Early and private life:Menthon was born in Montmirey-la-Ville in Jura. He was a son of an old noble family from Menthon-Saint-Bernard. He studied law in Dijon, where he joined Action catholique de la Jeunesse française . He also...

    : Minister of Justice
  • René Mayer
    René Mayer
    René Mayer was a French Radical politician of the Fourth Republic who served briefly as Prime Minister during 1953. He led the Mayer Authority from 1955 to 1958.-Mayer's Ministry, 8 January – 28 June 1953:*René Mayer – President of the Council...

    : Minister of Transport
  • Pierre-Henri Teitgen
    Pierre-Henri Teitgen
    Pierre-Henri Teitgen was a French lawyer, professor and politician.Teitgen was born in Rennes, Brittany. Made prisoner of war in 1940, he played a major role in the French Resistance....

    : Minister of Information
  • Jacques Soustelle
    Jacques Soustelle
    Jacques Soustelle was an important and early figure of the Free French Forces and an anthropologist specializing in pre-Columbian civilizations. He became vice-director of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris in 1938. He was elected to the Académie française in 1983.- Biography :Jacques Soustelle was...

    : Commissaire de la République for Bordeaux
  • Henri Fréville
    Henri Fréville
    Henri Fréville was a French history professor, resistor, writer and politician.-Life:...

    : Commissaire régional de la République for Breton
  • Maurice Papon
    Maurice Papon
    Maurice Papon was a French civil servant, industrial leader and Gaullist politician, who was convicted for crimes against humanity for his participation in the deportation of over 1600 Jews during World War II when he was secretary general for police of the Prefecture of Bordeaux.Papon also...

    : Commissaire de la République for Aquitaine
  • Michel Debré
    Michel Debré
    Michel Jean-Pierre Debré was a French Gaullist politician. He is considered the "father" of the current Constitution of France, and was the first Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic...

    : Commissaire de la République for Angers
  • Raymond Aubrac
    Raymond Aubrac
    Raymond Aubrac is a French engineer, and was a member of the French Resistance.Born Raymond Samuel in Vesoul, Haute-Saône in a Jewish family, Aubrac and wife, Lucie in 1940 were in the Resistance in Lyon and took pseudonym Aubrac to escape the persecution of the occupation...

    : Commissaire de la République Marseilles
  • Pierre Bertaux
    Pierre Bertaux
    Pierre Bertaux was a noted Resistant and French Germanist. While holding administrative positions, he also wrote on Friedrich Hölderlin...

    : Commissaire de la République Toulouse
  • Jean Monnet
    Jean Monnet
    Jean Omer Marie Gabriel Monnet was a French political economist and diplomat. He is regarded by many as a chief architect of European Unity and is regarded as one of its founding fathers...

    : Commissioner for Economic Planning
  • Rene Brouillet: Assistant Director of Cabinet
  • Francois Coulet: Commissioner Delegate of Inter-Allied Affairs
  • Gaston Palewski
    Gaston Palewski
    Gaston Palewski , French politician, was a close associate of Charles de Gaulle during and after World War II. He is also remembered as the lover of the English novelist Nancy Mitford, and appears in a fictionalised form in two of her novels.-Biography:Palewski was born in Paris, the son of an...

    : Chief of staff
  • Claude Guy: Aide-de-camp
  • Claude Mauriac
    Claude Mauriac
    Claude Mauriac was a French author and journalist, eldest son of the author François Mauriac.He was the personal secretary of Charles de Gaulle from 1944 to 1949, before becoming a cinema critic and arts person of Figaro. He is the author of several novels and essays, and co-scripted the movie of...

    : Private Secretary
  • Georges Pompidou
    Georges Pompidou
    Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 1962 to 1968, holding the longest tenure in this position, and later President of the French Republic from 1969 until his death in 1974.-Biography:...

    : Special Advisor to PM Office

2nd Government: 21 December1945 – 26 January 1946

  • Charles de Gaulle: Chairman of the Provisional Government France
  • Georges Bidault
    Georges Bidault
    Georges-Augustin Bidault was a French politician. During World War II, he was active in the French Resistance. After the war, he served as foreign minister and prime minister on several occasions before he joined the Organisation armée secrète.-Early life:...

    : Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Edmond Michelet
    Edmond Michelet
    Edmond Michelet was a French politician.On 17 June 1940, he distributed tracts calling to continue the war in all Brive-la-Gaillarde's mailboxes...

    : Armed Forces Minister
  • Charles Tillon
    Charles Tillon
    Charles Tillon was a French politician.- Biography :Tillon was born in Rennes in the Ille-et-Vilaine département....

    : Minister of Armaments
  • Adrien Tixier
    Adrien Tixier
    Adrien Tixier was a French politician, diplomat, and Free French ambassador to the United States.-Career:He was the son of Pierre-Edouard Tixier, a blacksmith, and Marie-Françoise Derosier...

    : Minister of the Interior
  • René Pleven
    René Pleven
    René Pléven was a notable French politician of the Fourth Republic. A member of the Free French, he helped found the Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance , a political party that was meant to be a successor to the wartime Resistance movement...

    : Minister of Finance
  • François Billoux: Minister of National Economy
  • Marcel Paul
    Marcel Paul
    Marcel Paul was a French trade unionist and communist politician. He was also a Nazi concentration camp survivor and later served as a member of the French parliament.- Biography :...

    : Minister of Industrial Production
  • Ambroise Croizat: Minister of Labour
  • Pierre-Henri Teitgen
    Pierre-Henri Teitgen
    Pierre-Henri Teitgen was a French lawyer, professor and politician.Teitgen was born in Rennes, Brittany. Made prisoner of war in 1940, he played a major role in the French Resistance....

    : Minister of Justice
  • Paul Giacobbi
    Paul Giacobbi
    Paul Giacobbi is a member of the National Assembly of France. He represents the Haute-Corse department, and is a member of the Radical Party of the Left.-References:...

    : Minister of National Education
  • Laurent Casanova
    Laurent Casanova
    Laurent Casanova was a French politician. Born 9 October 1906 at Souk Ahras, Algeria, he died 20 March 1972 in Paris.-Political career:Of Corsican origins, Casanova studied law at university in Paris. He became secretary of the Communist cell there, and he entered the underground apparatus of the...

    : Minister of Veterans and War Victims
  • François Tanguy-Prigent
    François Tanguy-Prigent
    François Tanguy-Prigent was a French politician and resistance fighter. ....

    : Minister of Agriculture and Supply
  • Jacques Soustelle
    Jacques Soustelle
    Jacques Soustelle was an important and early figure of the Free French Forces and an anthropologist specializing in pre-Columbian civilizations. He became vice-director of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris in 1938. He was elected to the Académie française in 1983.- Biography :Jacques Soustelle was...

    : Minister of Colonies
  • Jules Moch
    Jules Moch
    Jules Salvador Moch was a French politician.-Biography:...

    : Minister of Public Works and Transport
  • Robert Prigent: Minister of Population
  • Raoul Dautry
    Raoul Dautry
    Raoul Dautry was a French engineer, business leader and politician. He was born on 16 September 1880 at Montluçon in the department of Allier; he died on 21 August 1951 at Lourmarin in the department of Vaucluse.- Education and career :...

    : Minister of Reconstruction and Town Planning
  • Eugène Thomas
    Eugene Thomas
    Eugene Thomas is an African-American martial artist and B-movie actor, who went to Taiwan and Hong Kong in the early 1980s, where he made about a dozen movies, mostly about Ninjas, like Mafia vs. Ninja or USA Ninja, where he frequently collaborated with the tae kwon do specialist Alexander Lou...

    : Minister of Posts
  • André Malraux
    André Malraux
    André Malraux DSO was a French adventurer, award-winning author, and statesman. Having traveled extensively in Indochina and China, Malraux was noted especially for his novel entitled La Condition Humaine , which won the Prix Goncourt...

    : Minister of Information
  • Vincent Auriol
    Vincent Auriol
    Vincent Jules Auriol was a French politician who served as the first President of the Fourth Republic from 1947 to 1954. He also served as interim President of the Provisional Government from November to December 1946, making him one of only three people who were heads of state of the French...

    : Minister of State
  • Francisque Gay: Minister of State
  • Louis Jacquinot
    Louis Jacquinot
    Louis Jacquinot was a French lawyer and politician, and chief of Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré's office.Jacquinot was born in Gondrecourt-le-Château in 1898. Entering parliament in 1932, he later served for a short time as under-secretary of state for home affairs in Paul Reynaud's cabinet...

    : Minister of State
  • Maurice Thorez
    Maurice Thorez
    thumb|A Soviet stamp depicting Maurice Thorez.Maurice Thorez was a French politician and longtime leader of the French Communist Party from 1930 until his death. He also served as vice premier of France from 1946 to 1947....

    : Minister of State

3rd Government, 9 June 1958 – 8 January 1959

  • Charles de Gaulle: President of the Council and Minister of National Defence
  • Maurice Couve de Murville
    Maurice Couve de Murville
    Maurice Couve de Murville was a French diplomat and politician who was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1958 to 1968 and Prime Minister from 1968 to 1969 under the presidency of General de Gaulle....

    : Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Émile Pelletier
    Émile Pelletier
    Émile Pelletier was a Minister of State for Monaco. He was in office from 1959–1962.-References:...

    : Minister of the Interior
  • Antoine Pinay
    Antoine Pinay
    Antoine Pinay |Rhône]], France – 13 December 1994) was a French conservative politician. He served as Prime Minister of France in 1952.-Life:As a young man, Pinay fought in World War I and injured his arm so that it was paralyzed for the rest of his life....

    : Minister of Finance and interim Minister of Public Works, Transport, and Tourism
  • Édouard Ramonet: Minister of Industry
  • Paul Bacon
    Paul Bacon
    Paul Bacon was a French politician.During World War 2, Bacon was active in the French Resistance. He was a member of Georges Bidault's National Liberation Movement, and distributed a manifesto about trade unionism in December 1940. Bacon was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943.After the war, Bacon...

    : Minister of Labour
  • Edmond Michelet
    Edmond Michelet
    Edmond Michelet was a French politician.On 17 June 1940, he distributed tracts calling to continue the war in all Brive-la-Gaillarde's mailboxes...

    : Minister of Veterans and War Victims
  • Michel Debré
    Michel Debré
    Michel Jean-Pierre Debré was a French Gaullist politician. He is considered the "father" of the current Constitution of France, and was the first Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic...

    : Minister of Justice
  • Jean Berthoin
    Jean Berthoin
    Jean Berthoin was a French Politician....

    : Minister of National Education
  • Roger Houdet: Minister of Agriculture
  • Bernard Cornut-Gentille
    Bernard Cornut-Gentille
    Bernard Cornut-Gentille was a French administrator and politician.Born in Brest, Finistère, Cornut-Gentille studied at the École Libre des Sciences Politiques. In 1943 he was appointed as the Subprefect of Reims, but resigned to assist the Free French delegate Émile Bollaert...

    : Minister of Overseas France
  • Robert Buron
    Robert Buron
    Robert Buron was a French politician and Minister of Finance from 20 January 1955 to 23 February 1955 and Minister of Public Works, Transport, and Tourism during Charles de Gaulle's third term from 9 June 1958 to 8 January 1959.Buron was born in Paris, where he also died. He was kidnapped during...

    : Minister of Public Works, Transport, and Tourism
  • Eugène Thomas
    Eugene Thomas
    Eugene Thomas is an African-American martial artist and B-movie actor, who went to Taiwan and Hong Kong in the early 1980s, where he made about a dozen movies, mostly about Ninjas, like Mafia vs. Ninja or USA Ninja, where he frequently collaborated with the tae kwon do specialist Alexander Lou...

    : Minister of Posts
  • Édouard Ramonet: Minister of Commerce
  • Pierre Sudreau
    Pierre Sudreau
    Pierre Sudreau is a former French politician. He was born in Paris.He announced his resignation as education minister in October 1962 to protest a proposal by Charles de Gaulle to amend the constitution.-References:...

    : Minister of Construction
  • Max Lejeune: Minister of Sahara
  • Guy Mollet
    Guy Mollet
    Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

    : Minister of State
  • Pierre Pflimlin
    Pierre Pflimlin
    Pierre Eugène Jean Pflimlin was a French Christian democratic politician who served as the penultimate Prime Minister of the Fourth Republic for a few weeks in 1958, before being replaced by Charles de Gaulle during the crisis of that year.-Life:...

    : Minister of State
  • Félix Houphouët-Boigny
    Félix Houphouët-Boigny
    Félix Houphouët-Boigny , affectionately called Papa Houphouët or Le Vieux, was the first President of Côte d'Ivoire. Originally a village chief, he worked as a doctor, an administrator of a plantation, and a union leader, before being elected to the French Parliament and serving in a number of...

    : Minister of State
  • Louis Jacquinot
    Louis Jacquinot
    Louis Jacquinot was a French lawyer and politician, and chief of Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré's office.Jacquinot was born in Gondrecourt-le-Château in 1898. Entering parliament in 1932, he later served for a short time as under-secretary of state for home affairs in Paul Reynaud's cabinet...

    : Minister of State


Changes
  • 12 June 1958: André Malraux
    André Malraux
    André Malraux DSO was a French adventurer, award-winning author, and statesman. Having traveled extensively in Indochina and China, Malraux was noted especially for his novel entitled La Condition Humaine , which won the Prix Goncourt...

     enters the cabinet as Minister of Radio, Television, and Press.
  • 14 June 1958: Guy Mollet
    Guy Mollet
    Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

     becomes Minister of General Civil Servants Status.
  • 7 July 1958: Bernard Chenot
    Bernard Chenot
    Bernard Chenot was a French politician and senior official.-Life:Bernard Chenot was the son of a Parisian barrister. He became a member of the Conseil d'Etat during the Third Republic, and worked in several government departments. He remained in his position under the Vichy government after 1940...

     enters the cabinet as Minister of Public Health and Population. Jacques Soustelle
    Jacques Soustelle
    Jacques Soustelle was an important and early figure of the Free French Forces and an anthropologist specializing in pre-Columbian civilizations. He became vice-director of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris in 1938. He was elected to the Académie française in 1983.- Biography :Jacques Soustelle was...

     succeeds Malraux as Minister of Information.
  • 23 July 1958: Antoine Pinay becomes Minister of Economic Affairs, remaining also Minister of Finance.

In popular culture


In France, he is commonly referred to as Général de Gaulle or simply Le Général. His detractors sometimes call him la Grande Zohra.

De Gaulle is a presence in the Frederick Forsyth
Frederick Forsyth
Frederick Forsyth, CBE is an English author and occasional political commentator. He is best known for thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative, The Fist of God, Icon, The Veteran, Avenger, The Afghan and The Cobra.-...

 novel The Day of the Jackal
The Day of the Jackal
The Day of the Jackal is a thriller novel by English writer Frederick Forsyth, about a professional assassin who is contracted by the OAS, a French terrorist group of the early 1960s, to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France....

, in which the OAS – after the failure of the actual August 1962 Petit Clamart assassination attempt – hire an English professional assassin to kill him on Liberation Day
Liberation Day
Liberation Day is a day, often a public holiday, that marks the liberation of a place, similar to an independence day. Liberation marks the date of either a revolution, as in Cuba, or the end of an occupation by another state, thereby differing from independence in the meaning of secession from...

 1963. The novel was made into a film
The Day of the Jackal (film)
The Day of the Jackal is a 1973 Anglo-French film, set in August 1963 and based on the novel of the same name by Frederick Forsyth. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, it stars Edward Fox as the assassin known only as "the Jackal" who is hired to assassinate Charles de Gaulle.- Synopsis :The film opens...

, starring Edward Fox
Edward Fox (actor)
Edward Charles Morice Fox, OBE is an English stage, film and television actor.He is generally associated with portraying the role of the upper-class Englishman, such as the title character in the film The Day of the Jackal and King Edward VIII in the serial Edward & Mrs...

 and Michel Lonsdale, in 1973.

The Flanders and Swann
Flanders and Swann
The British duo Flanders and Swann were the actor and singer Michael Flanders and the composer, pianist and linguist Donald Swann , who collaborated in writing and performing comic songs....

 song "All Gall" contains highlights from de Gaulle's career set to the tune of This Old Man
This Old Man
"This Old Man" is an English language children's song, counting and nursery rhyme with a Roud Folk Song Index number of 3550.-Origins and history:The origins of this song are obscure...

.

Charles de Gaulle's head was in the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score as a reference to the Scott Walker
Scott Walker (singer)
Scott Walker, born Noel Scott Engel on January 9, 1943 is an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and the former lead singer of The Walker Brothers. Despite being American born, Walker's chart success has largely come in the United Kingdom, where his first four solo albums...

 song 30 Century Man also featured in the movie.

De Gaulle was seen in Ike: Countdown to D-Day
Ike: Countdown to D-Day
Ike: Countdown to D-Day is a 2004 American television film originally aired on the American television channel A&E and was directed by Robert Harmon and written by Lionel Chetwynd....

 played by actor George Shevtsov. In the film he opposes the plans to invade Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 and Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

's request that the French people accept Eisenhower as the united voice of the Allies.

French

  • Grand Master of the Légion d'honneur
    Légion d'honneur
    The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

  • Grand Master of the Ordre de la Libération
    Ordre de la Libération
    The Ordre de la Libération is a French Order awarded to heroes of the Liberation of France during World War II. It is an exceptional honor, the second highest after the Légion d’Honneur and only a small number of people and military units have received it, exclusively for deeds accomplished...

  • Grand Master of the Ordre national du Mérite
    Ordre National du Mérite
    The Ordre national du Mérite is an Order of State awarded by the President of the French Republic. It was founded on 3 December 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle...

  • Croix de guerre (1939–1945)

Foreign

  • Knight Grand Cross decorated with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
    Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
    The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic was founded as the senior order of knighthood by the second President of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi in 1951...

     (16 June 1959)
  • Knight of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri
    Order of the Royal House of Chakri
    The Most Illustrious Order of the Royal House of Chakri was established in 1882 by King Rama V of The Kingdom of Siam to commemorate the Bangkok Centennial...

  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Elephant
    Order of the Elephant
    The Order of the Elephant is the highest order of Denmark. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of constitutional monarchy in 1849, is now almost exclusively bestowed on royalty and heads of state.- History :A Danish religious...

  • Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
    Royal Victorian Order
    The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

  • Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav
  • Knight Grand Cross of Virtuti Militari
    Virtuti Militari
    The Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari is Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war...

  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose
    Order of the White Rose
    The Order of the White Rose of Finland is one of three official orders in Finland, along with the Order of the Cross of Liberty, and the Order of the Lion of Finland. The President of Finland is the Grand Master of all three orders. The orders are administered by boards consisting of a chancellor,...

  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Dragon of Annam
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Cambodia
    Royal Order of Cambodia
    The Royal Order of Cambodia was a French colonial chivalric order of knighthood in Colonial Cambodia, still in use in the kingdom of Cambodia.-Colonial:...


Memorials


A number of monuments have been built to commemorate the life of Charles de Gaulle.
France's largest airport, Roissy
Roissy-en-France
Roissy-en-France is a commune in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, France, in the Val d'Oise department. It is located from the center of Paris....

 outside Paris, is named Charles de Gaulle Airport in his honour. France's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is also named after him.

French editions

  • La Discorde Chez l’Ennemi (1924)
  • Histoire des Troupes du Levant (1931) Written by Major de Gaulle and Major Yvon, with Staff Colonel de Mierry collaborating in the preparation of the final text.
  • Le Fil de l’Épée (1932)
  • Vers l’Armée de Métier (1934)
  • La France et son Armée (1938)
  • Trois Études (1945) (Rôle Historique des Places Fortes; Mobilisation Economique à l’Étranger; Comment Faire une Armée de Métier) followed by the Memorandum of 26 January 1940.
  • Mémoires de Guerre
    • Volume I – L’Appel 1940–1942 (1954)
    • Volume II – L’Unité, 1942–1944 (1956)
    • Volume III – Le Salut, 1944–1946 (1959)
  • Mémoires d’Espoir
    • Volume I – Le Renouveau 1958–1962 (1970)
  • Discours et Messages
    • Volume I – Pendant la Guerre 1940–1946 (1970)
    • Volume II – Dans l’attente 1946–1958 (1970)
    • Volume III – Avec le Renouveau 1958–1962 (1970)
    • Volume IV – Pour l’Effort 1962–1965 (1970)
    • Volume V — Vers le Terme 1966–1969

English translations

  • The Enemy's House Divided (La Discorde chez l’ennemi). Tr. by Robert Eden. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 2002.
  • The Edge of the Sword (Le Fil de l’Épée). Tr. by Gerard Hopkins. Faber, London, 1960 Criterion Books, New York, 1960
  • The Army of the Future (Vers l’Armée de Métier). Hutchinson, London-Melbourne, 1940. Lippincott, New York, 1940
  • France and Her Army (La France et son Armée). Tr. by F.L. Dash. Hutchinson London, 1945. Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1945
  • War Memoirs: Call to Honour, 1940–1942 (L’Appel). Tr. by Jonathan Griffin. Collins, London, 1955 (2 volumes). Viking Press, New York, 1955.
  • War Memoirs: Unity, 1942–1944 (L’Unité). Tr. by Richard Howard (narrative) and Joyce Murchie and Hamish Erskine (documents). Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1959 (2 volumes). Simon and Schuster, New York, 1959 (2 volumes).
  • War Memoirs: Salvation, 1944–1946 (Le Salut). Tr. by Richard Howard (narrative) and Joyce Murchie and Hamish Erskine (documents). Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1960 (2 volumes). Simon and Schuster, New York, 1960 (2 volumes).

See also


  • Gaullism
    Gaullism
    Gaullism is a French political ideology based on the thought and action of Resistance leader then president Charles de Gaulle.-Foreign policy:...

  • Gaullist Party
    Gaullist Party
    In France, the Gaullist Party is usually used to refer to the largest party professing to be Gaullist. Gaullism claimed to transcend the left/right rift...

  • List of names and terms of address used for Charles de Gaulle

External links