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Charles de Gaulle
De Gaulle-OWI.jpg
18th President of the French Republic
In office
January 8, 1959 – April 28, 1969
Preceded by René Coty
Succeeded by Georges Pompidou
149th Prime Minister of France
In office
June 1, 1958 – January 8, 1959
Preceded by Pierre Pflimlin
Succeeded by Michel Debré
Personal details
Born November 22, 1890
Lille, France
Died November 9, 1970 (aged 79)
Colombey-les-deux-Églises, France
Political party UDR
Spouse Yvonne de Gaulle
Children Philippe

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

His reputation as the strongest and greatest French leader since Napoleon continues into the 21st century.

Military Career

Charles fought in both World War I and World War II. He began his military career after he graduated from Ecole Militaire de Saint-Cyr (a famous French military college). In 1912, he joined the army's infantry. He was captured during the Battle of Verdun during World War I and was sent home after the armistice. Charles remained in the military after the war ended and supported new battle ideas. These ideas included mechanized troops (troops that travel in armored machines like tanks) and specialized armored divisions of the army.

General de Gaulle speaking on BBC Radio during World War II

After World War II began, de Gaulle formed and led the Free French Forces movement. He did this because he did not think that France should surrender to Germany, part of the Axis forces. Charles de Gaulle thought that France should keep fighting. As the French government surrendered to Germany, de Gaulle fled to Britain. He set up his own French government there and called it Free France. He gained support and gathered French troops that would eventually help liberate, or free, France from Germany's power.

Political Career

After the war, de Gaulle retired as President of the temporary government in 1946. In 1958, he came out of retirement and was elected President of France - a position to which he was reelected in 1965 and held until his resignation in 1969.

While de Gaulle was president, France recovered from the war and had great economic success.

He also granted independence to Algeria and the African colonies that had been under French rule.

Charles wanted France to have its own nuclear weapons like the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union did. While he was President, France did become one of the four major countries that had nuclear weapons.

Later Life

De Gaulle resigned from his presidency in April of 1969 after some of his ideas and proposals were not supported by many people in France. He returned home to his estate in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, where he passed away just two weeks before his 80th birthday.

Charles de Gaulle quotes

  • "I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians."
  • "I grew up to always respect authority and respect those in charge."
  • "Diplomats are useful only in fair weather. As soon as it rains, they drown in every drop."
  • "Don't ask me who's influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he's digested, and I've been reading all my life."
  • "Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so."

Interesting Facts about Charles de Gaulle

  • Charles de Gaulle was a general in the French army and the President of France.
  • Charles served in both World Wars.
  • He was captured in World War I.
  • Charles did not agree with the leaders of France, who were surrendering to Germany, so he left France. He went to Great Britain where he formed the Free French Forces.
  • Charles de Gaulle helped free France from Germany's power.
  • De Gaulle served as temporary President after the war until 1946.
  • He was elected President in 1958.
  • De Gaulle resigned from the presidency in April of 1969 and died in his home when he was almost 80.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Charles de Gaulle para niños

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