Charles de Gaulle He was one of the most relevant figures in France during the 20th century. His work as a military man and as a politician led him to the top of Gallic society and earned respect from all of them that continues to this day. In foreign policy, he stood out for reconciling his country with the Germans and for having a decisive influence on the construction of the European Union.
De Gaulle He was born on November 22, 1890 in Lille. Since he was little he stood out for his intelligence and his interest in the army. This dream materialized by joining the Saint-Cyr Officers Academy. The entry of France into the First World War granted him the rank of Captain. Even being wounded in his baptism of fire (first mission to the front) on August 15, 1914 at Dinant, he continued to fight at the front until shortly thereafter, on March 10, 1915, he was shot again at the Battle of the Somme.
On March 2, 1916, he was seriously injured again and forced to surrender to the Germans. They provided him with the necessary aid but ended up interning him. His rebellion caused him to be transferred to a concentration camp, where he met the Soviet military Mikhail Tukhachevsky. Although he tried to escape several times, he was unable to do so and had to settle for making political speeches on the state of the war in front of his fellow prisoners.
To the end of the great war, de Gaulle returned to France and he received great honors for the battles he had participated in, but above all for his bravery. His character and his thinking during the conflict was always marked by his opposition to the idea of trench warfare that was established along the front. Between 1932 and 1937, De Gaulle He was assigned to the Secretariat of National Defense, where he criticized the ideas of the politicians in charge of the country's defense, who thought that France had to prepare for a type of war similar to the Great War. On the contrary, he advocated the implantation of a modern motorized army, with tanks. All these issues were reflected in his book "Towards the professional army”(1934), which gave him great prestige and reputation.
The German invasion of France in 1940, he made De Gaulle advises the French government to leave the country and settle in Algeria. But the leaders ignored him. The war put him at the head of an armored division in the Battle of France and he ended up being promoted to Brigadier General and appointed Undersecretary of State for National Defense in Raynaud's cabinet.
Seeing that Pétain planned the surrender, chose to go into exile in June 1940 in Great Britain. From there he assumed the command of Free France (or fighter) and proclaimed on June 18 an appeal in which he announced that the French would continue the war alongside the United Kingdom, thus rejecting the armistice signed by the French collaborationist government. His mission consisted of obtaining the progressive incorporation of the French colonies into the conflict, at the same time that he commissioned Jean Moulin to organize the resistance in France itself in 1942.
Together with General Gilraud, De Gaulle created in June 1943 in Algeria the French Committee for National Liberation. This political institution would be the future provisional government of the French Republic and would be presided over by De Gaulle himself. Behind the end of the war, the committee was installed in France in August 1944 as the Provisional Government of the Republic.
But Life as a politician would last a short time at this stage for Charles de Gaulle. In January 1946 he resigned to express his opposition to the draft constitution of the Fourth Republic and to the “game of matches”. To further support his reluctance to the new Magna Carta, he founded the “Regrouping of the French People”(R.P.F.), a movement that tried to defend their ideas. However, it failed in 1953 and de Gaulle chose to abandon politics, dedicating himself body and soul to the writing of “War Memories” (1954-1959).
For its part, France was in an extreme situation, bordering on civil war, due to internal conflicts, state disorganization and, above all, the Algerian crisis of May 1958. In this situation, De Gaulle was called to power by French society and invited by President Coty to form a new government. The former military man took office and the National Assembly entrusted him with the task of drafting a new constitution, which was approved by referendum and became the base of the V Republic, in which de Gaulle was elected president in December 58.
Faced with the Algerian problem, the newly appointed French president applied the principle of self-determination, which is why Algeria achieved independence in 1962. This is how the decolonization process would begin in most of the French colonies.
On January 22, 1963, De Gaulle secured Adenauer's signature on the Elysee Treaty, which established the Franco-German reconciliation. This, added to the creation of the European Common Market, increased the relationship between both countries and resolved most of the quarrels that had been the cause of the great wars of the 20th century.
Seeing that his mandate was ending, De Gaulle modified the rules for the election of the President of the French Republic by means of a referendum, which allowed him to return to hold the position from 1965. It is here, in the final stage of his government, where he began to apply certain measures that were not entirely successful. These occurred especially in domestic politics, since it did not fulfill the promises of reforms announced in the social, administrative and regional section. On the other hand, on the outside, de Gaulle tried to maintain French autonomy from the great powers, especially from NATO (France abandoned it in 1966). Thanks to his military experience, he developed national defense and practiced a methodology of detente and cooperation with the USSR, China and the countries of the Third World.
However, the social and economic problems (De Gaulle failed to dominate the country's inflation), caused the movement of May '68. These protests were the expression of growing dissatisfaction and materialized through a negative vote in the 1969 referendum on regionalization and Senate reform. This failure led to the resignation of de Gaulle, who died a year later, at Colombe-les-Deux-Eglises in 1970.
In general, it can be stated that De Gaulle was vital to the rebuilding of France during World War II and after it. He was a politician whose ideas have remained alive until now, since an ideology called “Gaullism” was created that is still present within the French Parliament and Gallic society.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.