Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle bigraphy, stories - A French general, politician and president

Charles de Gaulle : biography

22 November 1890 – 09 November 1970

Childhood and the beginning of political career

Charles de Gaulle was born on the 22nd of 1890 in a periodic family of catholics. Although the family of de Gaulle was always a noble family, the “de” part was not traditional for French noble families, but a Flemish for of article. Charles, just as his three brothers and a sister, was born in Lille, in the house of his grandmother, where his mother used to come every time she was going to give birth to her child, even in spite of the fact that the family lived in Paris. Charles’s father, Henry de Gaulle, was a professor of philosophy and literature in a Jesuit school. That fact seriously influenced on Charles. The boy had been fond of reading books since his early childhood.

In his “War memoirs” de Gaulle wrote: “My father was an educated and thoughtful man, who was brought up in certain traditions, he was full of belief in high mission of France. He was the first to introduce French history to me. My mother had an infinite feeling of loving her homeland, which could be only compared with her piety. My three brothers, my sister and me – we all were proud of our country. That was the kind of pride which combined with uneasiness feeling about its future, that was our second nature”. Jacques Chaban-Delmas, who was the hero of Liberation, and later the permanent president of National Assembly, when the general became the president, remembered that the “second nature” was amazing not only younger people, like Jacques Chaban-Delmas, but also the people who were older like de Gaulle. Afterwards, de Gaulle remembered about his youth: “I thought that the sense of life consisted in perform an outstanding exploit in honor of France, and that there would be some day I would be given that opportunity”.

Even in his childhood Charles was very interested in military science. After one year of preparatory studies in Paris College Stanislas, he was accepted for studying in special military school in Saint-Syr. He decided to take infantry for his main kind of forces, as it was very “military” and the closest to real military actions. Having graduated from Saint-Syr in 1912, being the 13th on the top list, de Gaulle started serving at the 33rd infantry regiment under the command of Colonel Petain.

First World War

On the beginning of the First World War on August the twelve of 1914, general de Gaulle took part in military action being a part of the fifth army of Charles Lanrezac, located on the north-east. On the 15th of that very month de Gaulle got his first wounding, he managed to come back to the regiment only in October. He got his second wounding on the 10th of March in 1915 during the battle at Mesnil-lès-Hurlus. He came back to the 33rd regiment as a captain and became the commander of the company. At the following Verdun battle at village Douaumont, he got injured for the third time. He was left on the battle field, and was given honor by the army after his supposed death. However Charles de Gaulle survived, he got in captivity to Germans. He was taken treatment in Main hospital and then captured in different strongholds.

Charles de Gaulle made six attempts to run away. He was captured together with Michael Tuhakchevsky, the future marshal of the Red army, they communicated, especially on military topic. While being captured de Gaulle used to read German writers and learnt more about Germany, all that helped him in his military commanding experience. That was also the period de Gaulle wrote he first book “The Enemy’s House Divided”, which was published in 1916.

Poland, military studies, family

Charles de Gaulle was released from the captivity in 1918 after the truce concluded on 11 November 1918. Since 1919 till 1921 de Gaulle was in Poland, there he taught tactics in former college of imperial guard in Rembertov near Warsaw. Then, since July till August of 1920 he led military operations for a short time at the front of Soviet-polish war in 1919-1921 serving as a major. Russian forces of RSFSR were commanded, according to the irony of fate, by Michael Tuhakchevsky. Having denied the offer to take a permanent position in Polish army, de Gaulle decided to go back to France. In 1928, in the 7th of April, he married Yvonne Vendroux. On 28 December he first child, son Philip, was born. The boy was called after de Gaulle’s chief Philippe Petain, who afterwards became a notoriously known collaborationist and antagonist. Captain de Gaulle worked teaching at Saint-Syr, and later, in 1922 he was offered to teach in High military school. On 15 May 1924 the general’s first daughter, Elizabeth, was born. In 1928 was born Anna, the second daughter of the couple, he happened to suffer from Down’s syndrome. Anna died at the age of 20, in 1948, afterwards, Charles de Gaulle became the trustee of a fond for children suffering from Down’s syndrome.