Charles de Gaulle


Charles de Gaulle : biography

22 November 1890 – 09 November 1970

In the beginning he had to face a lot of difficulties. “In the beginning I was nobody. There was nobody in France who would avouch for me, I was not popular in my country. Moreover there was no trust and justification from abroad.” Forming of “Free France” organization took rather a long period. However, de Gaulle managed to get support from Winston Churchill. On 24 June 1940 Churchill informed general Ismay that it was very important to create an organization, just when the trap had not closed yet, the organization which would let French officers and soldiers, and also other specialists, who wanted to continue fighting, to get to ports. There was a necessity to build a secret railroad. Winston Churchill was sure that there would be a lot of people would join the organization and they needed everything they could get to defense the French colonies. Winston Churchill’s will to create an alternative organization to the Vichy government, made his take not only a military, but a political step. That step was to make de Gaulle the head of all free French people and to help to strengthen de Gaulle’s positions at the international political scene.

Control for the colonies. Development of the Resistance

In relation to the military situation, they aim consisted in taking the waste territories of French colonies, French Empire, in Africa, indo-China and Oceania. After the unsuccessful attempt to capture Dakar, de Gaulle created in Congo the Empire Defence Assemble. He members of the assemble were the governors of French colonies (mostly African) who were geared against of Nazi Germany. Since that moment de Gaulle started to underscore the national and historical reasons for his organizations. He founded order of Release, the main symbol of which was the Lotaring cross, the old symbol which was used in the Middle Ages. De Gaulle also mentioned that they had to follow the constitutional traditions of French Republic.

Great success of the “Free France” was establishment of the straight connection with the USSR on 22 June 1941 (Soviet government decided without any hesitating to move their ambassador Bogomolov to London at the Vichy regime. Since 1941 till 1942 the system of partisan organization on territory of occupied France developed and increased. In October of 1941 after the mass execution of the hostages by Nazi German, de Gaulle called for all French people to start a mass strike and actions of insubordination.

Conflict with the allies

After all, the actions of the “monarch” irritated the western allies. There were conversations in Roosevelt staff about so called “Free French” and the way they were spread propaganda and prevented from leading military companies of the allies. On 7 November 1942 American forces landed on the territory of Algeria and Morocco and started to lead interrogation with local French commanders who supported Vichy. De Gaulle was trying to convince his allies that collaboration with “Vichists” would lead to loosing the moral support by allies in France. Americans, as de Gaulle said, were bringing simple feelings but complicated political course in great deals.

On 27 May 1943 national Assembly of the Resistance held the constitutive secret meeting in Paris. The assembly took the responsibility for organization of the inner forces of the occupied country. The position of General Charles de Gaulle was strengthening, and Giraud had to admit compromise. He invited the general to the ruling formation of Algeria. And the general immediately demanded that Giraud (who was the commander of the army) had to submit to the authority of the Republic. Situation was getting rather hot. Finally, on 3 June 1943 French committee of the national emancipation was founded. The heads of the committee became both de Gaulle and Giraud, having equal rights. However the majority of power was taken by Gaullists and some followers of his opponent took the side of de Gaulle. In November of 1943 Giraud was pushed out of the committee.

On 4 June 1944 de Gaulle was called by Winston Churchill to London. The British prime-minister announced that forces of allies were going to land in Normandy; moreover he said that Roosevelt was going to give full support on condition of Americans dictate. In other words, de Gaulle was informed that they didn’t need him anymore. The project of the addressing letter to French people, written by Dwight Eisenhower, said that the citizens had to follow the orders of allies’ forces just until the election of legal government would be held. They didn’t take into account de Gaulle’s committee in Washington. The sharp protest of Charles de Gaulle made Winston Churchill to let him the opportunity to speak to all French people by radio (separately from the Eisenhower’s text). In his speech, the general spoke about the legitimacy of the government, formed by “Free France” and resolutely advanced against of plans of subduing France to the USA commanding.