Charles de Gaulle


Charles de Gaulle : biography

22 November 1890 – 09 November 1970

On 15 may 1958 informational agencies reported about Charles de Gaulle calling by radio. In that text de Gaulle declared that he was ready to take the responsibility and help France in such a situation, he said he was ready to take the position of head of the republic.

One year later that declaration might sound like an attempt to start a revolution movement. But in the moment of real danger all the other forces, socialists and centrists, looked at the general with hope.

The fifth republic

In August they started preparations for the new constitution of France. That constitution is still active nowadays. The power of the parliament was much more limited comparing with the previous version. The way of electing the president was principally changed. On 28 September 1958 the twelve years old history of the fourth republic finished. French people supported the new version of the constitution with 79% of votes. The fact meant that people of France trusted in general Charles de Gaulle. In that difficult period of French history French people saw his leader in Charles de Gaulle.

On 21 December, less than three months later 76 thousand people voted for the new president. In happened that 75,5% of French people voted for the prime-minister. Since 8 January 1959 Charles de Gaulle became the French leader.

At the head of the government

The “first voice of France” general Charles de Gaulle was not planning just to rest on his laurels. He had plans of developing the social and economical situation, wanted to improve the level of life quality and strengthen the defense of the country.

Break between NATO and the USA

Soon after de Gaulle became the head of the government, in 1969, he met with the president of the United States. In 1959 the president took decision of taking anti-aircraft forces, rocket forces and the forces that were in Algeria and French command. The decision was taken unilaterally and that caused following conflicts with Eisenhower, and afterwards with his successor Kennedy. In 1960 France started its own nuclear bomb testing, beginning with Sahara and finished in Mitterand. De Gaulle regularly visited the nuclear objects, paying much attention to the development of technologies.

1965 was the year Charles de Gaulle was elect to be the president for the second time. On 4 February the president stated that France refused to use American dollar in international account and that they shifted to the gold standard. In spring of 1965 ships delivered 1,5 billion of American dollars back to the USA to be exchanged to gold.

On 21 February President Charles de Gaulle announced that France was going to leave NATO. Since that time the official position of France in international politics became rather anti-American. General blamed military actions of Israel in 1967 and afterwards he disapproved the Vietnamese war.

Resignation and death

On 28 April 1969 general Charles de Gaulle announced that he was not going to be the president of the republic anymore. After that de Gaulle left for Ireland together with his wife, later he spent some time in Spain having rest where he worked at his memoirs at the same time. He used to criticize French government for its political course.

On 9 November 1970 Charles de Gaulle died in Colombey. He was buried near his daughter Anna’s grave.