Charles De Gaulle (1890-1970)

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Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (/ˈtʃɑrlz/ or /ˈʃɑrl dəˈɡɔːl/; French: [ʃaʁl də ɡol] ; 22 November 1890 – 9 November 1970) was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first president from 1959 to 1969.De Gaulle came to the fore in the interwar army as a proponent of mobile armoured divisions. During World War II, he attained the rank of brigadier general (retained throughout his life). De Gaulle led the Free French Forces (composed of French soldiers in Britain) and a government in exile against France's pro-German Vichy government while he was in London and Africa, gained control of most French colonies, and participated in the liberation of Paris. Despite France's initial defeat, de Gaulle insisted that it be treated as a great power by the other Allies. His promotion of French national interests led to confrontations with Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, due to their initial unwillingness to inform him of the D-Day landings in June 1944.De Gaulle secured a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for France in 1945. After the war ended, de Gaulle became prime minister in the French Provisional Government, resigning in 1946 because of political conflicts. He founded his own political party, the Rally of the French People—Rassemblement du Peuple Francais, (RPF)—in 1947. When the Algerian war crisis was ripping apart the Fourth Republic, the Assembly brought him back to power as President of the Council of Ministers during the May 1958 crisis. De Gaulle led the writing of a new constitution founding the Fifth Republic, and was elected President of France. Gaullism, de Gaulle's foreign policy strategy as president, asserted that France is a major power and should not rely on other countries, such as the United States, for its national security and prosperity. Often criticized for his "Politics of Grandeur", de Gaulle oversaw the development of French atomic weapons and promoted a foreign policy independent of "Anglo Saxon" (American and British) influences. He withdrew France from NATO military command—although remaining a member of the Western alliance—and twice vetoed Britain's entry into the European Community. In May 1968, he appeared likely to lose power amidst widespread protests by students and workers, but survived the crisis with an increased majority in the Assembly. However, de Gaulle resigned in 1969 after losing a referendum in which he proposed more decentralization.

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