Among the famous people of France of recent times, first of all, the name of a prominent politician and patriot Charles de Gaulle should be mentioned.
Born in November 1890 to Jeanne and Henri de Gaulle, the son Charles was the third child in the family. The parents raised their five children in the spirit of patriotism, thoroughly introducing them to the history and culture of France. Events of the revolution at the end of the 18th century. were regarded as a tragic mistake of the French nation, and Henri de Gaulle, a nobleman and a Catholic believer, called the Marseillaise "a godless song."
In 1901, Charles began his studies at the college where his father taught. Proud and obstinate, Charles was at the same time a romantic youth, able to admire and think deeply about the future of his homeland. Many years later, in his memoirs, he will write: “I was sure that France was destined to go through the crucible of the greatest trials. I believed that the meaning of life was to accomplish an outstanding feat in the name of France, and that the day would come when I would have such an opportunity. Apparently, wanting to bring the latter closer, Charles firmly decides to become an officer and, after graduating from college, enters the military school of Saint-Cyr. Here, his appearance in the main features is already taking shape: first of all, almost two meters tall, thinness in a big nose are striking. Having brilliantly studied in Saint-Cyr, the young officer goes to the front of the First World War. Wounded three times, de Gaulle, after a terrible hand-to-hand fight near Verdun, falls into German captivity, from which he unsuccessfully tries to escape five times. Only at the end of the war did de Gaulle return to France. After a short-term training of officers in Poland, he continues to improve at the Higher Military School in Paris. In the 20s. de Gaulle makes presentations, publishes articles and books, in which, in particular, he analyzes the results of the First World War, sets out his military doctrine, draws the image of a strong personality, a leader (under the influence of the ideas of the philosopher Nietzsche).
Meanwhile, in Germany, Hitler comes to power and the Second World War becomes inevitable. De Gaulle anticipates the impending danger, but, alas, not everyone listens to his warnings.
Being engaged in military pedagogical activity, he presented a number of theoretical works on strategy and tactics, proposed a new model for the interaction of various branches of the armed forces. In 1937 de Gaulle became a colonel. Two years later, with World War II unleashed, Germany strikes at France as well; in 1940, having broken the resistance, the Germans forced the French army to retreat. De Gaulle is promoted to the rank of general. The newly minted brigadier general in command of the division insists on continuing the war, although the government is inclined to stop it. During de Gaulle's stay in London, where he flew to seek Churchill's support, news comes that the French government has concluded a truce with Hitler. De Gaulle made an appeal on the radio to fight against fascism. He himself remains in England (his family also moves there). The organization "Free French" (later renamed "Fighting France") is formed, the motto of which was the words "Honor and Homeland". De Gaulle is doing a great job of developing the Resistance movement, negotiating the unification of various groups, speaking on the radio (in France, he is sentenced to death in absentia for "desertion"). The indefatigable general, together with Giraud, "the civil and military commander in chief", establishes the French Committee of National Liberation (FKNO), forms the Provisional Government of France. The committee and the government were recognized by the countries - allies in the anti-Hitler coalition: England, the USSR and the USA. In the summer of 1944, the expulsion of the occupiers from France begins. On August 25, Paris was liberated, on the same day de Gaulle arrived there. He solemnly lights a fire on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Arc de Triomphe, which was extinguished earlier by the invaders. Democratic freedoms liquidated during the years of occupation are being restored in the country, and de Gaulle's name is associated with the victory over fascism in World War II.
During this period, the struggle of various political parties for power begins in France. In January 1946, experiencing great difficulties in implementing his plans, de Gaulle resigned as head of government. But he was not going to lay down his arms: he presents his draft of a new constitution to the country, speaks in Strasbourg, leads the United French People (RPF) party he formed, calling for the creation of a “new France”, to reform state institutions, dissolve the National Assembly and hold parliamentary elections . The RPF remains in opposition, de Gaulle seeks to return power by legal means, but this is not quickly possible, and some of the party members "cool" towards de Gaulle's candidacy. In 1953, disillusioned with the propaganda activities of his supporters and disbanding the RPF, de Gaulle retired from active political activity for a while. He communicates and conducts correspondence with relatives, visits Paris (living in Colombey). The life of the general is simple and modest, and the American car donated by the President of the United States has long been sold.
Gradually the situation is changing. In Algeria, a colony of France, a war of independence broke out. The French government was unable to suppress it, which caused a lot of reproaches in its address. In May 1958, during a period of acute political crisis, de Gaulle's supporters launched an agitation for his return to power. De Gaulle, remaining a flexible and wise politician, meets with the leaders of various parties and with the President of the Fourth Republic. He put forward before the National Assembly the principles on which, in his opinion, the new constitution should be based. A successful "yes" vote moved the hero of the Resistance even closer to the coveted post. In December 1958 de Gaulle was elected president of the republic for a seven-year term. Algeria gained independence. De Gaulle is pursuing a course towards the independence of France in matters of European and world politics. Gradually alienates France from NATO, conducts the first tests of nuclear weapons (in the Sahara), pays great attention to the idea of uniting European countries, condemns the Israeli attack on the Arab states, the US war in Vietnam. In 1964, the President of France made a great trip to all the countries of South America.
The elections were approaching. And de Gaulle, having some doubts, puts forward his candidacy. He practically does not participate in the election campaign. To the persistent persuasion of supporters to speak on television, he answers: “Well, what can I say? My name is Charles de Gaulle, I am 75 years old And yet, after the second round of elections, it was he who won, becoming the first President of France, elected by popular vote.
In 1966, de Gaulle visited the USSR (having even visited the Baikonur cosmodrome). And in 1968, massive student unrest swept France; barricades were built, there were clashes with the police. At the demonstrations there were calls for the resignation of the president. But this time, he managed to change the situation in his favor. De Gaulle went for reforms. One of the obviously unsuccessful projects - on the new territorial-administrative structure of France and the reorganization of the Senate - was submitted to a referendum with the condition that if it was rejected, the president would resign. With a kind of fatalism, de Gaulle was waiting for "the verdict", saying to his son: "The French are tired of me, and I am tired of them." The project was rejected by 52% of voters on April 27, 1968.
After retiring, de Gaulle again took up his memoirs. He spent most of his time in the countryside. Without losing interest in anything, he is increasingly immersed in memories of the past. On a cloudy day in 1970, the cards fell out of the general's hands: his heart stopped. The next day, the President of the Republic, Georges Pompidou, said to his compatriots: “Frenchwomen and Frenchmen. General de Gaulle died. France is widowed."
The ashes of a faithful son of France rest in a quiet rural cemetery in Colombey-les-deux-Eglises, almost 300 km from Paris.
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