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 Charles De Gaulle

Charles De Gaulle

Birth
Lille, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Death 9 Nov 1970 (aged 79)
Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, Departement de la Haute-Marne, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Burial Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, Departement de la Haute-Marne, Champagne-Ardenne, France
Memorial ID 2831 · View Source
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French Army Marshal, French President. Born in Lille, France, the son of a school teacher at a Jesuit school, he was enrolled at the French Military Academy St. Cyr, graduating 13th in his class coming away with the rank of second lieutenant. His service during the First World War was monumental and valiant. Although wounded three times, he returned to duty only to be captured by the German Army and held in confinement until the end of the war. He made five unsuccessful attempts to escape resulting in severe punishments. He began authoring books severely critical of the French Military. Although held in disdain by the French Military, at the start of the Second World War, he was pressed into service commanding badly equipped and trained French units while posting some success. He was appointed as minister of war only to be undermined by the formation of the infamous Nazi collaborated Vichy government under Philippe Petain. Fearing for his life, he fled to England making a radio broadcast calling for French resistance to both the Germans and the puppet Vichy government thus assuming the role as leader of the "Free French." The Vichy government instituted a court martial sentencing him to death. From London and then Algeria, he managed to unite major resistance movements in France which proved very beneficial to the eventual liberation of France. In a reluctant political move by the allies, Charles De Gaulle was allowed to head the French 2nd Armored Division and enter Paris ahead of the US Army during the liberation. In the postwar, he was quickly elected to head the French government serving only two years in the chaotic system which saw the government fall again and again. During his hasty retirement he began writing his memoirs only to be called to service again by election as president during the Algerian crisis. Exercising almost dictatorial powers, he reorganized the government into a stable entity modeled after the American system. He granted independence to all 13 French African colonies but a solution to the Algerian crisis eluted him. He adopted a "French first policy" unable to accept the fact the country had lost all its foreign possessions, power and had disappeared from the world stage. President De Gaulle adopted an anti-American and British foreign policy. He withdrew France from NATO and ousted all foreign troops from its soil, mainly the Americans. He blocked the UK from joining the European Economic Community because of its historic American ties and friendship. France when on to develop its own Atomic Bomb. On an official State visit to Canada to celebrate its 100 years of nationhood, de Gaulle stood before a crowd in French Montreal and uttered: "Vive le Quebec Libre" inflaming the emerging secession movement and was asked to leave. His plan to grant independence to Algeria was unpopular and student riots against his government forced him to resign from office and a final retirement to his residence at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises. He completed his memoirs while maintaining his silence. Experiencing ill health and muttering his final poignant saying, "Old Age is the Shipwreck of Life", he died amazingly of natural causes attributed to old age. Charles de Gaulle had survived many assassination attempts including the most memorable as he emerged from Notre Dame Cathedral. He survived many near misses during years of military service. He is remembered most for showing his disdain for assassins by declining a bullet proof car, choosing instead to walk at the head of a procession composed of world leaders following the casket of President John Kennedy. There was an official ceremony at Notre-Dame in Paris attended by many French authorities and vertically every foreign leader in the world. The American delegation was headed by President and Pat Nixon. According to his wish, he was interred beside his handicapped daughter in the church yard at Colombey. His seventy-two dollar oak coffin was borne to his grave by his fellow villagers: a butcher, a cheesemaker, and a farmhand. Witnessing the interment were his companions during the liberation of France and every inhabitant of the village. His legacy is immense: Many streets and public buildings in France bear his name, in particular, in Paris the former Place de Etoile and a main Paris airport, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and the French Navy launched a aircraft carrier with him as its namesake. His anti-American stance continues to this day in France. The continued insurgency of American culture in the form of language and phrases, movies, fastfood, and better California wines have awaken waning French Nationalism.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 30 Apr 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2831
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Charles De Gaulle (22 Nov 1890–9 Nov 1970), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2831, citing Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises Parish Churchyard, Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, Departement de la Haute-Marne, Champagne-Ardenne, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .