, Research Paper
Charles Andre Marie Joseph de Gaulle was born on November 22, 1890 in Lille, France to two Catholic parents, Henri and Jeanne de Gaulle. He cherished reading stories. Even more so, de Gaulle liked the stories that were about war heroes. He even played war with his friends. When he played war, he demanded to represent France (Early life de Gaulle). The de Gaulle family was originally formed in Northern France for five centuries back, before Charles Andre de Gaulle. Until the eighteenth century, the de Gaulle family ranked as petite noblesse d’e’pe’e, also known as the sword- bearing officer class. This was not one of the high-ranking family titles. It was an upper-middle-class.
Charles de Gaulle was the second son of a Roman Catholic, well known, well-rounded family. The family usually produced historians and writers. Henri de Gaulle (father) taught philosophy, literature, and politics to his children and students. The de Gaulle family served the King of France as Crown lawyers for three generations, until Jean Baptiste-Philippe de Gaulle (grandfather of Charles), decided to teach and write. Jeanne Maillot-Delannoy de Gaulle was not just Charles’ mother but a
third cousin to her son. Jeanne died in Brittany in 1940 during German occupation, soon after her sons’ “Call to Honor” to the French: following Charles’ flight to London. Charles de Gaulle believed that his mother gave him, her passionate, sensitive, naturist side, and her ability to mask his reserved ideas (Cook 26). Charles also believed that his father gave him his intelligence, deep and sympathetic way of thinking, and his sense of history, application, self-discipline and strength in character (Cook 35). During the eighteenth century the family was ranked as petite noblesse de robe. This was still a low ranking class in society. The petite noblesse de robe class was now going to classify the de Gaulle family as a lesser nobility without the title or land (Johnson).
De Gaulle obtained a great education at lyce’e Stanislas in Paris. In October 1910, Charles went to St. Cyr. Military Academy. Before de Gaulle’s life had become difficult with war and law, he married a woman that was 10 years younger than him. Her name was Yvonne Vendroux. Yvonne bore Charles three children: two daughters and one son. Yvonne and Charles met in Paris by mistake, on their part. What they did not know was that Charles’ god sister, who was a friend of the Vendroux family, had planned to hook them up from the start. The meeting was arranged for the night of the Salon d’Automne, the big annual art exhibition (Cook 37). Yvonne had no plans to marry a military man. She believed that because soldiers had to travel so much, military life left the soldier’s family fatherless and husbandless. After about two to four weeks Charles and
Yvonne, were engaged to be married.
De Gaulle served as Second Lt. In World War I. After the war de Gaulle served in Poland With the French army, and then he served in the Middle East. De Gaulle studied and taught at Ecole Superieure de Guerre, which was a war college. Due to de Gaulle’s work and accomplishments, Marshall Henri Petain (marshal for France) appointed de Gaulle Secretariat of the Supreme War Council and then to the National Defense Council (“De Gaulle” Internet). France lost the war because Parliament (one of the head governments at that time) did not use one of de Gaulle’s many military techniques that he suggested to use to win one of France’s wars. Parliament appointed de Gaulle Undersecretary of war in Paul Reynauld’s cabinet (Prime Minister at the time) because it was believed that if the technique de Gaulle suggested was used, that France would have won (Johnson). June 18, 1940, de Gaulle flew to London, and while he was there, he did a radio announcement “to keep France fighting and keep up the struggle.” Five days after the show, he founded the French National Committee (Cook 56).
De Gaulle was persistent in his attitude toward winning. His attitude showed that “France had lost the battle but not the war” (Johnson). After the US government heard about the announcement made on the show, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was impressed, and became associates with de Gaulle. Franklin Roosevelt, president of the United States at the time, saw de Gaulle as a problem to the US, and that de Gaulle needed to
be taken down. This decreased ties with the USA and NATO, causing de Gaulle to establish Frances own nuclear defense line. In May 1940 de Gaulle was promoted to Chief of the 4th Blinded Division, on the 17th stopped the German army at Montcornet, and on the 28th stopped German Army at Abbeville. The events listed above were thought to be France’s only victories (Cook 76).
Then there was the Algerian War, when the big question was “Should Algeria have their independence?” De Gaulle became temporary president of France on June 1, 1958, and while holding office he formed a new government. He demanded temporary emergency power and the right to write a new constitution to be submitted for the vote. The constitution gave him, as president, strong executive powers. He raised taxes and lowered the value of the French currency, which was approved in September 1958. To solve the Algerian vs. France War, he gave them an ultimatum: “Either merge as countries or gain independence with less restrictions”(Johnson). Due to de Gaulle’s decision in the Algerian War, he lost his popularity with the French people. Even though there was no progress on the matters concerning Algeria and France at that time, society turned against de Gaulle. Algeria tried to overthrow him, and lost. De Gaulle, because Algeria tried to overthrow him, then took over Algeria and was able to appoint officers to the Algerian government and military (Cook 229). March 18,1962, de Gaulle granted Algeria their Independence. On the grounds that Algeria would stay loyal to France and
whenever France needed help with a war, there would be no question of whether to fight or not to fight, they will fight (Cook 249).
De Gaulle set up foreign trade policies to keep France independent and powerful. He influenced the European Common Market, which denied English entrance to France in 1967. This promoted economic and political integration among the Euro-countries. People started disagreeing with de Gaulle on small policies. The disagreements in the way de Gaulle ran the government, led him to believe that the people had lacked confidence in him. De Gaulle resigned on April 28,1969. De Gaulle’s successor was George Pompidou. Charles lived the rest of his life in resting until his death on November 9, 1970.
De Gaulle was determined and persistent for the rights and wants of the French people. De Gaulle inspired and aroused the people confidences (of the French nationality) during the French revolutions. He changed a government that was weak to one of power. Many people of French nationality predict that France will stay independent.