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Charles De Galle

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Charles de Gaulle was born in Lille, France, on Nov. 22, 1890, the son of a teacher of philosophy and literature at a Jesuit college. From early childhood he took an interest in reading. Fascinated by history, he formed an almost mystical formation of service to France.

De Gaulle graduated from the Ecole Militaire of Saint-Cyr in 1912 and joined an infantry division. In World War I he was wounded and captured at Douaumont in the Battle of Verdun in March 1916. As a war prisoner, he wrote his first book, published in 1924 called La discorde chez l'ennemi. He served on Marshal Henri Philippe Petain's staff then with the French army in the Rhineland, and later in Lebanon. On April 7, 1921 de Gaulle married Yvonne Vendroux and they had their first child, a son, on December 28. Their daughter, Elisabeth was born on May 15th 1924.

In the 1930's de Gaulle wrote many books and articles on military subjects that showed how much of a good writer and thinker he was. In 1931 he published Le fil de l'epee or the The Edge of the Sword, an investigation of military and political leadership. He also published Vers l'armee de metier or later called The Army of the Future and La France et son armee or France and Her Army. He fought for the better uses of armored mobility and air power, because he felt it would provide better defenses than fixed fortifications such as the Maginot Line. His theories were refused by the military and by left-wing leaders.

At the outbreak of World War II, de Gaulle was a colonel. De Gaulle was one of the few in the army to refuse to go along with any surrender and suggest that the government leave to North Africa to continue the fight. When Marshal Petain, who was committed to a truce with the Germans, became premier. On June 18 de Gaulle broadcasted the first of his demands to his fellow soldiers to continue the fight. He impressed upon British Prime Minister Winston Churchill the significance of the movement but did not impress the skeptical leaders in Washington--including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who thought of him as a potential dictator and he only saw de Gaulle as an obstacle to U. S. relations with the Vichy government. In July 1940 a French court martial sentenced de Gaulle to death for treason. In 1942, de Gaulle's Free French movement gained a lot of power and influence, winning over the French colonies in West Africa, and set up close relationships with the underground Resistance group in France itself. De Gaulle repeated his intention to allow the French people to decide their own political destiny and finally he received a lot of moral support.

In November 1942, when American and British forces landed in North Africa, they convinced Adm. Jean Francois Darlan and Marshal Petain's to order a cease-fire, Darlan was named high commissioner for French North Africa in result. De Gaulle and many sections of the British and American were not happy with this change. Darlan was assassinated a moth later. Henri Giraud was named the new high commissioner. Wanting this position, de Gaulle moved his headquarters to Algiers in May 1943. He at that time organized the French Committee of National Liberation. In June 1944 he changed the Committee of National Liberation into a temporary government of the French republic. After the war, de Gaulle was then elected president



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