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A photograph of a French statue of Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle: Biography

Image Credit: Gualberto Becerra / | Above: A statue of Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle in Paris, France

From their courting days to years in exile, France's greatest political leader and his devoted 'first lady' shared a love that grew and grew...

Charles de Gaulle started out as an officer in the French army in the First World War. Through this experience he developed an interested in military strategy, that lead him to publish his ideas in 'The Army of the Future' in 1932.

The strategy for war laid down in this text was adapted by the Nazis and used as the model for "Blitzkrieg", a strategy which enabled them to take control of such a large amount of mainland Europe in the beginning stages of the Second World War.

Shortly before the armistice was signed between France and Germany, the newly titled General de Gaulle left for England. It was here that he founded the group which played a significant part in the resistance, the Free French Army.

In 1944, Charles returned to Paris in order to take part in the liberation of his beloved country. In the post-war climate he found popularity as a kind of symbol of the French spirit.

When the war was over, he found a new role for himself in politics and founded the party, Rally of the French People, of which he remained the leader until 1953.

He published his memoirs entitled 'Memoires de Guerre', in three volumes, from 1954-59.

He became the president of France in 1958. Early in his leadership he was responsible for relinquishing French control of its African colonies. This included Algeria, which had proved a contentious and ongoing political problem for France during the fifties.

De Gaulle's popularity continued into the 60s; he was re-elected both in 1965 and 1968, even during that time of political change.

The end of his presidency came in 1969, when some of his proposed reforms were rejected in a referendum. He died in 1970.