Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1968 French Republic President

Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (22 November 1890 – 9 November 1970) was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969. The 18th President of French Republic and Co-Prince of Andora

As President, Charles de Gaulle ended the political chaos that preceded his return to power. A new French currency was issued in January 1960 to control inflation and industrial growth was promoted. Although he initially supported French rule over Algeria, he controversially decided to grant independence to that country, ending an expensive and unpopular war but leaving France divided and having to face down opposition from the white settlers and French military who had originally supported his return to power.

De Gaulle oversaw the development of French atomic weapons and promoted a pan-European foreign policy, seeking independence from U.S. and British influence. He withdrew France from NATO military command - although remaining a member of the western alliance - and twice vetoed Britain's entry into the European Community. He travelled widely in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world and recognised Communist China. On a visit to Canada he gave encouragement to Quebec Separatism.

During his term, de Gaulle also faced controversy and political opposition from Communists and Socialists. Despite having been re-elected as President, this time by direct popular ballot, in 1965, in May 1968 he appeared likely to lose power amidst widespread protests by students and orkers, but survived the crisis with an increased majority in the Assembly. However, de Gaulle resigned after losing a referendum in 1969. He is considered by many to be the most influential leader in modern French history.

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