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De Gaulle, Charles (1890–1970)

Born November 22, 1890, Charles de Gaulle reached historical status on June 18, 1940, when he made a famous radio speech calling for the French to resist the German invaders, though the apparently legal government headed by Marshall Pétain had called for a truce. A professional soldier, de Gaulle had previously achieved the status of “temporary”general by leading one of the few successful counter attacks against the invading army. He was then called by politician Paul Reynaud to serve as assistant minister and subsequently left for London, where he delivered the famous radio speech.

From then on, Charles de Gaulle remained in politics: Leader of the Free French, he became the chief of the French Provisional Government. Dissenting from the traditional political parties, he soon withdrew, ...

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