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Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle, a towering figure in French history, left an indelible mark on the nation as a military officer, statesman, and visionary leader. Born on November 22, 1890, in Lille, he hailed from a devoutly Catholic and traditional family. His father, Henri de Gaulle, a professor of history and literature, instilled in him a deep appreciation for French history and philosophy from an early age. Inspired by his mother's emotional tales of French resilience during times of defeat, young Charles developed a keen interest in military strategy and national defense.

Educated at the prestigious Collège Stanislas in Paris, de Gaulle excelled in writing and philosophy, showcasing early signs of intellectual prowess and leadership potential. However, it was his aspiration to join the military academy, Saint-Cyr, that shaped his destiny. Envisioning himself as a future military commander, de Gaulle's youthful ambition was fueled by a desire to avenge France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

The outbreak of World War I provided the young officer with his first taste of combat, where he distinguished himself for bravery and leadership. Despite sustaining injuries and enduring capture by the Germans during the Battle of Verdun, de Gaulle's unwavering patriotism earned him the nickname "The Constable" among fellow prisoners of war. His experiences in captivity solidified his resolve to see France restored to greatness.

Post-war, de Gaulle's military career continued, marked by engagements in Poland and studies at the École de Guerre. However, it was his advocacy for military reforms and innovations, particularly in mechanized warfare, that garnered attention and controversy. Despite clashes with superiors, his forward-thinking approach earned him recognition as a military strategist and visionary leader.

The onset of World War II thrust de Gaulle into a pivotal role as a commander of French forces, where he faced both triumphs and setbacks against the German invasion. Frustrated by the lack of decisive action and the specter of defeat, he made a daring escape to Britain to rally support for the Free French Forces. His impassioned "Appeal of 18 June" captured the imagination of the French people, inspiring resistance against Nazi occupation and laying the foundation for his leadership in exile.

In exile, de Gaulle emerged as the undisputed leader of Free France, leading the charge against the Axis powers and rallying international support for the French cause. His tireless efforts culminated in the liberation of France and the restoration of democracy, solidifying his status as a national hero and statesman.

Returning to France, de Gaulle embarked on a transformative political journey, founding the Fifth Republic and assuming the presidency with a mandate for change. His bold vision for France's future, characterized by economic reforms, independent foreign policy, and nuclear capabilities, reshaped the nation's trajectory on the world stage.

Despite facing challenges, including the Algerian War and domestic unrest, de Gaulle's leadership endured, leaving an enduring legacy of strength, sovereignty, and national pride. His principled stance against supranational Europe and advocacy for French independence resonated with generations of citizens, earning him both admiration and criticism.


PLACE OF BIRTH: Lille, France

LOG: 3E4

LAT 50N38


DATE OF BIRTH: 22nd November 1890

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