Biography of Gaulle, Charles de - Archontology
HomeNationsFranceHeads of StateGaulle, Charles de
Gaulle, Charles de

Charles-André-Joseph-Marie de Gaulle

b. 22 Nov 1890, Lille, Nord
d. 9 Nov 1970, Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, Haute-Marne

Title: Président de la République (President of the Republic)
Term: 8 Jan 1959 - 8 Jan 1966
Chronology: 8 Jan 1959, election to the offices of Président de la République and Président de la Communauté is declared upon counting electoral votes (cast 21 Dec 1958), resolution of the Provisional Constitutional Committee (Commission constitutionnelle provisoire) of 8 Jan 1959 [1]
8 Jan 1959, assumed the functions of office, public ceremony, salle des Fêtes, Palais de l'Elysée, Paris [2]
Term: 8 Jan 1966 - 28 Apr 1969
Chronology: 28 Dec 1965, election to the office of Président de la République is declared upon counting popular votes (cast 19 Dec 1965), decision of the Constitutional Council (Conseil constitutionnel) of 28 Dec 1965 [3]
8 Jan 1966, assumed the functions of office, public ceremony, salle des Fêtes, Palais de l'Elysée, Paris
28 Apr 1969, ceased to exercise the functions of office at 12:00 (noon) 28 Apr 1969 in accordance with a declaration of 28 Apr 1969 [4]
Other offices: Président du Gouvernement provisoire de la République française (President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic) [3 Jun 1944 - 22 Jan 1946] (see details)
  Président du Conseil des ministres (President of the Council of Ministers) [1 Jun 1958 - 8 Jan 1959] (see details)
Originated from a Roman Catholic bourgeois family; received primary education at the École Saint-Thomas-d'Aquin (1896-1900) in Paris; attended the École libre de l'Immaculée-Conception in Paris-Vaugirard (1900-1907) and Collège jésuite d'Antoing at Tournai, Belgium (1907-1908); attended preparatory course at the Collège Stanislas in Paris (1908-1909); admitted (1909) to the Military Academy of Saint-Cyr (École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr); joined as a volunteer (1910) an infantry regiment at Arras under the command of colonel Philippe Pétain; promoted to corporal and sergeant (1910); reentered Saint-Cyr (1910); graduated in the rank of first lieutenant (1912); rejoined the Arras regiment; promoted to full lieutenant (1913); participated in the First World War, was wounded; promoted to captain (1915); captured at Douaumont (2 Mar 1916); interned in the German camps (1917-1918); returned to France (3 Dec 1918) after the armistice; created chevalier of the Légion d'honneur (23 Jul 1919); attached to the Polish army (1919-1920, 1920-1921); attended the War Academy (École supérieure de la Guerre, 1922-1925); joined the military staff of Marshal Pétain (1925-1926); attached to the Rhine army general staff (1926); made chief of the 19th battalion of fusiliers (1927); sent as a military envoy to Lebanon (1929) and spent two years in Iraq, Iran and Egypt; joined the General Secretariat of National Defence (1931-1932); promoted to lieutenant-colonel (1933); created officer of the officer de la Légion d'honneur (19 Dec 1934); promoted to colonel (1937), brigade general (1940); appointed under-secretary of state in the Ministry of National Defence and War (5 Jun 1940 - 17 Jun 1940); refused to serve when the government proposed to sign the armistice with Nazi Germany; departed for London (17 Jun 1940); appealed for initiating a liberation movement and dropped French citizenship; recognized as chief of the France libre (from 14 Jul 1942 France combattante) by the British government (28 Jun 1940); sentenced to death on charges of high treason in france (7 Jul 1940); formed the French National Committee (Comité national français, 24 Sep 1941) in London; unable to secure the support of the British, moved to Algeria (30 May 1943); co-chaired together with General Henri Giraud the French Committee of National Liberation (Comité français de la Libération nationale, 3 Jun 1943 - 6 Nov 1943) in rebellion against the Vichy government of Marshal Pétain; became sole chairman of the Committee (3 Oct 1943 - 3 Jun 1944), which was transformed (3 Jun 1944) into the Provisional Government of the French Republic; arriving aboard La Combattante, he landed at Courseulles, Normandy (14 Jun 1944) and entered Paris (25 Aug 1944); decreed a referendum (21 Oct 1945), in which the French rejected the constitution of the Third Republic and elected the Assemblée nationale constituante (Constituent National Assembly), which convened in Paris (6 Nov 1945); unanimously elected President of the Provisional Government by the Constituent National Assembly (13 Nov 1945); resigned (20 Jan 1946) as a result of tensions with the political parties forming the coalition government; created the Rassemblement du Peuple français (Rally of the French People, 1947), but distanced from active participation in politics; called to assume the office of President of the Council of Ministers (1 Jun 1958 - 8 Jan 1959) after the Fourth Republic was unable to resolve the Algerian crisis; was given full powers by the Assemblée nationale (National Assembly) and ordered the drafting of a Constitution, which was adopted by referendum (28 Sep 1958); elected President of the Republic (21 Dec 1958); proposed self-determination to the Algerians and agreed to signing the Evian Accords (22 Mar 1962), providing for independence of Algeria; pursued a policy of national independence to enhance France's standing in the world; strengthened ties with the Federal Republic of Germany, signing the Elysee Treaty (1963); reelected as President of the Republic (19 Dec 1965); withdrew France from NATO's integrated system (1966); rejected Britain's bid to join the European Economic Community; held a series of referendums on major policy issues (Algerian self-determination, 1961; the Evian Accords, 1962; constitutional reform, 1962, and "regionalization" and Sénat reform, 1969); survived an attempt of assassination (22 Aug 1962); after the events of May 1968 and the protests of students and workers, called for social reforms; dissolved the National Assembly (30 May 1968); resigned (28 Apr 1969) as a result of failure to collect sufficient votes for "regionalization" and the reform of the French Senate.
Biographical sources: "Who's Who in France", 9e éd., 1969-1970.

Candidate Electoral vote (21 Dec 1958)
registered voters 81,764
votes cast 81,290
valid votes 79,470
Charles-André-Joseph-Marie de Gaulle 62,394
Geroges-Léon-Marie Marrane 10,355
Albert Châtelet 6,721

Candidate Popular vote (5 Dec 1965) Popular vote (19 Dec 1965)
registered voters 28,910,581 28,902,704
votes cast 24,502,916 24,371,647
valid votes 24,254,556 23,703,434
absolute majority 12,127,279  
Marcel Barbu 279,685 -
Charles-André-Joseph-Marie de Gaulle 10,828,521 13,083,699
Jean-Adrien-François Lecanuet 3,777,120 -
Pierre-Henry Marcilhacy 415,017 -
François-Maurice-Adrien-Marie Mitterrand 7,694,005 10,619,735
Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour 1,260,208 -
Source of electoral results: JORF - Lois et décrets, No. 7, 9 Jan 1959, pp. 673-674; JORF - Lois et décrets, No. 284, 8 Dec 1965, p. 11011; JORF - Lois et décrets, No. 303, 30 Dec 1965, pp. 11916-11920.

[1] JORF - Lois et décrets, No. 7, 9 Jan 1959, pp. 673-674.
[2] Le Monde, No. 4343, 9 Jan 1959, pp. 1-2.
[3] JORF - Lois et décrets, No. 303, 30 Dec 1965, p. 11916.
[4] JORF - Lois et décrets, No. 100, 28-29 Apr 1969, p. 4283.
Image: photograph by Jean-Marie Marcel.