Although his name is well known among French citizens and war buffs, many tourists in Paris find themselves asking the question: �Who is this person whose name is everywhere?� After all, they even named one of the airports after him. The short answer is that he was a French war hero. But that is, by no means, the full story. A prisoner of war for two years in WWI, De Gaulle refused to accept defeat when France surrendered to Germany in June 1940. Instead, he flew to London and, with others, established the Free French. He met with opposition from some, including the government of his native France (the 'Vichy Regime' headed by Petain). De Gaulle eventually went on to aid allied troops and successfully bring France back together as a unified nation. He served as President of France from 1944-46 and again from 1958-69 before retiring from politics to write his memoirs. In 1958 he played the key role in establishing the Fifth Republic, with a constitution that gives the President a much more powerful role than previously. He was also energetic in his pursuit of co-operation between France and what was then West Germany. He died in November of 1970. General Charles de Gaulle was the leader of the Free French in WW2 & went on to be President of France. Wasn't it kind of the British & US forces to liberate his country...... General De Gaulle was the leader of the Free French Forces in World War 2. He was based in London and urged French people to resist German oppression. He gave a famous speech on the 18th June 1940 on BBC radio, and another on the 22nd, that was transmitted to France. His speech encouraged people in Vichy France to refuse the armistice with the Nazis signed by Petain. He insisted on Britain's and the United States' allegiance and support of France.
After the war, the French government was in turmoil, with a constant lack of a majority in the government. In 1958, De Gaulle was elected President, and he wrote a new constitution, forming the 5th Republic.
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