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Charles de Gaulle’s Century

A Biography

by Willms, Johannes

In the summer of 1940, France is a broken country. Hitler’s armies have taken over, and the majority of French people come to terms with the occupation and the Vichy regime under Marshall Pétain. But meanwhile, in his London exile, a man with no country, no money and no troops works tirelessly towards a French resurrection. Charles de Gaulle will become the ‘saviour’ of France – and the originator of a myth that, to this day, most French people take for historical fact.

De Gaulle has put his mark on twentieth century France like no other. The man who, in his London exile, continued to insist on ‘Free France’, who in 1958 gave his country a new constitution and gave the colonies independence, but at the same time clung to outmoded ideals of ‘grandeur’ that distorted the French view of modern realities. Johannes Willms shows in his biography the greatness as well as the limits of the general, who according to opinion polls is regarded the greatest Frenchman of all times by seventy percent of his compatriots.

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