Charles de Gaulle: Christian Warrior and Statesman

George Marlin writes,

“Like many Americans, I once viewed Charles de Gaulle as an obnoxious, overly ambitious man who, in the grand French manner, strutted sitting down. My impressions probably reflected the distrust and dislike Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill had for him when de Gaulle led the exiled free French forces during the Second World War. FDR referred to de Gaulle as the Allies’ “problem child” while Churchill saw a man who refused to get off his high horse and had a “Jeanne d’Arc complex.”

However, after reading a new biography by British journalist Jonathan Fenby on the fortieth anniversary of de Gaulle’s death (The General: Charles de Gaulle and the France He Saved) I found I was wrong. Badly wrong. De Gaulle was a thoughtful, principled man whose world view stemmed from the traditional values he inherited from deeply Catholic parents.

The third of five children, Charles was born in Flanders in 1890. His father, Henri, who taught philosophy and literature at a Jesuit college, was a “representative of the old true France” who believed that the 1789 French Revolution had been “satanic in essence.”

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(Photo: Paris. Place du Trocadéro. Photo: Lars (Lon) Olsson)

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