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Charles de Gaulle

1890-1970 ,  French President
Charles de GaulleCommonly referred to as le général de Gaulle, was a French military leader and statesman. During World War II, he reached the rank of Brigade General and then became the leader of the Forces Françaises Libres (the “Free French Forces”).
Between 1944 and 1946, following the liberation of France from German occupation, he was head of the French provisional government. Called to form a government in 1958, he inspired a new constitution and was the Fifth Republic's first president, serving from 1958 to 1969.

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Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.

All my life I have had a certain idea of France.

opening sentence of his Mémoires de guerre

Long live free Quebec!

Vive le Québec libre!

said in 1967 in Montréal causing a diplomatic uproar with Canada

Nations have no friends, only interests.

France has lost a battle, but France has not lost the war.

France may still one day need an image that is pure... If Joan of Arc had married, she would no longer have been Joan of Arc.

Why do you think that at 67 I would start a career as a dictator?

No policy is worth anything outside of reality.

Men can have friends, statesmen cannot.

Nothing great is done without great men, and they are great because they wanted it.

France was built with swords. The fleur-de-lis, symbol of national unity, is only the image of a spear with three pikes.

It is better to have a bad method than to have none.

Character is the virtue of hard times.

The leader is always alone before bad destiny.

France cannot be France without greatness.

La France ne peut être la France sans la grandeur.

Jews remain what they have been at all times: an elite people, self-confident and domineering.

Always choose the hardest way, on it you will not find opponents.

I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.

The graveyards are full of indispensable men.

In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.

Belgium is a country invented by the British to annoy the French.

I respect only those who resist me, but I cannot tolerate them.

History does not teach fatalism. There are moments when the will of a handful of free men breaks through determinism and opens up new roads.

In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.

You start out giving your hat, then you give your coat, then your shirt, then your skin and finally your soul.

To govern is always to choose among disadvantages.

When I want to know what France thinks, I ask myself.

Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.

Greatness is a road leading towards the unknown.

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.

Adversity attracts the man of character. He seeks out the bitter joy of responsibility.

You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.

No country without an atom bomb could properly consider itself independent.

One does not arrest Voltaire.

on Sartre

I have against me the bourgeois, the military and the diplomats, and for me, only the people who take the Métro.

I predict you will sink step by step into a bottomless quagmire, however much you spend in men and money.

on Vietnam War

Personal Stories

When I am right, I get angry. Churchill gets angry when he is wrong. We are angry at each other much of the time.

Now she is like everyone else.

at the funeral of his daughter Anne, who had Down Syndrome, 1948

I am not ill. But do not worry, one day, I will certainly die.

Church is the only place where someone speaks to me and I do not have to answer back.

Funny Quotes

How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?

Gentlemen, I am ready for the questions to my answers.


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2017: Manolis Papathanassiou