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Charles De Gaulle

france republic powers french

De Gaulle, Charles (1890–1970), French soldier and political leader, president 1945–46 and 1958–69. When France fell to Germany in 1940, De Gaulle launched the Free French movement in England. In 1944, his provisional government took power in liberated France. After resigning in 1946, he returned the following year leading a new party, but met with little success and retired in 1953. On June 1, 1958, at the height of the Algerian crisis, he was named premier and assumed new and wider powers, effectively ending the fourth republic. In 1959 a new constitution was adopted, inaugurating the fifth republic, with De Gaulle as president. He was nearly overthrown by worker-student struggles in 1968 and resigned in 1969 upon the defeat of a referendum designed to give him further powers for constitutional reforms.

See also: France.

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