Charles de Gaulle
Originally published 08/15/2013
Credit: Wiki Commons/HNN staff.The French and British empires historically had different premises, with the former (in the Roman tradition) focused more on culture and the latter more on race, hierarchy, and family. This difference took many forms: one finds meals of bifteck-frites in tiny towns in the former French colony of Niger but little English food even in the cities of neighboring Nigeria. Léopold Senghor of Senegal became a significant French poet and cultural figure whereas Rabindranath Tagore of Bengal could never transcend his Indian origins.Likewise, French and British politicians responded to the initial post-World War II immigration of non-Western peoples to their countries in characteristically different ways. Charles de Gaulle, arguably the most important leader of France since Napoleon, focused on culture while Enoch Powell, a rising star in the United Kingdom, emphasized race. Here are their speeches on the topic, starting with de Gaulle (1890-1970), who spoke on March 5, 1959:
Originally published 01/19/2013
IN 1966, the French president, Charles de Gaulle, war hero and general nuisance in Allied eyes, wrote President Lyndon B. Johnson to announce that France was pulling out of full membership in NATO and would expel NATO headquarters from France.“France is determined to regain on her whole territory the full exercise of her sovereignty, at present diminished by the permanent presence of allied military elements or by the use which is made of her airspace; to cease her participation in the integrated commands; and no longer to place her forces at the disposal of NATO,” de Gaulle wrote.After the humiliating capitulation to the Nazis, a tremendous shock to a prideful and martial France, it was not especially surprising that de Gaulle should seek to restore France to a place at the top table of nations, capable of defending its own interests with its own means at its own pace and pleasure.