n French Studies in Southern Africa - De Gaulle écrivain : ses mémoires

Volume 2005, Issue 35
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



General Charles de Gaulle, as he records in his mémoires, always felt himself inextricably linked with the history and destiny of France. He considered himself to be the servant of France, ready to defend the country in times of crisis. De Gaulle imposed himself strongly as the real leader of France from his voluntary exile in London and he acquired a prestige through his appeal to the French not to surrender during the occupation. However, there remained a measure of ambivalence in his relationship with his country. The mémoires make it quite clear that he loved his country and was prepared to work tirelessly to restore France's grandeur yet he also saw the people of France in a different light, describing them as divided amongst themselves and given to flights of the imagination. This study concentrates on the one hand on de Gaulle's self-image and, on the other, on his sometimes complex relationship with France and the French. In conclusion, the almost mythical character of Charles de Gaulle, who became a political reality in the early years of the Fifth Republic, led France to recapture its strength and self-respect at a critical period of its history.

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