Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (1890–1970) was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II and later founded the French Fifth Republic and served as its first President. Without question, de Gaulle is the most influential military and political leader in the post-war history of France.
When the German Freedom Front destroyed the Eiffel Tower, de Gaulle announced that the Tower would rise again, but NaziGermany would not. To that end, the French army cracked down on its zone of Germany, touching off an uprising that was not backed by the GFF.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Colonel Charles de Gaulle was believed (correctly) to be France's number one expert on tanks and tank warfare. In December 1938, with Germany driving on Paris, de Gaulle led a tank regiment out to Charleroi to unsuccessfully stop it.
Luc Harcourt saw de Gaulle standing in the cupola of a tank. He was surprised to see how tall the commander was, comparing him to a fishing pole, and even more surprised to learn that the commander was indeed de Gaulle, after his sergeant commented that he was two fishing poles (de Gaulle being close to the French for "two fishing poles", deux gaulles).
In later stages of the Battle of France, the French Army increasingly made use of its armor in ways which de Gaulle had advocated before the war.
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