Barricades of Yesteryear...

Douglas Johnson reflects on the life and death of General de Gaulle.

General de Gaulle died in November 1970. But this was his official death. His real death, it has been argued, took place in May 1968. The most prestigious head of state in the western world saw his reputation and his authority destroyed within a few days. And by whom? By a handful of students and by a general strike. The fact that in the wake of this unrest and confrontation, a general election was held which returned a Gaullist majority in numerical triumph, can be presented as irrelevant. They were, as the General himself said, the elections of panic and funk. They meant little. The de Gaulle legend had already been shattered.

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