Georges Pompidou was for nearly twenty-five years a very close collaborator of General de Gaulle. He entered the history of France by becoming its Premier for more than six years, and succeeding to the Presidency of the Republic for five years.
Georges Pompidou was born July 5, 1911, Montboudif village of Auvergne of parents teachers. His father first exercised his profession in the Cantal and later became Professor of Spanish in Albi where the future President made all his studies until the Bachelor ' obtaining a first prize at the concours Général of Greek version. He will remain very attached to the country of origin of his family and constantly refer to the values of the Republican school: "righteousness and work; respect for merit and the virtues of the spirit".
He then came to prepare the École Normale Supérieure at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris and succeeded the competition in 1931. He then created many friendships that will count heavily in his life including Léopold Sédar Senghor who was later the first - and prestigious - President of the Republic of Senegal. Old tastes for literature and poetry - which he published in 1961 an anthology preceded by a long preface explaining his preferences - with brio and newer for the arts' blossomed so. First to the agrégation de lettres in 1934 and graduated from the free school of political science ' he taught three years at Marseille, and then in Paris.
Then came the meeting with General de Gaulle: he entered the cabinet of the head of the provisional Government in September 1944. Soon he became one of his closest collaborators. And the General left power in 1946 he entered the Council of State but continues to collaborate with him in 1947 Secretary general of the Committee of studies that it gives rise to prepare reforms to introduce during a future return to power; from 1948 to 1953 he was Chief of the General staff. And then Georges Pompidou turned for a few years to economic life and the company experience that would be crucial for the Organization of the economic boom of the France where it will later be responsible.
Upon the return of General de Gaulle to power in 1958 he called him again to lead his cabinet's last President of the Council of the Fourth Republic. June 1, 1958 – January 7, 1959 there as such more powers. And close this time witnesses consider had a key role in the Organization of the Fifth Republic the preparation of the new Constitution the rebate in order for the economy and the currency of the France actual entry into the European Economic Community (before which the France was still in the period immediately following the Treaty of Rome founding text signed in 1957). Georges Pompidou was not far from exercise in fact the responsibilities which incombèrent then to the Prime Minister in the new Constitution establishing the Fifth Republic.
Georges Pompidou returned for some time to the corporate world but continued to carry out the missions entrusted to him by the new head of State. He was notably charged as unofficial spokesman of the General to unblock the negotiations with the Algerian F.A.S. in 1961.
But in April 1962' General de Gaulle called him again for a highest task while he had never exercised an any elective office.
As depicted in the memoirs of the General, "he was suddenly without having searched for it, invested with unlimited load, thrown into the center of public life, riddled by the concentrated Spotlight of information" as Prime Minister. The circumstances but also intellectual intimacy and faithful attachment linking it to General de Gaulle made it maintained it its duties "longer than any head of Government not it remained for a century". As expressed François-Xavier Ortoli - a long time Director of office of Georges Pompidou at Matignon - employees of the two statesmen would "well was struggling then to penetrate into the chemistry of the relationship between the two men and in many cases to weigh at any folder which was due to the initiative of one or the other what had brought the friction of ideas designs fit".
Therefore, all that the Algeria ending war and French energy being liberated for other tasks the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister renovated the France and its economy.
It was necessary to allow all French benefit from technical progress and economic growth which they blamed on possible; He was not eligible in contrast by their brutality these transformations will translate into intolerable social suffering. As wrote Georges Pompidou "it was not conceivable that the France fulfils the necessary mutations in forms where the industrial revolution of the previous century had made".
It is also the economic boom that allowed that a strong France could start to weigh in the Affairs of the world by taking his independence from the blocks grouped around the United States and the USSR but developing its relations with each of their members and all States wishing to be distinguished.
The Government put in place the necessary renovation: political active industrialization and consolidation of enterprises to meet the European and international competition; planning all the more necessary that an important part of the economy was then State enterprises; spatial planning policy intended as early as the first weeks of his Government by Georges Pompidou, who immediately created an instrument for interdepartmental cooperation then very innovative adaptation of the administration particularly to implement the guidelines laid down by the General in the Ile-de-France region; enormous effort to build schools to meet the lengthening of the studies up to sixteen; restarting the construction of housing; but also protection of the heritage; beginnings of the motorway network; agricultural modernization allowed by the common market opportunities and the establishment of means for the progressive adaptation of the rural world; social progress including protection against unemployment and participation of employees in profits and the profits of the business by "profit-sharing".
During the crisis of 1968 the Republic appeared shaken. The calm with which Georges Pompidou oversaw this crisis allowed General de Gaulle time to return the course of events and restore the normal functioning of our institutions.
The long collaboration with General de Gaulle stopped then.
But in April 1969 the project of regionalisation and Senate reform was rejected by the french people. A new presidential election was opened on 15 June 1969 Georges Pompidou was elected in the second round with more than 11 million votes less than 8 million to Alain Poher (58'2 per cent of the votes cast).
After this election the Constitution remained applied without restriction irreversibly accepted that it had established the approval of the french people and the practice of General de Gaulle; the rule of the President of the Republic was permanently confirmed.
But continuity did not exclude the novation arising from the circumstances and the personality of the head of State. Politically the opening was acquired and a presidential majority emerging marking a new mode of cooperation between the Government and the Parliament.
International policy has always been the first responsibilities of the heads of State of the Fifth Republic. Europe was then in crisis she progressed more. the agricultural common market might regress due to lack of funding; our partners submitted the consolidation of European construction at the entrance to Great Britain. Georges Pompidou' convinced that the prosperity of the country and the possibility for France to continue to play a role in the world depended on the success of Europe' resumed negotiations and was fortunate to have quickly as interlocutor as British Prime Minister Edward Heath, also a fervent European.
It was as early as December 1969 the European Summit in the Hague, which restores the harmony among the six founding members of the European Community sets the conditions for negotiating with Britain began the Economic Union and monetary and drafted a political cooperation intended to lead to the Union policy entered by the negotiators in their conclusions. On 20 and 21 May 1971' at Paris' Georges Pompidou and Edward Heath were able to announce their agreement on the conditions for enlargement ' confirmed by the signing of the Treaty on 22 January 1972 and the referendum of April 23, 1972.
Europe could thus start from the front and including the Franco-German agreement, which remained an essential foundation of our foreign policy and the irreplaceable basis of European cooperation.
The success of the enlarged Europe also required a good understanding with the leaders of the United States and the USSR. The President of the Republic booked the United States his first official trip abroad in February-March 1970 where he expressed his views in the long term on the world of this time including about the evolution of the society of the Organization of the economy and trade in environmental texts which will remain the basis of its action throughout the five years of its mandate in a series of speeches. He met again three times President Richard Nixon' including in December 1971 in the Azores where they fixed all the outline of a global monetary reorganisation' unfortunately without lasting result.
France had not renounced its independence from the United States. Political monetary trade differences (Middle East relations with the USSR) the oil crisis of the end of 1973 and the refusal by the France of a general agreement culminating in oil-consuming countries ' in February 1974 in Washington.
With the USSR. headed by Leonid Brezhnev as well as with other countries east of close relations were also settled. Five meetings were held in five years between Leonid Brezhnev and Georges Pompidou. Independent relations with each of the countries of the East is strengthened. The conference on security and Cooperation in Europe to which attached himself Georges Pompidou as early as September 1969' allowed to start out from the grip of the two big blocks to lead after the death of President Pompidou on the emancipation of States in their regard. At the "condominium" of the two great empires that feared Georges Pompidou' is substituted ' gradually ' relaxation and independence of all the States of Europe.
France also continued its political and economic cooperation with all independent countries and primarily with those in francophone Africa.
To carry out this active policy with good chance of success still had that the France was strong and its economy in rapid progress. Georges Pompidou therefore favored growth in preparation for life Plan. From 1968 to 1973 in five years the volume of goods and services placed at the disposal of the French grew by more than 40%. And the industry provides every year nearly 100,000 additional jobs.
The number of very large companies and medium-sized establishments remained however inadequate compared to those of major competitors. A pragmatic policy of consolidation and restructuring was intended to remedy.
However thanks to this rapid growth of important ways could be cleared in order to develop infrastructure. Four-hundred kilometers of additional highways were starts every year the backwardness of our telephone network began to reverse the decision to build the first T.G.V. Paris-Lyon was taken and as a result of the oil crisis ' a vast program of construction of electro-nucleaires plants was launched which later gave to the France energy independence significantly greater than that of its neighbours. This effort of equipment extends to a large part of Europe.
There was adopted in 1973 at the initiative of the France' a European program for launchers and satellites that allows ' even today in Europe to be the first on the world market.
The fruits of the growth allowed also to improve the quality of life and to offer each of the increased chances of personal development.
The housing crisis was resolved with the construction every year some 500,000 homes. National Education budget now surpassed that of defence. A new Ministry of environment was created to give cities and the countryside of France a more welcoming face. Agriculture through the common market opportunities and a policy differentiated regions maintained alive the largest part of rural France. And an ambitious policy of Culture was driving symbolized by the Centre which today bears the name of the President but permeating all activities of the spirit and the arts.
In social matters as an unprecedented effort was carried out to reduce inequalities and reduce inequities by law and contractual policy workers monthly new wage law minimum ESOPs extension of vocational growth and retirement planning revival of family policy and the personal housing aid preparation of a law on persons with disabilities.
All had not yet been concluded at the end of a presidential term, which was brutally interrupted on April 2, 1974, after only nine months and four years. Pompidou died unexpectedly while in office on 2 April 1974, having hidden the fact he was suffering from cancer. But the balance sheet was nevertheless considerable and the France had led until the last day with firmness and clarity as could be seen including those who attended the last Council of Ministers chaired by Georges Pompidou less than a week earlier.
Georges Pompidou will always be remembered as a statesman whose love of modernization deeply influenced his political terms of office during a period of economic prosperity. As a man of letters and a contemporary art enthusiast, Georges Pompidou decided to involve the state in contemporary artistic creation; a policy that led to the opening of the Pompidou Centre, the Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, whose purpose was not only to gather together different forms of contemporary artistic expression but also to make them available to as wide a public as possible. The Pompidou Years were also typified by a political determination to urbanise the country. The La Défense district in Paris can be regarded as this policy's symbol. Pompidou was a knowledgeable art collector who mixed with the greatest artists of his time.
Chef Bernard Vaussion had been cooking for French presidents at the Elysée Palace since 1974. Pompidou, says Vaussion, loved traditional cooking and was the first French head of state to install a private kitchen in the Elysée’s presidential apartment. He was particularly partial to what Vaussion calls “plats canailles” (best translated as “simple and heavy” dishes), such as slow-cooked lamb and boeuf bourgignon, a traditional French beef dish stewed in red wine.
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