Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou was a French politician, who served as the longest serving Prime Minister of France after Michel Debre. He held the position from 1962 to 1968 which is considered to be the largest duration for a Prime Minister in the country’s history. He later became the President of France when Charles de Gaulle resigned after losing the constitutional referendum in 1969. He provided a stable government to the people of France and strengthened the economy. He improved ties with the Arab states, kept up good relations with the Western countries except West Germany. He made his party ‘Union of Democrats for the Republic’ more powerful. Though he had no formal training on the various aspects of the banking industry, he was able to run the Rothschild bank with great success as its director. During his tenure as the Prime Minister he was able to solve a miner’s strike and a student uprising amicably by negotiating with the parties. As the President of France he helped the United Kingdom enter the European Community, took forward the French nuclear program for civilian use and maintained very good relations with all the French colonies that had got their independence recently.
- Georges Pompidou was born on July 5, 1911 in Monboudif, Cantal, in central France. Both his parents were rural teachers and Pompidou also followed the path and became a teacher.After graduating from the secondary school ‘Lycee Louis-le-Grand’ in Paris, he did a ‘khagne’ to prepare himself for competitive exams for the three ‘Ecole normales superieures’ and the business schools called ‘Ecole nationale des chartes’.He joined the famous ‘Ecole Normale Superieure’ in Paris in 1931. In 1934 he passed the ‘aggregation’ exam which qualified him to be a teacher.He received a diploma from ‘Ecole libre des sciences politique’ on literature.Career
- Georges Pompidou started teaching literature in Marsellies and then at the ‘Lycee Henri IV’ in Paris after obtaining his diploma.He joined the infantry regiment of the French army during the Second World War in 1939 and left the army in 1940.He went back to his teaching profession and started working quietly for the resistance.In late 1944 he met Charles de Gaulle, the President of the provisional government.He served in de Gaulle’s staff from 1944 to 1946 as a member of his ‘shadow cabinet’ till de Gaulle resigned suddenly in 1946.After de Gaulle’s resignation, Pompidou became an assistant to the ‘General Commissioner for Tourism’ and served in this post from 1946 to 1949.He also held the post of ‘maitre des requetes’ at France’s highest administrative court ‘Conseil d’Etat’ from 1946 to 1957.In 1955 he left his government position to work for Guy de Rothschild who hired him to work at the Rothschild bank.Though he had no formal qualifications as a banker, he rose to become the general manager of the bank in 1959.When Charles de Gaulle returned to power in June 1958, he made Pompidou his chief personal assistant. He worked in this post till January 1959 and helped in the drafting of the constitution for the Fifth Republic.He took a leave of six months from the bank to help de Gaulle and returned to his job at the Rothschild bank in January 1959.In 1961 he was sent by de Gaulle to negotiate with the ‘Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale’ or FLN guerillas and was successful in bringing about a ceasefire between the Algerian guerillas and the French troops in Algeria.Charles de Gaulle appointed Pompidou, a completely unknown political figure till then, as the Prime Minister replacing Michel Debre in April 1962. He served as the Prime Minister from April 16, 1962 to July 21, 1968.In October 1962, Pompidou was defeated in no-confidence vote in the National Assembly but de Gaulle dissolved the National Assembly.In 1964, he was reappointed as the Prime Minister when the Gaullists won the legislative election. During this time he faced a strike by miners which he was able to solve amicably.In 1967 he won the legislative election as the head of the ‘Union of Democrats for the Fifth Republic’ by a narrow margin.He successfully negotiated with striking students and workers in May 1968.During this period the relation between de Gaulle and Pompidou got strained as many differences of opinions came up between them.He won the legislative elections again in 1968 leading to a huge victory for the Gaullist party. He resigned from the party after the victory.He announced his candidature for the President’s post in January 1969.He was elected the President of France when de Gaulle had resigned after losing the constitutional referendum. After the general elections Pompidou was elected to the post of President on June 15, 1969.On January 1, 1973 he helped the United Kingdom to join the European Community.He helped France to get closer to the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.The French economy under him flourished hugely during the period 1960 to 1970 and was even better than the West German economy.Awards & AchievementsGeorges Pompidou was honored with ‘Croix de Guerre’ during his stint in the French infantry in World War II.Personal Life & Legacy
- He married Claude Cahour in 1935 and she remained with him till his death. He had a son named Alain from the marriage.Georges Pompidou died suddenly on April 2, 1974 due to ill-health which had been continuing for quite some time.
See the events in life of Georges Pompidou in Chronological Order
People Also ViewedAlso Listed In