Charles de Gaulle with Tim Little – Part I

Today on the History Cafe, we have part I of an extensive survey of the life of the French statesman and soldier, Charles de Gaulle. Our guest, Tim Little, served as the professor of history at Marlboro college for thirty-five years. He retired (more or less – he still teaches an occasional class) in 2009 and is now a professor emeritus.*  Tim has been interested in de Gaulle for some time and the talk uses de Gaulle as a sort of foil for understanding what it meant to be French and experience French history from the end of the 19th century until today.  De Gaulle died in 1970, but the republic he founded continues to this day with his fingerprints remain firmly a part of French political life.  The discussion was long enough that I have broken it up into two parts.  Part I begins with a brief background of the nineteenth century, and then discusses de Gaulle’s family, the Dreyfus affair, World War I and some about the inter-war years and the early years of World War II.  Part II covers de Gaulle’s management of the French resistance, his participation in the liberation of France, and his involvement in politics in the fourth and his founding of the fifth.  Here, today, is part I – part II will be ready in a little over a week, so check back.

For today’s dish, since this is a two parter, we will start with the appetizer today and the main course with part II.  As it was de Gaulle himself who purportedly asked, “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” I suggest a nice full charcuterie plate with at least a few of those many varieties for sampling…

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* And yes, just to note: it is his retirement that created my job, so I’m very grateful for that.

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