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The last warrior: behind the self-made myth of Charles de Gaulle

As a wartime general and peacetime president Charles de Gaulle fought for a France made in his own grand self-image

By Piers Brendon   September 2018

De Gaulle in uniform. Photo © Lebrecht Music & Arts / Alamy Stock Photo

On the dank evening of 22nd August 1962, a dozen terrorists from the OAS, a paramilitary group opposed to Algerian independence, ambushed General Charles de Gaulle. In a scene memorably re-enacted in The Day of the Jackal, gunmen sprayed the French president’s Citroën DS19 with automatic fire as it sped through the Paris suburb of Petit-Clamart. They hit at least 14 times, penetrating the coachwork, smashing the gearbox and puncturing two tyres. Amazingly, de Gaulle…

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