De Gaulle sur les barricades

LONDON – Charles de Gaulle naît à Lille il y a 120 ans. Il succombe à une crise cardiaque il y a 40 ans, un soir qu’il fait chez lui une partie de solitaire, à Colombey les-deux Églises. Et c’est en juin 1940, il y a soixante-dix ans, qu’il fait résonner son fameux appel à la résistance sur les ondes de la BBC, après avoir quitté une France en pleine déroute. La plus grande figure française depuis Napoléon connaît donc une année faste en anniversaires aux chiffres ronds.

Cette année marque également un autre anniversaire, beaucoup moins fêté celui-là. Il s’agit d’un épisode au cours duquel le mélange unique qui le caractérise, fait de résolution, de tact politique et de talent oratoire, lui permet de mater une opposition obstinée. Une étape essentielle dans la naissance de la Cinquième République, encore vivace aujourd’hui.

La guerre d’Algérie joue un rôle-clé dans le retour de de Gaulle au pouvoir en mai 1958, à 67 ans. Il a beau se dépeindre dans ses mémoires sous les traits d’un dirigeant qui sait ce qu’il fait, mes recherches pour la rédaction d’une nouvelle biographie font apparaître que sa politique à l’égard de la crise secouant la zone méditerranéenne est plutôt faite d’espoirs déçus. Il fonde ses espoirs sur la supériorité militaire de la France sur le FLN (Front de libération nationale), et se désole du chaos politique qui règne sur place et de la difficulté de convaincre les colons que le maintien du statu quo est impossible.

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