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Born May 7, 1911, in Montboudif, Cantal Department; died Feb. 4, 1974, in Paris. French statesman and political figure.
Pompidou, whose parents were teachers, graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1934 and that same year received a diploma from the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques. He wrote a number of works on the history of French literature. In 1935 he embarked on a teaching career, which was interrupted by his service as an infantry lieutenant in 1939–40, at the beginning of World War II. He resumed teaching and joined the French Resistance after the capitulation of France in 1940. In 1944 he was invited to serve as consultant on educational affairs on the personal staff of Charles De Gaulle, head of the provisional government. He later became one of De Gaulle’s closest associates and played an active role in the organization of the party Rally of the French People.
After De Gaulle’s temporary withdrawal from politics in 1953, Pompidou was employed by private companies; in 1954 he became a director of the Rothschild bank and served as the bank’s director general from 1956 to 1962. With De Gaulle’s return to power in 1958, Pompidou was nominated to head the cabinet. He helped draft the constitution of 1958 and was a member of the Constitutional Council from 1959 to 1962. He served as premier from 1962 to 1968 and paid an official visit to the Soviet Union in 1967. After De Gaulle resigned from the presidency in 1969, Pompidou was elected president of the French Republic.
As president, Pompidou basically continued De Gaulle’s foreign policy, which strove to maintain France’s independence of action in the international arena while maintaining friendly relations with the Western allies, as well as to reduce tensions and develop cooperation with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. In the course of an official visit to the USSR in 1970, Pompidou signed a Soviet-French protocol, in which both countries pledged to consult with each other on important international matters. In 1971, during the official visit of the general secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, L. I. Brezhnev, Pompidou signed the Principles of Cooperation Between the USSR and France and a number of other political documents.
WORKSEtudes sur “Britannicus.” Paris, 1944.
“Origines de la France contemporaine” de Taine. Paris 1947.
“Pages choisies, romans” d’André Malraux. Paris, 1955.
Anthologie de la poésie française. [Paris, 1968.]