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Georges Pompidou (President of the Republic, France)


Last modified: 2016-11-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: pompidou (georges) |
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Pompidou's standard
Left, flag used at sea - Image by by Željko Heimer, 27 September 2004
Right, car flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 26 April 2016

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A short biography of Georges Pompidou

Georges Pompidou (1911-1974) was born in the small village of Montboudif, in Cantal (Upper Auvergne). His parents were school teachers. Pompidou graduated in the École Normale Supérieure and the École Libre des Sciences Politiques, and was agrégé (the highest qualification available for teachers at the secondary level) in literature. He tought literature in Marseilles and Paris from 1935 to 1944.
Pompidou started his political career as chargé d'affaires of General de Gaulle in 1944. After de Gaulle's resignation, Pompidou was Deputy Minister of Tourism (1946-1948) and maître de requêtes (Counsel) at the State Council (1946-1954).
From 1956 to 1962, Pompidou worked for the Rotschild brothers as an Administrator and Director General of several companies. From 1 June 1958 to 7 January 1959, he was de Gaulle's directeur de cabinet (principal private secretary). He was also appointed member of the Constitutional Council in 1959. In 1961, he was sent to Switzerland to negociate with the leaders of the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), the main independentist party in Algeria.
On 16 April 1962, Pompidou succeeded Michel Debré as the Prime Minister of President de Gaulle. The National Assembly defeated him on 5 October, but de Gaulle appointed him again Prime Minister on 28 November, as well as the leader of the presidential majority. Pompidou remained Prime Minister until 10 July 1968, when he had te resign following the insurrection of May 1968. He was succeeded by Maurice Couve de Murville.

Pompidou went back to local political affairs in Cantal. He was elected Municipal Councillor in Cajarc (1965-1969) and Deputy (March-May 1967; June 1968-June 1969) in the circonscription of Saint-Flour-Mauriac.
After the negative result of the referendum on the Senate and the regions, held on 27 April 1969, General de Gaulle resigned from the Presidency of the Republic. The political bureau of UDR (Union pour la Défense de la République) appointed Pompidou as its official candidate for the Presidential election. Pompidou was elected at the second round on 15 June, with 11,064,371 votes (58.22%) against Alain Poher, President of the Senate, who got 7,943,118 votes.
Pompidou attempted to preserve the Gaullist heritage: he strengthened the cohesion of the Presidential majority, developed the regional organization of the country and increased the European coopeation. He promoted the nuclear dissuasion force and national independence, apart from the "blocks".
Pompidou officially visited the USA, the USSR and Subsaharian Africa. In September 1973, he was the first western head of government received in Beijing, where he met Mao Zedong.
During 1973 and the beginning of 1974, repeated health problems experienced by Pompidou created a weird atmosphere around the Presidency. In October 1973, a proposal of limitation of the Presidential mandate to five years (instead of seven) confirmed that Pompidou was very ill. However, the President refused to resign and passed away on 2 April 1974.

Georges Pompidou was fond of modern art. He promoted the revamping of the borough of Beaubourg-Saint-Martin, located in the 3rd district of Paris. The Centre National d'Art et Culture Georges-Pompidou, better known as Centre Beaubourg, was built by the architects Rogers and Piano in 1977. The building houses the Bibliothèque Publique d'Information (BPI), a public library and the Muée National d'Art Moderne (MNAM), which includes the Centre de Création Industrielle (CCI). A neighbouring building houses the Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique-Musique (IRCAM). The Stravinsky fountain, located below the building, was designed by the Swiss artist Nikki de Saint-Phalle.

Ivan Sache, 1 October 2004

Pompidou's presidential standard

A flag used by President Georges Pompidou, kept in the private archive HCC (Habillement, Couchage, Casernement - Outfit, Bedding, Barracks) of Direction du Commissariat de la Marine (Direction of the Admiralty Board) in Toulon is a French Tricolore flag, in overall proportions (7:8) and respective proportions of the stripes (30:33:37), charged in the middle of the white stripe with gilded letters "G P".

Armand du Payrat, 30 June 1998

The personal collection of a gendarmerie officer hired by the Presidential Staff in 1962 for, among other duties, the preparation of the car flags used by the President, as the head of the state (these flags were only used in official events, never during private trips) keeps a similar flag, in proportions 2:3 and with equal stripes (photos).

Esteban Rivera & Ivan Sache, 27 April 2016