The World at War


Georges Bidault

French Journalist and Politician

Born: October 5, 1889 at Moulins, Allier, Auvernge
Died: January 27, 1983

     Bidault rose to prominence first as founder of the Catholic Association of French Youth and then as cofounder with Francisque Gay of L'Aube, a newspaper renown for its editorials opposing the fascist paramilitary leagues, dictators and anti-Semitism.

     Bidault was mobilized in 1939 and held prisoner of war until July 1941 when he was released. He then made his way to the unoccupied zone where he joined the Combat resistance group. He succeeded Jean Moulin as head of the National Committee of the Resistance (CNR) in 1943. Bidault represented the Resistance in the victory parade down the Champs Elysees on the day after Paris was liberated marching beside General de Gaulle to the Arc de Triomphe. The same day, August 25, 1944, he was appointed Foreign Minister of the provisional government.

     Bidault was a founder of the Mouvement Republicain Populaire (MRP), the first major centrist party formed after the war. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1949 and presided over several Fourth Republic cabinets.

     Bidault broke with the MRP to support de Gaulle's return to power in 1958 but that alliance was short lived. He broke with de Gaulle when the President came out in favor of Algerian independence. Bidault, a longtime supporter of maintaining French ties to the colonial empire, assumed leadership of the Secret Army Organization (OAS) a terrorist group determined to keep Algeria French. Bidault was stripped of his parliamentary immunity after the OAS was implicated in several attempts to assassinate de Gaulle and an unsuccessful coup d'etat in 1962. He fled the country and remained in exile until amnestied in 1968.

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