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Q: relationship between Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: relationship between Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: nadi42-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 21 Jul 2005 08:37 PDT
Expires: 20 Aug 2005 08:37 PDT
Question ID: 546214
Please find sources giving insights into their relationship. 
Are there any reports about meetings or telephone conversations and 
remarks they made about each other?
What did they think of each other?
How did their relationship influence anglo-french relations and the
foreign politics of both countries?
Subject: Re: relationship between Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill
Answered By: websearcher-ga on 21 Jul 2005 09:09 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello nadi42:

Thanks for the interesting question. 

I was able to find the following sources detailing the relationship
between Churchill and de Gaulle. I believe these sources, once you
read them more thoroughly, will allow you to answer your specific
questions about the effects of the relationship between these two
titans. Theses sources summarize the relationship much better than I
ever could.

De Gaulle and Churchill
Quote: "As we know, the relations between two such extraordinary
characters as Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, each burdened
with crushing responsibilities in extremely difficult circumstances,
were not always easy. There were many exchanges, now famous, but which
at the time were kept from the public for fear of their being
misunderstood and of their damaging morale."

The Allies at War - Three titans
Quote: "Two of the three were the British Prime Minister, Winston
Churchill and the Free French leader, General, later President,
Charles de Gaulle. In June 1940, as France fell to the Nazis,
Churchill recognised de Gaulle as 'the man of destiny'. But their
relationship would turn into a roller coaster of mutual admiration,
suspicion and, on Churchill's part, loathing."

Who's Who: Sir Winston Churchill
Quote: "With the outbreak of World War II Churchill was appointed
first lord of the Admiralty.  On May 10, 1940, he became Prime
Minister, and established close ties with U.S. President Franklin D.
Roosevelt.  The Yalta meeting with Roosevelt and Stalin resulted in
the dissection of Europe into opposing political jurisdictions.  His
strategic misjudgement was blamed for the wartime success of Germany
in Africa, Norway, and the Aegean.  He had difficulty tolerating
Charles de Gaulle, and he told a friend: 'Of all the crosses I have to
bear, the heaviest is the Cross of Lorraine.'"

Churchill Across the Floor
Quote: "This, together with his sometimes contradictory flows of
petulance and generosity, are very well brought out in my view by the
story of his relations with General de Gaulle."
Note: The section of this speech related to the relationship between
the two men starts after the above quote."

Allies at War: The Bitter Rivalry among Churchill, Roosevelt, and de Gaulle
Quote: "De Gaulle, for all his ravings against the treachery of the
"Anglo-Saxons" and his acknowledged egoisms, appears the victim who
justifiably feared a secret Anglo-American deal to drive him off
center stage. The strange U.S. relationship with the collaborationist
Vichy government (which the United States recognized officially as
legitimate, while snubbing the Free French completely) was at the core
of a long list of "betrayals" that hardened de Gaulle's personal
resentment. De Gaulle's long memory of these, argues the author, would
carry over into the postwar era. Churchill's initial admiration for
the French leader wore thin too, but rather than blame de Gaulle the
Prime Minister's Cressida-like maneuverings are seen as equally
damaging to the relationship."

Quote: "The quote, he wrote, "is drawn from de Gaulle's version of a
wartime row he had with Churchill, as is made clear by the very next
sentence: 'And if I have to choose between you [de Gaulle] and
Roosevelt, I shall always choose Roosevelt.'"

Please let me know, before you rate this question, whether you need
other sources and, if so, in what particular areas of the

Search Strategy (on Google):
* "Winston Churchill" "Charles de Gaulle"
+ more complex searches within individual websites listed above


Request for Answer Clarification by nadi42-ga on 26 Jul 2005 08:33 PDT
Sorry about the delay in answering. Have just moved flats and
telephone company had problems providing internet access on time.
Links have been quite helpful, although they have been quite obvious
homepages to look at. I'd be very happy if you could provide some more
in-depth information (or links) about the antagonism between the two
men (especially during WW2 and just afterwards) and how it influenced
anglo-french relations during the war and in the post-war period.
Maybe you could also find something about the change in their attitude
towards each other in later years. Homepages could also be in French
or German (if you find anything). Thanks for your help!

Clarification of Answer by websearcher-ga on 26 Jul 2005 12:43 PDT
Hello nadi42:

Thank you for the clarification request. Finding more indepth
information on the Internet is proving difficult. I've been able to
find the following two sources:

EU integration struggles: UK/France tiff
Quote: "This fits a persistent pattern of modern cross-channel mesententes , which
goes back to the awkward wartime relationship between Winston Churchill and
De Gaulle. Should Britain, when the chips are down, side with France and
Europe; or with the United States? During the war, Churchill helped to
create De Gaulle as a symbol of French resistance but grew infuriated with
Le Généralwhen he insisted on defining, and defending, French interests, in
conflict with allied ones. At one point, Churchill agreed an American plan
to dump De Gaulle and had to be restrained by members of the British war
De Gaulle carried the grudge after the war. He vetoed Britain's first
attempt to join the Common Market in 1963, saying London would always side
with the American view of the world, and not help to build an alternative
European vision. The Blair-Chirac quarrel is directly in line of descent
from the Churchill-De Gaulle and McMillan-De Gaulle quarrels of the past."

WARREN HOGE, "The Plot to Oust de Gaulle: Now Britain Tells"
Quote: "The irritation between Churchill and de Gaulle has long been
known, but the lengths to which the British prime minister was willing
to go to rid himself of the man he had championed at the war's outset
had not been revealed until now. So sensitive has the Public Record
office considered the documents that it kept them secret for 57 years,
even though British policy is to declassify most records after 30
In his calls for the autocratic French leader's head, Churchill was
clearly emboldened by Washington's antipathy to de Gaulle. 'When we
consider the absolutely vital interest which we have in preserving
good relations with the United States,' he wired his ministers on May
23, 'it seems to me most questionable that we should allow this
marplot and mischief-maker to continue the harm he is doing.' (A
marplot is someone who spoils a plot or hinders the success of an

My next best hope is my local library. I'll have a look there and let
you know what (if anything) I find.


Clarification of Answer by websearcher-ga on 27 Jul 2005 14:01 PDT
Hello nadi42:

My trip to the local library was pretty successful. I found two
excellent books with detailed information about the relationship
betweem Churchill and de Gaulle. I obviously can't reproduce these
books verbatim, but I'll give you the relevant data about them and
quote you a few passages.

Title: Winston Churchill and his Inner Circle
Author: John Colville (Churchill's Private Secretary)
Publisher: Wyndham Books, New York
Date: 1981
ISBN: 0671425838
Chapter: XIII - De Gaulle

"The interaction of the two men had its effect on the future of France
and, in years to come, of Europe as a whole. Twenty years later it had
its effect on Britain too, and perhaps indircetly on the United
States, whose soldiers faced disaster ni the swamps and jungles of the
former French colony of Indo-China..."

"It is notable, particularly in his relationship with de Gaulle, how
often Churchill's initial fury and his expressed determination to take
strong action, even to withdraw his support altogether, was
transformed when a few days or even hours had passed."

"Despite these friendly gestures, relations again deteriorated at the
end of the war. The Germans had scarcely surrendered when de Gaulle,
careless of the delicate state of affairs in the Middle East, sent a
cruiser loaded with troops to Syria, providing no information about
his intentions and risking a clash with the Syrians and even, perhaps,
with British troops stationed in the Levant."

Title: Allies at War - The Bitter Rivalry Among Churchill, Roosevelt, and de Gaulle
Author: Simon Berthon
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York
Date: 2001
ISBN: 0786709499

"However, that store of affection and admiration was clearly running
dry: "He said that de Gaulle was completely subservient with him but
what was odious was his unsufferable rudeness to anyone on a lower

"As the conversation drew to an end Churchill talkd de Gaulle that he
'had shown marked hostility to us. Wherever he whet there was trouble.
The situation was now critical. It made him sad, since he admired the
General's personality and record. But he could not regard him as a
comrade or friend.' Churchill concluded that matters must now take
their course. General de Gaulle 'had not shown the slightest desire to
assist us, and he himself had been the main obstacle to effective
collaboration with Britain and America'"

I strongly suggest that you get a copy of these books from you local
library and read them for yourself. They are very informative.

nadi42-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you very much!! This was all very helpful, just what I needed. 
Very sweet of you to make a trip to your local library, I didn't
expect anything like that! Altogether, great and very fast answer
service. Now, I can add those information to all other things I
already found and start writing my thesis! You've hepled me very much
and saved me quite a lot of time, so thanks again!

Subject: Re: relationship between Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill
From: khephri-ga on 21 Jul 2005 15:42 PDT
When I am right, I get angry. Churchill gets angry when he is wrong.
We are angry at each other much of the time.
--Charles de Gaulle
Subject: Re: relationship between Charles de Gaulle and Winston Churchill
From: websearcher-ga on 28 Jul 2005 14:26 PDT
Hi nadi42:

I'm very glad this information will be of help! Good luck with your
thesis - it was a very interesting topic to research.


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