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Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou

Pompidou, Georges Jean Raymond (zhôrzh pôNpēdōˈ) [key], 1911–74. French political leader, president of France (1969–74). Georges Pompidou taught school and then served in World War II until the fall (1940) of France, when he returned to teaching. In 1944 he served on the staff of General de Gaulle and later became a trusted aide. Joining the Rothschild banking firm in 1954, he soon became its director-general. He remained an important adviser to de Gaulle, and in 1962 President de Gaulle named him premier. During the 1968 strikes and riots in France, Pompidou emerged as a strong figure. Not long afterward, however, he was dismissed as premier by de Gaulle. After de Gaulle's resignation in 1969, Pompidou was elected president with the solid support of the Gaullist party. He immediately began to deal with France's economic problems, devaluing the franc and instituting a price freeze. In foreign affairs, he attempted to improve French relations with other countries and rejected de Gaulle's policy of opposition to Great Britain's entry into the European Community. Despite rumors that he was gravely ill Pompidou remained in office; he died of cancer.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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