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Georges Pompidou
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World Leader
    (July 5, 1911-April 2, 1974)
    Born in Montboudif, France
    Prime minister under Charles de Gaulle (1962-68)
    President of France (1969-74)
    He had bushy eyebrows.
    He chain-smoked.
    When he followed de Gaulle as president, one newspaper contrasted their styles with 'France has lost a king and gained a managing director.'
    After he was diagnosed with terminal Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (a type of lymphoma), he kept the diagnosis secret, with his frequent absences from public being blamed on the flu.
    His refusal to resign or formally name a successor produced a succession crisis when he died.
    At his funeral, Richard Nixon declared, 'This is a great day for France.'
    He graduated Ecole Normale Superieure at the head of his class.
    He negotiated a cease fire in the Algerian War (1962).
    He negotiated a settlement of the general strike during the May 1968 crisis.
    When the de Gaullists won a major victory in the subsequent elections, de Gaulle rewarded him by dumping him as a potential rival.
    While president, he reversed de Gaulle's policy and allowed Great Britain to join the European Community.
    He said, 'There are three roads to ruin: women, gambling and technicians. The most pleasant is with women, the quickest is with gambling, but the surest is with technicians.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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