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Georges Pompidou

In office
20 June 1969 – 2 April 1974
Prime Minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Pierre Messmer
Preceded by Charles de Gaulle followed by Alain Poher (interim)
Succeeded by Alain Poher (interim) followed by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

151st Prime Minister of France
2nd Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic
In office
14 April 1962 – 10 July 1968
Preceded by Michel Debré
Succeeded by Maurice Couve de Murville

In office
20 June 1969 – 2 April 1974
Preceded by Charles de Gaulle
Succeeded by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
President Charles de Gaulle

Born 5 July 1911(1911-07-05)
Died 2 April 1974 (aged 62)
île Saint-Louis, Paris
Political party UDR
Spouse(s) Claude Pompidou
Alma mater École Normale Supérieure
Occupation Educator
Religion Roman Catholic

Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou (French pronunciation: [ʒɔʁʒ pɔmpidu]; 5 July 1911 – 2 April 1974) was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 1962 to 1968, holding the longest tenure in this position, and later President of the French Republic from 1969 until his death in 1974.



He was born in the commune of Montboudif, in the department of Cantal in central France.[1] After his khâgne at Lycée Louis-le-Grand, where he befriended Senegalese poet and statesman Léopold Sedar Senghor, he graduated from the École Normale Supérieure with a degree of Agrégation in literature.

He first taught literature at a lycée until hired in 1953 by Guy de Rothschild to work at de Rothschild Frères. In 1956, he was appointed the bank's general manager, a position he held until 1962. Later, he was hired by Charles de Gaulle to manage the Anne de Gaulle Foundation for Down's Syndrome (de Gaulle's daughter Anne had Down's Syndrome).

He served as prime minister under de Gaulle after Michel Debré resigned, from 16 April 1962 to 21 July 1968, and to this day is the longest serving French prime minister under the Fifth Republic. His nomination was controversial because he was not a member of the National Assembly. In October 1962, he was defeated by a vote of non-confidence, but de Gaulle dissolved the National Assembly. The Gaullists won the legislative election and Pompidou was reappointed as Prime Minister. In 1964, he was faced with a miners' strike. He led the 1967 legislative campaign of the Union of Democrats for the Fifth Republic to a narrow victory. Pompidou was widely regarded as being responsible for the peaceful resolution of the student uprising of May 1968. His strategy was to break the coalition of students and workers by negotiating with the trade-unions and employers (Grenelle conference). Until this crisis, he was the Prime Minister of a quiet and prosperous France.

However, during the events of May 1968, disagreements arose between Pompidou and de Gaulle. Pompidou did not understand why the President did not inform him of his departure to Baden-Baden on 29 May. Their relationship, until then very good, would be strained from then on. Pompidou led and won the 1968 legislative campaign, then resigned. Nevertheless, in part due to his actions during the May 1968 crisis, he appeared as the natural successor to de Gaulle. Pompidou announced his candidature for the Presidency in January 1969. Some weeks later, his wife's name was mentioned in the Markovic scandal, thus appearing to confirm her husband's status as a cuckold. Pompidou was certain that de Gaulle's inner circle was responsible for this smear.

Georges Pompidou with German chancellor Willy Brandt in Cologne, 3 July 1972.
Georges Pompidou with U.S. president Richard Nixon in Reykjavík, Iceland, 31 May 1973.

After the failure of the 1969 referendum, de Gaulle resigned and Pompidou was elected president of France,[2] defeating in the second round by a wide margin the Centrist President of the Senate and Acting President Alain Poher. Though a Gaullist, Pompidou was more pragmatic than de Gaulle, notably allowing the United Kingdom to join the European Community in 1973. He embarked on an industrialisation plan and initiated the Arianespace project. He was sceptical about the "New Society" programme of his prime minister, Jacques Chaban-Delmas. In 1972, Chaban-Delmas was replaced by Pierre Messmer, a more conservative Gaullist.

While the left-wing opposition got organised in proposing a Common Programme before the 1973 legislative election, he widened out his "presidential majority" by including the Centrist pro-European parties.

While still in office, Pompidou died unexpectedly on 2 April 1974, 9 PM,[3] from Waldenström macroglobulinemia.

Pompidou's wife Claude Pompidou lived more than 30 years longer than Pompidou.

Pompidou had one foster son, Alain Pompidou, former president of the European Patent Office.

Pompidou's time in office was marked by a constant effort to modernise France's capital city. This can be seen through his construction of a modern art museum, the Centre Beaubourg (renamed Centre Pompidou after his death), on the edge of the Marais area of Paris. Other attempts at modernisation included tearing down the open air markets at Les Halles and replacing it with the shopping mall of the same name, building the Montparnasse Tower, and constructing an expressway on the right bank of the Seine.

First Ministry, 4–28 November 1962


  • 15 May 1962 - Gilbert Grandval succeeds Bacon as Minister of Labour. Roger Dusseaulx succeeds Buron as Minister of Public Works and Transport. Raymond Marcellin succeeds Fontanet as Minister of Public Health and Population. Georges Gorse succeeds Pflimlin as Minister of Cooperation.
  • 15 October 1962 - Louis Joxe succeeds Sudreau as interim Minister of National Education

Second Ministry, 28 November 1962 - 8 January 1966

  • Georges Pompidou - Prime Minister
  • Maurice Couve de Murville - Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Pierre Messmer - Minister of Armies
  • Roger Frey - Minister of the Interior
  • Valéry Giscard d'Estaing - Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs
  • Michel Maurice-Bokanowski - Minister of Industry
  • Gilbert Grandval - Minister of Labour
  • Jean Foyer - Minister of Justice
  • Christian Fouchet - Minister of National Education
  • Jean Sainteney - Minister of Veterans and War Victims
  • François Missoffe - Minister of Repatriates
  • André Malraux - Minister of Cultural Affairs
  • Edgard Pisani - Minister of Agriculture
  • Louis Jacquinot - Minister of Overseas Departments and Territories
  • Marc Jacquet - Minister of Public Works and Transport
  • Raymond Marcellin - Minister of Public Health and Population
  • Jacques Marette - Minister of Posts and Telecommunications
  • Alain Peyrefitte - Minister of Information
  • Gaston Palewski - Minister of Scientific Research and Atomic and Space Questions
  • Louis Joxe - Minister of Administrative Reform
  • Jacques Maziol - Minister of Construction


  • 23 July 1964 - François Missoffe leaves the cabinet. He is not replaced as Minister of Repatriates
  • 22 February 1965 - Gaston Palewski leaves the ministry and is not replaced.

Third Ministry, 8 January 1966 - 6 April 1967

Fourth Ministry, 6 April 1967 - 30 May 1968


Fifth Ministry, 30 May - 10 July 1968

Writings by Georges Pompidou

  • Anthologie de la Poésie Française, Livre de Poche/Hachette, 1961

See also


  1. ^ Wall, E. H. (1976). "Pompidou, Georges Jean Raymond". in William D. Halsey. Collier's Encyclopedia. 19. Macmillan Educational Corporation. p. 236. 
  2. ^ "Charles de Gaulle Defeated: 1969 Year in Review,"
  3. ^ Declaration of vacancy, Constitutional Council of France
Political offices
Preceded by
Michel Debré
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Maurice Couve de Murville
Preceded by
Alain Poher (Interim President)
President of France
Succeeded by
Alain Poher (Interim President)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles de Gaulle
Gaullist party Presidential candidate
1969 (won)
Succeeded by
Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles de Gaulle and Ramon Iglesias i Navarri
Co-Prince of Andorra
with Ramón Malla Call (1969-1971) and Joan Martí Alanis (1971-1974)
Succeeded by
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and Joan Martí Alanis


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