French Gaullist politician and head of state, President de Gaulle's second prime minister 1962–68 and his successor as president 1969–74. As prime minister he played a key role in managing the Gaullist party but his moderate and pragmatic conservativism brought a rift with de Gaulle in May–June 1968, when he negotiated the Grenelle Agreement with employers and unions to end the strike movement. Their political divergences were confirmed when, during his own presidency, he authorized a devaluation of the franc (which de Gaulle had vetoed in 1968), agreed to British entry into the European Community (which de Gaulle had twice vetoed in the 1960s), and approved initial steps towards a European Monetary System. Pompidou died in office before completing his full seven-year presidential term.
A teacher trained at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, and himself the son of a school teacher, Pompidou worked on de Gaulle's personal staff during his premiership 1944–46, then joined Rothschild's Bank, becoming its director general in 1954. As head of de Gaulle's personal staff again in 1958, he was involved in the negotiations surrounding the drafting the new constitution in 1958 and was appointed to the new Constitutional Council in 1959. For a politician of his generation, Pompidou was exceptional in attaining high political office having neither participated in the Resistance nor played any public role in electoral and party politics.
Pompidou, Georges Jean Raymond
Centre Georges Pompidou
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