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Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle, 1944

On this day, December 21, in 1958, Charles de Gaulle was elected as the first president of the Fifth Republic of France. He was previously the leader of Free France (1940–1944) and the head of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944–1946).

“When de Gaulle visited London in June 1940, he was befriended by Colonel Georges Vanier and his wife Pauline. Georges Vanier, later a governor general of Canada, was appointed by Prime Minister Mackenzie King to be the official Canadian representative with the French National Committee in London. In 1944, Vanier accompanied de Gaulle to Ottawa, where the Free French leader addressed a large and enthusiastic crowd outside Parliament.” (Canadian Encyclopedia).

Karsh photographed Their Excellencies the Vaniers on several occasions.