Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Georges Bidault

Georges Bidault (1899-1983) was a French politician and active in the French Resistance and Organisation de l'Armée Secrète (OAS).

Georges-Augustin Bidault was born in October 5 1899 in Moulins, France. He studied in Sorbonne and became a college history teacher. In 1932 he helped to found the Catholic Association of French Youth and the left-wing anti-fascist newspaper l'Aube. He had a column in the paper and, among other things, protested against the Munich Agreement in 1938.

After the outbreak of World War Two he joined the French army and was captured during the Fall of France and was briefly imprisoned. After his release in July 1941 he joined the Liberte group of French Resistance that eventually merged with Combat. Jean Moulin recruited him to organize an underground press and the Combat underground newspaper.

Bidault participated in the forming of the Conseil de National de la Resistance and after Gestapo captured Moulin, he became its new chairman. In 1944 he formed a Resistance Charter that recommended an extensive post-war reform program. After the liberation of Paris he represented the Resistance in the victory parade. Charles de Gaulle appointed him as a foreign minister of his provisional government in August 25. He became the founder of Mouvement Républicain Populaire (MRP or Popular Republican Movement).

After the war Bidault served as a foreign minister in the Felix Gouin's provisional government in 1946. In June 19 1946 National Constituent Assembly elected him to the president of the provisional government (de facto prime minister). His government composed of socialists, communists and Bidault's own MRP, was formed in June 15 and he yet again became the foreign minister. They conducted elections of the National Assembly in November 29 after which Bidault resigned. His successor was Leon Blum.

Bidault served as in various post-WW2 French governments, first as a foreign minister under Paul Ramadier and Robert Schuman. In 1949 he became the president of the Council of Ministers (again, effectively a prime minister) but his cabinet lasted only 8 months. In Henri Queuille's governments in 1950-1951 he held the office of Vice-president of the Council and under Rene Pleven and Edgar Faure added a post of defense minister.

In 1952 Bidault became a honorary president of MRP. In June 1 1953 president Vincent Aurol assigned him to form his own government but National Assembly refuse to give him the official mandate at June 10. In 1953 Bidault became a presidential candidate but withdrew after the second round.

In April 1958 Bidault again became a prime minister but did not form a cabinet and had a hand in forming the conservative Christian Democratic Movement. He also supported De Gaulle's presidency after the outbreak of the Algerian War of Independence.

In 1961 Bidault became a president of the Executive Council of the Rally for the French Algeria and resisted De Gaulle's policy of Algerian independence. He established his own National Resistance Council within the OAS. In June 1962 he was accused of conspiring against the state as the head of OAS and stripped of his parliamentary immunity. He left for an exile in Brazil. In 1967 he moved to Belgium and in 1968 he returned to France after he had received an amnesty.

Georges Bidault died in January 27 1983 in Cambo-les-Bains.