Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (// or / /; French: [ʃaʁl də ɡol] ( listen); 22 November 1890 – 9 November 1970) was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969. A veteran of World War I, in the 1920s and 1930s, de Gaulle came to the fore as a proponent of mobile armoured divisions, which he considered would become central in modern warfare. During World War II, he earned the rank of brigadier general (retained throughout his life), leading one of the few successful armoured counter-attacks during the 1940 Battle of France in May in Montcornet, and then briefly served in the French government as France was falling. De Gaulle was the most senior French military officer to reject the June 1940 armistice to Nazi Germany right from the outset. When his superior, the maréchal Pétain gave a radio address to convince the french people to give in to allow the Germans to take over, he happened to be in Britain for military reasons and responded to it the next day by giving a famous radio address, broadcast by the BBC on 18 June 1940, exhorting the French people to resist Nazi Germany and organised the Free French Forces with exiled French officers in Britain. As the war progressed, de Gaulle gradually gained control of all French colonies except Indochina. By the time of the Allied invasion of France in 1944 he was heading what amounted to a French government in exile. From the very beginning, de Gaulle insisted that France be treated as a great power by the other Allies, despite her initial defeat. De Gaulle became prime minister in the French Provisional Government, resigning in 1946 because of political conflicts.
Head of State (German: Staatsoberhaupt), or Chief of State (French: Chef d'État), is a term used in constitutional law, international law, political science, and diplomatic protocol when referring to the official who holds the highest ranked position in a sovereign state and has the vested or implied powers to act as the chief public representative of a state. Heads of state in most countries are natural persons holding an office; however, in four United Nations member states the head of state position is held by a body of persons: the Federal Council of Switzerland, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Co-Princes of Andorra and the Captains Regent of San Marino.
The term head of state is often used differentiating it from the term head of government, e.g. as in article 7 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, article 1 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents and the United Nations protocol list. For instance, in parliamentary systems like the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Federal Republic of Germany; the Monarch and the President are recognized as their respective heads of state, while the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are recognized as the heads of government. However in republics with a presidential system, as in the United States and the Federative Republic of Brazil, their presidents are recognized as being both heads of state and heads of government. The latter is also generally true in absolute monarchies and sometimes as well in other forms of authoritarian government.