Charles de Gaulle
hero in the democratic age
Coming from a middle-class, patriotic milieu, he had internalized the nationalistic spirit of his time, which led him as a career soldier to the army and through the fires of the First World War. Filled with an irrepressible desire for historical greatness, he long suffered from the narrow limits imposed on him by a society rigid in the paths of routine. Only in 1940, when he was almost fifty, did the path to world-historical significance open up. when his country and all seemingly solid orders collapsed under the onslaught of Hitler's tanks.