CHARLES ANDRé-MORIE-JOSEPH DE GAULLE1 is best know as the leader of the Free French in World War II and as a politician afterward. However, he was a combat officer in World War I, was wounded and captured, and was in the first fruitless battles against the Germans in World War II. Moreover, the professional army he favored in the 1930s in many ways resembles the special operations forces that in major nations stand ready today (2002) to fight small wars and conduct antiterrorist operations.
DeGaulle was born in Lille, in the Département du Nord, which the French historian Michelet called the “land of battles.” His family was of minor nobility, and boasted many intellectuals. His grandmother had been a famous ...