Family tree of Pierre MENDES-FRANCE

French Minister and Secretary of state (before French Fifth Republic)

FrenchBorn Pierre MENDES-FRANCE

French politician

Born on January 11, 1907 in Paris, France , France

Died on October 18, 1982 in Paris, France

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Mendès France was educated at the University of Paris, graduating with a doctorate in law and becoming the youngest member of the Paris Bar association in 1928. In 1924 he joined the Radical Socialist Party, the traditional party of the French middle-class centre-left (not to be confused with the mainstream socialist party of the time, the SFIO).

In 1932, Mendès France was elected to the National Assembly as a deputy for the Eure département; he was the Assembly's youngest member. His ability was recognized at once, and, in the 1936 Popular Front government of Léon Blum, he was appointed Secretary of State for Finance. When World War II broke out, he joined the French Air Force. After the French surrender to Nazi Germany, he was arrested by the Vichy government authorities and sentenced to six years' imprisonment on a fallacious charge of desertion, but on 21 June 1941, he escaped and succeeded in reaching Britain, where he joined the Free French forces of Charles de Gaulle.


After serving with the Free French Air Force, Mendès France was sent by de Gaulle as his Finance Commissioner in Algeria, and then headed the French delegation to the 1944 monetary conference at Bretton Woods. When de Gaulle returned to liberated Paris in September 1944, he appointed Mendès France as Minister for National Economy in the provisional government.

But Mendès France soon fell out with the Finance Minister, René Pleven, when he favoured state regulation of wages and prices to control inflation (while Pleven favoured free market policies). When de Gaulle sided with Pleven, Mendès France resigned. Nonetheless, de Gaulle valued Mendès France's abilities, and appointed him as a director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and as French representative in the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

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Geographical origins

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