Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pop History Moment: De Gaulle Escapes Assassination

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On this day in 1963 Antoine Argoud - arch enemy of French President Charles de Gaulle, member of the Organisation de l'Armée Secrète, and opponent of Algerian independence, as well as a former colonel in the French Army - was charged with an assassination attempt against the President, the second of two in which he would be involved*.

Argoud was found bound and gagged in a van parked near Paris' Quai des Orfèvres, having been heavily beaten by men he claimed were with the French Secret Police (known as Les Barbouzes, or the Bearded Ones) but whose assailants later claimed to be with the OAS; Argoud, they said, had been roughly handled as punishment for bungling to plot to kill de Gaulle.

Argoud was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the abortive plot, but subsequently released as part of a general amnesty in May 1968.

*The first - the so-called Algiers Putsch - had been masterminded by General Raoul Salan in April 1961.
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