Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Pflimlin, Pierre (1907–2000)

French politician and last president of the French Fourth Republic (1958). Born in Roubaix, France, on 5 February 1907, Pierre Pflimlin studied law at Strasbourg University and the Catholic Institute in Paris. A member of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP), he was elected to the Municipal Council of Strasbourg in 1945. He also served in the post–World War II constituent assemblies and was first elected to the National Assembly, as a deputy from Bas-Rhin, in 1946. He was reelected in 1951 and 1956. A close friend of Robert Schuman, Pflimlin actively promoted Franco-German reconciliation and European integration.

During the government crisis precipitated by the Algerian War, on 9 May 1958 Pflimlin was asked to form a new government. Violence flared in Algiers over concerns that Pflimlin was about to grant Algerian independence. On 26 May General Charles de Gaulle met with Pflimlin to discuss the latter's resignation, but talks broke down. Nonetheless, Pflimlin resigned the next day. This paved the way for de Gaulle to return to power as the last premier of the Fourth Republic on 1 June and later to establish the Fifth Republic.

During 1958–1959, Pflimlin was one of four ministers of state in de Gaulle's first cabinet. During 1959–1983 Pflimlin served as mayor of Strasbourg, and during 1962–1965 he was also the president of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe. Dedicated to European integration, in 1979 he won election to the European Parliament and served as its president during 1984–1987. Pflimlin retired in 1987 and died in Strasbourg on 27 June 2000.

Cezar Stanciu and Paul G. Pierpaoli Jr.


Further Reading
Pflimlin, Pierre. Les choix d'une. Paris: Éditions du Signe, 2001.
 

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