Official portrait: François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
© La Documentation française. Photo Gisèle Freund

26 November 1916 
François Mitterrand was born in Jarnac.

September 1939
He was drafting while completing his studies in Paris. Mentioned in dispatches three times, he was wounded and taken prisoner.

December 1941
He managed to escape while being transferred to a deportation camp. 

Upon his return to France, he joined the Resistance, where he organized and oversaw all the resistance movements of war prisoners.

August 1944
He participated in the short-lived Government of Secretaries-General which General de Gaulle put in charge of the national territory until the Provisional Government of the French Republic was established in Paris.

November 1946
He was elected Deputy for the Department of Nièvre.

He served as Minister of Veterans and War Victims.

He was Minister of Overseas France.
As a firm supporter of decolonization, he ended the tensions that threatened the cohesion of several territories and forged personal and lasting ties with African leaders. 

June-September 1953
He served as Minister of State for the Council of Europe.
He resigned after the Sultan of Morocco was overthrown.

He served as Minister of the Interior in the Government of Mendès-France. 

He served as Justice Minister in the Government of Guy Mollet.
It was his last ministerial position. He declined further positions in the last Governments of the Fourth Republic because he disapproved of the policy on Algeria.

François Mitterrand denounced the “coup d’état” that brought General de Gaulle to power and took a stance against the institutions of the Fifth Republic. He lost his seat as Deputy, which he recovered in 1962 after a brief time in the Senate.

He was elected Mayor of Château-Chinon. 

He was elected President of the Nièvre Departmental Council.

He was the only leftist candidate to run for president and forced General de Gaulle to stand again in a second ballot, of which he received 45% of the votes.

The Socialist Party was reformed at the Epinay Congress.

He was beaten by a very small margin in president elections by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

He won the presidential elections against the incumbent. 

He was re-elected President of the Republic.
His two seven-year terms were marked by a set of social measures, the extension and reinforcement of local freedoms and freedom of speech, the updating of the Criminal Code, the abolition of the death penalty and major projects, including the Arche de la Defénse, the Grand Louvre and the Bibiliothèque Nationale, which bears his name.

He experienced two periods of political cohabitation (1986-1988 and 1993-1995).

25 June 1992
Constitutional acts were passed, which validate the integration of France into the European Union.

8 January 1996
He died in Paris.

François Mitterrand, une vie en politique | Archive INA

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Updated : 14 December 2022