Charles grew up in a fervently patriotic and devoutly Catholic family middle-class family. His father was Henri de Gaulle, a schoolmaster. Henri taught philosophy and mathematics. He was a veteran of the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), in which Prussia/Germany delivered a humiliating defeat to the the French which most Europeans felt was he strongest power in Europe. This loss affecte de Gaulle's father, like many other French people. He was a patriot who fervently believed that the defeat had to be avenged and Alsace and Lorraine won back to France. His patriotism was passed to his children whom he groomed to aid in France's rebuilding the prestige of France. His mother was Jeanne Maillot. Both his parents immersed the children in French history. The family goes back centuries with a record of patriotism. A Chevalier de Gaulle helped defeat an invading English army at Vire (14th century). Jean de Gaulle is cited in the Battle of Agincourt (1415). Biographers report that an uncle, also named Charles de Gaulle, was also a major influence. He had written arespected book about the Celts--ancient people of northern Europe before the Germans and Slavs and the dominant population of what is now France when Caesar brought Gaul into the Roman Empire. He alled for union of the surviving Celtic peoples (Breton, Scots, Irish, and Welsh). De Gaulle as a young schoolboy wrote in his copybook a sentence from his uncle's book, which proved to foreshadow his future role: "In a camp, surprised by enemy attack under cover of night, where each man is fighting alone, in dark confusion, no one asks for the grade or rank of the man who lifts up the standard and makes the first call to rally for resistance."
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