4 citations politiques qui ont marqué l’Histoire

Par le 7 octobre 2019

Si on écrit l’Histoire avec un grand “H”, l’Histoire elle-même s’est écrite avec de petites phrases qui ont dépassé leur statut de simple expression pour devenir des idées, des doctrines, des façons de penser, qui influencent, encore aujourd’hui, la politique française, européenne et mondiale. Dans cet article, nous nous concentrerons en particulier sur des phrases qui, au-delà d’être légendaires, sont de plus en plus oubliées et méritent donc, à nouveau, de refaire surface.

“Quarteron de généraux”

Le 21 avril 1961, si l’Algérie est toujours française, elle ne l’est plus pour longtemps. Le référendum sur l’autodétermination de l’Algérie, c’est-à-dire le fait que les Français laissent aux Algériens le choix de rester ou non en France, a déjà eu lieu (8 janvier 1961) et s’est soldé par une victoire cinglante du oui (75%). Les partisans de l’Algérie Française, désemparés, se savent vaincus. Mais certains refusent leur échec. C’est notamment le cas des généraux Maurice Challe, Edmond Jouhaud et André Zeller, trois anciens de la France Libre, qui décident en ce jour du 21 avril de tenter un putsch contre ce gouvernement dont, selon eux, “ l’illégalité éclate aux yeux de la nation”. Rejoins le 23 par Raoul Salan, leur putsch, mal organisé, échoue. Mais ce qui marque, ce n’est pas la tentative en elle-même, mais la grandiloquence avec laquelle le Général de Gaulle, Président de la République, balaie les généraux. Le 23, à 20 h, le Général, d’un ton franc et clair, qualifie le groupe insurrectionnel de “Quarteron de Généraux”, une phrase choc qui décrédibilise de façon immédiate les putschistes, qui s’effondrent le 26 avril sous la pression.


Jouhaud, Salan et Challe à Alger (Crédit photo: AFP)

Ce qui marque avec le “Quarteron de Généraux”, au-delà de l’utilisation un peu discutable du terme quarteron (ce terme signifie normalement 25, mais il peut aussi être utilisé pour qualifier un petit groupe), c’est le climat que crée le Général de Gaulle. L’État d’urgence déclaré, ce discours est un électrochoc pour l’opinion, qui mesure à la fois la gravité de la situation et l’importance de son Président. Le “Putsch des Généraux”, au-delà d’un événement marquant de la Guerre d’Algérie, est un coup de communication exceptionnel du Général de Gaulle.

“Mon ami, je vais vous étonner, je suis le Président de la République”

L’histoire de l’ex-Président de la République Paul Deschanel, malgré ses accents romanesques, tient plus de la tragédie que du conte à l’eau de rose . Né en 1855 dans une famille de fervent républicains exilés en Belgique, idolâtré par son père, celui qui deviendra Président de la République en 1920 est un homme de lettre brillant et reconnu comme tel (il entre à l’Académie Française en 1889), et un politicien avisé. Elu député en 1885, il se démarque par un attachement profond à la République, hérité de son père, et un engagement à gauche marqué. Son objectif, son “rêve politique”, c’est d’accéder à la magistrature suprême, la Présidence de la République. Mais quand il est élu en 1920, il déchante très vite. La fonction, qu’il rêvait apogée de sa carrière, est en réalité un “rouage inerte”, il n’est qu’un personnage d’apparat. Cette déception se change très vite en dépression, et ses proches commencent à s’inquiéter pour sa santé mentale qui se dégrade rapidement. Tous ces événements nous amènent, le 23 mai 1920, à un train en direction de Montbrison. Vers 23h15, le Président, suffoquant de chaleur se penche par sa fenêtre pour respirer un peu et tombe de son train. Les trains de l’époque n’allant pas à plus de 50 km/h, Deschanel est juste blessé, et est retrouvé par un ouvrier qui surveille la zone, vêtu seulement d’un pyjama. Il lui déclare alors “Mon ami, je vais vous étonner, je suis le Président de la République”. Il sera heureusement pour lui finalement reconnu et regagne son poste. Deschanel finira par démissionner en septembre 1920, après moins d’un an de Présidence.


Paul Deschanel (Crédit Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Au-delà des caricatures nombreuses et des chansons moqueuses que cette histoire a provoqué, ce “Mon ami, je vais vous étonner, je suis le Président de la République” témoigne surtout du peu d’importance qu’avait le Président de la République dans les institutions de la Troisième. Le 23 mai, ce n’est pas Paul Deschanel qui est tombé par la fenêtre de son train, c’est le Président de la République qui a disparu. Et, dans ce train comme dans les institutions, ça n’a eu, pour le coup, que peu d’effet.

“Mitterrand et sa fille”

François Mitterrand fait parti de ces hommes qui, en politique, ont un CV plus long que les escaliers de la Tour Eiffel. 3 fois député et 12 fois ministre sous la Quatrième République, 5 fois député sous la Cinquième République, Maire de Château-Chinon pendant 22 ans, Président de la République pendant 2 septennats (un record sous la Cinquième République). Mais en 1994, à deux années de sa mort, François Mitterrand est dans l’après. Souffrant d’un cancer de la prostate, le Président prépare sa postérité et souhaite se libérer d’un douloureux fardeau. De façon régulière, il allait au Divellec, un restaurant prisé proche des Invalides, dans lequel il rencontre une jeune femme d’une vingtaine d’année au cheveux brun, sa fille. Mazarine Mitterrand-Pingeot, fille naturelle du Président de la République et d’Anne Pingeot, une historienne-conservatrice, est née le 18 décembre 1974, mais son existence est depuis restée plus ou moins secrète. Au Divellec, Mitterrand et sa fille entraient et sortaient à des moments séparés pour ne rien laisser paraître. Mais en 1994, le Président veut faire tomber le voile. Un jour, il décide que lui et sa fille sortiront en même temps du restaurant. A la sortie, il lui pose la main sur l’épaule, la regarde tendrement et, indirectement, se laisse photographier. Le 10 novembre 1994, le numéro 2372 de Paris Match paraît avec cette une:


Une du n°2372 « Mitterrand et sa fille » de Paris Match (Crédit photo: Paris Match)

Si ce “Mitterrand et sa fille” a marqué l’Histoire, ce n’est pas tant pour la révélation qu’il portait, mais pour le visage, profondément humain, que donnait le Président. Mitterrand a autorisé la sortie de cette photo qui est, bien plus qu’une révélation, un coup de communication non pas pour lui-même, mais pour la légende qu’il laissera derrière lui.

“Vous êtes un homme du passé”

L’élection présidentielle de 1974 est, pour la Cinquième République, un tournant. Anticipée à cause de la mort de Georges Pompidou, Président de la République, elle est la première pour laquelle l’Union des Démocrates pour la République, le parti gaulliste au pouvoir depuis 1958, n’a pas de candidats légitimes. Jacques Chaban-Delmas, son candidat, est contesté en interne, et un certains Jacques Chirac, pourtant membre de l’UDR, appelle dans une tribune collective sobrement intitulé le “manifeste des 43” (pour les 43 membres de l’UDR et apparentés hostiles à Chaban-Delmas) à voter pour celui que l’on appelle VGE, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Celui-ci a une stratégie implacable de mise en avant de sa famille, du respect des institutions comme du changement, un programme de centre droit. L’UDR hors course, c’est le candidat de la Gauche, François Mitterrand, qui arrive au second tour de l’élection avec VGE. Le scrutin est extrêmement serré pour le second tour, et la moindre erreur dans un camp signifie la victoire de l’autre. Quand le débat du second tour arrive, la stratégie de Valéry Giscard d’Estaing est d’appuyer sur LE point faible de François Mitterrand: se revendiquer homme du renouveau avec plusieurs décennies de politique au compteur. Mitterrand, citant à de nombreuses reprises l’Histoire de France, aussi bien récente que plus ancienne, VGE se fend finalement d’un “Vous êtes un homme du passé” qui sonne comme une gifle pour François Mitterrand, dont la stratégie de se revendiquer comme le candidat du cœur est elle aussi un échec à cause d’une autre phrase qui a marqué l’Histoire: “vous n’avez pas le monopole du cœur”.


Poster de campagne de Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (Crédit Photo: Pure People)

Si cette citation est aussi importante, c’est parce qu’elle traduit la mentalité politique de l’époque à laquelle elle a été prononcée. Depuis mai 1968, la vague de modernisation qui touche la France oblige progressivement les formations politiques de tout bord à mettre à jour leur matrice politique (Naissance du Parti Socialiste en 1969, du Front National en 1971, arrivée de Marchais au PCF en 1972 et formation du Rassemblement Pour la République (RPR) en 1976). Ce qu’a reproché Valéry Giscard d’Estaing à François Mitterrand, c’est de faire parti d’un “ancien monde” obsolète.

 

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