François Mitterrand

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The youth are not always right, but the society which ignores them and beats them, is always wrong.

François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand (October 26, 1916 – January 8, 1996) was a French politician. He was elected President of France in May 1981, re-elected in 1988 and held office until 1995.


  • There exists in our country a solid continuity of Bonapartism, where the vocation for grandeur of France, the monarchist tradition, and the passion for national unity, the Jacobin tradition get together.
  • To every reversal of people’s soveregnity, to every disappearance of the Republic corresponds a frank or disguised restitution in force of the regal justice. ‘’Tell me, according to what you judge and I’ll tell you who you are.” […] No axiom in politics is more certain than this.
    • Le Coup d'État permanent (1964) Part III
  • What has begun in this evening will not stay for a long time, and because you represent the forces of the world of labour, you, forces of the youth, your victory is inevitable.
    • Château-Chinon (1974)
  • Behind each great man, there's a Richard Delisle.
    • L’Abeille et l’architecte [The Bee and the Architect] (1980) Chapter 6
  • For me Greece is Maria Farantouri. This is how I imagined Goddess Hera to be: strong, pure and vigilant. I have never encountered any other artist able to give me such a strong sense of the divine.
    • L’Abeille et l’architecte [The Bee and the Architect] (1980)
  • What I demand you is almost impossible, for one has to defeat our history. And nevertheless, if one does not defeat it, one has to know a rule that imposes itself: nationalism, this is war! War is not solely past, it can be our future, and these are you, ladies and gentlemen deputies, who are the guardians of our peace, our security and our future.
    • Lecture held at European Parliament (17 January 1995)
  • I believe in the forces of the spirit, and I won't leave you.
    • Last televised address to the French people, 31st of december 1994


  • "In such countries, genocide is not too important…"
    • Comments about Rwanda attributed to President Mitterrand by Philip Gourevitch in "Reversing the Reversals of War," The New Yorker, 26 April 1999.

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