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10, 50 and 100 years ago in France – March 2020

What happened in March 10, 50, and 100 years ago? Académie place for Veil, turbo boost for trains, German rehab plan agreed

MARCH 2010: Académie place for Veil

Auschwitz survivor, minister of health, and president of the European Parliament Simone Veil becomes a member of the French language council Académie française on March 18.

At the age of 82, she took the 13th seat, previously occupied by politician and Prime Minister Pierre Messmer, who died in 2007.

Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy, Jacques Chirac and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing – also a member of the Académie – were there for the ceremony.

During her speech, Mrs Veil paid tribute to Messmer and spoke about her fights for women’s rights and Europe. She died in 2017.


MARCH 1970: Turbo boost for trains

Before the TGV (train à grande vitesse) existed, there was a “turbo-train”, which linked Paris to Caen in two hours for the first time on March 12, 1970.

Four days later, the service was officially launched for users.

The train stopped at Evreux and took one hour, 49 minutes to travel from Paris to Caen, travelling at 160kph. The TGVs now run at a speed of 300kph.

Minister of Transport Jacques Baumel said this new train was almost “making Normandy part of the outskirts of Paris”.

The turbo-train performance was comparable to that of electric locomotives but the turbines were fragile and consumed a lot of gas and kerosene. After the first oil crisis in 1973, the development of these trains stopped.


MARCH 1920: German rehab plan agreed

France opposed the Allied plan for rehabilitation of the German economy after World War One.

As allied countries were discussing the European economy and its rehabilitation after the war, France wanted the economic imperialism plan to strengthen its own security.

French Prime Minister Alexandre Millerand did not give his approval.

He estimated that the French economy was in greater need of aid because most of World War One had been fought on French territory rather than in Germany, which had not been invaded extensively.

Modifications were made and Millerand agreed the new rehabilitation plan on March 8.

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