Georges Catroux, the son of a general, was born in in France in 1877. He graduated from St Cyr in 1898 as an infantry officer and served in North Africa. During the First World War was captured while commanding a company of Algerian tirailleurs.
After the war Catroux was commander of an army corps in Algeria. A supporter of military reform he was sacked by General Maurice Gamelin. He was recalled in August 1939 when he was appointed governor general of Indo-China. In June 1940, he rejected the armistice and continued to support the Allies.
In July 1940 Henri-Philippe Petain ordered Catroux to return to France. He refused and instead joined General Charles De Gaulle in London. After the successful Operation Torch Catoux was appointed commander in chief of Free French forces in the Middle East. While in this post Catroux came into conflict with General Charles De Gaulle over his views that Syria and the Lebanon should be granted independence after the war.
Catroux was appointed governor general of Algeria on 4th June 1944. He immediately announced that he planned to give French citizenship to certain categories of people in the country.
After the war Catroux was ambassador to Moscow (1945-48) and after retiring was recalled to become governor general of Algeria in February 1956. His announcement that he supported the idea that some French colonies should be granted independence caused tremendous controversy and after four days in office was forced to resign. Georges Catroux died in 1969.