Georges Benjamin Clemenceau (French pronunciation: [ʒɔʁʒ bɛ̃ʒamɛ̃ klemɑ̃so]; 28 September 1841 – 24 November 1929) was a French politician, physician, and journalist who was Prime Minister of France during the First World War. A leader of the Radical Party, he played a central role in the politics of the French Third Republic.
Clemenceau was first Prime Minister from 1906 to 1909, and then again from 1917 to 1920. In favour of a total victory over the German Empire, he militated for the restitution of Alsace-Lorraine to France. He was one of the principal architects of the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Nicknamed "Père la Victoire" (Father Victory) or "Le Tigre" (The Tiger), he took a harsh position against defeated Germany, though not quite as much as the President Raymond Poincaré, and won agreement on Germany's payment of large sums for reparations.
Clemenceau was a native of the Vendée, born at Mouilleron-en-Pareds. During the period of the French Revolution, the Vendée had been a hotbed of monarchist sympathies, but by the time of his birth, its people were fiercely republican. The region was remote from Paris, rural and poor. His mother, Sophie Eucharie Gautreau (1817–1903), was of Huguenot descent. His father, Benjamin Clemenceau (1810–1897), came from a long line of physicians, but he lived off his lands and investments and did not practice medicine. Benjamin was a political activist; he was arrested and briefly held in 1851 and again in 1858. He instilled in his son a love of learning, devotion to radical politics, and a hatred of Catholicism. The lawyer Albert Clemenceau (1861–1955) was his brother. His mother was devoutly Protestant; his father was an atheist, and insisted that his children should have no religious education. Georges was interested in religious issues. He was a lifelong atheist with a sound knowledge of the Bible. He became a leader of anti-clerical or "Radical" forces that battled against the Catholic Church in France and the Catholics in politics. He stopped short of the more extreme attacks. His position was that if church and state were kept rigidly separated, he would not support oppressive measures designed to further weaken the Church.
After his studies in the Lycée in Nantes, Georges received his French baccalaureate of letters in 1858. He went to Paris to study medicine, eventually graduating with the completion of his thesis "De la génération des éléments anatomiques" in 1865.
Journalism, medical career, and exile
In Paris, the young Clemenceau became a political activist and writer. In December 1861, he co-founded a weekly newsletter, Le Travail, along with some friends. On 23 February 1862, he was arrested by the police for having placed posters summoning a demonstration. He spent 77 days in the Mazas Prison.
He finally graduated as a doctor of medicine on 13 May 1865, founded several literary magazines, and wrote many articles, most of which attacked the imperial regime of Napoleon III. Clemenceau left France for the United States when the imperial agents began cracking down on dissidents, sending most of them to the bagne de Cayennes (Devil's Island Penal System) in French Guiana.
Clemenceau worked in New York City in the years 1865-69, following the American Civil War. He maintained a medical practice, but spent much of his time on political journalism for a Parisian newspaper. He taught French at the home of Calvin Rood in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and also taught and rode horseback at a private girls' school in Stamford, Connecticut.
Marriage and family
On 23 June 1869, he married one of his students, Mary Eliza Plummer (1848-1922), in New York City. She was the daughter of William Kelly Plummer and wife Harriet A. Taylor. The Clemenceaus had three children together before the marriage ended in a contentious divorce.
During this time, he joined French exile clubs in New York opposing the imperial regime.
The beginning of the Third Republic
Clemenceau returned to Paris after the French defeat at the Battle of Sedan in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War and the fall of the Second French Empire. After returning to medical practice as a physician in Vendée, he was appointed mayor of the 18th arrondissement of Paris, including Montmartre, and was also elected to the National Assembly for the 18th arrondissement. When the Paris Commune seized power in March 1871, he tried unsuccessfully to find a compromise between the more radical leaders of the commune and the more conservative French government. The Commune declared that he had no legal authority to be mayor and seized the city hall of the 18th arrondissement. He ran for election to the Paris Commune council, but received less than eight hundred votes and took no part in its governance. He was in Bordeaux when the Commune was suppressed by the French Army in May 1871.
After the fall of the Commune, he was elected to the Paris municipal council on 23 July 1871 for the Clignancourt quarter, and retained his seat till 1876. He first held the offices of secretary and vice-president, then became president in 1875.
Chamber of Deputies
In 1876, Clemenceau stood for the Chamber of Deputies (which replaced the National Assembly in 1875) and was elected for the 18th arrondissement. He joined the far left, and his energy and mordant eloquence speedily made him the leader of the radical section. In 1877, after the Crisis of 16 May 1877, he was one of the republican majority who denounced the ministry of the Duc de Broglie. He led resistance to the anti-republican policy of which the incident of 16 May was a manifestation. In 1879 his demand for the indictment of the Broglie ministry brought him prominence.
In 1880, Clemenceau started his newspaper La Justice, which became the principal organ of Parisian Radicalism. From this time, throughout the presidency of Jules Grévy (1879-1887), he became widely known as a political critic and destroyer of ministries (le Tombeur de ministères) who avoided taking office himself. Leading the far left in the Chamber of Deputies, he was an active opponent of the colonial policy of Prime Minister Jules Ferry, which he opposed on moral grounds and also as a form of diversion from the more important goal of “Revenge against Germany” for the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine after the Franco-Prussian War. In 1885, his criticism of the conduct of the Sino-French War contributed strongly to the fall of the Ferry cabinet that year.
During the French legislative elections of 1885, he advocated a strong radical programme and was returned both for his old seat in Paris and for the Var, district of Draguignan. He chose to represent the latter in the Chamber of Deputies. Refusing to form a ministry to replace the one he had overthrown, he supported the right in keeping Prime Minister Charles de Freycinet in power in 1886 and was responsible for the inclusion of Georges Ernest Boulanger in the Freycinet cabinet as War Minister. When General Boulanger revealed himself as an ambitious pretender, Clemenceau withdrew his support and became a vigorous opponent of the heterogeneous Boulangist movement, though the radical press continued to patronize the general.
By his exposure of the Wilson scandal, and by his personal plain speaking, Clemenceau contributed largely to Jules Grévy's resignation of the presidency of France in 1887. He had declined Grévy's request to form a cabinet upon the downfall of the cabinet of Maurice Rouvier by advising his followers to vote for neither Charles Floquet, Jules Ferry, nor Charles de Freycinet, he was primarily responsible for the election of an "outsider," Marie François Sadi Carnot, as president.
The split in the Radical Party over Boulangism weakened his hand, and its collapse meant that moderate republicans did not need his help. A further misfortune occurred in the Panama affair, as Clemenceau's relations with the businessman and politician Cornelius Herz led to his being included in the general suspicion. In response to accusations of corruption leveled by the nationalist politician Paul Déroulède, Clemenceau fought a duel with him on 23 December 1892. Six shots were discharged, but neither participant was injured.
Clemenceau remained the leading spokesman for French radicalism, but his hostility to the Franco-Russian Alliance so increased his unpopularity that in the French legislative elections of 1893, he was defeated for his seat in the Chamber of Deputies, after having held it continuously since 1876.
After his 1893 defeat, Clemenceau confined his political activities to journalism for nearly a decade. His career was further clouded by the long-drawn-out Dreyfus case, in which he took an active part as a supporter of Émile Zola and an opponent of the anti-Semitic and nationalist campaigns. In all, Clemenceau published 665 articles defending Dreyfus during the affair.
On 13 January 1898, Clemenceau published Émile Zola's "J'accuse" on the front page of the Paris daily newspaper L'Aurore, of which he was owner and editor. He decided to run the controversial article, which would become a famous part of the Dreyfus Affair, in the form of an open letter to Félix Faure, the president of France.
In 1900, he withdrew from La Justice to found a weekly review, Le Bloc, to which he was practically the sole contributor. The publication of Le Bloc lasted until 15 March 1902. On 6 April 1902, he was elected senator for the Var district of Draguignan, although he had previously called for the suppression of the French Senate, as he considered it a strong-house of conservatism. He served as the senator for Draguignan until 1920.
Clemenceau sat with the Radical-Socialist Party in the Senate and moderated his positions, although he still vigorously supported the ministry of Prime Minister Émile Combes, who spearheaded the anti-clericalist republican struggle. In June 1903, he undertook the direction of the journal L'Aurore, which he had founded. In it, he led the campaign to revisit the Dreyfus affair, and to create a separation of Church and State in France. The latter was implemented by the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State.
In March 1906 the ministry of Maurice Rouvier fell as a result of civil disturbances provoked by the implementation of the law on the separation of church and state and the victory of radicals in the French legislative elections of 1906. The new government of Ferdinand Sarrien appointed Clemenceau as Minister of the Interior in the cabinet. On a domestic level, Clemenceau reformed the French police forces and ordered repressive policies towards the workers' movement. He supported the formation of scientific police by Alphonse Bertillon, and founded the Brigades mobiles (French for "mobile squads") led by Célestin Hennion. These squads were nicknamed Brigades du Tigre ("The Tiger's Brigades") after Clemenceau himself.
The miners' strike in the Pas de Calais after the Courrières mine disaster, which resulted in the death of more than one thousand persons, threatened widespread disorder on 1 May 1906. Clemenceau ordered the military against the strikers and repressed the wine-growers' strike in the Languedoc-Roussillon. His actions alienated the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) socialist party, from which he definitively broke in his notable reply in the Chamber of Deputies to Jean Jaurès, leader of the SFIO, in June 1906. Clemenceau's speech positioned him as the strong man of the day in French politics; when the Sarrien ministry resigned in October, Clemenceau became premier.
After a proposal by the deputy Paul Dussaussoy for limited women's suffrage in local elections, Clemenceau published a pamphlet in 1907 in which he declared that if women were given the vote France would return to the Middle Ages. As the revolt of the Languedoc winegrowers developed Clemenceau at first dismissed the complaints, then sent in troops to keep the peace in June 1907. During 1907 and 1908, he led the development of a new Entente cordiale with Britain, which gave France a successful role in European politics. Difficulties with Germany and criticism by the Socialist party in connection with the handling of the First Moroccan Crisis in 1905–06 were settled at the Algeciras Conference.
Clemenceau was defeated on 20 July 1909 in a discussion in the Chamber of Deputies on the state of the navy, in which bitter words were exchanged between him and Théophile Delcassé, the former president of the Council whose downfall Clemenceau had aided. Refusing to respond to Delcassé's technical questions, Clemenceau resigned after his proposal for the order of the day vote was rejected. He was succeeded as premier by Aristide Briand, with a reconstructed cabinet.
Between 1909 and 1912, Clemenceau dedicated his time to travel, conferences and the treatment of his illness. He went to South America in 1910, traveling to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina (where he went as far as Santa Ana de Tucuman in northwest Argentina). There, he was amazed by the influence of French culture and of the French Revolution on local elites.
He published the first issue of the Journal du Var on 10 April 1910. Three years later, on 6 May 1913, he founded L'Homme libre ("The Free Man") newspaper in Paris, for which he wrote a daily editorial. In these media, Clemenceau focused increasingly on foreign policy and condemned the Socialists' anti-militarism.
First World War
At the outbreak of World War I in France in August 1914, Clemenceau's newspaper was one of the first to be censored by the government; it was suspended from 29 September 1914 to 7 October. In response, Clemenceau changed the newspaper's name to L'Homme enchaîné ("The Chained Man"). He criticized the government for its lack of transparency and its ineffectiveness, while defending the patriotic union sacrée against the German Empire.
In spite of the censorship imposed by the French government on Clemenceau's journalism at the beginning of World War I, he still wielded considerable political influence. As soon as the war started, Clemenceau advised Interior MinisterMalvy to invoke Carnet B, a list of known and suspected subversives who were supposed to be arrested on mobilisation. The Prefect of Police gave the same advice, but the government did not follow it, with the result that 80% of the 2,501 people listed on Carnet B volunteered for service. Clemenceau declined to join the government of national unity as Justice Minister in autumn 1914.
He was a vehement critic of the war-time French government, complaining that it was never doing enough to win the war. His inflexibility was driven by a will to regain the province of Alsace-Lorraine, a view shared by public opinion. The autumn of 1917 saw the disastrous Italian defeat at the Battle of Caporetto, the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, and rumours that former Prime Minister Joseph Caillaux and Interior MinisterLouis Malvy might have engaged in treason. Prime Minister Paul Painlevé was inclined to open negotiations with Germany. Clemenceau argued that even German restitution of Alsace-Lorraine and the liberation of Belgium would not be enough to justify France abandoning her Allies. This forced Alexandre Ribot and Aristide Briand (both the previous two Prime Ministers, of whom the latter was by the far more powerful politician and had been approached by a German diplomat) to agree in public that there would be no separate peace. For many years, Clemenceau was blamed for having blocked a possible compromise peace, but it is now clear from examination of German documents that Germany had no serious intention of handing over Alsace-Lorraine. The prominence of his opposition made him the best known critic and the last man standing when the others had failed.“Messieurs, les Allemands sont toujours à Noyon” (Gentlemen, the Germans are still at Noyon) wrote Clemenceau’s paper endlessly.
Prime Minister again
In November 1917, at one of the darkest hours for the French war effort in World War I, Clemenceau was appointed prime minister. Unlike his predecessors, he discouraged internal disagreement and called for peace among the senior politicians. This was a first, or at least in France.
Clemenceau governed from the Ministry of War in the Rue Saint-Dominique. Almost his first act as prime minister was to relieve General Maurice Sarrail from his command of the Salonika Front. This was the main topic of discussion at the first meeting of the War Committee on 6 December, at which Clemenceau stated, “Sarrail cannot remain there”. The reason for Sarrail's dismissal was his links with the socialist politicians Joseph Caillaux and Louis Malvy (at that time suspected of treasonable contacts with the Germans)
Churchill later wrote that Clemenceau "looked like a wild animal pacing to and fro behind bars" in front of "an assembly which would have done anything to avoid putting him there, but, having put him there, felt they must obey".
When Clemenceau became prime minister in 1917 victory seemed to be elusive. There was little activity on the Western Front because it was believed that there should be limited attacks until the American support arrived. At this time, Italy was on the defensive, Russia had virtually stopped fighting – and it was believed (correctly - see the Treaty of Brest Litovsk) that they would be making a separate peace with Germany. At home, the government had to deal with increasing demonstrations against the war, a scarcity of resources and air raids that were causing huge physical damage to Paris as well as undermining the morale of its citizens. It was also believed that many politicians secretly wanted peace. It was a challenging situation for Clemenceau; after years of criticizing other men during the war, he suddenly found himself in a position of supreme power. He was also isolated politically. He did not have close links with any parliamentary leaders (especially after he had antagonized them so relentlessly during the course of the war) and so had to rely on himself and his own circle of friends.
Clemenceau's assumption of power meant little to the men in the trenches at first. They thought of him as "just another politician", and the monthly assessment of troop morale found that only a minority found comfort in his appointment. Slowly, however, as time passed, the confidence he inspired in a few began to grow throughout all the fighting men. They were encouraged by his many visits to the trenches. This confidence began to spread from the trenches to the home front and it was said,[by whom?] "We believed in Clemenceau rather in the way that our ancestors believed in Joan of Arc." After years of criticism against the French army for its conservatism and Catholicism, Clemenceau would need help to get along with the military leaders in order to achieve a sound strategic plan. He nominated General Henri Mordacq to be his military chief of staff. Mordacq helped to inspire trust and mutual respect from the army to the government which proved essential to the final victory.
Clemenceau was also well received by the media, because they felt that France was in need for strong leadership. It was widely recognized that throughout the war he was never discouraged and never stopped believing that France could achieve total victory. There were skeptics, however, that believed that Clemenceau, like other war time leaders, would have a short time in office. It was said,[by whom?] "Like everyone else … Clemenceau will not last long- only long enough to clean up [the war]."
1918: Clemenceau's crackdown
As the military situation worsened in early 1918, Clemenceau continued to support the policy of total war – "We present ourselves before you with the single thought of total war" – and the policy of "la guerre jusqu'au bout" (war until the end). His speech of 8 March advocating this policy was so effective that it left a vivid impression on Winston Churchill, who would make similar speeches on becoming British prime minister in 1940. Clemenceau's war policy encompassed the promise of victory with justice, loyalty to the fighting men, and immediate and severe punishment of crimes against France.
Joseph Caillaux, a former French prime minister, disagreed with Clemenceau's policies. He wanted to surrender to Germany and negotiate a peace, thus Clemenceau viewed Caillaux as a threat to national security. Unlike previous ministers, Clemenceau moved against Caillaux publicly. As a result, a parliamentary committee decided that Caillaux would be arrested and imprisoned for three years. Clemenceau believed, in the words of Jean Ybarnégaray, that Caillaux's crime "was not to have believed in victory [and] to have gambled on his nation's defeat".
It was believed by some[by whom?] in Paris that the arrest of Caillaux and others was a sign that Clemenceau had begun a Reign of Terror. The many trials and arrests aroused such great public excitement that one newspaper ironically reported, "The war must be over, for no one is talking about it anymore." These trials, far from making the public fear the government, inspired confidence, as they felt that for the first time in the war, action was being taken and they were being firmly governed. The claims that Clemenceau's "firm government" was a dictatorship found little support. Clemenceau was still held accountable to the people and media. He relaxed censorship on political views as he believed that newspapers had the right to criticize political figures: "The right to insult members of the government is inviolable." The only powers that Clemenceau assumed were those that he thought necessary to win the war.
In 1918, Clemenceau thought that France should adopt Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, mainly because of its point that called for the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France. This meant that victory would fulfill the war aim that was crucial for the French public. Clemenceau was sceptical about some other points, however, including those concerning the League of Nations, as he believed that the latter could succeed only in a utopian society.
As war minister, Clemenceau was also in close contact with his generals, but he did not always make the most effective decisions concerning military issues (though he did heed the advice of the more experienced generals). As well as talking strategy with the generals, he also went to the trenches to see the poilus, the French infantrymen. He would speak to them and assure them that their government was actually looking after them. The poilus had great respect for Clemenceau and his disregard for danger, as he often visited soldiers only yards away from German frontlines. The government was worried about the visits of Clemenceau to the front lines, as he was most of the time risking his own life by insulting and threatening the German soldiers in person directly from the trenches. These visits, his speech, and his verbal threats directly to the enemy impressed the soldiers and contributed to Clemenceau's title "Père la Victoire" (Father of Victory).
1918: the German spring offensive
On 21 March 1918, the Germans began their great Spring Offensive. The Allies were caught off guard and a gap was created in the British/French lines that risked handing over access to Paris to the Germans. This defeat cemented Clemenceau's belief, and that of the other allies, that a coordinated, unified command was the best option. It was decided that Ferdinand Foch would be appointed as Generalissimo.
The German line continued to advance, and Clemenceau believed that they could not rule out the fall of Paris. It was believed[by whom?] that if "the tiger" as well as Foch and Philippe Pétain stayed in power, for even another week, France would be lost. It was thought[by whom?] that a government headed by Aristide Briand would be beneficial to France, because he would make peace with Germany on advantageous terms. Clemenceau adamantly opposed these opinions and he gave an inspirational speech in the Chamber of Deputies; the Chamber subsequently voted their confidence in him by 377 votes to 110.
1918: the Allied counter-offensive and the Armistice
As the Allied counter-offensives began to push the Germans back, it became clear that the Germans could no longer win the war. Although they still occupied vast amounts of French territory, they did not have sufficient resources and manpower to continue their attack. As countries allied to Germany began to ask for an armistice, it was obvious that Germany would soon follow. On 11 November 1918, an armistice with Germany was signed. Clemenceau was embraced in the streets and attracted admiring crowds. He was a strong, energetic, positive leader who was key to the allied victory of 1918.
Paris Peace Conference
To settle the international political issues left over from the conclusion of World War I, it was decided that a peace conference would be held in Paris, France. Famously, the Treaty of Versailles between Germany and the Allied Powers to conclude the conflict was signed in the Palace of Versailles, but the deliberations on which it was based were conducted in Paris, hence the name given to the meeting of the victorious heads of state that produced the treaties signed with the defeated powers: the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. On 13 December 1918, United States president Woodrow Wilson received an enthusiastic welcome in France. His Fourteen Points and the concept of a League of Nations had made a big impact on the war-weary French. Clemenceau realized at their first meeting that he was a man of principle and conscience.
It was decided that since the conference was being held in France, Clemenceau would be the most appropriate president. He also spoke both English and French, the official languages of the conference.
The progress at the conference was much slower than anticipated, and decisions were constantly being tabled. It was this slow pace that induced Clemenceau to give an interview showing his irritation to an American journalist. He said he believed that Germany had won the war industrially and commercially as its factories were intact and its debts would soon be overcome through "manipulation". In a short time, he believed, the German economy would be much stronger than the French.
France's diplomatic position at the Paris Peace Conference was repeatedly jeopardized by Clemenceau's mistrust of David Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson, and his intense dislike of French President Raymond Poincaré. When negotiations reached a stalemate, Clemenceau had a habit of shouting at the other heads of state and storming out of the room rather than participating in further discussion.
On 19 February 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, as Clemenceau was leaving his apartment in the Rue Benjamin-Franklin (fr) to drive to a meeting with Woodrow Wilson's aide Edward M. House and British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour at the Hôtel de Crillon, a man jumped out and fired several shots at the car. One bullet hit Clemenceau between the ribs, just missing his vital organs. Too dangerous to remove, the bullet remained with him for the rest of his life. Clemenceau's assailant, anarchist Émile Cottin, was seized by the crowd following the leader's procession and nearly lynched. Taken back to his house, Clemenceau's faithful assistant found him pale, but conscious. "They shot me in the back," Clemenceau told him. "They didn't even dare to attack me from the front."
Clemenceau often joked about the "assassin's" bad marksmanship – “We have just won the most terrible war in history, yet here is a Frenchman who misses his target 6 out of 7 times at point-blank range. Of course this fellow must be punished for the careless use of a dangerous weapon and for poor marksmanship. I suggest that he be locked up for eight years, with intensive training in a shooting gallery."
Rhineland and the Saar
When Clemenceau returned to the Council of Ten on 1 March he found that little had changed. One issue that had not changed at all was a dispute over France's long-running eastern frontier and control of the German Rhineland. Clemenceau believed that Germany's possession of this territory left France without a natural frontier in the East and thus simplified invasion into France for an attacking army. The British ambassador reported in December 1918 on Clemenceau's views on the future of the Rhineland: "He said that the Rhine was a natural boundary of Gaul and Germany and that it ought to be made the German boundary now, the territory between the Rhine and the French frontier being made into an Independent State whose neutrality should be guaranteed by the great powers".
The issue was finally resolved when Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson guaranteed immediate military assistance if Germany attacked without provocation. It was also decided that the Allies would occupy the territory for fifteen years, and that Germany could never rearm the area. Lloyd George insisted on a clause allowing for the early withdrawal of Allied troops if the Germans fulfilled the treaty; Clemenceau inserted Article 429 into the treaty that permitted the Allied occupation beyond the fifteen years if adequate guarantees for Allied security against unprovoked aggression were not met. This was in case the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the treaty of guarantee, thereby making null and void the British guarantee as well, since that was dependent on the Americans being part of it. This is, in fact, what did occur. Article 429 ensured that a refusal of the U.S. Senate to ratify the treaties of guarantee would not weaken them.
President Poincaré and Marshal Ferdinand Foch both repeatedly pressed for an autonomous Rhineland state. At a Cabinet meeting on 25 April Foch spoke against the deal Clemenceau had brokered and pushed for a separate Rhineland. On 28 April Poincaré sent Clemenceau a long letter detailing why he thought Allied occupation should continue until Germany had paid all her reparations. Clemenceau replied that the alliance with America and Britain was of more value than an isolated France which held onto the Rhineland: "In fifteen years I will be dead, but if you do me the honour of visiting my tomb, you will be able to say that the Germans have not fulfilled all the clauses of the treaty, and that we are still on the Rhine". Clemenceau said to Lloyd George in June: "We need a barrier behind which, in the years to come, our people can work in security to rebuild its ruins. The barrier is the Rhine. I must take national feelings into account. That does not mean that I am afraid of losing office. I am quite indifferent on that point. But I will not, by giving up the occupation, do something which will break the willpower of our people". He said later to Jean Martel: "The policy of Foch and Poincaré was bad in principle. It was a policy no Frenchman, no republican Frenchman could accept for a moment, except in the hope of obtaining other guarantees, other advantages. We leave that sort of thing to Bismarck".
There was increasing discontent among Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson about slow progress and information leaks surrounding the Council of Ten. They began to meet in a smaller group, called the Council of Four, Vittorio Orlando of Italy being the fourth, though less weighty, member. This offered greater privacy and security and increased the efficiency of the decision-making process. Another major issue that the Council of Four discussed was the future of the German Saar region. Clemenceau believed that France was entitled to the region and its coal mines after Germany deliberately damaged the coal mines in northern France. Wilson, however, resisted the French claim so firmly that Clemenceau accused him of being "pro-German". Lloyd George came to a compromise; the coal mines were given to France and the territory placed under French administration for 15 years, after which a vote would determine whether the region would rejoin Germany.
Although Clemenceau had little knowledge of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, he supported the causes of its smaller ethnic groups and his adamant stance lead to the stringent terms in the Treaty of Trianon that dismantled Hungary. Rather than recognizing territories of the Austrian-Hungarian empire solely within the principles of self-determination, Clemenceau sought to weaken Hungary, just as Germany was, and remove the threat of such a large power within Central Europe. The entire Czechoslovakian state was seen a potential buffer from Communism and this encompassed majority Hungarian territories.
Clemenceau was not experienced in the fields of economics or finance, and as John Maynard Keynes pointed out "he did not trouble his head to understand either the Indemnity or [France’s] overwhelming financial difficulties", but he was under strong public and parliamentary pressure to make Germany's reparations bill as large as possible. It was generally agreed that Germany should not pay more than it could afford, but the estimates of what it could afford varied greatly. Figures ranged between £2,000 million and £20,000 million. Clemenceau realised that any compromise would anger both the French and British citizens and that the only option was to establish a reparations commission which would examine Germany's capacity for reparations. This meant that the French government was not directly involved in the issue of reparations.
Defence of the Treaty
The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919. Clemenceau now had to defend the treaty against critics who viewed the compromises Clemenceau had negotiated as inadequate for French national interests. The French Parliament debated the treaty and Louis Barthou on 24 September claimed that the U.S. Senate would not vote for the treaty of guarantee or the Treaty of Versailles and therefore it would have been wiser to have the Rhine as a frontier. Clemenceau replied that he was sure the Senate would ratify both and that he had inserted Article 429 into the treaty, providing for "new arrangements concerning the Rhine". This interpretation of Article 429 was disputed by Barthou.
Clemenceau's main speech on the treaty was delivered on 25 September. He said that he knew the treaty was not perfect, but that the war had been fought by a coalition and therefore the treaty would express the lowest common denominator of those involved. He claimed criticisms of the details of the treaty were misleading; they should look at the treaty as a whole and see how they could benefit from it:
The treaty, with all its complex clauses, will only be worth what you are worth; it will be what you make it...What you are going to vote to-day is not even a beginning, it is a beginning of a beginning. The ideas it contains will grow and bear fruit. You have won the power to impose them on a defeated Germany. We are told that she will revive. All the more reason not to show her that we fear her...M. Marin went to the heart of the question, when he turned to us and said in despairing tones, ‘You have reduced us to a policy of vigilance.’ Yes, M. Marin, do you think that one could make a treaty which would do away with the need for vigilance among the nations of Europe who only yesterday were pouring out their blood in battle? Life is a perpetual struggle in war, as in peace...That struggle cannot be avoided. Yes, we must have vigilance, we must have a great deal of vigilance. I cannot say for how many years, perhaps I should say for how many centuries, the crisis which has begun will continue. Yes, this treaty will bring us burdens, troubles, miseries, difficulties, and that will continue for long years.
The Chamber of Deputies ratified the treaty by 372 votes to 53, with the Senate voting unanimously for its ratification. On 11 October he gave his last parliamentary speech, to the Senate. He said that any attempt to partition Germany would be self-defeating and that France must find a way of living with sixty million Germans. He also said that the bourgeoisie, like the aristocracy before them in the ancien régime, had failed as a ruling class. It was now the turn of the working class to rule. He advocated national unity and a demographic revolution: "The treaty does not state that France will have many children, but it is the first thing that should have been written there. For if France does not have large families, it will be in vain that you put all the finest clauses in the treaty, that you take away all the Germans guns, France will be lost because there will be no more French".
Clemenceau's final tenure as prime minister witnessed the implementation of various reforms aimed at regulating the hours of labour. A general 8-hour-day law passed in April 1919 amended the French Labour Code, and in June that year, existing legislation concerning the duration of the working day in the mining industry was amended by extending the eight-hour day to all classes of workpeople, “whether employed underground or on the surface.” Under a previous law of December 1913, the eight-hour limit had only applied to workpeople employed underground. In August 1919, a similar limit was introduced for all those employed in French vessels. Another law passed in 1919 (which came into operation in October 1920) prohibited employment in bakeries between the hours of 10 P.M. and 4 A.M. A decree of May 1919 introduced the 8-hour day for workers on trams, railways, and in inland waterways, and a second of June 1919 extended this provision to the State railways. In April 1919, an enabling Act was approved for an eight-hour day and a six-day week, although farmworkers were excluded from the Act.
In 1919 France adopted a new electoral system and the legislative election gave the National Bloc (a coalition of right-wing parties) a majority. Clemenceau only intervened once in the election campaign, delivering a speech on 4 November at Strasbourg, praising the manifesto and men of the National Bloc and urging that the victory in the war needed to be safeguarded by vigilance. In private he was concerned at this huge swing to the right.
His friend Georges Mandel urged Clemenceau to stand for the presidency in the upcoming election and on 15 January 1920 he let Mandel announce that he would be prepared to serve if elected. However Clemenceau did not intend to campaign for the post, instead he wished to be chosen by acclaim as a national symbol. The preliminary meeting of the republican caucus (a forerunner to the vote in the National Assembly) chose Paul Deschanel instead of Clemenceau by a vote of 408 to 389. In response, Clemenceau refused to be put forward for the vote in the National Assembly because he did not want to win by a small majority, but by a near-unanimous vote. Only then, he claimed, could he negotiate with confidence with the Allies.
In his last speech to the Cabinet on 18 January he said, "We must show the world the extent of our victory, and we must take up the mentality and habits of a victorious people, which once more takes its place at the head of Europe. But all that will now be placed in jeopardy...It will take less time and less thought to destroy the edifice so patiently and painfully erected than it took to complete it. Poor France. The mistakes have begun already".
Clemenceau resigned as prime minister as soon as the presidential election was held (17 January 1920) and took no further part in politics. In private, he condemned the unilateral occupation by French troops of the German city of Frankfurt in 1920 and said if he had been in power, he would have persuaded the British to join it.
He took a holiday in Egypt and the Sudan from February to April 1920, then embarked for the Far East in September, returning to France in March 1921. In June, he visited England and received an honorary degree from the University of Oxford. He met Lloyd George and said to him that after the Armistice he had become the enemy of France. Lloyd George replied, “Well, was not that always our traditional policy?” He was joking, but after reflection, Clemenceau took it seriously. After Lloyd George's fall from power in 1922 Clemenceau remarked, “As for France, it is a real enemy who disappears. Lloyd George did not hide it: at my last visit to London he cynically admitted it”.
In late 1922, Clemenceau gave a lecture tour in the major cities of the American northeast. He defended the policy of France, including war debts and reparations, and condemned American isolationism. He was well received and attracted large audiences, but America's policy remained unchanged. On 9 August 1926, he wrote an open letter to the American President Calvin Coolidge that argued against France paying all its war debts: "France is not for sale, even to her friends". This appeal went unheard.
He condemned Poincaré's occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 as an undoing of the entente between France and Britain.
He wrote two short biographies of the Greek orator Demosthenes and the French painter Claude Monet. He also penned a huge two-volume tome, covering philosophy, history and science, titled Au Soir de la Pensée. Writing this occupied most of his time between 1923 and 1927.
During his last months, he wrote his memoirs, despite declaring previously that he would not write them. He was spurred into doing so by the appearance of Marshal Foch's memoirs, which were highly critical of Clemenceau, mainly for his policy at the Paris Peace Conference. He only had time to finish the first draft and it was published posthumously as Grandeurs et Misères d'une Victoire (The Grandeur and Misery of Victory). He was critical of Foch and also of his successors who had allowed the Versailles Treaty to be undermined in the face of Germany's revival. He burned all of his private letters.
Clemenceau died on 24 November 1929 and was buried at Mouchamps.
Clemenceau's First Ministry, 25 October 1906 – 24 July 1909
- 4 January 1908 – Aristide Briand succeeds Guyot-Dessaigne as Minister of Justice. Gaston Doumergue succeeds Briand as Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts. Briand remains Minister of Worship. Jean Cruppi succeeds Doumergue as Minister of Commerce and Industry.
- 22 October 1908 – Alfred Picard succeeds Thomson as Minister of Marine.
Clemenceau's Second Ministry, 16 November 1917 – 20 January 1920
- 23 November 1917 – Albert Lebrun succeeds Jonnart as Minister of Liberated Regions and Blockade.
- 26 November 1918 – Louis Loucheur becomes Minister of Industrial Reconstitution. His office of Minister of Armaments and War Manufacturing is abolished.
- 24 December 1918 – The office of Minister of Blockade is abolished. Lebrun remains Minister of Liberated Regions.
- 5 May 1919 – Albert Claveille succeeds Clémentel as Minister of Merchant Marine. He remains Minister of Public Works and Transport, while Clémentel remains Minister of Commerce, Industry, Posts, and Telegraphs
- 20 July 1919 – Joseph Noulens succeeds Boret as Minister of Agriculture and Supply.
- 6 November 1919 – André Tardieu succeeds Lebrun as Minister of Liberated Regions.
- 27 November 1919 – Léon Bérard succeeds Lafferre as Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts. Louis Dubois succeeds Clémentel as Minister of Commerce, Industry, Posts, and Telegraphs.
- 2 December 1919 – Paul Jourdain succeeds Colliard as Minister of Labour and Social Security Provisions.
Clemenceau was a long-time friend and supporter of the impressionist painter Claude Monet. He was instrumental in persuading Monet to have a cataract operation in 1923, and for over a decade encouraged Monet to complete his donation to the French state of Les Nymphéas (Water Lilies) paintings that are now on display in Paris' Musée de l'Orangerie in specially constructed oval galleries (which opened to the public in 1927).
Having fought a dozen duels against political opponents, Clemenceau knew the importance of exercise and practiced fencing every morning even when he was an old man.
Usually doesn't takes me this long to complete an 600 word essay but tonight i'm really lazy lmfao
how to writing essays for college research paper against gun control plans dissertation help bristoldissertation corporate disclosure vicky cristina barcelona critical review essay kent hovind dissertation list room 101 essays dhanpat abstract in research paper journals a beautiful mind essay english 50 000 word essay culture and personality essay conclusion a326 essay about myself essay on importance of print media what do you want to be a nurse essay essay on balanced diet in 300 words. research paper about business quotes lapidacion de soraya analysis essay tetrazoles synthesis essay ellington dissertation Y'all: hating on no more 140 tweets Me: always writes essays anyway so thank u Twitter writing the conclusion of a dissertation research paper first paragraph key what is the thesis of a research essay joint. historiographic essay list jenner museum visit essay the best essay writing service xlZero carbon homes dissertation help how to do a cover sheet for research paper a beautiful mind essay english use of personal pronouns in research papers? how to start a thesis for an essaysimple cover page for essay in turabian.
Thanksgiving memories essay Clique Clique Clique #GoodMusic russian revolution thematic essay on revolution 50 successful harvard essays pdf john gay beggar opera analysis essay essay on labeling theory research paper on censorship videos research paper on brain tumors. american critical essay history memory mickey mouse other past perspective. Cadet creed essay help hook for women's rights essay I get to write about college football for my next essay andreas burnier essays on the great julius caesar brutus speech essay of smoking dystopian fiction dissertation essayerons conjugaison prendre two hands movie essay citation? xavier university application essay cry the beloved country essay bible Doing some serious reading today. Three day plan to read a book and write an essay. #benifitsofprocrastination unitarian and pluralism essay writer supplemental essay william and mary the joy luck club essay thesis english for writing research papers history iskriv essays aeroplane accident essay catch me if you can movie review essays essay on my dream destination switzerland essay writing on water pollution university of ulster undergraduate dissertation aint nobody fresher than my mofo CLIQUE CLIQUE CLIQUE CLIQUE. lmao let me go do my essay -_-. Tewwg essay about myself stolen generation experiences essays smart cruise control essay essay about gay marriage video college admissions essay help zone homelessness research paper xpress? essay on discipline english glenna bower dissertation. essay importance of computer hospital research paper l escalier de fer critique essay? essays on contemporary issues registered nurse research paper keshavn brain computer interface research paper xc dissertation risk analysis. School ties essay prejudice find dissertation key subculture essay numbers. Nietzsche genealogy of morals essay 300, narrative essay ready persuasive essay on childhood obesity I had to write a 500 word essay, but I was 10 words over the limit, so I just put hyphens between the words over limit short essay on food security how to write good argumentative essays zoning college essays life changing experiences water transport short essay about friendship. apologue dissertation planner dissertations on parental involvement and literacy increasing violence among youth essay jordana essessay write my essay for money quotes how to write a comparative essay between two poems friday night lights comparison essay introduction organizations against racism in sport essay ap language argument essay 9 narrative essay on teamwork essay on education tourism genre zuihitsu essays essay on balanced diet in 300 words conclusions in persuasive essays reliable friend essay curley s wife essay sympathy gifts narrative essay on teamwork food inc summary essay thesis untergruppe beispiel essay l escalier de fer critique essay essay schreiben philosophie beispiel rechnung what to write in a scholarship essay quotes writing a problem statement for dissertation university of reading dissertations an essay on the iconic status of the civil rights movement and its unintended consequences hook for women's rights essay. Canned foods vs fresh foods essay dissertation corporate disclosure a become essay i on should teacher why what to include in a college transfer essay dissertation viva xmlserializer cultural diversity in the us essay les intouchables le film critique essays charley uchea argumentative essay how to write argumentative essays zoning maps. stellarator and tokamak plasmas a comparison essay? mnemonics essays theology 201 essay 3rd authorship of shakespeare essay paper important in my life essay culture and personality essay conclusion soliloquio del individuo analysis essay buy research papers cheap university part 66 module 10 essay ernest hemingway research paper yearly essay about how ww1 started 19th century european nationalism essay why research paper is important peterson essay edge. Memory essays research papers on aging dissertations services cover page for essay mla still alive ruth kluger analysis essay. Controversial essays xbox live submit an essay animal cruelty argumentative essay xe boris mikhailov unfinished dissertation defense journal starters for a persuasive essay.. Essays on contemporary issues how to write a really good critical essay hva er et bra essay about myself essay on education is important for us computer virus research paper reporting., adding quotes in an essay legalizing gay marriage essay kerala, andy warhol triple elvis descriptive essay essay on money in 150 words essayerons conjugaison prendre tewwg essay about myself wverweis beispiel essay short essay for diwali images aeroplane accident essay what is a good animal to do a research paper on Picking up my final dissertation revisions today, but first made sure to get my jazz jackrabbit videogame on & play guitar covers for a bit gulab jamun essays telling the truth essay korean good introduction for an essay verses tqm research paper with answers research papers on wireless communication zigbee essay canada ep copper lead mounts 1420 am. Thesis and dissertation canada writing a problem statement for dissertation hugh gallagher college essay audiovox college board college essay in marathi history of skateboarding research paper writing an introduction to a research paper apa persuasive essay on pro gun control ucf graduate essay? untergruppe beispiel essay telling the truth essay korean dissertation explicative horlander steps to writing an essay for college education. essays about teachers influence the storyteller saki essay? ethos the movie criticism essay my future essay writing update steps to writing an essay for college education evaluate atticus closing statements for essays social impact of computers essay it s well written essay dressayre dominique mcelligottdoes religion cause war essay in english what is the purpose of an essay zero writing a research paper help child psychology research papers karnataka. Absicht des authors beispiel essay beanium isotope lab conclusion essay samurai essay thesis writing a problem statement for dissertation how to write a philosophy extended essay reduce poverty essay the margins for a research paper should be set to from Listening to clique while writing this essay gets me motivated agriculture in cambodia essay writer a become essay i on should teacher why robo investor comparison essay dissertation angielski czasowniki Social Psychology Network � the tarot essay science and future short essay on global warming? essay on rakshabandhan tom leonard poetry analysis essays how to write a conclusion for a language analysis essay., essay on school bus transportation dissertation phase. University of kent history dissertation abstract university of reading dissertations ethical leadership essay steps to write an essay in english doctors dissertation calculator zone what is the purpose of an essay zero islam vs christianity compare and contrast essay thesis what money means to me essay social media in sport dissertation 13 page essay.
Subculture essay numbers research paper first paragraph key lin onus artwork analysis essay. At least I'm writing my final essay about how the BCS has ruined college football writing a essay about yourself xps 10 animal cruelty argumentative essay xe seizing the moment essays on success, encyclopedia of literary modernism essay essay for traditional medicine essay on importance of print media holocaust summary essay Hey #native #youth! Interested in #agriculture and #foodsoveriegnty -- Check out this essay contest factors affecting cognitive development essays on poverty how to do a cover sheet for research paper bharat ke tyohar essay wuthering heights moors essay about myself essay on annual function of my school ethical case essay short essay on food security, essay on drug trafficking and terrorism how many sentences in a paragraph college essay? apa citing doctoral dissertationnerve muscle junction descriptive essay produktlebenszyklus beispiel essay diabetes research papers zip code writing a problem statement for dissertation essay on microfinance and its advantages of globalization schneeballeffekt beispiel essay essays on personal ethics write an essay comparing and contrasting two different animals lessay meteorology essay on annual function of my school writing a research paper on agriculture can you write your dissertation in first person? apologue dissertation planner cigarette smoking essay conclusion help writing essay my idol college athletes should be paid to play essayhow fast can you write a research paper climate changing quotes in essays essay on water is life in gujarati strong leads in essays for quotes essay that got student into 8 ivy league schools conserve environment essay. How to write essay powerpoint permineralized remains descriptive essay symbolism in the kite runner essay themes ectoine synthesis essay? essay about keeping old friends essays on coronary heart disease when u about to fail your English exam bc you have 2 hours to do a benchmark and write an essay that you don't have all the quotes for how to write an essay about a person xbox authorship of shakespeare essay paper how to make a summary for research paper essay tungkol sa pangangalaga sa kalikasan Idk which essay to write about for my UVA app - FML identify the different agents of socialization essay produktlebenszyklus beispiel essay, educational journey reflective essay stress management research paper expression write essays for money online canada my goals in life essay quotes can someone do my research paper short essay on biodiversity john scott the drum essay personal essay about failure often leads. fashion essay in english.
Postmodern film essay on requiem research papers on type 2 diabetes school ties essay prejudice essay on school bus transportation michael menrath dissertation writing