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Clemenceau, Georges

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


(1841–1929), Prime Minister of France (1906–9, 1917–20). He is best known for his leadership during world war i and for his uncompromising stance against Germany at the paris peace settlement . Though born in the Catholic Vendée, Clemenceau came from a family notable for its republican sympathies and anticlericalism . Like his father, he trained as a doctor, but relinquished medicine for politics and travel. An opponent of napoleon iii , he spent much of the 1860s in the USA where he married an American, and imbibed further republican ideas. He returned to France in 1869, and a year later became mayor of Montmartre, where he remained throughout the franco-prussian war . During the paris commune , he mediated between the capital and the government of thiers at Versailles, though the Communards doubted his loyalties. In July 1871 he was returned to parliament as a radical deputy and, over the next two decades, established a reputation as a fearsome left-wing critic of governments, on several occasions helping to bring down cabinets. He was a particular opponent of France's colonial policy, believing that the nation's destiny lay in a war of revenge against Germany to recover the lost provinces of alsace-lorraine . Having been implicated in the Panama Canal scandal (see lesseps ), by receiving funds to fight his campaign against General boulanger , he lost his parliamentary ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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