Georges Clemenceau: A Political Biography

By David Robin Watson | Go to book overview

19

DOMESTIC POLITICS
AND LAST YEARS

I DOMESTIC POLITICS

Clemenceau concerned himself mainly with the negotiation of the peace settlement in 1919, but his government was responsible for domestic policies in what proved to be a very turbulent year. One of the principal concerns of the government was the mounting wave of social unrest. Membership of the C.G.T. increased dramatically, reaching almost one and a half million by July 1919. The Socialist party, which had moved well to the left and was controlled by the wartime minoritaires, also reported a membership that increased ten times between the armistice and the end of 1919. 130 Strikes were widespread. There were many reasons for this great increase in left-wing activity, among them revulsion against the war and enthusiasm for the supposed achievements of the Russian revolution. But the root cause of the groundswell of support for militancy came from the inflationary situation. This was inherited from the war, but the policies of the government in 1919 only exacerbated the situation. Government expenditure remained high, not only for military reasons, but also for payment of pensions and the reconstruction of the devastated areas of the invasion zone. Revenue covered only a small proportion of this. The finance minister claimed that the extraordinary expenditure would be covered by German Reparations payments, and there was therefore no need to devise new taxes to increase revenue, or even to make a serious attempt to increase the yield of existing taxes.

____________________
130
A. Kriegel, op. cit., I, pp. 238-47. During the war the Socialists had divided into a majority and a minority faction, the former continuing to support participation in the war effort, while the minority opposed it. The minority faction steadily increased in strength, until by the end of the war it became the majority, and won control of the main party organs. These dissentions continued until the Tours Congress of December 1920, when they contributed to the splitting of the party into a Socialist and a Communist party.

-380-

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Georges Clemenceau: A Political Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Georges Clemenceau - A Political Biography *
  • Contents 5
  • Illustrations *
  • Acknowledgements 11
  • Part One - Childhood, Youth and the Commune I84i-1871 *
  • 1 - Childhood and Youth 15
  • 2 - The Commune 34
  • Part Two - The Radical Attack I87i-1889 *
  • 3 - Challenger from the Left 59
  • 4 - Clemenceau versus Ferry 81
  • 5 - Boulangism 101
  • Part Three - Defeat and Resurgence I889-1906 *
  • 6 - Panama 117
  • 7 - The Dreyfus Affair 138
  • Part Four - The First Ministry I906-1909 *
  • 8 - Minister of the Interior 167
  • 9 - Clemenceau as Premier 183
  • 10 - Clemenceau as Strike-Breaker 200
  • 11 - Foreign Policy 215
  • Part Five - Opposition I909-1917 *
  • 12 - In Opposition before the War 237
  • 13 - Opposition in Wartime 249
  • Part Six - Pere-La-Victoire I9i7-1918 *
  • 14 - Second Ministry: Domestic Politics 275
  • 15 - Military Strategy 293
  • 16 - Russian Intervention and Victory 315
  • Part Seven - The Peace Settlement and after I9i8-1929 *
  • 17 - The Versailles Treaty 331
  • 18 - The Middle East and Russia 366
  • 19 - Domestic Politics and Last Years 380
  • Part Eight - Conclusion *
  • 20 - Conclusion 397
  • Appendices Sources and Bibliography Index *
  • Appendix I 411
  • Appendix II 414
  • Appendix III 416
  • Appendix IV 417
  • Appendix V 424
  • Appendix VI 428
  • Appendix VII 434
  • Sources and Bibliography 438
  • Index 455
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