AND LAST YEARS
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.____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Georges Clemenceau:A Political Biography. Contributors: David Robin Watson - Author. Publisher: D. McKay. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1976. Page number: 380.
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