Georges Clemenceau: A Political Biography

By David Robin Watson | Go to book overview

3

CHALLENGER
FROM THE LEFT

I INTRODUCTION

Clemenceau had two political careers, divided by five years in which he sought an alternative outlet for his energies in literature and journalism. His first political career was ended by defeat in the 1893 elections, but had already run into the sands by 1889, by which time his overall challenge to the ruling republican faction had failed. With the Dreyfus Affair he made virtually a new beginning, coming into the cabinet for the first time in 1906 at the age of sixty-four, and going on to become the grand old man of French politics with his triumphant second ministry of 1917-18 when he became the living embodiment of France's will to fight to the end for national survival.

This chapter begins by describing the political background of the first period, in which he challenged the ruling republican groups, who rapidly became the real conservatives of France.

The Third Republic had been proclaimed on 4 September 1870, but the circumstances of the war meant that it remained only a provisional régime, without the moral authority conferred by elections. When the elections were held in February 1871 they produced a National Assembly with a majority of monarchists. It was to take eight years before the Republic was definitely established, during which the question of the régime monopolized the political stage. In these years Clemenceau played only a minor role. He acted as a loyal supporter of the republican cause from the extreme left wing of the republican party. This meant that he was on the extreme left of legal political life, outflanked only by the revolutionary Socialists who sought to overthrow existing society, and all its institutions, both social and political. They were, in any case, absent from the scene until 1879. Clemenceau had made his choice at the

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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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