Clemenceau's firm hand in the area of policy and strategy was an important factor in the re-establishment of national self-confidence. He put a stop to the secret sessions of Parliament which had been threatening the authority of the government. Criticism had now to be made either by interpellation in public session, or in the Parliamentary committees.
Although Pétain, the commander-in-chief on the western front, had won great authority by his re-establishment of morale after the mutinies, he did not seek the independence from political control that Joffre had enjoyed in the first two years of the war. Foch's position as chief-of‐ staff provided an alternative source of military advice for the civilian authorities. 42 Clemenceau was not in the unhappy position of Lloyd George, who thought that Haig and Robertson (the British equivalents, respectively, of Pétain and Foch) were linked in a sort of tacit conspiracy that prevented any consideration of alternative military policies by the government. Foch and Pétain were totally dissimilar in their temperaments and their views on strategy. Pétain was cautious, perhaps overcautious, and determined to reduce casualties to the minimum, while Foch had a much more aggressive spirit. This allowed Clemenceau to retain ultimate authority in his own hands. 43 To help him exercise it,____________________