Clemenceau, the Man and His Time

By H. M. Hyndman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V

CLEMENCEAU THE RADICAL

ALL this Clemenceau, though not himself a Socialist, saw by intuition. His powers of organization and capacity for inspiring confidence among the people might have been of the greatest service to Paris at that critical juncture in her history--might even have averted the crash which laid so large a portion of the buildings of the great city in ruins and led to the infamous scenes already referred to. This was not to be, and Clemenceau was fortunate to escape the fate of many who were as little guilty of terrorism or arson as himself.

The trial of the men responsible for the death of Generals Lecomte and Thomas was held on November 29, 1871. Clemenceau himself was accused of not having done enough to save their lives. He was in no wise responsible for what had occurred, was strongly opposed to their execution, and, as has been seen, did all that he could do to prevent the two assailants of his own friends and fellow-citizens from being killed. That, however, was no security that he would have escaped condemnation if the evidence in his favor had not been so conclusive that even the prejudiced court could not decide against him. He was completely cleared from the charge by the evidence of Colonel Langlois, and given full credit for his efforts on behalf of the militarists who certainly could be reckoned among his most bitter enemies.

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