Clemenceau, the Man and His Time

By H. M. Hyndman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
CLEMENCEAU AND GERMANY

CLEMENCEAU flung himself out of office in an unreasonable fit of temper. A man of his time of life, at sixty-eight years of age, with his record behind him, had no right to have any personal temper at all, when the destinies of his country had been placed in his hands. Probably he would admit this himself to-day. But, during his exceptionally strenuous period of office, he had, as we have seen, more than once shown an impulsiveness and even an irritability that were not consonant with his general disposition. Throughout there appeared to be an inclination on his part to take opposition and criticism too much to heart. As if, in fact, the great Radical overthrower of opportunism was annoyed at being compelled, as all administrations must be, to adopt to some extent a policy of opportunism himself. His outburst against all compromise with the Church was one in. stance of this. His uncalled-for resignation on account of M. Delcassé's attack was another. This might well have been the end of his official experiences. Certainly no one would have ventured to predict that eight years later would come the crowning achievement of his remarkable career. His own remark on leaving office was not calculated to encourage his personal adherents or to give his country confidence in his leadership. "I came in with an umbrella, I go out with a stick," was

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