Posts etiquetados ‘Clemenceau’

Leaders of the Big Four nations meet for the first time in Paris

The day after British Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s arrival in Paris, he meets with representatives from the other Big Four nations—Prime Ministers Georges Clemenceau of France and Vittorio Orlando of Italy and President Woodrow Wilson of the United States—at the French Foreign Ministry on the Quai d’Orsay, for the first of what will be more than 100 meetings.

Victors of the Great War, the leaders of these four nations were determined to control the agenda of the conference that would decide its peace terms. There was no precedent for such a momentous peace conference; even the Congress of Vienna of 1815, which had preserved order in Europe for almost a century before collapsing in 1914, had been far smaller and less complicated than the gathering at Versailles.

As soon as Wilson arrived in Europe in mid-December (in the first-ever official visit to the continent by a U.S. president), Clemenceau and Lloyd George convinced him of the need for the Allies to establish their own position on the peace terms before beginning the general conference and sitting down with the enemy. In a break with traditional diplomacy, Germany was not invited to this preliminary round of talks. This made Wilson nervous, as he feared—understandably, as it turned out—that the Allies would end up setting the majority of the terms of the peace before the general conference even began, an eventuality that would surely frustrate and anger the Germans and would damage the ideal of a peace without victory that Wilson considered vital to a secure future.

The meetings that began January 12 also failed to include representatives from the smaller allies or any neutral countries, though at the wishes of Britain, Japan later joined the group, which became known as the Supreme Council. The Council met daily, sometimes two or three times a day, knowing that the eyes of the world were on them. Even after the general conference began on January 18—a day chosen to rankle the Germans, as it was the anniversary of the coronation of Kaiser Wilhelm I as ruler of a new, united Germany in 1871—the smaller group continued to meet separately to hash out the crucial questions of the peace settlement.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/leaders-of-the-big-four-nations-meet-for-the-first-time-in-paris

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Georges Clemenceau named French prime minister

On November 15, 1917, with his country embroiled in a bitter international conflict that would eventually take the lives of over 1 million of its young men, 76-year-old Georges Clemenceau is named prime minister of France for the second time.

The young Clemenceau was first elected to parliament in 1876, five years after France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. From that

George Clemenceau

time on, he considered the newly united Germany a menace and another war as inevitable, given that “Germany believes that the logic of her victory means domination.” With a strong rate of industrial growth and a steadily increasing population, Germany pressed its advantage in the ensuing decades, while France’s economy remained static and its birth rate remained in decline. Clemenceau, who served as prime minister from 1906 to 1909, remained vehemently anti-German, arguing for greater military preparedness and tighter alliances with Britain and Russia.

Clemenceau’s predictions were confirmed in the summer of 1914 with the outbreak of World War I.  (…) In November 1918, when he heard the Germans had agreed to an armistice, the old Tiger broke down in tears.

At the peace conference in Paris in 1919, Clemenceau stood alongside U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Britain as the three central negotiators. Clemenceau personally disliked both men, once famously remarking that he sometimes felt himself “between Jesus Christ on the one hand, and Napoleon Bonaparte on the other.” He especially clashed with Wilson, whom he viewed as far too idealistic in his view of the post-war world. Though Clemenceau successfully insisted that the Versailles Treaty require German disarmament and stiff reparations, as well as the return to France of the territories of Alsace-Lorraine, lost in the Franco-Prussian War, he remained dissatisfied with the treaty in its final form, believing it treated Germany too leniently. Many in the French electorate agreed, and in January 1920 they rejected their old hero as prime minister. In his subsequent retirement, Clemenceau published his memoirs, The Grandeur and Misery of Victory, in which he predicted another war with Germany would break out by 1940. He died on November 24, 1929, in Paris.

From: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/georges-clemenceau-named-french-prime-minister