The roles and goals of Clemenceau in creating the Treaty of Versailles. Who was Georges Clemenceau? What role did he play? What were his goals in creating the Treaty of Versailles?. Who was Georges Clemenceau?.
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Who was Georges Clemenceau?
What role did he play?
What were his goals in creating the Treaty of Versailles?
In this room you are able to see Gorges Clemenceau’s life. His life is divided to the four most important parts.
Who he really was and what roles he played during his political career?
W Versaillesas born in Vendéeon 28th September, 1841.As a youth he attended Medical School, but without any great success. He always was fascinated in politics. The source describes his character as not helpful in his medical career. After finishing his medical studies he went to live in New York. He was impressed by the political freedom enjoyed by the people of the US and considered settling permanently in the country. However, in 1869 he decided to moveback to France were he celebrated the establishmnet of the Third Republic.
”Like his ancestors he would study medicine, and, like them, Clemenceau entered the medical school primarily for an education. He may have had ambitions for a career at a higher level in medical or scientific research, but, distracted by politics, he did not even win a place as an interne at one of the Paris hospitals. In any case he did not have the temperament for patient research and long-drawn-out intellectual enquiry, although he had the journalist's or lawyer's facility for rapid assimilation and clear, if superficial, exposition.” (Secondary source by David Robin Watson ”GEORGES CLEMENCEAU- A Political Biography”Eyrne Methuen, p.21)His Youth
In 1871,after the Franco-Prussian war Clemenceau was elected to the National Assembly
In 1876, he was re-elected to the National Assembly as a leader of Radical-Republicans.
In 1902 Clemenceau became a senator and four years later(1906), at the age of 61, was appointed Minister of Home Affairs.
Seven months later Clemenceau became France's Prime Minister (1906-1909)Early career
Georges Clemenceau in 1872 (http://www.cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/page/affichegh.php?idLang=de&idGH=320)
Georges Clemenceau was one of the three fathers of the Versailles Treaty. However his opinion about the Treaty and the punishment for Germany was quite different to the David Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson. Through his aggressive type of negotiation he got a nickname ”the Tiger”.World War I
Liberal prime minister David Lloyd George (left) at Versailles with the French prime minister Georges Clemenceau and the US president Woodrow Wilson.
Georges Clemenceau (http://www.musee-clemenceau.fr/en/chronologie.html)
By January 1920, his political star had eclipsed and the French public held him responsible for the perceived leniency of the Versailles Settlement.In his retirement he constantly preached, spoke and wrote against the dangers of a resurgent Germany. He became very disillusioned with European diplomacy which became most apparent in his memoirs "The Grandeur and Misery". Georges Clemenceau even predicted that 1940 would be the year that France was in its gravest danger from Germany.
Georges Clemenceau died in 1929.
Georges Clemenceau durnig his political career played many different roles, and all of his beliefs were strongly influenced by his father Benjamin Clemenceau.
However, the most important roles are the Prime Minister of France, Minister of the War and the creator of the Treaty of Versailles.
As a son of a gentleman, doctor Benjamin Clemenceau, he inherited from his father a lifelong detestation of Bonapartism and a commitment to democratic Republicanism. This political belief lead him throuth his whole career and had a huge impact on his goals in creation of the Peace Treaty.
LA BAIONNETTEFrench Journal,
13 March 1919
”Clemenceau is a free-thinker of free-thinkers: neither Heaven nor Hell has anything to say to him...He has thrown back to his animal ancestry. What is the totem of the tribe which has entered into him, whose instinct of depredation pervades his every political action? We have it! He is of the jungle, jungly. His spring is terrific. His crashing attack fatal. He looks as formidable as he is. In short, he is a Tiger, and there you are. That accounts for everything!”(Primary Source by H. M. Hyndman; Clemenceau, the Man and his time, 1919. p.81)
Georges Clemenceau is remembered as a great statesman of France. Even in 1919 he had a reputation of individual and agressive negotiator however, the French nation loved him and had great faith in his skills during the creation of the Treaty of Versailles.
”I feel humble for the mistakes I have already made and for those which I am likely to make. I do not think I can be accused of having sought power. But I am in power. I hope it will not be a misfortune for my country. You tell me I have made mistakes... I am here because these are terrible times when those who through all the struggle have loved their country more than they knew see the hopes of the nation centered on them. I am here through the pressure of public opinion, and I am almost afraid of what it will demand of me, of what it expects of me.” Georges Clemenceau (Primary Source by H. M. Hyndman; Clemenceau, the Man and his time, 1919. p.324)
Clemenceau as a Premier of France was focused on his country and his nation. As presented by the source he always spoke in the name of the French people and he felt that his attitudes to the war and peace were alike with his nation.
Georges Clemenceau as a creator of the Treaty of Velrsaille played the major role as a represenative of France and the Conference President. The source presented extracts from the Opening Speech on 18.01.1919, which explores his basic goals in creating peace.
”Success is possible only if we remain firmly united. We have come here as friends. We must pass through that door as brothers... Everything must be subordinated to the necessity for a closer and closer union between the peoples which have taken part in this great war... I come now to the order of the day. The first question is as follows: "The responsibility of the authors of the war." The second is thus expressed: "Penalties for crimes committed during the war." The third is: "International legislation in regard to labour.”
(Primary source by Geoges Clemenceau, 18 January 1919)
Clamenceau believed that the responsibility for the Great War is all Germans.
What kind of punishment did he want to give to Germany? And what he achieve through his agressive negotiations with David Lloyd Georges and Woodrow Wilson? All this information is in this room.
The most significant goal of Clemenceau was to protect France from Germany and the future conflicts with this country. The protection of Great Britan and United Staces wasn’t honest and Clemenceau knew that the first future conflict with Germany France would be left alone without chance for deffence. By the Peace Treaty he wanted to economicaly and militaraly harass Germany.
French soldiers on the Wstern Front.http://www.landships.freeservers.com/french_ww1uniforms.htm
Clemenceau beli Versailles Treaty. However his opinion about the Treaty and the punishment for Germany was quite different to the David Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilsoneved that all the harshest ways to punish Germany were allowed. The punishment would have to be that powerful that the German nation would never again rise to power. He determinably wanted Germany pay for the destruction of the war for all Allied nations, especially for France, who suffered the biggest losses durnig the war. Through negotiation of the Peace Treaty Germany needed to pay the entire cost of the war (6.6 bilion pounds-52% for France) and also France and Belgium received large amounts of German machinery, railway and a never-ending supply of coal(8,1 milion tons per annum for France).
”Georges Clemenceau of France had one very simple belief - Germany should be brought to its knees so that she could never start a war again. He had seen the north-east corner of France destroyed and he determined that Germany should never be allowed to do this again.”
Secondary source by David Robin Watson ”GEORGES CLEMENCEAU- A Political Biography”Eyrne Methuen, p.32Economical punishment for Germany
The soruce present Versailles Treaty. However his opinion about the Treaty and the punishment for Germany was quite different to the David Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilsoned the territories which germany lost after WWI. One of the most sifnificant goals for Clemenceau was to totaly demobilise Germany, however, Treaty of Versallies demobilised only Rhineland (dark green on the map) and limited German army to 100,000 soldiers, no tanks or heavy artillery, no air forces, no U-boats. It was a big disappointment for Clemenceau and France.Demobilisation of Germany
” Versailles Treaty. However his opinion about the Treaty and the punishment for Germany was quite different to the David Lloyd George and Woodrow WilsonHitler did not wage war because of the Teaty of Vresailles, although he found its existence a godsend for his poropaganda. Even if Germany had been left with its old brothers, even if it had been allowed whatever military force it wanted, even if it had been premitted to join with Austria, he would still have wanted more: the destruction of Poland, control of Czechoslovakia, above all the conquest of the Soviet Union. He would have demaned room for the German people to expand and the destruction of their enemies, whether Jews or Bolshevics. There was nothing in the Treaty about that... Peacemakers of 1919 made mistakes, of course... If they could have done batter, they certainly could have done much worse. They tried, even cynical old Clemenceau, to built a better order. They could not forse the future and they certainly could not control it. When war came in 1939, it was the result of 20 years of decisions taken or not taken, not of the argumants made in 1919.”
(Secondary source by Macmillan, 2001, p.499-500)Mistakes of ”The Big Three”?
Many historians disagree about the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles. There is no right answer for their arguments because no-one is able to control the future. The three different views of peace left history with the question: Who was right? Old Clemenceau who wanted to harass Gremany, idealistic Wilson who wanted world peace or Lloyd George who was between them wanted Greman colonies but didn’t care much about the peace.The source explains some aspects of this question.