Georges Eugene Benjamin Clemenceau was the two-time French Prime Minister from the year 1906 till 1909 and from 1917 till 1920. His second tenure was marred with the First World War as he served the country through sensitive days of war. Clemenceau was head of the French delegation at Paris Peace Conference. As per family tradition, this statesman also studied medicine but remained engaged in politics throughout his life.
In this article, we have gathered some interesting information about this French politician for our readers.
Georges Clemenceau: 8 surprising and exciting information about Le Tigre
1. He was interested in religion
His mother, Sophie Eucharie Gautreau, belonged to Huguenot background while his father, Benjamin Clemenceau, belonged to the family of physicians. Clemenceau had a deep interest in religion and was an atheist. He studied Bible and became a leader of Radical forces. These Radical or anti-clerical forces fought against the Catholic faith in France. The position of Clemenceau within Radical fraternity was to keep the state and the Church separate. This means, any aggressive step aimed to weaken the Church should not be supported.
2. He studied medicine in Paris
Clemenceau received early education from Lycee in Nantes and completed bachelors in the year 1858. He went to Paris and took admission to study medicine. On May 13, 1865, he completed graduation as a doctor of medicine. During his medicine graduation, he wrote a thesis named “Da la generation des elements anatomiques.”
After completion of his degree, he founded many literary publications and published several articles, an interesting fact about Georges Clemenceau.
3. He owned a newspaper
In the year 1880, he formed his newspaper, La Justice. This newspaper became the dominant arm of Parisian Radicalism. Through his paper, he used to openly criticize Prime Minister Jules Ferry because of his colonial policies. During the tenure of Jules Grevy presidency, he became famous as a strong political critic and le Tombeur de ministeres (destroyer of ministries) for avoiding an affluent position in the government.
He was a good writer, and it was because of his fearless criticism that he became popular as Tiger within the journalism fraternity. His opinion often turned public against the government, which often resulted in the downfall of the French ruling elite. Clemenceau continued to write for several other publications between 1893 and 1903.
4. He served in the Chamber of Deputies
Clemenceau contested the election of Chamber of Deputies (later renamed as National Assembly in 1875) in the year 1876 and won for the 18th arrondissement of Paris. After joining the National Assembly in February 1871, from Paris, Clemenceau was amongst those members who voted against the Frankfurt Treaty. He was the one to prevent bloodshed, which was to occur as a result of Communard unrest, which started on March 18.
An interesting fact about Georges Clemenceau is that he also played the role of mediator between the Versailles government and the Commune. He failed on this front and resigned from his position and National Assembly membership. In July 1871, he was elected to the office of the municipal council of Paris and served there till he became president in the year 1875.
5. He served as a Senator
In the year 1902, Clemenceau won a senate seat from Var. After serving as Senator for 3 years, he was appointed as interior minister during Ferdinand Sarrien premiership. Later in the same year, the then Prime Minister Sarrien resigned from his office, and Clemenceau took over as Prime Minister of the country. He continued as prime minister till 1909.
During his tenure, Clemenceau improved relations with various countries in Europe including Great Britain. It was during his term that he refused to tender an apology to Germany for an event in Morocco. In July 1909, he developed differences with other politicians over a naval policy as a result of which he was removed from office.
6. He used to suppress protest demonstrations
When he was appointed interior minister, Georges Clemenceau used to suppress and control different protest demonstrations through military deployment. When Sarrien was in office in 1906, he deployed military force to disperse the angry miners who gathered at Pas-de-Calais to seek compensation for the mine disaster that killed around 1,000 people.
Likewise, he sent troops to handle the strike by electrical workers in the French capital city of Paris.
7. He demanded Germans to pay the loss of World War I
On the occasion of the Paris Peace Conference in the year 1919, he was part of the central negotiation team, besides the then US President Woodrow Wilson and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Clemenceau, during the conference, demanded that Germany should pay for the loss of the war. He was of the view that Germany should be disarmed to avoid a similar situation in the future.
8. He became prime minister for the second time
The World War I period from 1914 till 1918 was very critical for the French government to maintain peace in the region. In 1917, Clemenceau was appointed prime minister for the second time, and soon after taking charge, he strictly discouraged disagreement among senior politicians.
He was given charge at a very sensitive time when Italy was defending itself while Russia stopped fighting and was trying to strike a peace deal with the Germans, an interesting Georges Clemenceau fact.
Meanwhile, internally, people came out on the roads to protest against the war, and Paris was in the grip of immense fear, lack of resources, and aerial attacks. The French politicians also wanted an end to war and arrive at a peace deal with Russia. So, this situation was very challenging for him as, during previous regimes, he openly criticized his predecessors for waging war and creating a miserable situation for the people with low economic activity.
These were some real facts about this statesman. According to historians, he survived an assassination attempt while he was going to meet the US President, Woodrow Wilson, and some other dignitaries in Paris when an unknown attacker shot multiple bullets at him. A bullet hit Clemenceau in his chest, which could not be removed. So, it was left in his ribs for the rest of his life. He died in November 1929 and was laid to rest at Mouchamps.
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