Georges Clemenceau was the senior French representative present for the Treaty of Versailles. Georges wanted the terms of the treaty to demolish Germany, which was a view quite different from that of Britain’s David Lloyd George. Lloyd George wanted a less emotive approach to Germany’s punishment in a bid to leave them strong enough to fight back against a strengthening Russia, while Clemenceau (known as ‘The Tiger’) wanted the total destruction of Germany.
Georges Clemenceau was born in 1841, settling down in Montmatre before being appointed mayor of the town in 1870. From 1876 to 1893, he was member of the Chamber of Deputies, and eventually became senator for Var from 1902 to 1920.
In March 1906, Georges Clemenceau was appointed Minister of Home Affairs and it was just seven months until he took the role of Prime Minister in France. He lasted in his post for almost three years, which was the second longest in the history of the Third Republic. Between the start of World War One and 1917, Clemenceau was a critic of the country’s military ‘incompetence’, and when appointed Prime Minister once more in 1917 he led the French delegation at the peace talks at the Versailles Palace.
During these talks, he mirrored the views of the French people by taking a ‘no mercy’ approach to Germany, calling on the country to be broken into a state that prevented them from waging war again. He also made it clear that he was incredibly critical of Woodrow Wilson’s beliefs about the future of Europe.
With other people present at the Versailles Peace Treaty hoping to water down the attack on Germany, it was greeted with much disapproval across France. Despite his matching views, he was ultimately held responsible for the outcome of the treaty.
By 1920 Georges Clemenceau was 79 yers old. However, he continued to speak outwardly about his concerns that Germany would rise once more. He also made his feelings about European diplomacy very clear in his memoirs “The Grandeur and Misery”. However, he passed away in 1929, ten years before his fears came to light.
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