Georges Clemenceau

French statesman, 1841-1929

Georges Clemenceau was a French statesman who led the nation in the First World War. A leader of the Radical Party, he played a central role in politics during the Third Republic. Clemenceau served as the Prime Minister of France from 1906 to 1909, and again from 1917 to 1920. In favour of a total victory over the German Empire, he militated for the restitution of Alsace-Lorraine to France. He was one of the principal architects of the Treaty of Versailles at the France Peace Conference of 1919, and took a harsh position against defeated Germany, though not quite as much as President Poincaré, and won agreement on Germany’s payment of large sums for reparations.

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Clemenceau, Georges

French statesman (1841-1929). "Jusqu'au bout". Autograph manuscript and page proofs with autograph corrections. N. p. o. d. [Paris. 4to. 4 pp. and 3 pp.
$ 3,267 / 3.000 € (45202/BN31476)

Highly interesting editorial for his daily newspaper "L'Homme libre" from a critical moment during the German offensive in France. The first sentence of the article leaves the reader no doubt about the imminent danger: "The Germans are below Paris". A note in pencil by Clemenceau to the upper left margin of the first page of the proofs informs us that he, along with the French government, left Paris for Bordeaux on 3rd September 1914 in face of the threat to the capital. Clemenceau fears a long siege of Paris and frequent interruptions of communication that will necessitate for the French province to reach "autonomy of government and of defense".

Otherwise, "all directionality of the French forces will be annihilated". Clemenceau calls for the people to rally behind the government, fearing the grave consequences of a loss of "control over the public opinion". In return, he expects the government to trust the French people "enough to always tell us the truth", citing an example to the contrary of an untruthful communique about the Northern Front. In Clemenceau's opinion, only the harsh truth will maintain the trust and élan of the French people that is necessary for successful mobilization. In the second part of the article, Clemenceau returns to the "facts of war", discussing the French strategy during the German offensive: "This means, if I understand it correctly, that we left the path to Paris open, while flanking the enemy from two sides. If the fortifications fulfill their duty vigorously, the maneuver could be fortunate. From what we have seen from him until now, general Joffre adheres to the school of the delayers. In the current circumstances, there is probably no better tactic." In this vein, Clemenceau speculates about possible consequences of Russian advances on the Eastern Front for Germany and the Western Theater. - The editorial was published on 3 September 1914, two days before the start of the First Battle of the Marne that would mark the failure of the Schlieffen Plan and eliminate the imminent threat to Paris. Clemenceau's criticism of the communication strategy of the government of Prime Minister René Viviani was probably already connected to attempts at censorship of his own journal, culminating in its suppression between 29 September and 7 October 1914. From 8 October 1914, Clemenceau could publish his newspaper under the new name "L'Homme enchaîné". Three years later, Georges Clemenceau himself would lead the country during the final phase of the war and the negotiations in Versailles. - The manuscript on the reverse of stationery of the French Senate. - Somewhat stained and fingerprints over all. Two of the manuscript pages cut in two pieces between paragraphs. The print proofs with occasional small tears to the margins..

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Clemenceau, Georges

French statesman (1841-1929). "Le calvaire". Autograph manuscript signed and page proofs with autograph corrections. N. p. o. d. 4to. 5 pp. and 5 pp.
$ 3,812 / 3.500 € (45203/BN31477)

Rare manuscript for an editorial together with the proofs with Clemenceau's corrections for his daily newspaper "L'Homme libre" that was published on 1 June 1914. Written in form of a letter to the "Duc d'En-Face", who can be identified with the royalist deputy Pierre de Blacas d'Aulps, 4th Duke of Blacas, the article is a beautiful document of Clemenceau's wit and journalistic style. The satirical tone of the text is already set by the moniker, ultimately serving the expression of Clemenceau's opposition to president Raymond Poincaré and commenting the impending collapse of the government of Gaston Doumergue on 2 June 1914.

Clemenceau underlines that he has the "best memories" of his and Blacas's relations in the chamber, given that they "agreed on nothing", wittily explaining that fellow party members "pull each other by the hair (if any is left)", while with "a good adversary one tries from the first moment to find something to agree upon", akthough his examples for such agreements are rather personal than political. Continuing in a playful and satirical tone, Clemenceau reminds the Duke of his initial support for Poincaré, from which he apparently tried to distance himself in a recent conversation with Clemenceau, while insinuating that Clemenceau supported the president. In reality, Clemenceau was strongly opposed to Poincaré and coined the term "Poincarisme" to criticize his politics, even though he underlines his readiness to revise his opinion: "However, my last word in Versailles was to tell you: Who knows? Maybe one day I will defend him against you". The article culminates in the description of the current political situation of France as a "dolorous Cavalry", which might also be an allusion to the otherwise not mentioned Calmette-affair that ultimately caused the collapse of Doumergue's government. On 16 March 1914 Gaston Calmette, the editor of Le Figaro, was shot in his office by Henriette Caillaux, wife of the former prime minister and current minister of finance Joseph Caillaux, due to a personal press campaign of Le Figaro against her husband. - Somewhat stained and fingerprints over all. One of the manuscript pages cut in two pieces between paragraphs. The print proofs with occasional small tears to the margins..

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Clemenceau, Georges

Staatsmann und Premierminister (1841-1929). Eigenh. Brief mit U. ("GClemenceau"). Paris. 15.11.1894. 3 1/3 SS. auf Doppelblatt. 8vo.
$ 1,634 / 1.500 € (79043/BN50644)

An einen nicht namentlich genannten Freund, wahrscheinlich den französischen Vizekonsul in Japan François-Frédéric Steenackers (1858-1917). Clemenceau bedankt sich für Depeschen mit Nachrichten aus Japan und für übersandte Grafiken, zudem deutet er eine mögliche Reise nach Japan an. Bemerkenswert ist Clemenceaus Versicherung, dass die öffentliche Meinung in Frankreich bezüglich des Ersten Japanisch-Chinesischen Krieges (1894-95) auf Seiten Japans sei. "Je viens de recevoir votre lettre du 12 octobre.

Vous devez avoir reçu depuis longtemps la lettre que je vous ai écrite en reponse à votre première missive. Je vous disais que nos agences d'information ont été parfois devancées par vos dépêches, mais que la plupart du temps les nouvelles me sont arrivées en même temps qu'aux autres journaux. Je ne vous en remercie pas moins cordialement de vos bonnes intentions. - J'ajoutais que j'avais l'intention de faire un voyage au Japon. J'aurais grand plaisir à vous y rencontrer. Y êtes-vous encore longtemps? - L'opinion française est très favorable à vos amis du Nippon dans leur guerre contre la chine. - Les gravures que vous m'avez envoyées ont eu le plus grand succès. - Je vous souhaite bonne chance et en attendant le plaisir de faire avec vous une [...] aux Peuples de Nara, je vous serre cordialement la main [...]". - Von seiner Wahlniederlage 1893 bis zu seiner Rückkehr in den Senat 1902 war Georges Clemenceau mit seiner Zeitschrift "La Justice" und der Tageszeitung "L'Aurore" journalistisch tätig. In diese Periode fiel die Dreyfus-Affäre, in der Clemenceau vehement für Alfred Dreyfus Partei ergriff und am 13. Jänner 1898 in "L'Aurore" Émile Zolas "J'Accuse...!" publizierte. - Ein weniger bekannter Aspekt von Clemenceaus Leben ist dessen begeisterter Japonismus. Seit den 1870er oder 1880er Jahren legte er mit Hilfe von Freunden wie Steenackers eine bedeutende Sammlung japanischer Kunst an. Diese Leidenschaft für Japan entsprach ganz dem europäischen Zeitgeschmack; bei Clemenceau mag sie durch die frühe Bekanntschaft mit dem späteren japanischen Ministerpräsidenten Prinz Saionji Kinmochi (1849-1940) mitausgelöst worden sein. Die beiden bedeutenden Männer hatten in den 1870er Jahren gemeinsam an der Sorbonne die Rechte studiert. Trotz Clemenceaus Sammelleidenschaft und bester Kontakte kam es nie zu der im Brief angedeuteten und erhofften Reise nach Japan. Teile der Sammlung befinden sich heute im Musée Clemenceau, dem Musée d'Ennery und dem Musée Guimet. Der größte geschlossene Bestand, eine Sammlung von ca. 3000 Kogo-Dosen, ist seit 1959 im Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. - Mehrfach gefaltet..

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