French destinies Pays de la Loire

Georges Clemenceau : "the tiger"

There is the politician, there is the journalist, the man of the words of humor and there is especially the man of the Great War. The man who won the Victory in 1918. Georges Clémenceau, nicknamed "the tiger", is the story of a French destiny born in the West, in a land of convictions: the Vendée.


Born in 1841 in the Vendée

Georges Benjamin Clémenceau was born in the Vendée on September 28, 1841. The sign of Libra, therefore. What do you mean we don't care? Okay, I'll continue. Two things are often remembered about Clémenceau.

First, the art of handling words and of using them with a fierce sense of humor. It was Clémenceau, always subtle, who said "civil servants are like books in a library, it is the highest placed who serve the least". Or again "in politics one succeeds to imbeciles and is replaced by incompetents". Clémenceau was a rascal, a lover of women, who wrote "the best moment in love is when you climb the stairs". Finally, it was he who said "man is a ferocious beast".

The man to whom France turns

Clémenceau visiting the Front during the First World War

The man who said this is the statesman Clémenceau to whom France, exhausted by the First World War, turns. He already had an advanced career during the war. He who defended Dreyfus and helped Zola. Unavoidable, he slaps the muzzle of the generals whose often pretentious attempts cut the regiments and undermine the morale of the poilus. He closes the door on the medal-wielding knaves by reminding them that the men they lead and who fall by the thousands are citizens before being their soldiers. He asserted: "better a victory without a great strategist than a triumph of strategies in defeat" and he chose to bet on Foch. On audacity. "I said to myself, "Let's try Foch, we will die with our arms in our hands. I left this sensible man, Pétain, and I adopted this madman, Foch, the madman who got us out of there".

The "Father of Victory"

Clemenceau painted by American Cecilia Beaux, 1920.
The French were not mistaken. Behind the Allied victories reigned the shadow of Clémenceau. Nicknamed the Tiger when at the height of the conflict, he knew how to inspire energy, he became the "father of victory" in 1918. A famous political animal with a hollow nose, he withdrew from political life when he felt that quarrels had resumed and that he might well be beaten in the presidential elections.

Elected by acclamation to the French Academy, which is rare, he cultivated discretion and retired to the Vendée. A huge tree watches over him and even forced him to tilt his coffin, which puts him in a position to stand up if he saw fit to return to give a hand to the call of France. 

Top 10 quotes by Clemenceau

1 "Cemeteries are full of irreplaceable people who have been replaced"

2 "Never be afraid to make enemies. If you don't have any, it's because you haven't done anything".

3 "One never lies as much as before the elections, during the war and after the hunt".

4 "War is too serious a thing to be entrusted to the military".

5 "English ? it's never just a badly pronounced French".

6 "Polytechnicians know everything. But nothing else".

7 "It is enough to add "military" to a word to make it lose its meaning. Thus military justice is not justice and military music is not music". 

8 "What is England? A French colony gone bad".

9 "He has no ideas but he would defend them to the death".

10 "There are no old gentlemen. There are only clumsy women". 

Walking in the footsteps of Clémenceau 

It is possible in the Vendée, where he was born and where he now rests in Mouchamps near the tomb of his father: Paul-Benjamin. His country house, where he retired at the end of his life, is still there. It is located in Saint Vincent sur Jard. You can visit it. All information on this site. 

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site. 

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site.