M. Clemenceau was a key figure in negotiating the German payment of restitution after World War I at Versaille during the Paris Peace Conference. Paper Masters will custom write a research paper that focuses on M. Clemenceau or any aspect of World War I.
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M. Clemenceau of France was a close adherent to the Machiavellian school of political thought. United States Secretary of State Lansing said in his memoirs:
He [Clemenceau] had not won his high place by making friends with politicians; he had won it by trampling down his enemies He simply reveled in the struggles in which he was constantly engaged to maintain his position.
M. Clemenceau and the Germans
The reasons Clemenceau was such a harsh negotiator against the Germans were as follows:
- Clemenceau always kept the best interests of his country at the forefront of his diplomatic efforts.
- He was deeply committed to making Germany pay in financial and territorial terms.
- When Clemenceau considered the elements of peace, the image of a Germany untouched by invasion was sure to spring to mind.
He clearly expressed his philosophy on leniency when he stated to Woodrow Wilson:
You want to do justice to the Germans. Do not imagine that they will ever forgive us: they will seek only the change to obtain revenge.
From the start, Clemenceau was steadfast in his belief that Germany was responsible for the war. Linking Germany with sole responsibility increased the leverage for obtaining maximum reparations, which the Tiger wholly supported. Following the German response to the Treaty, David Lloyd George approached Clemenceau about altering the treaty. His response was that to acknowledge the unfairness of the document was to admit to thinking in the same manner as the Germans.
M. Clemenceau and Wilson
During the initial Council of Four discussions on war reparations, Clemenceau was adamant that Germany should pay the maximum and should keep paying until the debt was cleared. After heated negotiation, however, he and Lloyd George agreed to an indefinite amount in payments over a forty year period. If the debt was not paid by that time, the Reparations Commission would create another plan for Germany's payment. Wilson, however, was determined to keep the period to thirty years, forgiving the remainder that Germany could not pay. This stalemate did not end until Wilson fell ill and the negotiations continued without him.