The World at War


Aristide Briand

French Statesman

Born: March 28, 1862 at Nantes, Brittany
Died: March 7, 1932 at Paris

Premier of France:July 24, 1909 - February 27, 1911 (1st & 2nd cabinets)
January 21 - March 18, 1913 (3rd & 4th cabinets)
October 29, 1915 - March 17, 1917 (5th & 6th cabinets)
January 16, 1921 - January 12, 1922 (7th cabinet)
November 28, 1925 - July 17, 1926 (8th, 9th & 10th cabinets)
July 29 - November 22, 1929 (11th cabinet)

     Briand first earned public recognition when he persuaded an 1894 trade union congress to adopt the General Strike as a tactic for dealing with the government. He co-founded the French Socialist Party with Jean Jaures in 1901 and collaborated with him in launching L'Humanite in 1904.

     Briand was rejected in three elections before winning a seat in the Chamber of Deputies in 1902. He served on the commission that drafted the laws separating church and state in 1905. Briand urged the Socialists to cooperate with the Radical-Socialists and other bourgeois parties to further reform. He accepted the Public Instruction portfolio in the government of Georges Clemenceau in 1906. The Socialist expelled him for consorting with the Radicals.

     Briand formed the first of his own cabinets in 1909 and further alienated himself from the left by breaking a railroad strike. He presided over two ineffectual governments at the beginning of World War I before yielding to Clemenceau's Union Sacree in 1917.

     He sought reconciliation with Germany after World War I, crafted the Locarno Pact which secured international recognition of the eastern border and won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926, co-authored a treaty outlawing war which was ratified by 60 nations in 1928 and worked actively in the League of Nations for disarmament. He wrote a memorandum calling for the creation of a European Union to insure stability in 1930. He retired in 1932 having served as a minister in 26 cabinets and as premier of 11.

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