The Coming French Elections

Courtesy Reuters

MCLEMENCEAU, having spent nearly all his life in the ranks of the radical opposition, took the French Premiership at the hour of the gravest national danger, created the political conditions which made possible the victory of 1918, and brought about the conservative consolidation of 1919. Next to his, the career of M. Poincaré bids fair to become one of the most romantic in the whole history of France. The word "romantic" coupled with the name of this very positive and matter-of-fact man may seem odd. But it nevertheless describes perfectly his political fortune; and the people who know him well, who from time to time have perceived behind his impassive face the ebb and flow of sentiment, will not dismiss it as out of harmony with his real character.


In 1922, as President of the Council of Ministers, M. Poincaré carried out the Ruhr undertaking and endeavored to build up a Franco-German policy on the foundation of a Rhineland organized so as to secure the payment of reparations -- by its own resources and by supplying a sort of mortgage, half physical, half moral, on the whole body of the German Reich. That he achieved a considerable measure of success is shown by the "Micum" report issued in July, 1924, and by the establishment of the Dawes system, now in successful operation for three full years, which Germany would not have accepted but for the pressure that had been put upon her. But, late in 1923 and at the beginning of 1924, when the occupation of the Ruhr was in full swing and when Herr Hugo Stinnes and the other coal and steel magnates were sending unofficial delegates to Paris, a larger solution of the various Franco-German problems than the Dawes system provides might well have been attempted. The vision of what could be done was dimmed in Paris by the absurd "separatist" risings and by the expectation (which the history of the German people in the last century flatly contradicts) that, somehow, the introduction of

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