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Georges Benjamin Clemenceau

Geburtstag: 28. September 1841
Todesdatum: 24. November 1929

Georges Benjamin Clemenceau [ʒɔʀʒ bɛ̃ʒaˈmɛ̃ klemɑ̃ˈso] war ein französischer Journalist, Politiker und Staatsmann der Dritten Republik. Als einer der führenden Vertreter des linksbürgerlichen Parti radical war er von 1906 bis 1909 und noch einmal von 1917 bis 1920 französischer Ministerpräsident.

Er trat 1899 als Fürsprecher eines Wiederaufnahmeverfahrens zur Rehabilitierung von Alfred Dreyfus sowie als Befürworter einer harten Politik gegenüber Deutschland nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg hervor.

Zitate Georges Benjamin Clemenceau

„To me the scene possessed only the horror of a slaughter-house.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Context: In the distance huge trees were still blazing, around us was a waste of ashes and of half-consumed boughs, and the falling rain seemed only to quicken the dying conflagration. In some of the great green boles were fearful gaping wounds through which the sap was oozing, while some tall trees still stretched to heaven their triumphant crown of foliage above a trunk all charred that would never sprout again. The Brazilians contemplate spectacles such as this with a wholly indifferent eye, and, indeed, even with satisfaction, for they see in the ruin only a promise of future harvests. To me the scene possessed only the horror of a slaughter-house. South America To-Day : A Study of Conditions, Social, Political, and Commercial in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil (1911) http://www.archive.org/details/southamericatoda011092mbp Ch. 14, Brazilian Coffee, p. 395

„A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he’s not a man of action.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Context: A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he’s not a man of action. It is as if a tennis player before returning a ball stopped to think about his views of the physical and mental advantages of tennis. You must act as you breathe. Conversation with Jean Martet (18 December 1927), Ch. 11, p. 167.

„There are only two perfectly useless things in this world. One is an appendix and the other is Poincaré.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Referring to his rival Raymond Poincaré, as quoted in Paris 1919 : Six Months That Changed the World (2003) by Margaret MacMillan, p. 33

„In the distance huge trees were still blazing, around us was a waste of ashes and of half-consumed boughs, and the falling rain seemed only to quicken the dying conflagration.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Context: In the distance huge trees were still blazing, around us was a waste of ashes and of half-consumed boughs, and the falling rain seemed only to quicken the dying conflagration. In some of the great green boles were fearful gaping wounds through which the sap was oozing, while some tall trees still stretched to heaven their triumphant crown of foliage above a trunk all charred that would never sprout again. The Brazilians contemplate spectacles such as this with a wholly indifferent eye, and, indeed, even with satisfaction, for they see in the ruin only a promise of future harvests. To me the scene possessed only the horror of a slaughter-house. South America To-Day : A Study of Conditions, Social, Political, and Commercial in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil (1911) http://www.archive.org/details/southamericatoda011092mbp Ch. 14, Brazilian Coffee, p. 395

„America is far away and protected by the ocean, England could not be reached by Napoleon himself. You are sheltered, both of you; we are not.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Context: After expending the greatest effort, and suffering the greatest sacrifices in blood in all history, we must not compromise the results of our victory... if the League of Nations cannot buttress its orders with military sanctions we must find this sanction elsewhere... I beg you to understand my state of mind, just as I am trying to understand yours. America is far away and protected by the ocean, England could not be reached by Napoleon himself. You are sheltered, both of you; we are not. Speech at the Paris Peace Conference (27 March 1919), quoted in Anthony Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery: France's Bid for Power in Europe 1914-1940 (London: Arnold, 1995), p. 40.

„In fifteen years I will be dead, but if you do me the honour of visiting my tomb, you will be able to say that the Germans have not fulfilled all the clauses of the treaty, and that we are still on the Rhine.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Prime Minister, Remarks to Poincaré in Cabinet (25 April 1919), quoted in David Robin Watson, Georges Clemenceau: A Political Biography (London: Eyre Methuen, 1974), p. 352.

„It was I who gave the title "J'accuse" to Zola's letter.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Letter (19 June 1902), in which he claims to have chosen the headline title for Émile Zola's famous open letter on the Dreyfus affair, as quoted in Clemenceau (1974) by D. R. Watson, and Brewer's Famous Quotations : 5000 Quotations and the Stories Behind Them (2006) by Nigel Rees

„Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
As quoted in The Unlawful Concert : An Account of the Presidio Mutiny Case (1970) by Fred Gardner. Unsourced French: Il suffit d'ajouter "militaire" à un mot pour lui faire perdre sa signification. Ainsi la justice militaire n'est pas la justice, la musique militaire n'est pas la musique. It suffices to add "military" to a word for it to lose its meaning. Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.

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„It is easier to make war than make peace.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Prime Minister, Il est plus facile de faire la guerre que la paix. "Discours de Paix" [Speech on Peace] Verdun (20 July 1919)

„The difficulty between us and Germany is this: that Germany believes that the logic of her victory means domination, while we do not believe that the logic of our defeat is serfdom“

—  Georges Clemenceau
vassalité Speech to the Senate (10 February 1912), quoted in David Robin Watson, Georges Clemenceau: A Political Biography (London: Eyre Methuen, 1974), p. 220.

„War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Post-Prime Ministerial, La guerre! C’est une chose trop grave pour la confier à des militaires. Variant translation: War is too important a matter to be left to the military. As quoted in Soixante Anneés d'Histoire Française (1932) by Georges Suarez War is too serious a matter to leave to soldiers. As quoted in Clemenceau and the Third Republic (1946) by John Hampden Jackson, p. 228; this has also become commonly paraphrased as: War is too important to be left to the generals.

„My son is 22 years old. If he had not become a Communist at 22, I would have disowned him. If he is still a Communist at 30, I will do it then.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Post-Prime Ministerial, On being told his son had joined the Communist Party, as quoted in Try and Stop Me (1944) by Bennet Cerf A statement similar in theme has also been attributed to Clemenceau: A young man who isn't a socialist hasn't got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn't got a head. As quoted in "Nice Guys Finish Seventh" : False Phrases, Spurious Sayings, and Familiar Misquotations (1992) by Ralph Keyes. W. Gurney Benham in A Book of Quotations (1948) cites a statement by François Guizot as the earliest known expression of this general idea, stating that Clemenceau merely adapted the saying substituting socialiste for republicain: N'être pas républicain à vingt ans est preuve d'un manque de cœur ; l'être après trente ans est preuve d'un manque de tête. Not to be a republican at twenty is proof of want of heart; to be one at thirty is proof of want of head. Variations on this general idea have also been attributed or misattributed to many others, most commonly Winston Churchill, who is not known to have actually made any similar statement.

„My home policy: I wage war. My foreign policy: I wage war. All the time I wage war.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Politique intérieure, je fais la guerre; politique extérieure, je fais la guerre. Je fais toujours la guerre. "Discours de Guerre" [Speech on War] Chambre des Députés, Assemblée Nationale, Paris (8 March 1918)

„Americans have no capacity for abstract thought, and make bad coffee.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Post-Prime Ministerial, As quoted in The Europeans (1984) by Luigi Barzini, p. 225

„All that I know I learned after I was thirty.“

—  Georges Clemenceau
Post-Prime Ministerial, As quoted in And Madly Teach : A Layman Looks at Public School Education (1949) by Mortimer Brewster Smith, p. 27

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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