Aristide Briand

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Aristide Briand
Aristide Briand 07.jpg
Prime Minister of France
In office
29 July 1929 – 2 November 1929
Preceded by Raymond Poincaré
Succeeded by André Tardieu
In office
28 November 1925 – 20 July 1926
Preceded by Paul Painlevé
Succeeded by Édouard Herriot
In office
16 January 1921 – 15 January 1922
Preceded by Georges Leygues
Succeeded by Raymond Poincaré
In office
29 October 1915 – 20 March 1917
Preceded by René Viviani
Succeeded by Alexandre Ribot
In office
21 January 1913 – 22 March 1913
Preceded by Raymond Poincaré
Succeeded by Louis Barthou
In office
24 July 1909 – 2 March 1911
Preceded by Georges Clemenceau
Succeeded by Ernest Monis
Personal details
Born 28 March 1862
Nantes
Died 7 March 1932(1932-03-07) (aged 69)
Paris
Political party SFIO
PRS
Not to be confused with Aristide Bruant.

Aristide Briand (French: [a.ʁis.tid bʁi.jɑ̃]; 28 March 1862 – 7 March 1932) was a French statesman who served eleven terms as Prime Minister of France during the French Third Republic and was a co-laureate of the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Nantes, Loire-Atlantique of a petit bourgeois family. He attended the Nantes Lycée, where, in 1877, he developed a close friendship with Jules Verne.[1] He studied law, and soon went into politics, associating himself with the most advanced movements, writing articles for the anarchist journal Le Peuple, and directing the Lanterne for some time. From this he passed to the Petite République, leaving it to found L'Humanité, in collaboration with Jean Jaurès.

Activism[edit]

At the same time he was prominent in the movement for the formation of trade unions, and at the congress of working men at Nantes in 1894 he secured the adoption of the labor union idea against the adherents of Jules Guesde. From that time, Briand was one of the leaders of the French Socialist Party. In 1902, after several unsuccessful attempts, he was elected deputy. He declared himself a strong partisan of the union of the Left in what was known as the Bloc, in order to check the reactionary Deputies of the Right.

From the beginning of his career in the Chamber of Deputies, Briand was occupied with the question of the separation of church and state. He was appointed reporter of the commission charged with the preparation of the 1905 law on separation, and his masterly report at once marked him out as one of the coming leaders. He succeeded in carrying his project through with but slight modifications, and without dividing the parties upon whose support he relied.

He was the principal author of the law of separation, but, not content with preparing it, he wished to apply it as well. The ministry of Maurice Rouvier was allowing disturbances during the taking of inventories of church property, a clause of the law for which Briand was not responsible. Consequently he accepted the portfolio of Public Instruction and Worship in the Sarrien ministry (1906). So far as the Chamber was concerned, his success was complete. But the acceptance of a position in a bourgeois ministry led to his exclusion from the Unified Socialist Party (March 1906). As opposed to Jaurès, he contended that the Socialists should co-operate actively with the Radicals in all matters of reform, and not stand aloof to await the complete fulfillment of their ideals.

Prime Minister of France[edit]

Portrait of Aristide Briand

Briand succeeded Clemenceau as Prime Minister in 1909, serving until 1911, and served again for a few months in 1913. In October 1915, following French defeats in the First World War, Briand again became Prime Minister, and, for the first time, Foreign Minister, succeeding René Viviani and Théophile Delcassé respectively. His tenure was not particularly successful, and he resigned in March 1917 as a result of disagreements over the prospective Nivelle Offensive, to be succeeded by Alexandre Ribot.

1920s[edit]

Briand returned to power in 1921. He supervised the French role in the Washington Naval Conference of 1921–22. Three factors guided the French strategy and necessitated a Mediterranean focus: the French navy needed to carry a great many goods, the Mediterranean was the axis of chief interest, and a supply of oil was essential. The primary goal was to defend French North Africa, and Briand made practical choices, for naval policy was a reflection of overall foreign policy. The Conference agreed on the American proposal that capital ships be limited to a ratio of 5 to 5 to 3 for the United States, Britain, and Japan, with Italy and France allocated 1.7 each. France's participation reflected its need to deal with its diminishing power and reduced human, material, and financial resources.[2]

Briand's efforts to come to an agreement over reparations with the Germans failed in the wake of German intransigence, and he was succeeded by the more bellicose Raymond Poincaré. In the wake of the Ruhr Crisis, however, Briand's more conciliatory style became more acceptable, and he returned to the Quai d'Orsay in 1925. He would remain foreign minister until his death in 1932. During this time, he was a member of 14 cabinets, three of which he headed himself.

Briand negotiated the Briand-Ceretti Agreement with the Vatican, giving the French government a role in the appointment of Catholic bishops.

Kellogg–Briand Pact[edit]

Aristide Briand and Gustav Stresemann

Aristide Briand received the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize together with Gustav Stresemann of Germany for the Locarno Treaties (Austen Chamberlain of the United Kingdom had received a share of the Peace Prize a year earlier for the same agreement).

A 1927 proposal by Briand and United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg for a universal pact outlawing war led the following year to the Pact of Paris, aka the Kellogg–Briand Pact.

The cordial relations between Briand and Stresemann, the leading statesmen of their respective countries, were cut short by the unexpected death of Stresemann in 1929 and of Briand in 1932.

Briand Plan for European union[edit]

As foreign minister Briand formulated an original proposal for a new economic union of Europe.[3] Described as Briand's Locarno diplomacy and as an aspect of Franco-German rapprochement, it was his answer to Germany's quick economic recovery and future political power. Briand made his proposals in a speech in favor of a European Union in the League of Nations on 5 September 1929, and in 1930, in his "Memorandum on the Organization of a Regime of European Federal Union" for the Government of France.[4] The idea was to provide a framework to contain France's former enemy while preserving as much of the 1919 Versailles settlement as possible. The Briand plan entailed the economic collaboration of the great industrial areas of Europe and the provision of political security to Eastern Europe against Soviet threats. The basis was economic cooperation, but his fundamental concept was political, for it was political power that would determine economic choices. The plan, under the Memorandum on the Organization of a System of European Federal Union, was in the end presented as a French initiative to the League of Nations. With the death of his principal supporter, German foreign minister Gustav Stresemann, and the onset of the Great Depression in 1929, Briand's plan was never adopted but it suggested an economic framework for developments after World War II that eventually resulted in the European Union.[5]

Governments[edit]

Briand's first Government, 24 July 1909 – 3 November 1910[edit]

Briand's second Government, 3 November 1910 – 2 March 1911[edit]

Changes

  • 23 February 1911 – Briand succeeds Brun as interim Minister of War.

Briand's third and fourth Governments, 21 January – 22 March 1913[edit]

Briand's fifth Government, 29 October 1915 – 12 December 1916[edit]

Changes

  • 15 November 1915 – Paul Painlevé becomes Minister of Inventions for the National Defense in addition to being Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts.
  • 16 March 1916 – Pierre Auguste Roques succeeds Galliéni as Minister of War

Briand's sixth Government, 12 December 1916 – 20 March 1917[edit]

Changes

  • 15 March 1917 – Lucien Lacaze succeeds Lyautey as interim Minister of War.

Briand's seventh Government, 16 January 1921 – 15 January 1922[edit]

Briand's eighth Government, 28 November 1925 – 9 March 1926[edit]

Changes

  • 16 December 1925 – Paul Doumer succeeds Loucheur as Minister of Finance.

Briand's ninth Government, 9 March – 23 June 1926[edit]

Changes

  • 10 April 1926 – Jean Durand succeeds Malvy as Minister of the Interior. François Binet succeeds Durand as Minister of Agriculture.

Briand's tenth Government, 23 June – 19 July 1926[edit]

Briand's eleventh Government, 29 July – 3 November 1929[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Aristide Briand – Biography
  2. ^ Blatt, Joel (1993). "France and the Washington conference". Diplomacy & Statecraft 4 (3): 192. doi:10.1080/09592299308405900. 
  3. ^ Navari, Cornelia (1992). "Origins of the Briand plan". Diplomacy & Statecraft 3: 74. doi:10.1080/09592299208405844. 
  4. ^ Briand, Aristide (1930-05-01). Memorandum on the Organization of a System of Federal European Union. France. Ministry of Foreign Affairs - via World Digital Library. Retrieved 2014-06-19. 
  5. ^ D. Weigall and P. Stirk, eds., The Origins and Development of the European Community (Leicester University Press, 1992), pp. 11–15 ISBN 0718514289.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bernard, Philippe; Dubief, Henri; Forster, Thony (1985). The Decline of the Third Republic, 1914–1938. The Cambridge History of Modern France. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-35854-X. 
  • Mayeur, Jean-Marie; Rebirioux, Madeleine; Foster, J. R. (1984). The Third Republic from its Origins to the Great War, 1871–1914. The Cambridge History of Modern France. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 2-7351-0067-7. 
  • Wright, Julian (2005). "Social Reform, State Reform, and Aristide Briand's Moment of Hope in France, 1909–1910". French Historical Studies 28 (1): 31–67. doi:10.1215/00161071-28-1-31. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Baptiste Bienvenu-Martin
Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
1906–1908
Succeeded by
Gaston Doumergue
Minister of Worship
1906–1911
Succeeded by
Ernest Monis
Preceded by
Edmond Guyot-Dessaigne
Minister of Justice
1908–1909
Succeeded by
Louis Barthou
Preceded by
Georges Clemenceau
Prime Minister of France
1909–1911
Succeeded by
Ernest Monis
Minister of the Interior
1909–1911
Preceded by
Jean Brun
interim Minister of War
1911
Succeeded by
Maurice Berteaux
Preceded by
Jean Cruppi
Minister of Justice
1912–1913
Succeeded by
Louis Barthou
Preceded by
Raymond Poincaré
Prime Minister of France
1913
Succeeded by
Louis Barthou
Preceded by
Théodore Steeg
Minister of the Interior
1913
Succeeded by
Louis Lucien Klotz
Preceded by
Jean-Baptiste Bienvenu-Martin
Minister of Justice
1914–1915
Succeeded by
René Viviani
Preceded by
René Viviani
Prime Minister of France
1915–1917
Succeeded by
Alexandre Ribot
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1915–1917
Preceded by
Georges Leygues
Prime Minister of France
1921–1922
Succeeded by
Raymond Poincaré
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1921–1922
Preceded by
Édouard Herriot
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1925–1926
Succeeded by
Édouard Herriot
Preceded by
Paul Painlevé
Prime Minister of France
1925–1926
Preceded by
Édouard Herriot
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1926–1932
Succeeded by
Pierre Laval
Preceded by
Raymond Poincaré
Prime Minister of France
1929
Succeeded by
André Tardieu