|President of France
Co-Prince of Andorra
18 February 1913 – 18 February 1920
|Prime Minister||Aristide Briand
|Preceded by||Armand Fallières|
|Succeeded by||Paul Deschanel|
|Prime Minister of France|
23 July 1926 – 29 July 1929
|Preceded by||Édouard Herriot|
|Succeeded by||Aristide Briand|
15 January 1922 – 8 June 1924
|Preceded by||Aristide Briand|
|Succeeded by||Frédéric François-Marsal|
13 January 1912 – 21 January 1913
|Preceded by||Joseph Caillaux|
|Succeeded by||Aristide Briand|
20 August 1860|
Bar-le-Duc, Meuse, France
|Died||15 October 1934
Raymond Poincaré (French pronunciation: [ʁɛmɔ̃ pwɛ̃kaʁe]; 20 August 1860 – 15 October 1934) was a French statesman who served five times as Prime Minister, and as President from 1913 to 1920. He was a conservative leader, primarily committed to political and social stability.
Trained in law, Poincaré was elected a Deputy in 1887, and served in the cabinets of Dupuy and Ribot. In 1902, he co-founded the Democratic Republican Alliance, the most important center-right party under the Third Republic, becoming Prime Minister in 1912 and President in 1913. He was noted for his strongly anti-German attitudes, and twice visited Russia to maintain strategic ties. At the Peace Conference, he favoured re-occupation of the Rhineland, which he was able to carry out in 1923 as Prime Minister. Throughout this period he was making highly prescient statements about Germany's likely intentions.
Early years 
Born in Bar-le-Duc, Meuse, France, Raymond Poincaré was the son of Nicolas Antonin Hélène Poincaré, a distinguished civil servant and meteorologist. Raymond was also the cousin of Henri Poincaré, the famous mathematician. Educated at the University of Paris, Raymond was called to the Paris bar, and was for some time law editor of the Voltaire.
As a lawyer, he successfully defended Jules Verne in a libel suit presented against the famous author by the chemist Eugène Turpin, inventor of the explosive melinite, who claimed that the "mad scientist" character in Verne's book Facing the Flag was based on him.
Early political career 
Poincaré had served for over a year in the Department of Agriculture when in 1887 he was elected deputy for the Meuse département. He made a great reputation in the Chamber as an economist, and sat on the budget commissions of 1890–1891 and 1892. He was minister of education, fine arts and religion in the first cabinet (April – November 1893) of Charles Dupuy, and minister of finance in the second and third (May 1894 – January 1895).
In Alexandre Ribot's cabinet Poincaré became minister of public instruction. Although he was excluded from the Radical cabinet which followed, the revised scheme of death duties proposed by the new ministry was based upon his proposals of the previous year. He became vice-president of the chamber in the autumn of 1895, and in spite of the bitter hostility of the Radicals retained his position in 1896 and 1897.
Along with other followers of "Opportunist" Léon Gambetta, Poincaré founded the Democratic Republican Alliance (ARD) in 1902, which became the most important center-right party under the Third Republic. In 1906 he returned to the ministry of finance in the short-lived Sarrien ministry. Poincaré had retained his practice at the bar during his political career, and he published several volumes of essays on literary and political subjects.
"Poincarism" was a political movement, 1902–20. In 1902 it was used by Clemenceau to define a young generation of conservative politicians who had lost the idealism of the founders of the republic. After 1911 the term was used to mean "national renewal" when faced with the German threat. After the First World War, "Poincarism" refers to his support of business and financial interests.
First premiership 
Poincaré became Prime Minister in January 1912, and began pursuing a hardline anti-German policy, noted for restoring close ties with France's Russian ally. He went to Russia for a State visit in August 1912. He faced a choice between protecting French interests at home or in the colonies. France's European allies and interests were menaced by tensions with Germany, and its colonies in the eastern Mediterranean were increasingly vulnerable to rebellion. Italy was challenging France's religious and cultural predominance in Syria and the Lebanon, and Britain her economic influence in the area. Poincaré focused intently on the importance of these eastern Mediterranean colonies, particularly Syria, and thereby drew closer to Germany. His policies and strong opposition to nascent pan-Arab movements prefigure the French political strategy after the First World War.
Poincaré won election as President of the Republic in 1913, in succession to Armand Fallières. He attempted to make that office into a site of power for the first time since MacMahon in the 1870s. He generally managed to continue to dominate foreign policy, in particular. He went to Russia, for the second time (but for the first time as president) to reinforce the Franco-Russian Alliance after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo in July 1914.
He became increasingly sidelined after the accession to power of Georges Clemenceau as Prime Minister in 1917. He believed the Armistice happened too soon and that the French Army should have penetrated Germany far more. At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, negotiating the Treaty of Versailles, he wanted France to wrest the Rhineland from Germany to put it under Allied military control. Poincaré wrote a memorandum for the conference, saying that after the Franco-Prussian War Germany occupied various French provinces and did not leave until it received all of the indemnity, whereas France wanted reparations for damage caused. He further claimed that if the Allies did not occupy the Rhineland and at a later date found that they would need to do so again, Germany would label them the aggressors:
|“||And, further, shall we be sure of finding the left bank free from German troops? Germany is supposedly going to undertake to have neither troops nor fortresses on the left bank and within a zone extending 50 k.m. east of the Rhine. But the Treaty does not provide for any permanent supervision of troops and armaments on the left bank any more than elsewhere in Germany. In the absence of this permanent supervision, the clause stipulating that the League of Nations may order enquiries to be undertaken is in danger of being purely illusory. We can thus have no guarantee that after the expiry of the fifteen years and the evacuation of the left bank, the Germans will not filter troops by degrees into this district. Even supposing they have not previously done so, how can we prevent them doing it at the moment when we intend to re-occupy on account of their default? It will be simple for them to leap to the Rhine in a night and to seize this natural military frontier well ahead of us. The option to renew the occupation should not therefore from any point of view be substituted for occupation.||”|
Ferdinand Foch urged Poincaré to invoke his powers as laid down in the Constitution and take over the negotiations of the treaty due to worries that Clemenceau was not achieving France's aims. He did not, and when the French Cabinet approved of the terms which Clemenceau obtained, Poincaré considered resigning, although again he refrained.
Second premiership 
In 1920, Poincaré's term as President came to an end, and two years later he returned to office as Prime Minister. Once again, his tenure was noted for its strong anti-German policies, with Poincaré justifying these by saying: "Germany's population was increasing, her industries were intact, she had no factories to reconstruct, she had no flooded mines. Her resources were intact, above and below ground... [i]n fifteen or twenty years Germany would be mistress of Europe. In front of her would be France with a population scarcely increased".
Frustrated at Germany's unwillingness to pay reparations, Poincaré hoped for joint Anglo-French economic sanctions against Germany in 1922, opposing military action. However, by December 1922 he was faced with British-American-German hostility and saw coal for French steel production and money for reconstructing the devastated industrial areas draining away. Poincaré was exasperated with British failure to act, and wrote to the French ambassador in London:
Judging others by themselves, the English, who are blinded by their loyalty, have always thought that the Germans did not abide by their pledges inscribed in the Versailles Treaty because they had not frankly agreed to them... We, on the contrary, believe that if Germany, far from making the slightest effort to carry out the treaty of peace, has always tried to escape her obligations, it is because until now she has not been convinced of her defeat... We are also certain that Germany, as a nation, resigns herself to keep her pledged word only under the impact of necessity.
Poincaré decided to occupy the Ruhr on 11 January 1923, to extract the reparations himself. This, according to historian Sally Marks, "was profitable and caused neither the German hyperinflation, which began in 1922 and ballooned because of German responses to the Ruhr occupation, nor the franc's 1924 collapse, which arose from French financial practices and the evaporation of reparations". The profits, after Ruhr-Rhineland occupation costs, were nearly 900 million gold marks. Poincaré lost the 1924 parliamentary election "more from the franc's collapse and the ensuing taxation than from diplomatic isolation".
Hall argues that Poincaré was not a vindictive nationalist. Despite his disagreements with Britain, he desired to preserve the Anglo-French entente. When he ordered the French occupation of the Ruhr valley in 1923, his aims were moderate. He did not try to revive Rhenish separatism. His major goal was the winning of German compliance with the Versailles treaty. Though Poincaré's aims were moderate, his inflexible methods and authoritarian personality led to the failure of his diplomacy.
Third premiership 
Financial crisis brought him back to power in 1926, and he once again became Prime Minister and Finance Minister until his retirement in 1929.
As early as 1915, Raymond Poincaré introduced a controversial denaturalization law which was applied to naturalized French citizens with "enemy origins" who had continued to maintain their original nationality. Through another law passed in 1927, the government could denaturalize any new citizen who committed acts contrary to French "national interest".
He died in Paris in 1934.
His brother, Lucien Poincaré (1862–1920), a physicist, became inspector-general of public instruction in 1902. He is the author of La Physique moderne (1906) and L'Électricité (1907). Jules Henri Poincaré (1854–1912), a much more distinguished physicist and mathematician, belonged to another branch of the same family.
First ministry, 21 January 1912 – 21 January 1913 
- 12 January 1913 – Albert Lebrun succeeds Millerand as Minister of War. René Besnard succeeds Lebrun as Minister of Colonies.
Second ministry, 15 January 1922 – 29 March 1924 
- 5 October 1922 – Maurice Colrat succeeds Barthou as Minister of Justice.
Third ministry, 29 March – 9 June 1924 
Fourth ministry, 23 July 1926 – 11 November 1928 
- 1 June 1928 – Louis Loucheur succeeds Fallières as Minister of Labour, Hygiene, Welfare Work, and Social Security Provisions
- 14 September 1928 – Laurent Eynac enters the ministry as Minister of Air. Henry Chéron succeeds Bokanowski as Minister of Commerce and Industry, and also becomes Minister of Posts and Telegraphs.
Fifth ministry, 11 November 1928 – 29 July 1929 
- J. F. V. Keiger, Raymond Poincaré (Cambridge University Press, 2002) p126
- A letter which Verne later sent to his brother Paul seems to suggest that, though acquitted due to Poincaré's spirited defence, Verne did intend to defame Turpin.
- Margaret MacMillan, Peacemakers. The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (John Murray, 2003), p. 42.
- MacMillan, p. 182.
- Ernest R. Troughton, It's Happening Again (London: John Gifford, 1944), p. 21.
- MacMillan, p. 212.
- MacMillan, p. 214.
- Étienne Mantoux, The Carthaginian Peace, or The Economic Consequences of Mr. Keynes (London: Oxford University Press, 1946), p. 23.
- Leopold Schwarzschild, World in Trance (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1943), p. 140.
- Sally Marks, '1918 and After. The Postwar Era', in Gordon Martel (ed.), The Origins of the Second World War Reconsidered. Second Edition (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 26.
- Marks, p. 35, n. 57.
- Marks, p. 26.
- Hines H. Hall, III, "Poincare and Interwar Foreign Policy: 'L'Oublie de la Diplomatie' in Anglo-French Relations, 1922-1924," Proceedings of the Western Society for French History (1982), Vol. 10, pp 485-494.
Further reading 
- Philippe Bernard, Henri Dubief, and Thony Forster (1985). The Decline of the Third Republic, 1914–1938. (Cambridge History of Modern France). Cambridge University Press.
- Keiger, J. F. V. (1997). Raymond Poincaré. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-57387-4.
- Jean-Marie Mayeur, Madeleine Rebirioux, and J. R. Foster (1988). The Third Republic from its Origins to the Great War, 1871–1914. (Cambridge History of Modern France). Cambridge University Press.
- Gordon Wright (1967). Raymond Poincaré and the French presidency. New York: Octagon Books. OCLC 405223.
- Sisley Huddleston (1924). Poincaré: A Biographical Portrait, Little, Brown & Company.
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- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.