Camille Chautemps

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Camille Chautemps
Chautemps 1925.jpg
98th Prime Minister of France
In office
21 February 1930 – 2 March 1930
Preceded by André Tardieu
Succeeded by André Tardieu
107th Prime Minister of France
In office
26 November 1933 – 30 January 1934
Preceded by Albert Sarraut
Succeeded by Édouard Daladier
115th Prime Minister of France
In office
22 June 1937 – 13 March 1938
Preceded by Léon Blum
Succeeded by Léon Blum
Personal details
Born 1 February 1885
Paris, France
Died 1 July 1963(1963-07-01) (aged 78)
Washington, D.C., United States
Political party Radical

Camille Chautemps (1 February 1885 – 1 July 1963) was a French Radical politician of the Third Republic, three times President of the Council (Prime Minister).


Early Career[edit]

Described as "intellectually bereft,"[1] Chautemps nevertheless entered politics and became Mayor of Tours in 1912, and a Radical deputy in 1919. Between 1924 and 1926, he served in the center-left coalition governments of Édouard Herriot, Paul Painlevé and Aristide Briand.

The 1930s[edit]

Prime Minister twice[edit]

He became President of the Council briefly in 1930. Again in center-left governments in 1932–1934, he served as Interior Minister, and became Prime Minister again in November 1933. His government fell and he resigned his posts on 27 January 1934 as a result of the corrupt Stavisky Affair, when the press accused him of having Stavisky murdered to shut him up.[2]

Deputy Prime Minister and Premier for the last time[edit]

In Léon Blum's Popular Front government of 1936, Chautemps was a Minister of State, and then succeeded Blum at the head of the government from June 1937 to March 1938. During this period the Franc was devalued but government finances remained in a mess.[3] Pursuing the program of the Popular Front, he proceeded to nationalize the railroads and create the SNCF. However in January 1938 Chautempts drove the Socialists out of his government.[4] In February he granted married women financial and legal independence (up until that point, wives had been dependent on their husbands to take action involving family finances), to enroll in university, and to open bank accounts. His government also repealed Article 213 of the code, which stated "the husband owes protection to his wife, the wife obedience to the husband", though the husband remained "head of the household", with "the right to choose the household’s place of residence".[5] His government fell on 10 March.[6]

The Run-up to World War II[edit]

Chautemps subsequently served from April 1938 to May 1940 as Deputy Premier in the governments of Édouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud, and, after the latter's resignation, as Deputy Premier again, this time to Marshal Philippe Pétain.

World War II and Defection to the United States[edit]

France having declared war on Germany in September 1939, in May 1940 the German Army invaded and swept aside all opposition. With the fall of Dunkirk on 5 June and the defeat of the French army imminent, Chautemps, dining with Paul Baudouin on the 8th, declared that the war must be ended, and that it was Pétain who saw the position clearest.[7] On the 11th, during a Cabinet meeting, Chautemps suggested that Churchill be invited to come back to France to discuss the hopeless situation.[8] The Cabinet met again on the 14th, almost evenly split on the question of an Armistice with Germany. Chautemps now suggested, in order to break the deadlock, that they should get a neutral authority to enquire what the German terms would be. If honourable, they could agree to study them. If not, they could all agree to fight on. It was voted through by 13 to 6.[9] Soon after, General de Gaulle, now in London, telephoned Reynaud to give him the British Government's offer of joint nationality for Frenchmen and Englishmen in a Franco-British Union. A delighted Reynaud put it to a stormy cabinet meeting and was supported by five of his ministers. Most of the others were persuaded against him by the arguments of Pétain, Chautemps, and Jean Ybarnégaray, the latter two seeing the offer as a device to make France subservient to Great Britain, as a kind of extra Dominion. Georges Mandel (who had a Jewish background[10]) was flinging accusations of cowardice around the room, and Chautemps and others replied in kind. It was now clear that Reynaud would not accept the Chautemps Proposal, and he resigned.[11]

Chautemps broke with Philippe Petain's Government of France after arriving in the United States on an official mission, and lived there for much of the rest of his life. After World War II, a French court convicted him in absentia for collaborating with the enemy[12]).

Chautemps's First Ministry, 21 February – 2 March 1930[edit]

Chautemps's Second Ministry, 26 November 1933 – 30 January 1934[edit]


  • 9 January 1934 – Lucien Lamoureux succeeds Dalimier as Minister of Colonies. Eugène Frot succeeds Lamoureux as Minister of Labour and Social Security Provisions. William Bertrand succeeds Frot as Minister of Merchant Marine.

Chautemps's Third Ministry, 22 June 1937 – 18 January 1938[edit]

Chautemps's Fourth Ministry, 18 January – 13 March 1938[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Anatole de Monzie
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
René Renoult
Preceded by
André Tardieu
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
André Tardieu
Preceded by
Albert Sarraut
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Édouard Daladier
Preceded by
Léon Blum
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Léon Blum


  1. ^ Williams, Charles, Pétain, Little Brown (Time Warner Book Group UK), London, 2005, p.283, ISBN 0-316-86127-8
  2. ^ Williams, 2005, p.259.
  3. ^ Griffiths, Richard, Pétain, Constable, London, 1970, p.p.197, ISBN 0-09-455740-3
  4. ^ Griffiths, 1970, p.197.
  5. ^ [France since 1870: Culture, Politics and Society by Charles Sowerine]
  6. ^ Griffiths, 1970, p.197.
  7. ^ Griffiths, 1970, p.231.
  8. ^ Griffiths, 1970, p.235.
  9. ^ Griffiths, 1970, p.237.
  10. ^ Webster, Paul, Pétain's Crime, Pan Macmillan, London, 1990, p.40, ISBN 0-333-57301-3
  11. ^ Griffiths, 1970, p.239.
  12. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica

External links[edit]