"From the blind confusion of factional strife the Frenchman has emerged in this hour all of a piece throughout, stronger, more resolute, silent, smiling, his eyes bright with an invincible fire which affirms that the legend of France shall not fail…It is in that mysterious hour when something comes to birth in us which burns out the dross and clears the way for the casting of a metal which neither steel nor diamond can scratch. And when, some day, after superhuman efforts, all these souls, fatigued with heroism, meet again under the vast blue vault of a regenerated fatherland, it must be that of so many hearts which were sundered a soul of France will forge itself, and the discords which are a condition of life will dissolve, fast fused in a bond of solidarity so closely knit that nothing will have power to shatter it."These were the words which Georges Clemenceau used upon learning of the outbreak of the war. The war would cleanse France of its lethargy, provide it with an opportunity to redeem its past loss, and of course, provide an even more important opportunity to inflict a defeat upon Germany, and restore the rightful order of things. Nobody that marched to war in 1914 could have imagined the kind of losses which awaited their nation, and France was no exception. Her people quickly learned their lessons the hard way. In the month of August 1914 alone, 75,000 Frenchmen died. On the bloodiest day of the war for France, the 23rd August 1914, 27,000 men lay dead by the end of it.With losses like these, George Clemenceau quickly turned his attention to that critical question - why was the war so costly, and who was sabotaging France's successful realisation of its aims? It was above his imagination to think that actually, such casualties were the result not of sabotage or anyone's fault necessarily, and were instead the predicable consequences of a French high command which preferred old tactics like charging straight at the enemy - the cult of the offensive - while the soldiery were decked out in the finest clothing and fanciest accessories. France's old world was shattered after successive years in this meat grinder, but Clemenceau remained somewhat aloof from it all.A heavy critic of the government's method of fighting the war, Clemenceau found his paper banned and his friends no longer talking to him. Clemenceau became more shrill and less able to find some solution to the carnage, but in its hour of need, France relied on this formidable 76 year old once more. Against so many odds, this veteran statesman was at the helm of France again, and he had a strong message for those that would listen - not one more step back. Even if it took another August 1914 of casualties, Clemenceau was resolute in his determination not to give in to the German war effort. 1918 would test him to his limits, but at no point did the elder statesman ever imagine that making peace, would be just as difficult as winning the war*********The Versailles Anniversary Project is possible because of your support and interest - make sure to spread the word, engage with the debate, and look at the different ways you can help this project succeed!->Visit the homeland for this new project!->Become a delegate and play the Delegation Game for just $6 a month!->Support the podcast financially and access ad free episodes with transcripts from just $2 a month!->Follow WDF on Twitter!->Join the Facebook group!->Subscribe on.... . .
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