Georges Clemenceau was the senior French representative at the Versailles settlement. Georges Clemenceau wanted the terms of Versailles to smash Germany, whereas David Lloyd George of Britain privately wanted a non-emotive approach to Germany’s punishment at Versailles. Georges Clemenceau was completely in tune with what the French wanted out of the peace treaty - the destruction of Germany - not for nothing was his nickname ‘The Tiger’.
Georges Clemenceau was born in 1841. He had a good education and studied medicine. He settled in Montmatre where he was appointed the town’s mayor in 1870. From 1876 to 1893 he was a member of the Chamber of Deputies and in 1902 he became senator for Var. He held this post until 1920. Between 1914 and 1917, Clemenceau was an outspoken critic of the military incompetence that seemed to characterise the French military effort in World War One. From November 1917 on, he was again appointed Prime Minister and he led the French delegation at the peace talks held at the Versailles Palace. He realised that the tone in France was for no mercy to be shown to the Germans. He called for Germany to be smashed so that she could never again embark on a war. In France he was seen as a realist as the country almost certainly in line for a future attack by the Germans would be France. At Versailles, he made plain his scepticism for Woodrow Wilson’s beliefs in the future of Europe.
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George was born in 1863 and died in 1945. Lloyd George was the major British politician present at the Treaty of Versailles and while at Versailles it was Lloyd George who tried to play the middle role between the total retribution of George Clemenceau and the seemingly mild rebuke of America’s Woodrow Wilson.
Lloyd George was Britain’s senior representative at the Versailles settlement. He had put himself into a difficult political position. On the one hand, his public image was that Germany should be smashed and that those responsible for waging war should be held to account. This fitted in with the huge anger directed against the Germans that was felt in Britain at this time. However, he was also extremely concerned by the Russian Revolution of 1917. The last thing Lloyd George wanted was for the revolution to spread west and he saw Germany as the only country that could possibly act as a barrier against the Communists. Therefore a devastated Germany was not his private option as this would play into the hands of the Communists. Therefore, he had to be at his political best at Versailles. The final treaty had to come across as tough on the Germans but it also, from his…