Clemenceau Corrupt: French Historians Swoon

Well, let’s just take the first part of that headline shall we?

from left, David Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando, Georges Clemenceau, and Woodrow Wilson, at versailles, France, 1919

from left, David Lloyd George, Vittorio Orlando, Georges Clemenceau, and Woodrow Wilson, at Versailles, France, 1919

Clemenceau, the walrus-mustaschioed gentleman looking directly at the photographer in the portrait above, was the very Image of Victory over Germany in World War One, which you may recall at the time was known as The Great War.

Well, Clemenceau won The Great War for France. Sort of Ulysses S. Grant, French Republick style.

Now we turn to the fact, so far as historical inquiry is concerned, of his political corruption.

Were one to consult the work Clemenceau, written by one Pierre Dominique and published in 1963 by the so-called Club des Amis du Livre in Paris in only 17,860 copies, of which Your Intrepid Reporter is in possession of “Exemplaire No. 16995”, one would find on page 88 the passage:

Le procureur général Quesnay de Beaurepaire obéirait volontiers au président du Conseil, mais le garde des Sceaux

— this is your old title, Michael Kepler, which could be rendered Sergeant-at-Arms, but in this case he’s the chap who guards the swords.

mais le garde des Sceaux, Ricard, d’esprit plus court

— looking up in a dictionary what the hell a “short spirit” is isn’t really gunna help, Michael Kepler, so ya gotta just press on, press on. . .

Ricard, d’esprit plus court, exige la correctionelle

— which could mean that he needed to be tortured before he’d talk or that he demanded somebody else get — ahem — flayed. It’s supposed to be determined by context; but in this context, it is not clear which is intended.

The immediately following sentence in this account, probably the fourteenth or so in a row, of political scandals during the 1880s in France, is as follows:

Ainsi le baron de Reinach est pris sous le feu

You could render that “Thus the Baron Reinach was put to the fire. . .” but if you did you’d be sloppy. The image is that of someone who is under fire; he is being shot at, and the fire is bullets.

Ainsi le baron de Reinach

oh and the name, well it’s not French that’s for fuckin’ sure: we’re lookin’ at German and most likely German-Jewish money here.

Ainsi le baron de Reinach est pris sous le feu, et vraisemblablement perdu.

. . .and is probably as good as dead. [footnote of transcriber: You gotta love a language that has words such as “-blablement” in it {and all the French in the audience say, ‘Why you laugh?’}]

C’est à cet instant que nous allons voir apparaître Clemenceau.

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
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