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1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Millerand, Alexandre

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MILLERAND, ALEXANDRE (1859-), French statesman, (see 18.465), was included in the Briand Ministry of July 1909 with the portfolio of Public Works, and in the Poincaré Ministry of Jan. 1912 he became Minister of War. He resumed this portfolio when, immediately after the outbreak of war in 1914, the Prime Minister, Viviani, desired to strengthen his team. He was Minister of War during the most difficult period when, after the first battle of the Marne, the Government had to have recourse to all sorts of improvisations in order to make good the deficiencies revealed in the country's military equipment. His administration was severely criticised by Clemenceau on account of the muddle and mismanagement which ruled the army medical services. He was also criticised with some vehemence for the delays in producing the right kind of shell and gun in adequate quantities. His extremely dogged character enabled him to withstand the many parliamentary attacks made upon his political position, and his departure from the War Office only took place when Delcassé's resignation brought about that of the whole Viviani Ministry in 1915. For the rest of the war he devoted himself to relief work, and went back to his very large practice at the bar. After the Armistice M. Clemenceau appointed him to the posts of Commissioner-General of the Republic at Strasbourg and Administrator of Alsace-Lorraine. These posts he filled with great distinction and ability. In the elections of 1919 he played the chief part in constituting the national bloc with which the moderate parties successfully fought the elections. When Clemenceau resigned Millerand formed the new Government. He was called upon to play a big part in the protracted inter-Allied negotiations with regard to the application of the Treaty of Versailles. His political prestige grew steadily during office, and when M. Deschanel was forced to resign the presidency of the republic he succeeded him as President, being elected by 695 votes out of 892 on Sept. 23 1920.