Briand, Aristide


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Briand, Aristide

(ärēstēd` brēäN`), 1862–1932, French statesman. A lawyer and a Socialist, he entered (1902) the chamber of deputies and helped to draft and pass the law (1905) for separation of church and state. Made (1906) minister of education and minister of religion to execute the law, he was ejected from the Socialist party for participating in the bourgeois cabinet of premier Jean Sarrien. In 1909 he became premier for the first of 11 times. In World War I, Briand headed (1915–17) two successive coalition cabinets and made the decision to hold VerdunVerdun, battle of,
the longest and one of the bloodiest engagements of World War I. Two million men were engaged. It began on Feb. 21, 1916, when the Germans, commanded by Crown Prince Frederick William, launched a massive offensive against Verdun, an awkward salient in the
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 at any cost. His government fell in Mar., 1917; attacked by Georges Clemenceau for attempting to negotiate a peace with Germany in 1917, Briand retired. After the war he emerged as a leading advocate of international peace and cooperation, and he is best remembered for his devotion to this cause. The cabinet he headed in 1921 fell because of his unpopular criticism of the Treaty of Versailles and his moderate demands at international conferences, where he worked for a reconciliation with Germany without the sacrifice of French security. As foreign minister from 1925 to 1932 he was the chief architect of the Locarno PactLocarno Pact,
1925, concluded at a conference held at Locarno, Switzerland, by representatives of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.
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 (1925) and the Kellogg-Briand PactKellogg-Briand Pact
, agreement, signed Aug. 27, 1928, condemning "recourse to war for the solution of international controversies." It is more properly known as the Pact of Paris. In June, 1927, Aristide Briand, foreign minister of France, proposed to the U.S.
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 (1928), and he shared the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize with Gustav Stresemann. An impressive orator, Briand was a prominent figure in the League of Nations. He advocated a plan for a United States of Europe.

Briand, Aristide

 

Born Mar. 28, 1862, in Nantes; died Mar. 7, 1932, in Paris. French statesman and diplomat. Lawyer by profession.

Briand participated in the socialist movement from the 1880’s. In 1902 he was elected to the parliament. In 1906 he joined the bourgeois government and was consequently expelled from the Socialist Party. He then joined the group of “independent socialists” (called the Republican Socialist Party since 1911). From 1909 to 1931 he was prime minister 11 times (in particular, 1909-11, 1913, 1915-17, and 1921 to January 1922) and minister of foreign affairs 17 times (in particular, 1915-17, 1921-22, and 1925-31). On the eve of and during World War I (1914-18) he pursued a policy of strengthening the Entente. After the collapse of the anti-Soviet intervention, he advocated a more flexible policy toward the Soviet state. From 1925 to 1931 he favored an accommodation with Germany. He was one of the initiators of the Locarno Conference of 1925, of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, and of a plan for creating a “pan-Europe.” He covered an imperialist policy with pacifist phrases and won the reputation of a peacemaker in the West. In 1931, realizing the instability of the European system of alliances and the growing danger from Germany, Briand took steps to conclude a Franco-Soviet nonaggression treaty.

REFERENCE

Kniazhinskii, V. B. Proval planov “ob’edineniia Evropy.” Moscow, 1958.
Suares, G. Briand, sa vie, son oeuvre, vols. 1-6. Paris, 1938—52.
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