Étienne Alexandre Millerand

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Millerand, Étienne Alexandre


Born Feb. 10, 1859, in Paris; died Apr. 6, 1943, at Versailles. French statesman and political figure. Lawyer.

Millerand, who began his political career as a bourgeois radical, became famous for his legal defense of striking workers during the 1880’s. During the same decade he contributed to the bourgeois radical newspapers Justice and La Lanterne, as well as to the newspaper La Petite République, which was under the socialists’ influence. He was elected municipal councillor of Paris in 1884, and in 1885 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, to which he was reelected several times.

Joining the socialist movement in the early 1890’s, Millerand held right-wing opinions and was a supporter of reformist politics. In 1899 he entered P. M. R. Waldeck-Rousseau’s cabinet as minister of commerce, becoming an active defender of the capitalist system. Millerand was the first socialist in history to participate in a bourgeois government. In 1904 he was expelled from the French Socialist Party, Subsequently, he joined A. Briand, R. Viviani, and A. Zévaès in the reformist grouping known as the Independent Socialists. Shortly thereafter, he broke with socialism for good and fought against the strike and antimilitarist movements.

Millerand was minister of public works in Briand’s cabinet (July 1909-November 1910) and minister of war in the cabinets of R. Poincaré (January 1912-January 1913) and R. Viviani (August 1914-October 1915). From March 1919 to January 1920 he was French commissioner-general in Alsace-Lorraine. From January to September 1920 he was chairman of the Council of Ministers and minister of foreign affairs. He was one of the active organizers of the anti-Soviet intervention.

Elected president of the Republic in September 1920, Millerand, ignoring French political traditions, became actively involved in domestic and foreign politics, acting in the interests of the forces of reaction. In June 1924 he was forced to leave office prior to the expiration of his term, because the left bourgeois parties (the “left bloc”; in French, Cartel des Gauches), which had won the parliamentary elections, refused to cooperate with him. He was elected to the Senate in 1925 and 1927, after which he ceased to be active in politics.


Travail et travailleurs. Paris, 1908.
La Guerre libératrice. Paris, 1918.
Le Retour de VAlsace-Lorraine à la France. Paris, 1923.


Dalin, V. M. “Manisterializm i krizis frantsuzskogo sotsializma.” In the collection Istoriia Vtorogo Internatsionala, vol. 1. Moscow, 1965. Pages 292–302.
Barty, I. L’Affaire Millerand. Paris, 1924.
Simonsson, R. Millerands presidentur. Uppsala-Stockholm, 1938.
Willard, C. Le Mouvement socialiste en France (1893–1905)…. Paris, 1965. Chapters 22–24.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Alexandre Millerand, the French president, was an anti-Bolshevik ideologue determined to block any softening of French hostility.