Who's Who - Alexandre Millerand

Alexandre Millerand Alexandre Millerand (1859-1943) began his political career as a moderate left-wing socialist.  However, experience as Minister of War brought about a consequent shift to the right.

Millerand occupied the War ministry twice, from 1912-13 and again from 1914-15, both times under Raymond Poincare.  The year before the First World War broke out Millerand came out in support of the controversial French plan to introduce three-year conscription, and actively supported French rearmament for the coming war.

Having left the War ministry in 1913 Millerand was subsequently brought back by Rene Viviani's wartime coalition in 1914, where he established notoriety for his rigid policy of defending the autocratic Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Joffre, from most forms of political interference.

Millerand was in agreement with Joffre's recommendation that the government decamp from Paris as the First Battle of the Marne approached in September 1914.

Millerand's conduct of policy was somewhat weakened in May 1915 with the creation of two new departments to oversee supplies of both artillery and ammunition.

In July 1915 Millerand again came out in support of Joffre following the latter's dismissal of General Maurice Sarrail.  As a rare military socialist Sarrail excited great sympathy among the political elite.  The furore surrounding his dismissal led to his reinstatement in Salonika.

A separate controversy subsequently engulfed Joffre - and Millerand again, who backed Joffre - for his apparent refusal to provide reinforcements to Sarrail in Salonika.

With Viviani's fall from office in October 1915 so Millerand lost his War ministry, and saw out the remainder of the war from the political sidelines.  He subsequently served as premier in 1920 and, later that year, was elected President (beating out successful wartime premier Georges Clemenceau).

By 1918 the percentage of women to men working in Britain had risen to 37% from 24% at the start of the war.

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