André Tardieu

André Pierre Gabriel Amédée Tardieu (French: [ɑ̃dʁe taʁdjø]; 22 September 1876 – 15 September 1945) was three times Prime Minister of France (3 November 1929 – 17 February 1930; 2 March – 4 December 1930; 20 February – 10 May 1932) and a dominant figure of French political life in 1929–1932. He was a moderate conservative with a strong intellectual reputation, but became a weak prime minister at the start of the worldwide Great Depression.[1]

André Tardieu
André Tardieu en 1928.jpg
Tardieu in 1928
Prime Minister of France
In office
20 February 1932 – 3 June 1932
Preceded byPierre Laval
Succeeded byÉdouard Herriot
In office
2 March 1930 – 13 December 1930
PresidentGaston Doumergue
Preceded byCamille Chautemps
Succeeded byThéodore Steeg
In office
2 November 1929 – 21 February 1930
PresidentGaston Doumergue
Preceded byAristide Briand
Succeeded byCamille Chautemps
Personal details
André Pierre Gabriel Amédée Tardieu

(1876-09-22)22 September 1876
Paris, France
Died15 September 1945(1945-09-15) (aged 68)
Menton, France
Political party


Tardieu's paternal grandmother was the composer and pianist Charlotte Tardieu. Andre Tardieu was a graduate of the elite Lycée Condorcet. He was accepted by the even more prestigious École Normale Supérieure, but instead entered the diplomatic service. Later, he left the service and became famous as foreign affairs editor of the newspaper Le Temps. He founded the conservative newspaper L'Echo National in association with Georges Mandel.

In 1914, Tardieu was elected to the Chamber of Deputies from the département of Seine-et-Oise, as a candidate of the center-right Democratic Republican Alliance (Alliance Démocratique – AD). He retained this seat till 1924. From 1926 to 1936, he represented the département of Territoire de Belfort.

When World War I broke out, Tardieu enlisted in the army and served before he was wounded and invalided home in 1916. He then returned to politics. He served as Georges Clemenceau's lieutenant in 1919 during the Paris Peace Conference and as Commissioner for Franco-American War Cooperation. On 8 November 1919, he became Minister of Liberated Regions, administering Alsace and Lorraine, and served until Clemenceau's defeat in 1920.

In 1926, Tardieu returned to government as Minister of Transportation under Raymond Poincaré. In 1928, he moved to Minister of the Interior, continuing under Poincaré's successor Aristide Briand.

In November 1929, Tardieu himself succeeded Briand as Président du Conseil (Prime Minister) and remained Interior Minister. Though generally considered a conservative, he introduced a program of welfare measures, including public works, social insurance, and free secondary schooling, and he encouraged modern techniques in industry. On 11 March 1932, legislation was passed that established universal family allowances for all wage earners in business and industry with at least two children.

He hoped to replace the old ideological standoff between the right and left to a more relevant division based on the modern economy. He argued that "a more dynamic capitalism would dry up the Marxism of the working classes."[2] The goal of his leadership was prosperity. When the Great Depression began in 1929, his goal was to evade a depression in France, which worked for several years. According to Monique Clague, "An obstinate deflationist throughout the thirties Tardieu would clearly not have given France a new deal." In the election of 1932 "he acknowledged the responsibility of the modern state for curing unemployment, but, devoted to the Poincaré franc, he would have sacrificed employment to the maintenance of the gold standard."[3]

Tardieu was displaced from both offices for ten days in February–March 1930 by Radical Camille Chautemps, but he returned until December. He was then Minister of Agriculture in 1931, Minister of War in 1932, and again Prime Minister (this time, also Minister of Foreign Affairs), from 20 February to 3 June 1932, until his coalition was defeated in the May elections.

As Prime Minister, Tardieu served for three (7–10 May 1932) days as the Acting President of the French Republic, between the assassination of Paul Doumer and the election of Albert Lebrun.

He was briefly a Minister of State without portfolio in 1934.

His later political activity was largely concerned with containing and responding to German expansion.

In his two-volume book La Révolution à refaire, Tardieu criticized the French parliamentary system.


Some of his books include:

  • La France et les alliances (1908)
  • La Paix (1921; published in English as The Truth About the Treaty)
  • Devant l'obstacle (1927); published in English as France and America)
  • La Révolution à refaire, 2 volumes (1936–37)

Tardieu's First Ministry, 3 November 1929 – 21 February 1930Edit

Tardieu's Second Government, 2 March – 13 December 1930Edit


  • 17 November 1930 – Henri Chéron succeeded Péret as Minister of Justice.

Tardieu's Third Ministry, 20 February – 3 June 1932Edit

See alsoEdit

Primary sourcesEdit

  • Tardieu, André. France and the Alliances: The Struggle for the Balance of Power (Macmillan, 1908) online
  • The Truth About The Treaty, written 1921, to defend the French negotiators from claims that they had been too lenient on the Germans.

Further readingEdit

  • Binion, Rudolph. Defeated Leaders: The Political Fate of Caillaux, Jouvenel, and Tardieu (1960) pp 197–337 online
  • Clague, Monique. 'Vision and Myopia in the New Politics of Andre Tardieu" French Historical Studies 8#1 (1973), pp. 105–129 Online
  • Davies, Gareth. "André Tardieu, les Modérés and the Politics of Prosperity: 1929–1932." Histoire@ Politique 1 (2012): 94–110. in English. online


  1. ^ Binion, 1960, pp 197–340
  2. ^ Clague, pp 105–28.
  3. ^ Clague, pp 105–28.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Liberated Regions
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Transportation
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of France
Preceded by Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Agriculture
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of War
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Minister of Foreign Affairs
New office Minister of State
Succeeded by