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René Viviani

René Viviani
Viviani in 1914
81st Prime Minister of France
In office
13 June 1914 – 29 October 1915
Preceded by Alexandre Ribot
Succeeded by Aristide Briand
Personal details
Born Jean Raphaël Adrien René Viviani
8 November 1863
Sidi Bel Abbès, French Algeria
Died 7 September 1925(1925-09-07) (aged 61)
Le Plessis-Robinson
Political party PRS

Jean Raphaël Adrien René Viviani (French pronunciation: ​; 8 November 1863 – 7 September 1925) was a French politician of the Third Republic, who served as Prime Minister for the first year of World War I. He was born in Sidi Bel Abbès, in French Algeria. In France he sought to protect the rights of socialists and trade union workers.


  • Biography 1
  • Viviani's First Government, 13 June – 26 August 1914 2
  • Viviani's Second Ministry, 26 August 1914 – 29 October 1915 3
  • See also 4
  • Books 5
  • External links 6
  • References 7


René Viviani was born in Algeria in a family of Italian immigrants. His parliamentary career began in 1893, when he was elected deputy of the fifth ward in Paris. He retained this office until 1902, when he failed to be reelected, but four years later he was elected deputy of the Aristide Briand, stayed outside, and thenceforth called himself an Independent Socialist. He served as Minister of Public Instruction in the ministry of M. Doumergue.

In the spring of 1914 an exceptionally radical chamber was elected, and for a while it seemed that they would be unable to agree upon any one for Premier, but finally, he was appointed Prime Minister on 13 June 1914, by President Poincaré. He received a vote of confidence of 370 to 137. The chief issues were the maintenance of the law requiring three years' service in the army and provision for a loan of 1,800,000,000 francs ($360,000,000) for military preparations. Viviani supported both of these measures. During the July Crisis, he was largely dominated by the President Poincaré. Shortly, the war with Germany commenced, and in August, 1914, Viviani reorganized his cabinet on a war basis. His tenure leading France during the war was undistinguished.

He retained the premiership for over a year, but by autumn 1915 his government was in trouble following the resignation of Delcassé as Foreign Minister, the unsuccessful western front offensive and the entry of Bulgaria into the war. Although he survived a no confidence vote by 372-9, there were many abstentions. General Gallieni agreed to replace Millerand as Minister of War, but other French politicians refused to join Viviani’s government, so he resigned on 27 October 1915. Viviani served as Vice-President of the Council of Ministers (Deputy PM) and Gallieni as War Minister in Aristide Briand's new ministry.[1]

In April 1917 Viviani led a mission to the USA, which had just entered the war "associated with" the Allies. He was overshadowed by Marshal Joffre, who attracted much more attention from the American press.[2]

During Viviani's time as prime minister, a law was adopted in July 1915 providing for special boards to fix such a wage for women employed in home-work in the clothing industry.[3]

Viviani's First Government, 13 June – 26 August 1914


René Viviani

Viviani's Second Ministry, 26 August 1914 – 29 October 1915


  • 13 October 1915 – Viviani succeeds Delcassé as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

See also


  • Doughty, Robert A. (2005). Pyrrhic Victory. Havard University Press.  
  • Eisenhower, John S.D. (2001). Yanks. Simon & Schuster.  

External links


  1. ^ Doughty 2005, p229
  2. ^ Eisenhower 2001, p12-13
  3. ^ The Encyclopedia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, Volume 31 by Hugh Chisholm
Political offices
Preceded by
Gaston Doumergue
Minister of Labour and Social Security
Succeeded by
Louis Lafferre
Preceded by
Louis Barthou
Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
Succeeded by
Arthur Dessoye
Preceded by
Alexandre Ribot
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Aristide Briand
Preceded by
Léon Bourgeois
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Gaston Doumergue
Preceded by
Théophile Delcassé
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Aristide Briand
Preceded by
Aristide Briand
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Raoul Péret
Preceded by
Paul Painlevé
Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
Succeeded by
Théodore Steeg
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
John Barton Payne
Cover of Time Magazine
19 May 1923
Succeeded by
Franklin D. Roosevelt
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