A prime minister who survived the assassination and lived with a bullet in his lungs

A few months after the end of the First World War, France was shaken on February 19, 1919 by a failed assassination attempt against Prime Minister and Minister of War Georges Clemenceau, who gained great fame in his country thanks to his political achievements during the past decades and his leadership of France during the Great War. In which the Allies defeated the powers of the Middle Empires.

This assassination attempt came to shed light on the conditions of workers in the country and the growing influence of the anarchists, who succeeded in assassinating a number of French political figures.

Clemenceau in his office

Clemenceau in his office

Clemenceau’s political career

During his political career, Clemenceau served as Prime Minister of France on two occasions. After spending his first term between 1906 and 1909 in this position, this French politician, who represented the most prominent independent radical faces, returned to obtain again between 1917 and 1920 the first portfolio of the cabinet.

On the other hand, his presence on the political scene was strongly recorded during the Dreyfus affair at the beginning of the twentieth century.

With the end of World War I, during which 1.4 million French soldiers were killed, he was called the Father of Victory.

During the negotiations that led to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Clemenceau demanded a comprehensive victory over Germany, stressing the need for his country to obtain material compensation, to strip the Germans of their colonies and arm them, and to return the territory of Alsace-Lorraine, which the French lost to Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, to France. .

Koten after his arrest at the police station

Koten after his arrest at the police station

Failed assassination

During his tenure as Prime Minister between 1917 and 1920, Clemenceau used to leave his house on rue Franklin-Benjamin in Paris at about eight thirty to get into his private car that took him to the Ministry of War. On the way, Clemenceau’s car stops for a while at the Passy Crossroads because of the traffic and the tram tracks in the area.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old anarchist, Emile Cottin, was familiar with Clemenceau’s movements, as this young man observed the movements of the French minister over the course of days and located the Bassi Junction to end Clemenceau’s life.

A picture of Georges Clemenceau

A picture of Georges Clemenceau

He lived with a bullet in his lungs

On Wednesday, February 19, 1919, Émile Coutin passed by Clemenceau’s car before drawing his pistol and launching a hail of bullets at the Minister.

According to French police reports, Cotten fired 9 shots at Clemenceau, who was seriously injured and required surgical intervention. Despite their success in saving his life, the surgeons were unable to extract a bullet lodged between the French minister’s lungs, who had to continue living with it inside his body.

French police arrested Cotten at the scene of the incident. During his interrogation, the latter adopted the operation, stressing that it was in response to Clemenceau’s policy towards striking workers in the arms factories.

He also denounced, before the court, the actions of the French government, blaming it for the deaths of more than a million French people in the First World War.

However, the court issued a death sentence, which was later commuted to ten years in prison.

During the 1930s, Cotten moved to Spain to participate in the civil war. There, he was killed in 1936 during a battle.

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