Paul Doumer

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Paul Doumer
Paul Doumer in 1931 (cropped).jpg
President of France
In office
13 June 1931 7 May 1932
Prime Minister Pierre Laval
André Tardieu
Preceded by Gaston Doumergue
Succeeded by Albert Lebrun
Governor-General of French Indochina
In office
13 February 1897 14 March 1902
Preceded byArmand Rousseau
Succeeded byPaul Beau
Personal details
Born22 March 1857
Aurillac, France
Died7 May 1932(1932-05-07) (aged 75)
Paris, France
Political party Radical Party
Alma mater University of Paris

Joseph Athanase Doumer, commonly known as Paul Doumer (French pronunciation:  [pɔl dumɛːʀ] ; 22 March 1857 7 May 1932), was the President of France from 13 June 1931 until his assassination on 7 May 1932.

President of France head of state of France

The President of France, officially the President of the French Republic, is the executive head of state of France in the French Fifth Republic. In French terms, the presidency is the supreme magistracy of the country.



Joseph Athanase Doumer was born in Aurillac, in the Cantal département , in France on 22 March 1857. Alumnus of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [1] , he became a professor of mathematics at Mende in 1877.

Aurillac Prefecture and commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Aurillac is the prefecture of the Cantal department, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Aurillacois or Aurillacoises.

Cantal Department of France

Cantal is a department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France, with its prefecture in Aurillac. Its other principal towns are Saint-Flour and Mauriac and its residents are known as Cantalians. Cantal borders the departments of Puy-de-Dôme, Haute-Loire, Aveyron, Lot, Lozère and Corrèze, in the Massif Central natural region. Along with Lozère and Creuse, Cantal is among the most sparsely populated and geographically isolated departments of France and Aurillac is the departmental capital farthest removed from a major motorway. It had a population of 145,969 in 2016, making it the country's 97th most populated department.

Mende, Lozère Prefecture and commune in Occitanie, France

Mende is a commune and prefecture of the department of Lozère and of the region of Occitanie in southern France. Its inhabitants are called the Mendois. The city, including the first traces of dwellings date back to 200 BC, was originally named Mimata, probably in reference to the mountains that surround it.

In 1878 Doumer married Blanche Richel, whom he had met at college. They had eight children, four of whom were killed in the First World War (including the French air ace René Doumer).

Capitaine René Doumer (1887-1917) was a World War I flying ace credited with seven aerial victories.

From 1879 until 1883 Doumer was professor at Remiremont, before leaving on health grounds. He then became chief editor of Courrier de l'Aisne, a French regional newspaper. Initiated into Freemasonry in 1879, at "L'Union Fraternelle" lodge, he became Grand Secretary of Grand Orient de France in 1892. [2] [3] [4]

Remiremont Commune in Grand Est, France

Remiremont is a town and commune in the Vosges department of northeastern France, situated in southern Grand Est. The town has been an abbatial centre since the 7th century, is an economic crossroads of the Moselle and Moselotte valleys, and is also a stepping stone for tourists wishing to explore the Vosges and neighbouring Alsace. Remiremont has got a police station, which covers the city and his suburban area. The fire station realizes more than 2000 interventions per year. Remiremont is also known as the La Belle des Vosges.

Freemasonry group of fraternal organizations

Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow, and Master Mason. The candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. The degrees are part allegorical morality play and part lecture. Three degrees are offered by Craft Freemasonry, and members of any of these degrees are known as Freemasons or Masons. There are additional degrees, which vary with locality and jurisdiction, and are usually administered by their own bodies.

Grand Orient de France largest of several Masonic organizations in France and the oldest in Continental Europe

The Grand Orient de France (GODF) is the largest of several Masonic organizations in France and is the oldest in Continental Europe. It is generally considered to be the mother lodge of traditional Liberal, or Continental Freemasonry.

Paul Doumer in a photograph by Andre-Adolphe-Eugene Disderi Paul Doumer-1.jpg
Paul Doumer in a photograph by André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri

He made his debut in politics as chef de cabinet to Charles Floquet, when Floquet was president of the chamber in 1885. In 1888, Doumer was elected Radical deputy for the department of Aisne. Defeated in the general elections of September 1889, he was elected again in 1890 by the arrondissement of Auxerre. He was briefly Minister of Finance of France (1895–1896) when he tried without success to introduce an income tax. [5]

Charles Floquet French politician

Charles Thomas Floquet was a French statesman.

Aisne Department of France

Aisne is a French department in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France. It is named after the river Aisne.

Auxerre Prefecture and commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Auxerre is the capital of the Yonne department and the fourth-largest city in Burgundy. Auxerre's population today is about 39,000; the metropolitan area comprises roughly 92,000 inhabitants. Residents of Auxerre are referred to as Auxerrois.

Doumer was Governor-General of French Indochina from 1897 to 1902. Upon his arrival the colonies were losing millions of francs each year. Determined to put them on a paying basis he levied taxes on opium, wine and the salt trade. The Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians who could or would not pay these taxes, lost their houses and land, and often became day laborers. He established Indochina as a market for French products and a source of profitable investment by French businessmen. [6] Doumer set about outfitting Indochina, especially Hanoi, the capital, with modern infrastructure befitting property of France. Tree-lined avenues and a large number of French Colonial buildings were constructed in Hanoi during his governance. The Long Bien Bridge and the Grand Palais in Hanoi were among large-scaled projects built during his term; the bridge was originally named after him. The palace was destroyed by airstrikes toward the end of World War 2. The bridge survived, became a well-known landmark and target for US pilots during the Vietnam War.

Opium Dried latex obtained from the opium poppy

Opium is dried latex obtained from the seed capsules of the opium poppy Papaver somniferum. Approximately 12 percent of opium is made up of the analgesic alkaloid morphine, which is processed chemically to produce heroin and other synthetic opioids for medicinal use and for illegal drug trade. The latex also contains the closely related opiates codeine and thebaine, and non-analgesic alkaloids such as papaverine and noscapine. The traditional, labor-intensive method of obtaining the latex is to scratch ("score") the immature seed pods (fruits) by hand; the latex leaks out and dries to a sticky yellowish residue that is later scraped off and dehydrated. The word "meconium" historically referred to related, weaker preparations made from other parts of the opium poppy or different species of poppies.

Hanoi Capital of Vietnam

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. It covers an area of 3,328.9 square kilometres (1,285 sq mi). With an estimated population of 7.7 million as of 2018, it is the second largest city in Vietnam. The metropolitan area, encompassing nine additional neighbouring provinces, has an estimated population of 16 million. Located in the central area of the Red River Delta, Hanoi is the commercial, cultural, and educational centre of Northern Vietnam. Having an estimated nominal GDP of US$32.8 billion, it is the second most productive economic centre of Vietnam, following Ho Chi Minh City.

French Colonial style of artistic architectural production in French colonies featuring a combination of French and native characteristics

French Colonial describes several styles of architecture used by the French during colonization. Many former French colonies, especially those in Southeast Asia, have previously been reluctant to promote their colonial architecture as an asset for tourism; however, in recent times, the new generation of local authorities has somewhat "embraced" the architecture and advertise it. French Colonial architecture has a long history, beginning in North America in 1604 and being most active in the Western Hemisphere until the 19th century, when the French turned their attention more to Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Many French colonial buildings are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

After returning from French Indochina, Doumer was elected by Laon to the chamber as a Radical. He refused, however, to support the ministry of Émile Combes, and formed a Radical dissident group, which grew in strength and eventually caused the fall of the ministry. [5] He then served as President of the Chamber of Deputies (a post equivalent to the speaker of the House of Commons) from 1902 to 1905.

Doumer became Minister of Finance of France again in 1925 when Louis Loucheur resigned. [7] He then served as President of the French Senate from 1927 until the 1931 presidential election. He was elected President of the French Republic on 13 May 1931, defeating the better known Aristide Briand, and replacing Gaston Doumergue. [8]


Le Petit Journal, 15 May 1932. Le Petit Journal illustre Doumer.jpg
Le Petit Journal , 15 May 1932.

On 6 May 1932, Paul Doumer was in Paris at the opening of a book fair at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, talking to the author Claude Farrère. Suddenly several shots were fired by Paul Gorguloff, a mentally unstable Russian émigré. Two of the shots hit Doumer, at the base of the skull and in the right armpit, and he fell to the ground. Claude Farrère wrestled with the assassin before the police arrived. Doumer was rushed to hospital in Paris, where he died at 04:37 AM on 7 May. He is the only French president to die of a gunshot wound.

Andre Maurois was an eyewitness to the assassination, having come to the book fair to autograph copies of his book, and later described the scene in his autobiography, "Call No Man Happy". As Maurois notes, because the President was assassinated at a meeting of writers, it was decided that writers - Maurois himself among them - should stand guard over his body while he lay in state at the Elysee. [9]


As an author he is known by his L'Indo-Chine française (1904), and Le Livre de mes fils (1906). [5]

See also

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Events from the year 1932 in France.

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  1. Alumnus of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers
  2. Dictionnaire de la Franc-Maçonnerie, page 363 (Daniel Ligou, Presses Universitaires de France, 2006)
  3. Dictionnaire universelle de la Franc-Maçonnerie, page 245 (Marc de Jode, Monique Cara and Jean-Marc Cara, ed. Larousse , 2011)
  4. Histoire de la Franc-Maçonnerie française (Pierre Chevallier, ed. Fayard, 1975)
  5. 1 2 3 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Doumer, Paul". Encyclopædia Britannica . 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 450.
  6. Ladenburg, Thomas. "The French in Indochina" (PDF). University of Houston. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  7. "Paul Doumer Has Succeeded Louis Loucheur. Latter Forced to Resign as Minister of Finance. Other Names Mentioned". United Press . December 16, 1925. Retrieved 2010-11-13. Paul Doumer has been chosen by Aristide Briand, Prime Minister, to replace Louis Loncheur, whose resignation, as foreshadowed by ...
  8. "Paul Doumer Becomes President Of France". United Press . June 14, 1931. Retrieved 2010-11-13. Paul Doumer, the oldest man ever elected to the position, succeeded Gaston Doumergue as president of the third French republic Saturday in ...
  9. Andre Maurois, "Call No Man Happy",English translation by the Reprint Society, London, 1944, Ch. XIX, P. 221-222