|Prime Minister of France|
13 December 1930 –27 January 1931
|Preceded by||André Tardieu|
|Succeeded by||Pierre Laval|
|Born||19 December 1868|
Libourne, Gironde, France
|Died||19 December 1950 82) (aged|
Théodore Steeg (French pronunciation: [teodɔʁ stɛɡ] ) (19 December 1868 – 19 December 1950) was a lawyer and professor of philosophy who became Premier of the French Third Republic.
Steeg entered French politics in 1904 as a radical socialist, although his views were generally moderate. He was a Deputy of the Seine from 1904 to 1914 and Senator from 1914 to 1944. At different times he was Minister of Higher Education, Interior, Justice and Colonies. In the 1920s he was in charge of the colonial administrations first of Algeria and then of Morocco. He encouraged irrigation projects to provide land for French colons at a time of growing demands for political and economic rights from the indigenous people, accompanied by growing unrest. Steeg was briefly prime minister in 1930–1931.
Jules Joseph Théodore Steeg was born in Libourne, Gironde on 19 December 1868.He was of German descent, and his political opponents would later attack him for this fact. His father, Jules Steeg (1836–1898), was a Protestant pastor who became a journalist and then a radical deputy in the National Assembly. Théodore's mother was Anne-Marie Zoé Tuyès, born in 1840 in Orthez, Basses-Pyrénées.
Théodore Steeg attended the college at Libourne and then studied at the Lycée Henri-IV in Paris. He was admitted to the University of Paris and the Faculty of Law, coming first there in 1887. He obtained the degrees of Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in 1890.He then began studies for the agrégation in Philosophy, in which he won first place in 1895. On 25 October 1892 he married Ewaldine Bonet-Maury (born on 14 June 1872 in Dordrecht, Netherlands). She was the daughter of Gaston Bonet-Maury, a correspondent member of the Institute and a knight of the Legion of Honor, and the sister in law of the government architect Lecoeur. They were to have three daughters. The eldest, Juliette Isabelle, was born on 14 April 1894. She became a doctor and married a doctor.
Théodore Steeg taught at the Alsatian school from 1892 to 1894, then was appointed professor of philosophy at the College of Vannes, and next taught at the College of Niort. In 1897 he co-founded the "People's Union" with Ferdinand Buisson, Maurice Bouchor, Émile Duclaux and Pauline Kergomard, and was secretary of the union for two years. After returning to Paris he taught philosophy at the Alsatian school and at the Lycée Charlemagne until 1904.
Théodore Steeg was elected a deputy of the Seine in 1904.He was aged 35. He ran as a radical socialist in a by-election to replace Émile Dubois, who had died on 7 May 1904. Steeg was elected in the second round on 24 July 1904 for the second riding of the 14th arrondissement of Paris. As a new deputy, Steeg threw himself into a campaign for the protection and education of children. Steeg became a lawyer in Paris in 1905. He was re-elected with growing majorities in 1906 and 1910. In 1906 he was elected to the Budget Committee, responsible for Posts and Telegraphs. In 1907 he was appointed the rapporteur on the Public Education budget.
Théodore Steeg was appointed Minister of Public Instruction and Beaux-Arts in Ernest Monis's cabinet on 2 March 1911.The Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre on 21 August 1911, and Steeg was forced to start an administrative inquiry into how such an important painting could have been stolen from such a major museum. Steeg was a supporter of the Nouvelle Sorbonne movement with its insistence on basic republican principles. He rejected a petition to revise the Sorbonne reforms of 1902, to which the government was committed.
On 14 January 1912 Steeg became Minister of Interior in Raymond Poincaré's government.That year a Tunis congress of Alienists and Neurologists pointed out the lack of facilities for treating the insane in the colonies. Steeg worked with the Algerian governor-general, Charles Lutaud, to set up a planning commission to improve psychiatric care in the colony. The committee filed its report in 1914. It recommended building an asylum at Blida, but World War I delayed implementation.
On 21 January 1913 Steeg briefly resumed the post of Minister of Public Instruction and Beaux-Arts in Aristide Briand's third and fourth cabinets, holding office until 21 March 1913. He then resumed his seat in the Assembly, where he worked with Maurice Viollette to introduce humanitarian improvements to the Civil Code regarding illegitimate children.
On 12 March 1914 Théodore Steeg ran in a Senate election in the Seine department to replace Athanase Bassinet, who had died on 12 February 1914. He was elected on the second ballot. Steeg joined the Democratic Left. World War I (1914–1918) started in July 1914. In 1915 Steeg served on the Finance Committee and many special commissions. On 20 March 1917 he joined Alexandre Ribot's fifth cabinet as Minister of Public Instruction and Beaux-Arts, where he adopted the law of Wards of the Nation. Paul Painlevé succeeded Ribot on 12 September 1917, at a time when France was struggling for survival. Steeg was briefly Minister of the Interior in Painlevé's cabinet, leaving on 16 November 1917.
In 1918 and 1919 Steeg returned to the ranks. He ran for re-election to the Senate on 11 January 1920 and won the first ballot. On 20 January 1920 Steeg was appointed Minister of Interior in Alexandre Millerand cabinet.The right had won the election and the appointment of a Radical Socialist to this sensitive position was controversial. Léon Daudet attacked Steeg, trying unsuccessfully to get Millerand to abandon Steeg's nomination. However, Millerand had appointed his friend in part to demonstrate his independence, in part due to his desire to form a "republican union" that rose above party lines, and stood firm.
Steeg had to deal with a general strike launched by the Confédération Générale du Travail (CGT) on 1 May 1920 that first called out transport workers, then miners, seamen, dockers, metalworkers and other trades.The government moved forcibly to end the strike. On 20 May 1920 Steeg said the government considered that deliberately trying to throw the country's economy into chaos was a criminal act. The strike was unsuccessful, and ended with the last workers returning on 28 May 1920. Steeg retained his position as Minister of Interior in Georges Leygues's cabinet of 24 September 1920. When Aristide Briand formed his cabinet on 16 January 1921, Steeg left the Ministry. He was elected president of the new committee on general administration, departmental and communal.
Steeg was appointed governor-general of Algeria on 28 July 1921 at a time when the colony was in crisis.Muslim Algerians had fought for France in the trenches and now expected political rights. The Jonnart Law of 4 February 1919 had granted less than the Muslims wanted, but more than the French colons could readily accept. In April 1922 President Alexandre Millerand visited Algeria to calm the fears of the French colons about the growth in numbers of Muslim electors, and to assure them that France would continue to protect their interests. The prefect of Algiers did not want the influential Emir Khalid ibn Hashim (1875–1936) to present his position, but Steeg overrode him. Khaled told Millerand, "The inhabitants of Algeria without racial or religious distinction are equally children of France ... We come to solicit representation in the French Parliament."
Steeg was able to reduce the tensions and initiate a stable period of economic growth.As a Radical, Steeg was committed to benevolent civilian administrations in the colonies. However, Steeg inherited a system in Algeria where the local settler assemblies dominated by wealthy landowners controlled taxation and spending. There was a tendency to favor spending that boosted the economy over spending on social projects. When Steeg resubmitted the 1914 plan for an asylum at Blida, the assembly delayed approval of funding. Steeg was able to initiate major irrigation projects to improve agricultural productivity, a policy he would later repeat in Morocco. He became known as the "water governor".
Steeg supported cooperation between Algerian and French West African (AOF) forces in combating rezzous (Tuareg raids) in the western Sahara, a constant source of insecurity that prevented development of north-south transport routes.In February 1923 he met in Algiers with his counterparts Marshal Hubert Lyautey of Morocco and Lucien Saint of Tunisia to discuss common problems. They agreed that the western Sahara must be treated as a whole, ignoring arbitrary boundaries. Nomadic migration across borders would be allowed but smuggling would not. A joint Algerian-Moroccan police force would operate from a base at Forthassa Rharbia.
On 17 April 1925 Steeg was unexpectedly called back to France to become Minister of Justice in Painlevé's second cabinet.Painlevé needed left-wing politicians such as Steeg, Briand, Caillaux, Monzie and Laval in his cabinet so he could gain support for his program, which was essentially conservative. Steeg was succeeded in Algeria by Viollette.
In April 1925 Abd-el-Krim proclaimed the independent Rif Republic in the Rif region of Spanish Morocco.He advanced south into French Morocco, defeating French forces and threatening the capital, Fes. The resident-general, Hubert Lyautey, was replaced as military commander by Philippe Pétain on 3 September 1925. On 11 October 1925 Steeg replaced Lyautey as resident-general with the mandate of restoring peace and making the transition from military to civilian government. Lyautey received very little recognition for his achievement in securing Morocco as a colony. Steeg would have been willing to give autonomy to the people of the Rif, but was overruled by the army. Abd-el-Krim surrendered to Pétain on 26 May 1926 and was deported to Réunion in the Indian Ocean, where he was held until 1947. Steeg said he wanted Abd el Krim to be "neither exalted nor humiliated, but in time forgotten."
Steeg moved quickly to resolve the most acute social problems. 250,000 hectares (620,000 acres) of land. Irrigation would make new land available for French settlers, and would allow for denser settlement.Steeg appointed men who had worked with him in Algeria to key posts, and brought many more Frenchmen into the administration. There were 66,000 Europeans in Morocco when he arrived, most of them citizens of France. Steeg favored bringing more French settlers into the country. In his first three years he introduced almost as many colonists to Morocco as his predecessor had in thirteen. Steeg issued a decree of 4 January 1927 that created a fund for large scale irrigation projects such as the El Kansera dam on the Beth and the N'fis dam, both of which were started that year. Through his "grands barrages" projects he planned to bring year-round irrigation to
Steeg temporarily banned the Ha-Olam journal of the World Zionist Organization, but generally allowed publication of pro-Zionist newspapers and permitted Zionist activity.At a meeting of the French League for Human Rights in 1926 he said that the Jews were progressing faster than Muslims. Educated Moroccan Jews should be able to apply to become French citizens.
Some observers were disturbed by the shift from Lyautey's sympathy for the Moroccans and respect for their customs to Steeg's policy of land expropriation and French colonization, which seemed sure to create mounting hostility between the two peoples.Steeg favored assimilation of the indigenous cadres into the French administration to avoid competition between the two, which he felt would weaken the government's authority. In contrast to Lyautey, Steeg spent little time with the Sultan and other members of the Moroccan elite. His selection of Sidi Mohammed Ben Youssef as the new Sultan in 1927 may have been due to a desire for an inexperienced young ruler who would conform to his wishes.
The effect of Steeg's policies was for the traditional elite to lose power as pastoralists and subsistence farmers left the land to work for wages in the city.Many of the new colons came from Algeria, and were intolerant to the "natives", seeing them as no more than unskilled laborers. Racial tensions increased. There was growing demand for Moroccan labor, and labor shortages emerging in some areas. Steeg was pressed by socialists to pass social laws to give workers the same protection as in France, and to create organizations for the protection of labor. He responded that because of the many foreign workers, and an indigenous population not yet ready to benefit from such measures, he could do no more than study the possibility. Various "seditious" organizations emerged with communist or pan-Islamic goals, or both, including the Egypt-based Union Maghrébine and El Mountadda el Abaddi. In a report to the Foreign Ministry of 27 December 1927, Steeg said the Union Maghrébine had 1,500 supporters in the cities of Fez, Casablanca and Tangiers. The Sûreté kept these groups under observation, routinely arresting and imprisoning leaders and seizing material.
A fourth North African conference was held in Algiers in May 1927. Steeg participated for Morocco, Maurice Viollette for Algeria and Lucien Saint for Tunisia. General Jules Carde of French West Africa was represented by Albert Duchêne, the Director of Political Affairs at the Ministry of Colonies.Steeg was asked to act more decisively to suppress dissidence in the region to the south of the Atlas Mountains. However, Moroccan forces were still tied up in what was proving to be a slow campaign to eliminate resistance in the north of the High Atlas. It was agreed that troops from Algeria and Mauritania could enter Moroccan territory, up to defined boundaries, but without prejudice to Morocco's later taking part in pacifying the western Sahara.
In 1927 Steeg was re-elected to the Senate. When the Pujols, Gironde, cantonal elections of 1928 were held, Steeg was unable to retain his position as General Counsel of Gironde while also sitting as Senator for the Seine and holding office in Morocco.Steeg left the Residence of Morocco in January 1929 and was replaced by Lucien Saint.
From 1929 to 1935 Steeg was a member of the Committee on Colonies, and became president of the committee. He also belonged to the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Committee of Algeria and the Education committee. Steeg was Minister of Justice in Camille Chautemps's short-lived government (21 February – 1 March 1930) replacing Lucien Hubert. He was succeeded in this position by Raoul Péret.
The government of André Tardieu was defeated by a Senate vote at the start of December 1930, and after several days of negotiation a new government was formed, headed by Steeg, much further to the left than any recent governments.He accepted the position of President of the Council, and simultaneously Minister of Colonies, on 13 December 1930. The right-wing Action Française launched violent attacks on the new government. It called the Minister of Defense, Louis Barthou, "mad, vicious, corrupt". Steeg, the son and grandson of Prussians, was clearly a traitor. Although he had the support of the Senate, he could not get a stable majority in the House for his moderate policies, and was thrown out of office on 22 January 1931 when he lost a vote on agricultural policy and wheat speculation.
Steeg was elected to the Senate again on 14 January 1936. He remained chairman of the committee on the Colonies and member of the committees on Foreign Affairs, Algeria and Education.Under the first government of Léon Blum (in office 4 June 1936 – 22 June 1937) Steeg was appointed head of a commission to study socio-economic conditions in the French colonial empire. The North African sub-committee included leading figures such as Paul Reynaud, Henry Bérenger, Charles-André Julien and Paul Rivet. Meeting on 8 July 1937, this sub-committee decided to focus on labor conditions in the Maghreb. They were too late to prevent the escalation of widespread and violent labor unrest in the region, which was violently suppressed.
Steeg was briefly Minister of Colonies in Camille Chautemps's fifth cabinet, from 18 January to 13 March 1938.He replaced Marius Moutet, a supporter of a plan to settle Jewish refugees in Madagascar. Steeg was hostile to this plan. He said that the urbanized Jewish settlers would not have the skills needed to work the land, but would engage in small-scale commerce "at the expense of the local economy and the natives." He also said the plan would be too expensive, and would be widely criticized in the press. Steeg recommended that Jews should look for help to the Jewish Colonization Association rather than to his ministry.
Steeg was Minister of State in Léon Blum's second cabinet (13 March 1938 – 10 April 1938). World War II broke out in September 1939. After the armistice with Germany, at the Congress of Vichy on 10 July 1940 Steeg voluntarily abstained during the vote on transferring constitutional powers to Marshal Philippe Pétain. Théodore Steeg died on 19 December 1950 in the 14th arrondissement of Paris at the age of 82.
|Public Instruction and Beaux-Arts||Ernest Monis||2 March 1911||14 January 1912|
|Interior||Raymond Poincaré||14 January 1912||21 January 1913|
|Public Instruction and Beaux-Arts||Aristide Briand||21 January 1913||21 March 1913|
|Public Instruction and Beaux-Arts||Alexandre Ribot||20 March 1917||1 September 1917|
|Interior||Paul Painlevé||1 September 1917||16 November 1917|
|Interior||Alexandre Millerand||20 January 1920||24 September 1920|
|Interior||Georges Leygues||24 September 1920||16 January 1921|
|Justice||Paul Painlevé||17 April 1925||10 October 1925|
|Justice||Camille Chautemps||21 February 1930||1 March 1930|
|Colonies||(self)||13 December 1930||27 January 1931|
|Colonies||Camille Chautemps||18 January 1938||13 March 1938|
|Minister of State||Léon Blum||13 March 1938||10 April 1938|
Alexandre Millerand was a French politician. He was Prime Minister of France from 20 January to 23 September 1920 and President of France from 23 September 1920 to 11 June 1924. His participation in Waldeck-Rousseau's cabinet at the start of the 20th century, alongside the Marquis de Galliffet who had directed the repression of the 1871 Paris Commune, sparked a debate in the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) and in the Second International about the participation of socialists in bourgeois governments.
Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey was a French Army general and colonial administrator. After serving in Indochina and Madagascar, he became the first French Resident-General in Morocco from 1912 to 1925. Early in 1917 he served briefly as Minister of War. From 1921 he was a Marshal of France. He was dubbed the French empire builder, and in 1931 made the cover of Time.
The Moroccan Quarter or Mughrabi Quarter was a 770-year-old neighborhood in the southeast corner of the Old City of Jerusalem, bordering on the western wall of the Temple Mount on the east, the Old City walls on the south and the Jewish Quarter to the west. It was an extension of the Muslim Quarter to the north, and was founded as an endowed Islamic waqf or religious property by a son of Saladin in the late 12th century.
Henry Bérenger was a French writer and politician who was an influential Senator from 1912 until 1945, sitting on committees on Finance and Foreign Affairs. He was France's ambassador to the United States from 1926 to 1927.
Pauline Kergomard was a French educator. She is known as the founder of the nursery school in France.
The First Battle of Amgala was fought between 27 and 29 January 1976 around the oasis of Amgala, Western Sahara, about 260 kilometres (160 mi) west of the border with Algeria. Units from the Algerian Army were attacked by units from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces on the night of 27 January. The Algerians withdrew after fighting for 36 hours. However, the retaliation came fairly soon, between 13th and 15th February 1976 Polisario units defeated Moroccan troops in the second Amgala battle.
General Antoine Jules Joseph Huré was a French army officer and engineer noted for his service in Morocco. Huré joined the army as a volunteer in 1893 and after training at the École Polytechnique and École d'Application de l'Artillerie et du Génie he was commissioned into the 3rd Regiment of Engineers. He spent a number of years with his regiment and on staff appointments in France before transferring to Algeria first with the 19th Army Corps, and then the 15th Army Corps. In 1912 Huré transferred to the general staff in eastern Morocco and earned the Colonial Medal.
Mohamed Medbouh was a senior Moroccan Army officer. He was Minister of Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones in the government of Abdallah Ibrahim (1958-1960). He was co-organizer with Colonel M'hamed Ababou of the coup against King Hassan II of Morocco of 10 July 1971.
Albert Laprade was a French architect, perhaps best known for the Palais de la Porte Dorée. During a long career he undertook many urban renewal projects as well as major industrial and commercial works. A skilled artist, he published a series of sketch books of architecture in France and other Mediterranean countries.
EL Kansera is an irrigation storage dam in Morocco.
Forthassa Gharbia is a small settlement in western Algeria near the Moroccan border, to the west of Aïn Séfra. During the French colonial era it was important as a military post.
Charles Lutaud was a French administrator who became Governor General of Algeria from 1911 to 1918. He was a supporter of French settlement in the colony. He felt that granting voting rights to the indigenous Muslims of Algeria should only be done gradually, as they advanced to the same level as the French.
Jules Gaston Henri Carde was a French colonial administrator who served as Governor General of French West Africa and then Governor General of Algeria.
Jean-Baptiste Eugène Abel was a French politician who was briefly Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, and later was Governor-General of Algeria.
René Henry Besnard was a French politician who was a deputy for Indre-et-Loire from 1906 to 1919 and senator from 1920 to 1941. He was briefly Minister of the Colonies and then Minister of Labor and Social Welfare in 1913. He was twice Undersecretary of State for War during World War I (1914–18), and did much to reform aircraft production. He was briefly Minister of Colonies in 1917. From 1924 to 1928 Besnard was Ambassador of France to Rome. For a few days in 1930 he was Minister of War.
Albert Gazier was a French trade union leader and politician. During World War II (1939–45) he helped reorganize the unions during the German occupation of France. He escaped arrest by the Gestapo, made his way to England, and represented the trade union movement in General de Gaulle's Free French government. After the war he was a deputy in the legislature from 1945 to 1958. He was Minister of Information from 1950 to 1951 and again for two weeks in 1958. He was Minister of Social Affairs from 1956 to 1957. As a minister he tried but failed to contain health costs, and contributed to the fiasco of the Suez Crisis.
Léon Jean Martinaud-Déplat was a French lawyer and Radical politician who was a deputy in 1932–36 and in 1951–56. He was Minister of Justice in 1952–53 and then Minister of the Interior in 1953–54. He was violently anti-communist, and was opposed to granting autonomy or independence of the North African colonies. His hard-line views caused him to be expelled from his party in 1955, and he failed to be reelected the next year.
Léon Jean Jacques Baréty was a French politician who was briefly Minister of Industry and Commerce in 1940.
Georges Marie Denis Gabriel Trouillot was a French Radical politician. He played a central role in developing the law of 1901 that governed associations such as agricultural cooperative. He was Minister of the Colonies in 1898 and again in 1909–10. He was Minister of Industry, Commerce and Posts in 1902–05 and again in 1905–06. He published several books, including both poetry and political subjects.
Léon Meyer was a French freight broker and Radical politician from the port city of Le Havre. He was mayor of Le Havre from 1919 to 1941, and a national deputy from 1923 to 1941. He was Minister of Merchant Marine in 1932–33. As a Jew he was removed from office during World War II (1939–45), and in 1944 was deported and spent 17 months in concentration camps.