General Georges Boulanger

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General Georges Boulanger


Georges Boulanger was a controversial French politician who fled France while under threat of arrest in 1889 and lived in Jersey for a short time in Chateau des Roches in St Brelade's Bay

Press report of Boulanger's suicide

Reactionary politician

Georges Ernest Jean-Marie Boulanger (29 April 1837 – 30 September 1891) was a French general and reactionary politician. At the apogee of his popularity in January 1889 many republicans including Georges Clemenceau feared the threat of a coup d'état by Boulanger and the establishment of a dictatorship.

General election

In January 1889 he ran as a deputy for Paris, and after an intense campaign, took the seat with 244,000 votes against the 160,000 of his main adversary. A coup d'état seemed probable and desirable among his supporters. Boulanger had now become a threat to the parliamentary Republic. Had he immediately placed himself at the head of a revolt he might have effected the coup which many of his partisans had worked for, and might even have governed France.

Boulanger decided that it would be better to contest the general election and take power legally. This, however, gave his enemies the time they needed to strike back. The French government issued a warrant for Boulanger's arrest for conspiracy and treasonable activity. To the astonishment of his supporters, on April 1 he fled from Paris before it could be executed, going first to Brussels and then to London. On April 4, the Parliament stripped him of his immunity from prosecution.

After his flight, support for him dwindled, and the Boulangists were defeated in the general elections of July 1889 (after the government forbade Boulanger from running). Boulanger himself went to live at Chateau des Roches, in St Brelade's Bay in Jersey before returning to the Ixelles Cemetery in Brussels in September 1891 to commit suicide by a bullet to the head on the grave of his mistress, Madame de Bonnemains (née Marguerite Crouzet) who had died the preceding July. He was interred in the same grave.

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