French statesman Raymond Poincaré (1860-1934) served his country as president during World War I (1914-18) and later as prime minister during a series of financial crises. Before the war, he worked to strengthen ties with Great Britain and Russia against the growing threat of Germany. In the postwar period, Poincaré took a strong stand during the Treaty of Versailles discussions, and urged French premier and negotiator Georges Clemenceau to require stiff reparations be paid to France by Germany for its part in the war. When Germany defaulted on payments, Poincaré ordered French troops to occupy the Ruhr, an industrial area in western Germany. During the 1920s, Poincaré took dramatic measures to stabilize the French economy and bring France a period of prosperity. Citing poor health, he left public office in 1929 and died five years later.