Georges Ernest Jean-Marie Boulanger (29 April 1837 – 30 September 1891), nicknamed Général Revanche, was a French general and politician.
An enormously popular public figure during the Third Republic, he won a series of elections and was feared to be powerful enough to establish himself as dictator at the zenith of his popularity in January 1889.
His base of support was the working districts of Paris and other cities, plus rural traditionalist Catholics and royalists.
He promoted an aggressive nationalism, known as Revanchism, which opposed Germany and called for the defeat of the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) to be avenged.
The elections of September 1889 marked a decisive defeat for the Boulangists.
Changes in the electoral laws prevented Boulanger from running in multiple constituencies and the aggressive opposition of the established government, combined with Boulanger's self-imposed exile, contributed to a rapid decline of the movement.
The decline of Boulanger severely undermined the political strength of the conservative and royalist elements of French political life; they would not recover strength until the establishment of the Vichy regime in 1940.
The defeat of the Boulangists ushered in a period of political dominance by the Opportunist Republicans.
Academics have attributed the failure of the movement to Boulanger's own weaknesses.
Despite his charisma, he lacked coolness, consistency, and decisiveness; he was a mediocre leader who lacked vision and courage.
He was never able to unite the disparate elements, ranging from the far left to the far right, that formed the base of his support.
He was able, however, to frighten Republicans and force them to reorganize and strengthen their solidarity in opposition to him.