William Borah and Henry Cabot Lodge.
Print this page The American liberal peace programme The peace settlement was drawn up at the end of a long and gruelling war which cost over eight million lives and, according to one estimate, around billion dollars - or to put it another way, over six times the sum of all the national debt accumulated in the entire world from the end of the 18th century to When press reports about Wilson's Fourteen Points first reached Germany, the American peace programme was indignantly dismissed The expectation of both the Allies and the Central Powers was that the costs of the war would largely be recouped from the losers.
Furthermore, both sides planned to exploit their victory by inflicting territorial losses and military limitations on the enemy, and confiscating a sizeable chunk of their economic and industrial resources. The Fourteen Pointsdelivered by the President of the United States to the American congress in Januaryand his subsequent addresses represented an ambitious and idealistic bid by Woodrow Wilson to seize the initiative on behalf of the United States and to offer moral leadership to the world in the ensuing peace negotiations.
When press reports about Wilson's Fourteen Points first reached Germany, the American peace programme was indignantly dismissed by conservatives as being a 'front for imperialistic conquest' and striking a note of victory which was 'hardly appropriate to Germany's unprecedentedly promising military situation' in early In stark contrast to Wilson's peace proposals, the Germans concluded an extremely harsh treaty with Russia at Brest Litovsk in Marchand turned their attention to a final, all-out push to break the Allied lines on the Western Front.
But victory did not materialise. Instead, by August of the German High Command were facing defeat. Now Wilson's peace proposals looked very attractive, compared to the terms likely to be put forward by French or British leaders.
The High Command hastily summoned political leaders from the German Reichstag to put their weight behind a new civilian government under Prince Max von Baden, and to agree to pursue peace negotiations with Wilson based on the Fourteen Points.
The cynical calculation was that a new civilian government would secure a more lenient peace than would be offered to German military leaders. Wilson's reluctance at this stage to consult with British and French leaders did not augur well for a peace process which would inevitably involve complex political and territorial negotiations involving many countries.
Nor was he willing to compromise with his critics in the United States. There were many Republicans and even some prominent Democrats who did not support Wilson's liberal peace programme There were many Republicans and even some prominent Democrats who did not support Wilson's liberal peace programme, calling instead for a peace of retribution and for an armistice with Germany of 'unconditional surrender'.
In the American mid-term elections held in Novemberthe American people voted not for Wilson and his peace programme but for his Republican opponents, resulting in a Republican-dominated Senate and a Republican majority in the House of Representatives.
Thus serious doubts were raised even before the armistice had been signed, and weeks before a peace conference could convene, as to whether any peace settlement based on Wilson's Fourteen Points would be ratified by the American Senate.
This serious challenge to Wilson within the United States increased the determination of the British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, and the French Premier, Clemenceau, to push forward the demands of their own electorates.
Lloyd George won a crushing election victory in Britain in December,under the banner of 'making the Germans pay'. French opinion was even more vociferous in calling for security against future German aggression and for reparations for all the damage caused by the Germans in northern France.
The Great War came to an end on 11 Novemberthe date when the Germans signed an armistice and agreed to peace negotiations on the basis of the Fourteen Points. Their interpretation of these points was extremely broad, encompassing plebiscites in Alsace and Lorraine and on the German-Polish border to reflect Wilson's call for self-determination, and arguing that German Austrians, if they wished, should be allowed to unite with Germany.
German officials were not slow to recognise that Wilson's principles and 'new diplomacy' could be turned to Germany's advantage, and used to justify territorial gains in Europe, even in the face of military defeat. Top Negotiations begin The Big Four, from left: The leaders of 32 countries, representing between them some three-quarters of the world's population, together with large numbers of advisers and scores of journalists descended on the French capital.
Passions ran high and it took time to impose order on the proceedings. Discussions about possible peace terms were repeatedly interrupted by urgent political and military crises revolving around the renewal of the armistice with Germany, the threat of the spread of Bolshevism and continuing fighting in eastern Europe.
There was an assassination attempt on the French premier, Clemenceau. Both Lloyd George and Wilson had to return home part-way through the conference to attend to urgent parliamentary business. Orlando of Italy stormed out in late April. But after weeks of tortuous negotiations, a peace was finally hammered out and presented to the Germans on 7 May.
Compared to the treaties which Germany had imposed on defeated Russia and Romania inthe Treaty of Versailles was quite moderate. It stripped Germany of just over 13 per cent of its territory, much of which, in the shape of Alsace and Lorraine, was returned to France.
It also reduced Germany's economic productivity by about 13 per cent and its population by ten per cent. Germany lost all of its colonies and large merchant vessels, 75 per cent of its iron ore deposits and 26 per cent of its coal and potash.
Germany was to pay substantial reparations for 'civilian damage', because it was held responsible, along with its allies, for causing the war with its heavy losses. However, a definite sum was not specified in the treaty, but would be decided upon after the conference by a specially-appointed Reparations Commission.
Germany's army and navy were drastically cut in size, the army tolong-serving volunteers, and the country was forbidden to have an air force. Despite these terms, Germany retained a strong economic, industrial and territorial position at the heart of Europe, with a vigorous and expanding population of 66 million.
The peace settlement left it in a potentially dominant position in Europe, wounded but not seriously hurt. This outcome reflected the aim of the United States and the allied powers at Paris, which was not to crush Germany or to break up the new empire, but rather to contain the country's military power.Key points.
The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June ; Germany was held responsible for all the losses and damages of the war. All of Germany's colonies went to France and Britain. Argument Trump’s Terrifying Treaty of Versailles Precedent The last time America withdrew from its own international security agreement, it .
Key points. The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June ; Germany was held responsible for all the losses and damages of the war. All of Germany's colonies went to France and Britain. The Treaty of Versailles was the peace settlement signed after World War One had ended in and in the shadow of the Russian Revolution and other events in vetconnexx.com treaty was signed at the vast Versailles Palace near Paris – hence its title – between Germany and the Allies.
Argument Trump’s Terrifying Treaty of Versailles Precedent The last time America withdrew from its own international security agreement, it led to the most devastating war in history. The "Big 4" of the Paris Peace Conference of were (left to right) Lloyd George of England, Orlando of Italy, Clemenceau of France, .