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After a month little progress had been made beyond a first draft of the Covenant of the League of Nations and agreement that Germany forfeit its colonies, though the expert commissions were considering their recommendations. The leaders also had domestic responsibilities as they sought to manage the transition from war to peace. Lloyd George was absent until 5 March , whilst on 19 February , Clemenceau survived an assassination attempt. The threat of Bolshevism and revolution emphasised the need for decisions. Its replacement, the Council of Four, evolved from informal and wide-ranging meetings in early March between the resilient Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Wilson.

Orlando joined them from 24 March Initially with only Professor Paul Mantoux in attendance as interpreter, in early April they recruited the British cabinet secretary, Sir Maurice Hankey , to record their decisions and offer his support to meetings that continued to tackle issues on an ad hoc basis. Keynes, a British Treasury expert in Paris, published his book in December , only six months after leaving the conference in despair. He portrayed Wilson as a ponderous Presbyterian bamboozled by Lloyd George, the "Welsh Wizard", and bullied by Clemenceau, the formidable "Tiger", into betraying his principles and creating a "Carthaginian peace", intent on ruining Germany as effectively as Rome had destroyed Carthage in BC.

While neither true, nor certainly a full account of how the settlement was reached — much of which was determined by the Council of Five — nonetheless the "Big Four" did confront the contentious issues. They had differing objectives and aspirations. Wilson insisted that the Covenant of the League of Nations be the first priority and its twenty-six articles the first chapter of all the Paris treaties.

He sought to avoid the precipitate rush to war of by introducing delaying mechanisms before any state could legitimately resort to arms. His original draft included an automatic sanction of war against any member that broke its covenants but the dictates of national sovereignty undermined this revolutionary commitment by all members to defend their mutual political independence and territorial integrity against unprovoked aggression.

Instead League members could choose their response to such occurrences, thus rendering dubious the notion of collective security. Clemenceau spoke for many when he declared, "There is an old system of alliances called the Balance of Power — this system of alliances, which I do not renounce, will be my guiding thought at the Peace Conference. It was also passed responsibility for minority protection for some national groups left on the wrong side of the new frontiers. Wilson exhorted his colleagues on his voyage to Europe, "Tell me what is right and I will fight for it.

Acknowledging that "the hungry expect us to feed them, the roofless look to us for shelter, the sick of heart and body depend on us for cure", he feared "a tragedy of disappointment", a foreboding that cannot have been eased by his messianic welcomes in Europe. He sought a treaty which would inflict stern justice but without alienating the Germans unnecessarily, especially by assigning too many to foreign rule.


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He wished, for sentimental as well as pragmatic motives, to create a new major British sphere of interest in the Middle East, an important source of the oil on which the Royal Navy now depended. He was willing to back the Dominion premiers in their quests to control neighbouring former German colonies — though, as he warned Australian Premier Billy Hughes , not to the extent of quarrelling with the United States over the Solomon Islands. He was determined that Britain should receive as much as possible of any German reparation payments, employing all his considerable political and linguistic skills in this pursuit.

He was also adamant, against domestic and foreign opposition, that the former Kaiser should be brought to trial.

He enjoyed greater support to extend international law beyond prosecuting persons accused of wartime operational crimes to include arraignments of those responsible for the political and military decisions which had occasioned the war and the manner in which it had been fought. In Britain, France and Russia made extravagant promises in the Treaty of London to secure Italian intervention in the war.

He was successful in moving the Italian frontier to the Brenner with the acquisition of South Tyrol from Austria, which consigned some , German-speakers to Italian rule. In protest Orlando quit the conference in late April , returning, without concessions, in early May For seventy-seven year old Clemenceau, who had twice seen France invaded by a more populous and powerful Germany, security was key. The French favoured a League with the military capability to enforce the settlement on Germany but Anglo-American opposition scotched this.

Do not imagine that they will ever forgive us; they will seek only the chance to obtain revenge. The offer of Anglo-American support should Germany launch an unprovoked attack upon France, together with an agreement to occupy the Rhineland for fifteen years and to demilitarize it permanently, persuaded Clemenceau to drop his demands for its separation from Germany.

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This eased the log-jam of problems and, on 7 May , the Germans received the draft treaty. He secured a plebiscite on the fate of Upper Silesia but little else. On 22 June , the German government was given an ultimatum — agree to sign within twenty-four hours or face war. They capitulated.

France was awarded the Saar coal mines, with the territory ceded for fifteen years to the League, after which a plebiscite would determine its destiny. The Rhineland was demilitarized permanently and occupied by the Allies for fifteen years. It was forbidden union with the rump state of Austria. It was forbidden an air force, heavy artillery , tanks , poison gas and a general staff.

It was obligated to deliver as yet unnamed "war criminals" and as yet unspecified reparations to the victors. Its overseas empire of over 1 million square miles was surrendered to the League for redistribution under mandates — a rather thin veneer for an imperial carve-up. It was a very different world to that of The British Dominions, their identities tempered by war, expected greater autonomy, whilst Irish nationalists sought independence.

Four great empires that for centuries had dominated eastern and central Europe and the Middle East had collapsed. The Ottoman Empire, shorn of its Middle Eastern territories, continued to exist, at least nominally, until, after a rebellion and a successful campaign against the occupying Greek forces, Mustafa Kemal expelled the Sultan and created the new secular state of Turkey in The Russian revolutions created a dilemma that the peacemakers never resolved. James Headlam-Morley , a British expert in Paris, observed: "In the discussions everything inevitably leads up to Russia.

Then there is a discursive discussion; it is agreed that the point at issue cannot be determined until the general policy on Russia has been settled; having agreed on this, instead of settling it, they pass on to some other subject.

Only later, and with great reluctance, did other states acknowledge the existence of the Soviet Union and the new Baltic nations. In Europe thousands of miles of new frontiers came into existence. Beyond that, deprived of any reliable means of enforcing their will, the new map depended more upon the outcome of wars and armed struggles — as the Chief of the British Imperial General Staff, Sir Henry Wilson , observed, "The root of evil is that the Paris writ does not run.

The Balkans changed significantly with Austria, Hungary and Turkey the main losers.

The major winner was Yugoslavia technically, until , the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. In Serbia had 33, square miles and 4,, people; Yugoslavia by had , square miles and a population of 13,, Its loss of Western Thrace to Greece deprived it of access to the Aegean and, proportionate to its size and wealth, it faced the highest reparations bill of all the Central Powers.

The settlement consolidated the Balkans but fragmented Eastern Europe. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania , Poland, Czechoslovakia , Austria and Hungary, together with the Soviet Union, filled the political vacuum left by the collapsed empires. Hungary, which lost two-thirds of its pre-war territory and 58 percent of its population, suffered the heaviest deprivations of any of the defeated powers, losing a third of its Magyar people.

After the war with Russia , Poland established this new frontier far to the east of the Curzon line recommended by the conference, creating a state where only 69 percent of the population was Polish and whose neighbours all had grievances against it.

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Both proselytised hard in exile, eventually gaining Allied endorsement in The fate of 3 million German-speaking former subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to whom Germany laid claim, caused the peacemakers much disquiet. Torn between the principles of self-determination and the need to offer Czechoslovakia secure frontiers and economic prosperity, they allocated the area to the Czechs. Romania and Hungary also had disputes with Czechoslovakia, typical of the problems that prevented the new states from cooperating.

Yet, if they did not hang together, should Germany, or Russia, or both, revive, they were likely to hang separately. He then drove them back with increasing speed in , culminating in a massacre at Izmir on 9 September and a stand-off with a small British force at Chanak, where war was averted by a combination of luck and good sense. The new treaty returned Eastern Thrace, Anatolia, Izmir and some of the Aegean islands to Turkey, all the financial and extraterritorial privileges previously enjoyed by the powers were scrapped and there was no mention of Armenia, whose independence Turkey had effectively destroyed in December The Treaty of Lausanne proved to be the longest-lasting of the post-war settlements, testimony to the virtues of negotiation between participants willing to work within the same parameters and accept the need for compromise.

Hungary and the Fall of Eastern Europe 1000-1568

Elsewhere the shape of the modern Middle East, fashioned by a combination of European imperialism and rivalries between local powers, emerged from the collapsed Ottoman Empire. Mesopotamia now Iraq , Transjordania Jordan , Syria and Lebanon were shared between Britain and France as mandates with Transjordania originally being a part of the Palestine mandate, whilst the Hejaz Saudi Arabia became independent. Under the British mandate increasing numbers of Jewish immigrants, anxious to claim their "National Home", clashed with the indigenous Arab population in the interwar period, whilst the violent birth of the state of Israel in created a Palestinian refugee problem and a clash of territorial interests which remain unresolved.

Two areas of the settlements were particularly controversial, offering a rich source for opponents seeking hypocrisy and double-dealing. According to the American banker, Thomas Lamont , "The subject of reparations caused more trouble, contention, hard feeling and delay at the Paris Peace Conference than any other point of the Treaty. Both subjects raised expectations that were impossible to satisfy.

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Keynes and many subsequent writers condemned the reparations settlement. In wartime speeches Wilson and Lloyd George had ruled out seeking an indemnity the full repayment of war costs. The pre-armistice agreement limited liability to "all damage done to the civilian population of the Allies and their property by the aggression of Germany by land, by sea, and from the air" reparations.

This suggested Belgium and France would receive most of the payments since Britain had suffered little direct damage and the Dominions none. In Paris, with Clemenceau and Lloyd George now adamant that they were entitled to full compensation and Wilson insistent that they were not, a crisis loomed. It was "solved" by a classic short-term fix replete with unintended consequences — Articles and of the treaty — which asserted the Allied moral right to compensation from Germany and its allies for all their losses because Germany and its allies were responsible for the war.

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Wilson acceded to the dubious argument that service personnel were merely civilians in uniform, hoping to create a fairer basis for the distribution of an anticipated fixed German payment to discharge all its debts. The Four could not agree on such a sum, instead setting up a Reparation Commission to make recommendations in Early attempts to persuade Germany to comply culminated in the Franco-Belgian i nvasion of the Ruhr in Sharpe, Read preview Overview.

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