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Pariška mirovna konferencija

Pariška mirovna konferencija

Kada je 11. novembra 1918. godine potpisano primirje, dogovoreno je da će u Parizu biti održana Mirovna konferencija na kojoj će se raspravljati o poslijeratnom svijetu. Otvoreni 12. januara 1919, sastanci su se održavali na različitim lokacijama u Parizu i okolini do 20. januara 1920.

Prisustvovali su čelnici 32 države koje predstavljaju oko 75% svjetske populacije. Međutim, pregovorima je dominiralo pet velikih sila odgovornih za poraz Centralnih sila: Sjedinjene Države, Britanija, Francuska, Italija i Japan. Važni likovi u ovim pregovorima bili su Georges Clemenceau (Francuska) David Lloyd George (Britanija), Vittorio Orlando (Italija) i Woodrow Wilson (Sjedinjene Države).

Na kraju je iz Konferencije proizašlo pet ugovora koji su se bavili pobijeđenim silama. Pet ugovora dobilo je ime po pariškim predgrađima Versailles (Njemačka), Saint Germain (Austrija), Trianon (Mađarska), Neuilly (Bugarska) i Serves (Turska). Ovi ugovori nametnuli su teritorijalne gubitke, finansijske obaveze i vojna ograničenja svim članovima Centralnih sila.


Pariška mirovna konferencija, I. dio

Norman Bentwich podsjeća na službene sastanke u Parizu 1946. koji su se ticali budućnosti bivših njemačkih saveznika u Evropi. Na tim dugotrajnim zasjedanjima sukob između Sovjetskog Saveza i zapadnih sila postupno je izašao na vidjelo.

Mirovna konferencija u Parizu 1946. gotovo je zaboravljena. Ne može se po važnosti porediti s Mirovnom konferencijom 1919. u glavnom gradu Francuske koja je ponovo promijenila kartu Evrope. Ipak, on ima povijesni značaj, jer je tijekom dugotrajnih sjednica sukob između savezničkih velikih sila, Sovjetskog Saveza i Sjedinjenih Država, Velike Britanije i Francuske izašao na vidjelo, a Hladni rat, ako nije proglašen, nije bio nikakav manje se plaća. Ovaj članak, koji se temelji na zapisniku koji je u to vrijeme napravio jedan posmatrač na Konferenciji, ukazuje na porijeklo tog sukoba u raspravi o uslovima mira s manjim neprijateljima.

Da biste nastavili čitati ovaj članak, morat ćete kupiti pristup internetskoj arhivi.

Ako ste već kupili pristup ili ste pretplatnik na štampu i arhivu, provjerite jeste li prijavljeni.


ČETRNAEST BODOVA ›

Oni u Parizu ne samo da su morali odrediti mirovne odredbe za bivše Centralne sile, već su se suočili i s bezbroj zahtjeva ljudi sa Bliskog istoka, Afrike i Azije. Također su trebali razmotriti zahtjeve svojih zemalja, koje su, u slučaju Velike Britanije i Francuske, posebno tražile fizičku i materijalnu nadoknadu za gubitke koje su pretrpjele tokom četiri godine rata.



Potpisivanje Versajskog ugovora u Kući ogledala.

Iako zasigurno nisu savršena, naselja do kojih su došli ipak su bili ozbiljan pokušaj da se dovede do trajnog mira u svijetu uništenom ratom i, u kontekstu tog razdoblja, ponudila su nadu u bolji svijet od onog koji je postojao prije 1914.


Pariška mirovna konferencija 1919/1920

20. juna 1919. potpisan je Versajski ugovor - diktirani ugovor koji je ostavio većinu stranaka nezadovoljnim, ali je Veliki rat okončao što se tiče stvarnih borbi. Državnici, diplomate i političari s najboljim namjerama nastavili su 1920. Pariškom mirovnom konferencijom na kojoj je obrađena svaka od poraženih Centralnih sila. Versailles godine okupirala sa Njemačkom, ali onda je Austrija dospjela pod lupu pobjednika St. Germain, zatim Bugarska na Neuilly, Mađarska na Trianon (Jun 1920) i Turske u Sevres (Avgust 1920).

Dobar dio onoga o čemu se razgovaralo na konferenciji već je razbijeno u Versaillesu, ili ranije - Ugovorom od London koju je Italija potpisala dogodila se u drugoj godini rata, 1915. U tom slučaju obećanje o dodatnoj teritoriji, ako se bilo koja zaraćena strana pridruži saveznicima, moglo je biti uzrok odluke Italije. Zemlje koje su se otcijepile od Habsburškog carstva formirale su se u potpuno nove države, poput Čehoslovačke i Jugoslavije koje su bile osuđene na neuspjeh i podjelu.

U zapadnoj Europi došlo je do samo nekoliko promjena granica, ali na istoku se većina, ako ne i sve granice, promijenila, a mnoge nove zemlje oživjele su iz prošlosti ili su iznova stvorene: Estonija, Latvija i Litva izrasle su iz ruševina Ruskog carstva Poljske ponovno je bila neovisna, prvi put od 1795., ali je doživjela užasan šok nakon samo dvije decenije političke slobode. Austrougarska se podijelila na mnogo manje države. jezgro u Srbiji. Neke postojeće zemlje postale su prilično velike, poput Francuske, Belgije, Italije, Rumunije i Grčke, dok su druge postale manje, poput Njemačke i Bugarske. Naravno, sve je to odlučilo ko će biti zadovoljan novim aranžmanima ili ne.

Činilo se da konferencija nije primijetila da je nemoguće izbjeći nacionalne manjine u svakoj od država, jer je stanovništvo uvijek bilo mješovito. Na primjer, u Transilvaniji je bilo milion i pol (Mađarskih) Mađara, koji su bili dati Rumunjskoj, ali većina ih je naseljena u istočnom dijelu teritorije, najudaljenije od same Mađarske. 19 miliona ljudi bili su manjine u devet država sa ukupno 98 miliona stanovnika. Manje od polovice stanovništva Čehoslovačke bili su Česi.

S unatrag se može vidjeti da bi se problem nacionalnih manjina pokazao kao izvor velike nestabilnosti koja bi se mogla (kao što je Hitler zaista i učinio) potkopati i konačno uništiti novonezavisne države poput Čehoslovačke. Daljnju neravnotežu uzrokovalo je to što su neke države smatrale da su bile loše tretirane. Slovaci su tvrdili da su najbolji postovi pripali Česima, dok su u Jugoslaviji istu tužbu podnijeli Hrvati protiv Srba. Ukrajinci nisu ni imali vlastitu državu, već su živjeli u Rusiji, Poljskoj i Čehoslovačkoj.

Veliki južnoafrički general Smuts rekao je u ožujku 1919. godine da će mir koji je uslijedio nakon Pariške konferencije biti nestabilan. Njegov razuman argument bio je da Poljska i Čehoslovačka ne bi mogle preživjeti bez njemačke dobre volje. Bio je u pravu, a ove dvije države su među prvima patile od njemačke loše volje. Bilo je jasno 1920., barem većini urednika novina, profesorima historije i profesionalnim historičarima, da su obje u Rusiji i Njemačka, koja je dominirala istočnom Evropom prije Velikog rata, povratila bi svoju moć. Ako bi se to dogodilo, otpor bi bio moguć samo ako bi tamošnje zemlje stajale zajedno. To je bila izgubljena nada, zbog problema manjina i katastrofalne nacionalističke ekonomske politike koju su slijedile mnoge istočnoeuropske države. Pozornica je očišćena i spremna za još jedan rat#8216 koji će okončati sve ratove ’ - 1939. godine.


2. Nestali saveznik

Bio je jedan veliki saveznik koji je započeo rat, ali nije bio uključen u Parisku mirovnu konferenciju. Na početku rata Rusija je bila među saveznicima. Rusija se smatrala behemotom među evropskim silama, ali je zemlja takođe patila od značajnih unutrašnjih problema.

Sredinom Prvog svjetskog rata revolucija je pogodila Rusiju i rezultirala pogubljenjem cara i njegove porodice.

Novi vladari Rusije, boljševici, sklopili su javne tajne sporazume koje je bivša careva vlada sklopila s Velikom Britanijom i Francuskom u vezi s načinom na koji će Osmansko carstvo biti podijeljeno između ovih velesila nakon završetka rata. To se suprotstavilo javnom licu novog doba liberalne demokratije koje su velike sile slavile sa predsjednikom Woodrowom Wilsonom. Ubrzo nakon revolucije boljševici su povukli i Rusiju iz rata.


Pariška mirovna konferencija 1919

Pariška mirovna konferencija otvorena je 18. januara 1919. Zadatak joj je bio pisanje pet zasebnih mirovnih ugovora sa poraženim odvojenim silama: Njemačkom, Turskom, Bugarskom, Austrijom i Mađarskom (sada odvojene nacije). Poraženim Centralnim silama nije bilo dozvoljeno da učestvuju u pregovorima. Uslovi bi im bili diktirani. Rusiji takođe nije bilo dozvoljeno da dođe. Svet je prepravljen. Clemenceau, Lloyd George i Wilson suočili su se sa zastrašujućim zadatkom. Čak i dok su oni i svi drugi delegati raspravljali, o granicama i vladama se odlučivalo u haosu, anarhiji i oružanom sukobu. Većina okrunjenih evropskih glava je svrgnuta. Car i njegova porodica su ubijeni. Kajzer je bio u egzilu u Holandiji. Bavarski kralj Ludwig III ustupio je mjesto socijalističkoj pobuni. Austrija i Ugarska su se proglasile republikama, učinivši Karla I carem bez carstva (na kraju će otići u egzil u Švicarsku, a kasnije i Madeiru). Države Poljska, Litvanija, Letonija, Estonija i Finska ponovo su se pojavile iz prošlosti. Komunističke crvene zastave pojavile su se, međutim, nakratko, na mjestima u srcu Evrope. Njemačke plaćeničke vojske, Freikorps, borile su se protiv boljševika u Njemačkoj, spašavajući sekularnu, socijalističku Vajmarsku republiku - i čak su pokušale pripojiti baltičke zemlje, u svjetovnom oponašanju Teutonskih vitezova.

  1. Uvod
    1. Pariška mirovna konferencija otvorena je 18. januara 1919. Zadatak joj je bio pisanje pet odvojenih mirovnih ugovora sa poraženim odvojenim silama: Njemačkom, Turskom, Bugarskom, Austrijom i Mađarskom (sada odvojene nacije).
    2. Učestvovalo je 27 nacija, a prisustvovalo je 10.000 ljudi.
    3. Poraženim Centralnim silama nije bilo dozvoljeno da učestvuju u pregovorima. Uslovi bi im bili diktirani. Rusiji takođe nije bilo dozvoljeno da dođe.
    4. Postupkom je dominirala „velika četvorka“: Francuska, Britanija, Sjedinjene Države i Italija.
      1. Francusku je predvodio premijer Clemenceau. Pregovarao je s tvrdoglavom posvećenošću odbrani francuskih interesa i sticanju francuske sigurnosti za budućnost.
      2. Britaniju je predvodio premijer Lloyd George. Pokušao je napraviti kompromis kad god je to bilo moguće, ali je također bio odlučan u prvom redu braniti interese svoje nacije.
      3. Italiju je predstavljao premijer Vittorio Orlando. Bio je frustriran zbog nedostatka interesa svojih saveznika za dobivanje jadranskih luka za Italiju, pa je 4. aprila izjurio iz pregovora. To je smanjilo Veliku četvorku na Veliku trojku.
      4. SAD je prvenstveno predstavljao predsjednik Wilson. Htio je stvoriti novi međunarodni poredak na idealističkom planu. Europljani su ga oduševljeno pozdravili (uključujući 2 miliona Francuza). Mnogi su Europljani pozvali na „Wilsonov mir“. Promovirao je svojih 14 bodova i Ligu nacija.

      Vrijeme je bilo presudno. Vojna situacija se mijenjala, a za pregovarače su neprestano lobirali ljudi iz mnogih nacija, pokušavajući zadovoljiti njihove zahtjeve.

      Ugovor je imao 440 članova, ali evo najvažnijih:

      Njemačka bi izgubila sve svoje kolonije i oko 13% predratne evropske teritorije (sa 10% svog stanovništva). Izgubljene teritorije uključivale su Alzas i Lorenu, zemlje u blizini Belgije i Danske te istočne teritorije koje su dodijeljene novoj državi Poljskoj. Poljska je imala „koridor“ do Baltika, zbog čega je dio Njemačke (Istočna Pruska) bio odsječen od ostatka.

      Osim toga, njemačke oružane snage trebale su biti ograničene na 100.000 ljudi, a regrutiranje je bilo zabranjeno. Rajnland je trebao biti demilitariziran, a zapadnu obalu Rajne saveznici će zauzeti 15 godina. (Francuska je htjela nezavisnu državu Rajnland, ali je to odbijeno.

      Njemačka je bila prisiljena platiti ratnu odštetu. Taj iznos je kasnije utvrđen na 31 milijardu dolara 1921. Wilson se protivio ovoj ideji.

      Konačno, Njemačka je dobila komercijalna ograničenja. Na primjer, za svoje proizvode nisu mogli koristiti izraze "konjak" i "šampanjac".

      Član 231. (kasnije nazvan „Ratna krivica“) zahtijevao je od Njemačke da prihvati krivicu za rat.

      Njemačka je morala prihvatiti uslove da bi blokada bila ukinuta.

      Njemačka reakcija na sporazum bila je jedna od šoka, nakon čega je uslijedilo bijes. Nijemci su to nazvali "diktiranim mirom". Klauzula o ratnoj krivici bila je posebno uvredljiva. Međutim, uslovi nisu bili tako teški kao uslovi koje je Njemačka diktirala Rusiji u Brest-Litovsku.

      Nemačka je ugovor potpisala 28. juna 1919. godine - tačno 5 godina nakon ubistva nadvojvode Franca Ferdinanda. Potpisan je u Ogledalnoj dvorani u palači Versailles. (Tu je 1871 proglašeno formiranje Njemačkog carstva).

      Clemenceau je uzviknuo "Uvedite Nijemce!" Njemački predstavnici donijeli su svoje olovke kako ne bi morali koristiti olovke koje su im dali saveznici.


      Talijanski pristup

      1914. Italija je ostala neutralna uprkos savezima s Njemačkom i Austrijom. Pridružila se 1915. saveznicima, motivirana stjecanjem teritorija koje su saveznici obećali tajnim Londonskim ugovorom: Trentina, Tirola sve do Brennera, Trsta i Istre, većine dalmatinske obale osim Fiumea, Valone i protektorata nad Albanija, Antalya u Turskoj, a moguće i kolonije u Africi ili Aziji.

      Na sastancima velike četvorke, na kojima je Orlandovu diplomatsku moć kočio nedostatak engleskog jezika, ostali su bili spremni samo ponuditi Trentino Brenneru, dalmatinskoj luci Zara i nekim dalmatinskim otocima . Sve druge teritorije obećane su drugim narodima, a velike sile su bile zabrinute zbog imperijalnih ambicija Italije. Iako je Italija ipak ispunila većinu svojih zahtjeva, Orlandu je odbijen Fiume, veći dio Dalmacije i bilo kakav kolonijalni dobitak, pa je bijesan napustio konferenciju.

      U Italiji je došlo do općeg razočaranja, koje su nacionalističke i fašističke stranke iskoristile za izgradnju ideje da su Saveznici izdali Italiju i odbili ono što je trebalo. To je dovelo do općeg uspona talijanskog fašizma.


      Pariška mirovna konferencija 1919Stogodišnja akcija

      Nakon primirja za okončanje borbi 11. novembra 1918. godine, kada su kanadske trupe započele uzvratno putovanje u Kanadu, pobjedničke savezničke nacije su se pripremile za sastanak u Versaillesu u Francuskoj radi sastavljanja uslova ugovora za formalno okončanje rata.

      Iako zemlje Dominiona prvobitno nisu bile pozvane da imaju zasebno predstavništvo, tokom mjeseci priprema za Parišku mirovnu konferenciju, ser Robert Borden zahtijevao je da Kanada ima posebno sjedište zbog ogromnog doprinosa i žrtvovanja Kanade tokom rata.

      Uprkos rezervama drugih zemalja, posebno Sjedinjenih Država, koje su smatrale da se zastupljenost dominacija izjednačava s većim glasom za Britaniju, kao rezultat napora Bordena i drugih delegata, Kanada i drugi dominioni su uspjeli u svojim zahtjevima i dobili mjesto na stolu.

      Glavni rezultat Pariske mirovne konferencije, Versajski ugovor, potpisan je 28. juna 1919. godine, pet godina nakon ubistva Franca Ferdinanda i njegove supruge.

      Kanada je ugovor potpisala nezavisno, ali potpis je bio uvučen pod “Britansko carstvo ”. Iako je to odražavalo kontinuiranu dvosmislenost uloge Kanade i drugih dominiona u svijetu, predstavljalo je značajan korak za Kanadu koja je stekla punu neovisnost o svojoj vanjskoj politici, ali i mjesto u Ligi naroda.

      Saveznici oko konferencijskog stola – Versajski ugovor. 1919. Biblioteka i arhiv Kanada: C-000242.

      Ugledni učesnici:

      John W. Dafoe bio je jedan od najutjecajnijih kanadskih novinara, a 1919. godine prisustvovao je Pariskoj mirovnoj konferenciji kao predstavnik kanadske štampe i umnogome informirao kanadsko razumijevanje postupka. Vatreni promoter kanadske autonomije u vanjskim odnosima, Dafoe je ohrabrivao kanadsko učešće na međunarodnim konferencijama i organizacijama nastalim nakon Prvog svjetskog rata. Godine 1928, sa Sir Robertom Bordenom, Sir Arthur Currie i Sir Josephom W. Flavelleom, osnovao je Kanadski institut za međunarodne poslove (CIIA) kako bi pomogao Kanađanima da se bolje pripreme za svoju ulogu na međunarodnim sastancima.


      Pouke iz istorije? Pariška mirovna konferencija 1919

      Povjesničari uvijek nerado izvlače pouke iz povijesti i to s razlogom. Povijest se toliko često zloupotrebljavala kako bi podržala nečuvenu politiku, promovirala ekstravagantne zahtjeve na teritoriju ili objasnila loše odluke. Svi znamo kako su nacionalistički pokreti stvarali, i zaista bili, stvaranje vrlo selektivnih istorija. U nedavnoj smo prošlosti vidjeli kako se pozivanje na, na primjer, smirivanje može koristiti za opravdanje postupaka u kontekstima koji uopće nisu poput onih iz 1930 -ih. Ipak ću prekršiti pravila Ceha povjesničara i rsquoa i vidjeti da li Pariška mirovna konferencija 1919. nudi bilo kakve korisne prijedloge za danas. Riječ & lsquolessons & rsquo je možda prejaka, ali istorija nam može ponuditi poučne analogije. Može nam pomoći u formulisanju korisnih pitanja o našem vremenu. I može upozoriti: ovdje smo na tankom ledu, tamo su opasne zvijeri.

      Od kraja Hladnog rata, naš svijet je postao sve složeniji i zabrinjavajući. Vidjeli smo širenje iracionalnog, moćnog i antizapadnog fundamentalizma u muslimanskom svijetu. Propale države, na primjer Somalija, pružaju prikladan dom za terorističke pokrete. Etnički nacionalizmi, za koje smo mnogi mislili da izumiru, izazivaju sekularne države poput Indije. Odmetničke države poput Sjeverne Koreje ostaju izvan međunarodnog sistema. Rat koji ne pokazuje znakove završetka hara afričkim područjima Velikih jezera. Transatlantska alijansa koja se pokazala tako snažnom tokom Hladnog rata oštećena je nedavnim događajima, možda i smrtonosno. Sjedinjene Države, pomalo nevoljni hegemon, zasad su pod vodstvom unilateralista koji odbacuju brige i nacionalne interese drugih nacija kao nebitne. Ovo je loša vijest u vrijeme kada toliko izazova, od terorizma do pomoći, zahtijeva više međunarodne saradnje nego manje.

      Ako je velika konferencija u Parizu krajem Prvog svjetskog rata nedavno privukla pažnju, to je uglavnom zbog naše brige za naš svijet. Tokom Hladnog rata, događaji iz tog ranijeg rata i mirovna naselja koja su došla na njegov kraj bili su udaljeni. Činilo se da nemaju veze s velikom borbom koja je Istok zaključila protiv Zapada. Kakve veze ima to kako su Jugoslavija ili Irak nastali? Ili kako su državnici tada zamislili svjetski poredak. Od kraja Hladnog rata takva su pitanja ponovno postala važna. Također smo shvatili da je ponekad potrebno razumjeti povijesne korijene problema s kojima se bavimo. Zemlje i narodi, poput pojedinaca, imaju sjećanja i iskustva, koja oblikuju način na koji djeluju jedni prema drugima, oblikuju kako reagiraju na sadašnjost i pristupaju budućnosti. Naravno, takođe moramo razumjeti ekonomiju, društvene strukture, geografiju ili sisteme vrijednosti. Ali ako zanemarimo povijest, lišavamo se korisnog oruđa.

      Pariška mirovna konferencija bila je događaj kakav više nikada nećemo vidjeti. Okupljao je neke od najmoćnijih ljudi na svijetu šest mjeseci. Dok su razgovarali, raspravljali, slagali se i slagali, upoznali su se na način na koji malo lidera ima vremena za danas. Danas je jednostavno nezamislivo da bi predsjednik Sjedinjenih Država ili premijer Velike Britanije, premijeri Italije i Francuske, Australije i Kanade ili kraljica Rumunjske, da spomenemo samo neke od onih koji su bili tamo, potrošili toliko vremena zajedno razgovaraju o velikim i ponekad trivijalnim pitanjima.

      Mirovna konferencija obično se pamti kao neuspjeh, a njeni učesnici tvrdoglavo kratkovidi i glupi. Ovo nije fer. Mirotvorci su se suočili sa problemima koji su često prkosili rješenju. Uvijek treba imati na umu da je konferencija održana nakon najgoreg svjetskog rata koji je viđen u modernoj istoriji. Znaci rata bili su vidljivi svuda u Parizu. Polovica žena na ulicama 1919. godine nosila je crno jer su izgubile nekoga u tom ratu. Bilo je praznina u drveću duž velikih avenija jer su stabla posječena za ogrjev. Mnogi delegati su takođe otišli na kratki izlet na sever do ratišta Zapadnog fronta.

      Rat & ndash & ndash, poznat kao Veliki rat tih dana & ndash & ndashhad opustošio je Evropu. Dvadeset miliona ljudi je poginulo, a dvostruko više ih je ranjeno. Četiri godine borbi podigle su ogromne oblasti, na sjeveru Francuske i Belgije, duž granica između Njemačke i Austro-Ugarske i Rusije, te na Balkanu. Evropska civilizacija i samopouzdanje koje su Evropljani nekada imali u sebe poljuljani su do temelja. Europljani 1919. imali su vrlo stvaran osjećaj da su uništili ne samo fizičke dijelove svoje civilizacije, ne samo sve te živote, već i same političke, društvene i ekonomske strukture. Rusija je krenula putem revolucije 1917. godine, a kako se stari režim srušio, dijelovi velikog ruskog carstva su se odvojili. Na Kavkazu su narodi poput Armenaca, Azerbejdžana i Gruzija pokušali uspostaviti nezavisne države. Ukrajina je nakratko imala svoju nezavisnu vladu. Finska, Estonija, Letonija i Litvanija borile su se za svoju slobodu. Dalje na zapadu, Austrougarsko carstvo, to ogromno carstvo, koje je toliko stoljeća okupiralo srce srednje Evrope, raspalo se u posljednjim mjesecima Velikog rata. Njemačko carstvo je propalo, a monarhiju je zamijenila republika.

      Mirotvorci su radili svoj posao u atmosferi straha: prvo da nikada više neće moći ponovo spojiti evropsku civilizaciju, ali i da će biti još gore. Slika koja se često koristila na Mirovnoj konferenciji bila je slika da se nalazi na rubu vulkana koji je trebao eksplodirati. Ovo nije bila nerazumna bojazan kad pomislite na ono što su već doživjeli do 1919. Ruska revolucija se i dalje razvijala. Građanski rat, između boljševika s jedne strane, i zbirke anarhista, liberala, nacionalista različitih crta i ostataka starog režima, trajao je. Uopće nije bilo jasno hoće li boljševici pobijediti. Takođe je bilo veoma teško doći do bilo kakvih pouzdanih informacija o tome šta se dešava u Rusiji. Većina komunikacija je prekinuta i gotovo svi strani diplomati, novinari i humanitarni radnici su otišli. 1919. Rusija je bila isto toliko nepoznata zemlja kao i Irak prije nego što je koalicija porazila snage Sadama Huseina.

      Boljševici su pozvali ljevičarske snage svijeta da ustanu protiv svojih vladara i činilo se, barem neko vrijeme, da je njihov poziv bio uspješan. Pad monarhija u Austro-Ugarskoj i Njemačkoj obilježen je revolucionarnim preokretima. U brojnim gradovima sovjeti su & ndash & ndash svjesno dobili ime po modelu u Rusiji & ndash & ndashof. Radnici i vojnici preuzeli su vlast. Bavarska je nakratko u zimu 1919. imala komunističku vladu, a Mađarska je imala nju nekoliko mjeseci u proljeće i ljeto. Ovisno o vašoj političkoj perspektivi, postojali su razlozi za strah ili nadu, da će se revolucija proširiti na zapad, i zasigurno je bilo dokaza da je u Francuskoj, Italiji, Belgiji, Britaniji, čak i Sjevernoj Americi, došlo do militantnih demonstracija i štrajkova.

      Taj strah od revolucije ponekad je bio koristan u Parizu. Rumunjska kraljica Marie, na primjer, zatražila je ogromne teritorijalne dobitke, uključujući pola Mađarske, za svoju zemlju. Kada su čelnici poput Woodrow Wilsona iz Sjedinjenih Država ili Georges Clemenceau iz Francuske oklijevali u odobravanju, upozorila je da bi razočarana Rumunija mogla imati nasilnu revoluciju. To nije nešto što su mirotvorci željeli. Revolucija u Rumuniji dovela bi prijetnju boljševizma mnogo bliže srcu Evrope. Mirotvorci su, između ostalih, sugerisao istoričar Arno Mayer, bili su pod velikim uticajem svojih strepnji o revoluciji kada je u pitanju postizanje mirovnih nagodbi. Iako bih tvrdio da to nije bila njihova jedina razmatranja, svakako je slučaj da su posebno Francuzi smatrali da je potrebno imati jake države kao sanitarni kordon kako bi se spriječilo širenje revolucije.

      Prijetnja je bila od pomoći i kanadskom predstavniku. U Nacionalnom arhivu nalazi se nekoliko ljupkih pisama Olivera Mowata Biggara, koji je bio pravni savjetnik kanadske delegacije. Biggar je izuzetno naporno radio, ali je imao vremena i posjetiti kazališta s drugim Kanađanima, poput Sir Roberta Bordena. Išli su na klasične drame Racinea i Moli & egraverea, ali su išli i na operski strip i revije. Biggar je opisao svoje večeri svojoj ženi u Ottawi: privlačne žene demi-mondaine, glumicu koja nije imala gotovo ništa iznad struka, način na koji Francuskinje i rsquos gležnjevi uspoređuju s onima Kanađanke. Gospođa Biggar, nije iznenađujuće, odlučila je da bi se trebala pridružiti svom mužu u Parizu. On ju je upozorio ističući da će Francuska vjerojatno doživjeti nasilne preokrete.

      Mirotvorci su imali jednako važno razmatranje, očekivanja svoje javnosti. Ovo je vrijeme, naravno, kada je javno mnijenje već bilo faktor u međunarodnim odnosima. Rat je bio toliko katastrofalan i gubici su bili toliko veliki da je postojao vrlo snažan osjećaj, prije svega da bi neko trebao to platiti. Razumno ili ne, u ljudskoj je prirodi da žele pronaći nekoga za krivicu, posebno nakon velike katastrofe, i da žele nekoga ili nešto platiti. Nakon svakog europskog rata gubitnici su izgubili teritoriju ili imovinu poput umjetničkih djela. Takođe su često plaćali novčane kazne (često nazivane odštetama) ili, u nekim slučajevima, reparacije za štetu koju su njihove snage nanijele. Poteškoća s Velikim ratom bila je u tome što je šteta bila toliko velika i jačina osjećaja javnosti bila toliko jaka, da je potencijalni račun koji će biti predstavljen gubitničkoj strani bio astronomski. David Lloyd George, britanski premijer i Clemenceau znali su da imaju male šanse izvući ogromna plaćanja od poraženih nacija, ali nisu se usudili to javno reći iz straha od gubitka političke podrške. Morali su se suočiti i s Wilsonom, koji je u izjavama za javnost jasno rekao da neće podržati kaznene kazne.

      U savezničkim zemljama prije sastanka mirovne konferencije postojao je i značajan entuzijazam za kažnjavanje vođa Centralnih sila, posebno Njemačke koja je bila dominantni partner. Govorilo se o pokušaju suđenja Kaiseru Wilhelmu II, koji je nakon posljednjeg bombastičnog govora o smrti na čelu svojih trupa, bezobrazno otišao vlakom do udobnog utočišta u Nizozemskoj. Lloyd George poigrao se s idejom da ga pošalje, kao što su Britanci učinili s Napoleonom, na ostrvo, možda na Foklandima. Na kraju ga je holandska vlada odbila predati.

      Javno mišljenje, kontradiktorno i zbunjujuće, također je željelo bolji svijet. Mnogi sa savezničke strane, i zaista među poraženim zemljama, smatrali su da bi žrtve, rasipanje u ljudskim i drugim uslovima Prvog svjetskog rata, imale smisla samo ako bi svijet krenuo u pronalaženje načina za sprječavanje budućih ratova i izgradnju pravednija društva. Iako je izražavao ideje o kojima su mnogi Evropljani pričali čitavu jednu generaciju, Wilson se smatrao glasnogovornikom takvih nada. U svojim velikim ratnim govorima, posebno u onom u kojem je iznio svojih četrnaest točaka, skicirao je novu vrstu međunarodnih odnosa, gdje su se zemlje otvoreno međusobno obračunavale, gdje je naoružanje svedeno na najmanju moguću mjeru radi sigurnosti, gdje su trgovinske barijere pale i svjetski brodovi su putovali morima bez smetnji, i gdje je nova vrsta organizacije, liga nacija, svojim članovima donijela kolektivnu sigurnost.

      Zatim su postojala sva očekivanja onih ljudi koji to još nisu imali ili koji neko vrijeme nisu imali svoju zemlju. Pariška mirovna konferencija djelovala je u kontekstu kada je nacionalno samoopredjeljenje bilo nešto što je bila vrlo moćna sila. To nije bilo nešto što je bilo važno tokom Bečkog kongresa 1814-1815, koji se sastao kako bi stvorio mirovna naselja na kraju Napoleonovih ratova. U to vrijeme ideja da bi nacije trebale voditi vlastite poslove još nije uistinu zahvatila Evropu niti svijet izvan Evrope.

      Do 1919. godine to je svakako uzelo maha. Za to se ponekad optužuje Woodrow Wilson -za stvaranje svih ovih očekivanja da bi etničke grupe trebale imati svoje nacionalne države. Ovo opet nije fer. On je svakako ohrabrio tu ideju u svojim javnim izjavama, uključujući i Četrnaest tačaka, ali nije stvorio ono što je do sada bilo vrlo moćna sila. Evropa je već uvidjela koliko nacionalizam i želja nacija da imaju svoje države mogu biti snažni ujedinjenjem Italije i Njemačke. Već je vidjelo koliko bi ta moć mogla biti na Balkanu. Etnički nacionalizam i ideja samoopredjeljenja za etničke države nije iznenada stvorena s nekoliko neopreznih riječi američkog predsjednika.

      S obzirom na toliki niz očekivanja, od osvete do svjetlijeg sutra, je li iznenađenje da se mirovna rješenja tako često smatraju neuspjesima? Pariška mirovna konferencija samo je djelomično govorila o postizanju mirovnih nagodbi, a o stvaranju boljeg svijeta, bila je i fokus nada i očekivanja nacija koje su se pokušale rekonstituirati, u slučaju Poljske, koja je htjela svoju neovisnost od carstva, u slučaju baltičkih država, ili koji su bili novi narodi poput Jugoslavije, Čehoslovačke ili Kurdistana. Pariz je u šest mjeseci između januara i juna 1919. bio centar svjetske moći, možda čak i neka vrsta svjetske vlade. Mirotvorci su brzo otkrili da se bave agendom koja je neprestano rasla. Opskurni pomoćni kuhar u hotelu Ritz marljivo je sastavio peticiju o svom vrlo malom dijelu francuskog carstva u Aziji na koju nije uspio privući pažnju mirotvoraca. Ho Chi Minh se odlučio za još jedan način kojim će dovesti Vijetnam do nezavisnosti. Iz dana u dan dolazili su sveži peticioneri, iz naroda za koje niko nije čuo, koji su odlazili u Pariz. Sufražetske grupe tražile su glasove za žene, Radničke organizacije su promovirale bolje uslove rada. Čini se da su Afroamerikanci tražili prava za svoj narod. Kao i crni Afrikanci iz francuskih kolonija u podsaharskoj Africi.

      Mirotvorci su se bavili svim ovim i još mnogo toga. Dani su im bili prepuni posla. Većina ih se trudila, i s određenim optimizmom, izgraditi mirovna naselja koja bi uspjela. Ako iz mirovne konferencije možete izvući pouke, to znači da možete postići mir samo ako to okolnosti dozvoljavaju. 1919. godine, po mom mišljenju, okolnosti nisu bile povoljne.

      1815., na kraju tog niza ratova koji su započeli s francuskim revolucionarnim, a završili s Napoleonovim, kada su se velike sile okupile u Beču kako bi sklopile mir, imale su mnogo lakši zadatak. They were dealing with a world that was tired of war, where the revolutionary impulses set off in France in 1789 had basically worked themselves out. What was quite different about 1919 was that the revolutionary fires - those of Bolshevism or other forms of socialism and anarchism as well as those of ethnic nationalism were still on the increase. In the case of Bolshevism they were not really going to burn themselves out until the 1980s. As for ethnic nationalism, it is not clear that we have seen the end yet. Nor was 1919 like 1945 when the revisionist, aggressive nations such as Germany, Italy and Japan were destroyed and inert and the powers, in that case largely the United States and the Soviet Union could impose their will.

      We tend to assume&ndash&ndashas did the Allies at the time&ndash&ndashthat the peacemakers had the capacity to do the same in 1919. The statesmen who assembled in Paris knew their enemies were either defeated, in the case of Germany, or had simply vanished, in the case of Austria-Hungary. They had the significant remaining armed forces. They expected that they could reach out and do what they wanted in Europe, in the Middle East, and in parts of Asia and Africa. Yet they found time and time again that their capacity to influence events, particularly the further away they were from Paris, was very limited indeed.

      In reality their power was much less than it appeared and certainly much less than the victors possessed in 1945. True the Allies possessed huge armed forces at the end of the war in November 1919. Those forces melted away surprisingly quickly in the succeeding months. The men themselves wanted to go home and their families wanted them back. Taxpayers were no longer prepared to pay the costs. By June 1919, Allied armies were down to about 1/3 of what they had been at the end of the war. Moreover the capacity or morale of those that remained was very much in question. The French army had never really recovered from the great mutinies of 1917. Parts of the French navy were to mutiny in the spring of 1919. The British Army was perhaps in better shape but it too was shaken by riots and demonstrations. Morale was still high in the American armed forces but the last thing the Europeans wanted was more American influence over Europe or further afield.

      Projecting power was also a problem. When empires broke up and revolution had spread across Europe, economic and transportation structures had crumbled. The trains could not run if the coal were not available or the rolling stock had disappeared. Many ports were scarcely operating. When it came to Asia Minor or the Caucasus the logistical problems were even greater. Again and again in Paris the statesmen had confronted the need to do something and their own lack of capacity. One day, for example, the Big Four of Lloyd George, Clemenceau, the French Prime Minister, Wilson, and Vittorio Orlando, the Italian Prime Minister, discussed the small war that had broken out between Poland and Czechoslovakia over a rich coal area. All agreed that the two countries must be told to stop. It became clear however that there were no troops available to send. Lloyd George&rsquos final solution was to send a firm telegram. Discussions like this happened repeatedly.

      There is a danger, it seems to me, for great powers in looking outwards from their great capitals at the world and imagining all the things you might do. The pieces out there in the rest of the world, however, are not as malleable as you might like and ordering them about may not be as easy as you think. There is perhaps a lesson for today in this. Of course, the world of 2003 is different in many ways from that of 1919 and the United States is much more powerful in relation to its enemies (as well as its friends) than any single power was then, but American policy makers can still fall into the same trap. Some of the schemes that are being floated around Washington today&ndash&ndashfor the complete reorganization of the Middle East&ndash&ndashmake that assumption that the pieces on the ground are going to fall into their slots very neatly and stay where they are told to stay.

      That brings me to Germany. Here again the situation in 1919 was different from that in 1945. True Austria-Hungary had gone Bulgaria was completely defeated and the Ottoman Empire was tottering and had already lost most of its Arab territories. But Germany was not completely defeated or certainly not defeated in a way which was going to make the making of peace easy.

      The allies had decided, and it was a very contentious decision, to agree to Germany&rsquos request for an Armistice in November 1918. German armies had been defeated on the battlefield. In August 1918, the German lines had broken and the German troops had fallen back towards their own borders. German officers reported from all quarters that they could no longer fight on. (This is something that Germans later on forgot or never knew.) The German High Command, headed by Generals Ludendorff and Hindenburg, panicked and demanded that their civilian government get an armistice as quickly as possible. The request to the allies came in the old-fashioned way when two German officers waving a white bed sheet tied to a stick came across to the Allied lines. But it was also came in a very modern way through an exchange of public messages. The German government asked the American president Woodrow Wilson to arrange an armistice for them with the European powers. Wilson replied saying that he would undertake to intercede if the Germans accepted that the Fourteen Points would be the basis of a subsequent peace.

      The making of the armistice caused contention, partly because neither Britain nor France felt they had been consulted on the process. More importantly, the Germans assumed that they were making peace on the basis of Wilson&rsquos new type of diplomacy and his new world order and that they would be treated gently. They assumed that Germany would have to pay nothing or little in the way of war damages or reparations, and that they would lose very little territory. Indeed if national self-determination were to be taken as a basis for decisions, Germany might even gain the German-speaking parts of the defunct Austria-Hungary for example Austria itself and the parts of Czechoslovakia that Germans called the Southlands, the Sudetenland. Furthermore, since Wilson had hinted broadly that Germans should get rid of their old regime and become a republic, and since this had in fact happened at the end of the war, many Germans assumed that there was now a new Germany which should not have to pay for the sins of the old one.

      There is another and very significant difference between the ends of the First and Second World Wars which affected the ways in which peace came. In 1918, very little of Germany was occupied by Allied troops. There was discussion at the time and there has been since about whether the Allies should have pursued the war to the end. General Pershing, the American commander-in-chief, whose troops were still relatively fresh and enthusiastic, wanted to go on. He wanted to carry the war into Germany and Allied troops marching in victory through Berlin. From the point of view, though, of Marshal Foch, the French commander-in-chief and Supreme Allied Commander in Chief, the armistice terms which the Germans were prepared to accept, which included their surrendering their heavy armaments and the German navy, were tantamount to a complete capitulation. Foch also pointed out, and he was probably right, that Allied opinion would not stand for more waste of lives when victory seemed assured. His political masters agreed: it would have been politically and militarily very difficult for Britain and France to go on fighting against Germany, once an Armistice had been publicly requested. In retrospect, knowing what we now know, it might have been better to make the sacrifice and occupy Germany in 1918 because many Germans were later able to persuade themselves that Germany had not been defeated and that the peace terms imposed by the Allies were deeply unfair. As it was most Germans never saw Allied troops and the German army which marched back in Berlin was greeted by what was now the President of a Republic as the undefeated.

      Germany came out of the war weakened and smaller. It has been argued, though, by a number of historians that Germany in some ways was in a stronger position strategically after 1919 than it had been before 1914. It no longer had an Austria-Hungary on its eastern borders. In its place, were generally weak states, which tended to quarrel with each other. And thanks to the reconstitution of Poland, after a gap of almost over a century, Germany no longer had a common border with Russia, something which had always made German statesmen look uneasily eastwards. Germany was also relatively unscathed by the war. Certainly its population suffered much from the Allied blockade but its infrastructure was relatively untouched, certainly by comparison with that of France&rsquos. Most of the fighting had been, of course, on the Belgian and French soil, western front on, or on Russian on the eastern. German factories and mines were largely intact unlike those in France or Belgium. That perhaps does not matter because what also counts in international relations as in domestic affairs is what people believe. The Germans, who had a tendency as see themselves as surrounded by hostile nations even before the First World War, felt themselves to be weak and vulnerable after 1918.

      No one who loses a war ever likes conditions of the peace settlements but the widespread and deeply-felt rejection of the Treaty of Versailles in Germany has much to do with the way in which the war ended and the often unrealistic expectations that the Germans developed in the months before they finally saw the peace terms. and so, there was no way that Germany was going to like any peace terms.

      Unfortunately the Allies made it worse by not negotiating with Germany. The Peace Conference was initially meant to be like earlier ones, where winners and losers sat down and hammered out a peace. The Allies met in Paris in January 1919 for what they expected would be a preliminary conference for two to three weeks, where they would hammer out common peace terms and then call representatives from Germany and the other defeated nations and have a full-blown peace conference.

      When the Allies started their discussions, they rapidly found that the issues were so complicated and involved so many parts of the world, that it was difficult to get agreement. Matters were also complicated Woodrow Wilson&rsquos insistence - and one can see why he did it - that the covenant of the league of nations be included in the German Treaty. Two to three weeks turned into two to three months. It was not until the beginning of May 1919, that the Allies managed to draw up a common set of peace terms for Germany, which they could all agree on. The drawing up of those terms had painful and difficult.

      A particularly divisive issue was how France should be protected in future from Germany. Should Germany be disarmed completely? - which would leave it defenceless against its neighbours and perhaps against Bolshevism. Or partially? - in which case, how big an army should it have and with what sort of weapons? There were those in France who wanted Germany to be broken up completely and returned to the collection of states it had been before 1870. Others were content to take the Rhineland, part of Germany west of the Rhine River, and turn it into an either independent state or a state attached to France. Lloyd George refused, pointing out that Europe had already been disturbed enough in the 19 th century by unfulfilled German ambitions. On the other hand, the French argued, with some justification, that they still needed to be protected from Germany. The basic French problem was that there was still a very big Germany and there were more Germans than French and therefore more future German soldiers than French ones. The demographic gap was clearly going to widen.

      Trying to come up with a figure on what Germany should pay for war damages was also extremely difficult, partly because of public expectations. Huge figures had been floated around in the weeks preceding the Peace Conference and the Allied publics in Britain and France in particular had come to expect that Germany would make up for all the money spent during the war (and perhaps even for the future pensions to widows and orphans of soldiers) and for damage to Allied property. Even Canada drew up a list which included freighters that had been sunk in order not to be left out of the final distribution. Then there was the damage done by the fighting on Belgian and French soil. It was hard even to get any estimate of what that amounted to. American army engineers who were starting to do surveys of the battlefields assumed it would take at least two years to get any realistic estimate.

      When the Allies finally managed to reach agreement on the German terms, no one wanted to sit down and reopen the whole thing in discussions with the Germans. By May 1919, there was another consideration&ndash&ndashthe fear that they no would no longer had the capacity to impose their will on Germany especially if protracted negotiations opened up. The Allied leaders had gloomy conversations with their military experts about what would happen if Germany refused to sign its treaty. Foch prepared a plan to strike simultaneously into Bavaria and across the Rhine, where the Allies held the bridgeheads, toward Berlin. But he warned that the German resistance might be fighting might be bitter and Allied losses high.

      During those long months, views of the war, ultimately very influential ones, were starting to take root in Germany. The High Command and its supporters argued that Germany&rsquos armies could have fought on if only certain unpatriotic elements on the home front&ndash&ndashleft-wingers, for example, or Jews&ndash&ndashhad not stabbed them in the back. Although many of those who supported the new republic did not subscribe to the stab-in the-back myth, they also came to share the view that Germany had not lost the war on the battlefields at all. Rather, the German government, in an attempt to save all combatants from further loss and destruction, had wisely, even nobly, asked for an armistice. And Woodrow Wilson had promised, had he not, that Germany would be treated justly by the Allies.

      The German government approached the peace negotiations with some optimism. It expected that the customary negotiations would take place in Paris. During the winter and early spring of 1918-19, the Foreign Ministry prepared detailed studies of every aspect of what it expected to discuss in Paris. When the German delegation was finally summoned to Paris in May 1919, it brought with it crates full of materials. The German delegates were shocked by their reception. On their arrival in Paris, they were put in a third-rate hotel surrounded by barbed wire and guards, so it was said, for their own protection. At a brisk ceremony in the Trianon Palace Hotel near Versailles, Clemenceau handed them the terms and told them that they had two weeks to enter any comments in writing. There were to be no negotiations. The shock among the delegates and back in Germany was profound. The Germans felt betrayed. When they looked at the terms themselves they were horrified.

      Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, the German Foreign Minister, who headed the delegation, took two speeches with him to the Trianon Palace Hotel. One was conciliatory, the other much more defiant. He did not decide which one he was going to use until he received the peace terms. He chose defiance. Since he looked very much the Prussian Junker, and since nerves forced him to speak seated, the speech made a lamentable impression. If the Allies had felt qualms about treating Germany harshly, they no longer did so.

      Von Brockdorff-Rantzau subsequently made a decision, which in retrospect had unfortunate consequences, to attack two clauses in the section on reparations. Article 231 of the Germany treaty has come to be known as the War Guilt Clause. In fact, if you read it, it says nothing about guilt, only about responsibility for the war. It was put in to establish Germany&rsquos legal liability. The following article, 232, limits that liability by stating that Germany&rsquos reparations obligations had to be based on Germany&rsquos capacity to pay. The actual wording came from John Foster Dulles, who was a young lawyer with the American delegation. Von Brockdorff-Ranzau&rsquos decision came after considerable debate both among the German delegates and back in Germany. Interestingly enough, none of the other defeated nations, whose treaties included similar clauses, ever made an issue of it. In time, of course, the &lsquoWar Guilt&rsquo clause became deeply embedded in German thinking about the Versailles Treaty, as it came to be known, and was one of the many grounds on which Hitler and his fellow nationalists attacked the peace settlements. As the years went by and the opening of the European archives suggested that the war may well have started as the result of a series of mistakes on both sides, Germans and indeed many in the English-speaking world, felt that the clause, and by extension, the whole treaty, was unfair to Germany.

      In recent years a number of historians, myself included, have come to the conclusion that the German treaty was not as bad as it has been portrayed. Whatever the High Command later said, Germany had lost the war. It should have expected to lose territory. If Germany had won, it certainly would have taken territory from its defeated enemies. It should have expected that the Allies, and particularly France, would attempt to limit Germany&rsquos capacity to wage future wars. It should have expected to pay something just as France had paid after it lost the Franco-Prussian War. In fact, the Germany Foreign Ministry had worked out figures and drawn up schedules for the reparations it expected to be imposed. But with a treaty that was widely seen as unjust, and this was right across the political spectrum, there was little will in Germany to pay any reparations. The arguments between Germany and its former enemies, which poisoned international relations for so much of the decade after the war, obscured the fact that Germany never paid that much in the end, probably less than a sixth of what it owed. Nevertheless in Germany, reparations became shorthand for every economic problem, for unemployment and for the dreadful inflation of the early 1920s. The real culprit was fiscal mismanagement by the German government but that is not how it was perceived in Germany. What is true in history is sometimes less important than what people believe to be true.

      Germans in the interwar years also resented the military clauses, in part because the Allies had said that there would be a more general disarmament which never in the end materialized. But was Germany&rsquos war-making capacity that seriously affected? Germany was to have an army of 100,000 but no limits were placed on the number of non-commissioned officers. The German army, after 1919, had the highest proportion of these in Europe, which meant that it had the backbone for a much larger force. The military clauses were supervised by a small Allied military commission whose members frequently complained, with little effect, that they were receiving minimal co-operation from the Germans. Germany was not meant to have an air force but it had a great many flying clubs in the 1920s. When Hitler took power in 1933, it took him two years to construct an air force.

      The perception that the Treaty of Versailles was unfair and immoral played an important part in the rise to power of Hitler who took every opportunity to attack the &lsquoDiktat&rsquo or dictated peace which bound Germany in chains. It also had an impact on the Allies, as it contributed to the appeasement of the 1930s. If the treaty were as wicked as the Germans claimed, then clearly Hitler was justified in wanting to undo it. John Maynard Keynes, in Paris as the Treasury adviser to the British delegation, set the tone early in the great polemic which he wrote in the summer of 1919. The Economic Consequences of the Peace, which became an instant best-seller and has been in print ever since, attacks the peacemakers as foolish and short-sighted. They sat in their rooms at Paris indulging in sterile debates about punishment and reparations while they should have been rebuilding Europe and getting trade going again. The book was of course immediately translated into German and it also had a tremendous impact in the English speaking countries. In France, the notion that reparations were deeply unfair, and that the whole Treaty was a mistake, was never as widespread. When the French tried, with increasing desperation, to enforce the terms of the treaty in the interwar years, the British found them unreasonable. Britain, as it had so often done before, was withdrawing from engagement with the Continent and concentrating on tending its Empire. The Americans, although the extent of their isolationism has been exaggerated, withdrew partially from involvement in world affairs in the 1920s in part because they had tired of what they saw as the old vindictive European ways.

      There is another sort of criticism of the Peace Conference which may offer useful parallels for the present and that is that it was not properly planned ahead and was simply inefficient. &ldquoWorthless schemes and improvised ideas&rdquo was how Paul Cambon, the wise old French ambassador in London, described the way in which the statesmen worked. There is something in his complaint. None of the Big Three had much experience in international relations. Lloyd George had a notoriously weak grasp of geography. Maps brought happy surprises such as his discovery that New Zealand was on quite a different side of Australia than he had always imagined. Unreasonably perhaps none of them had much use for their own foreign offices. Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau all chose as foreign ministers men whom they could safely ignore. All preferred to take advice from their close associates or from academic experts or journalists rather than their own diplomats. The conference took too long to get underway. What was meant to be a preliminary meeting of the Allies to work out a common position turned gradually into the only peace conference there was to be.

      Given the extraordinary range of problems which came before it and the way in which the agenda kept expanding with as fresh issues, the rebirth of Poland for example or the relief of many parts of the former Austria-Hungary, it is doubtful that any organization or meticulous plan could have kept up. The peacemakers were dealing with such a new world, with new forces in the shape of Bolshevism or ethnic nationalisms, that improvisation was forced upon them. It also made sense to draw on expertise beyond what existed in their foreign services. The peace conference marked the use of experts from the private sector and from the academic world. This was received by the diplomats with a certain amount of scepticism but in fact the professionals and the amateurs worked very well together on the conference&rsquos many committees and commissions.

      Wilson spoke for many both in Europe and the wider world when he said that a new and more open diplomacy was needed based on moral principles including democratic values, with respect for the rights of peoples to choose their own governments and an international organization to mediate among nations and provide collective security for its members. He was called dangerously naïve at the time and Wilsonianism has been controversial ever since. In the world of 1919, though, when the failure of older forms of diplomacy&ndash&ndashsecret treaties and agreements, for example, or a balance of power as the way to keep peace&ndash&ndashwas so terribly apparent, a new way of dealing with international relations made considerable sense.

      There was no need, though, for the statesmen to take on so much themselves. In each of their meetings the Big Three (or Four if Orlando is included) dealt with several different matters, some major issues but others details, such as minor adjustments to borders, which they should have left to the many committees and commissions which were working away. It was also foolish and self-defeating of the leading statesmen to ignore tried and useful procedures. The Council of Four, which Wilson insisted upon when he returned to Paris from the United States, was meant to be so informal that it did not at first have a secretary. At the end of three days, the statesmen found they could not remember what they decided so called in Maurice Hankey, the British secretary to the peace conference, who kept his usual meticulous records.

      The diplomats felt sidelined and resentful but, for all its innovative nature, the peace conference shows how important they were. Major decisions were usually made by the Council of Four or by the earlier Supreme Council. In many cases, however, the statesmen simply ratified the recommendations, including most of those on Europe&rsquos borders, which came up from the committees and commissions. These bodies took their work very seriously. Their members gathered huge amounts of information, interviewed experts and petitioners, and had exhaustive discussions. If the borders they drew left many people feeling dissatisfied, that was because the population in the centre of Europe was so mixed that there was no way of drawing borders based on ethnic considerations. The peace settlements left approximately 1/3 of all the people living in the centre of Europe as minorities in the countries in which they lived. That, of course, was going to be a source of trouble throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

      As democratically elected leaders, the statesmen also carried the burden of domestic affairs. Sir Robert Borden, who was in Paris for several months, received dozens of letters and telegrams from his associates in Canada, telling him of crises and urging him to hasten home. Wilson and Lloyd George both had to leave the conference for a month to deal with problems at home. All the statesmen felt the pressure. Lloyd George, who was the youngest, survived the best. Wilson had trouble sleeping and developed a serious tic in his face. There is a possibility that he suffered a minor stroke while he was in Paris. Clemenceau, a man of extraordinary vitality, was wounded in an assassination attempt part way through the conference observers felt that he never was quite the same again.

      The great objective forces matter in history: factors such as economics, geography, military power. So does the intellectual and political context. People think largely in the categories which they have inherited. In 1919 people were thinking in ways which would have been alien to anyone in 1815 but which are familiar to us today: the whole notion of democratic participation in foreign policy, of ethnic nationalism, and of self-determination. Nevertheless the individuals who occupied positions of power are important. In moments particularly of crisis&ndash&ndashAugust 1914, much of 1919, the weeks and months following September 11&ndash&ndashwhen decisions have to be made, the personalities of those who are making those decisions can be of enormous importance.

      The Paris Peace Conference reminds us not to ignore the players in history. It made a difference that Wilson was not a healthy man: in Paris he made concessions, to the Italians for example, out of sheer weariness. When he returned to the United States to try to get the Senate to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, with the League embedded in it, his natural stubbornness was exacerbated to the point where he refused all compromise with the moderate Republicans. As a result the Treaty was not ratified and the United States never joined the League of Nations. It mattered, to take another example, that Eleutherios Venizelos, the great Greek Prime Minister, managed to charm Lloyd George and persuade him that the ancient Greek empire in Asia Minor could be reconstituted. Lloyd George gave Greece the go-ahead to land troops at Smyrna and encouraged the Greeks to advance inland. The result was the mobilization of Turkish nationalism under Kemal Ataturk, the defeat of the Greek forces and the end of the centuries-old Greek communities throughout Turkey.

      It is sometimes decisions taken lightly or hastily which cause the most trouble in the long run. The fate of the Saar coal mines, which caused so much trouble at the peace conference, or the Duchy of Teschen, which nearly led to a war between Czechoslovakia and Poland, do not seem important today. The minorities treaties, which were laboriously drawn up to try to protect the ethnic minorities in the centre of Europe, were largely ineffective. On the other hand, the creation of Iraq, which was done in an imperialistic deal between Britain and France, has had repercussions right up to the present.

      After some haggling, Britain got three former provinces of the Ottoman Empire. These had been ruled separately from Istanbul and did not constitute a nation. The British wanted them partly to keep the French from moving in, partly to protect the new air routes to India and partly because they suspected that there were significant deposits of oil. Britain made Iraq and found an Arab ruler in the person of Prince Faisal on the assumption that it would be easy and cheap to run. There were few of what we think of as the building blocks of a successful nation. Iraq contained different ethnic groups and different religions. There was no Iraqi nationality, although one did develop over the years. Almost from the moment Iraq was created, the British had trouble with it and the world has had problems ever since.

      The final lesson which the Paris Peace Conference offers is that getting international agreements is one thing, enforcing them quite another. The Treaty of Versailles was a cumbersome document it embodied a series of uneasy compromises among the powers and it was unnecessarily irritating to the Germans. In the long run, though, the most important thing was that there was not sufficient will to enforce it among the winning nations. There were enforcement mechanisms in the Treaty, but someone had to decide to use them. The French and, at first, the Belgians were willing, but they needed support from the British and perhaps the Americans and that support was not there in the 1920s and 1930s. From 1935 onwards Hitler violated the provisions of the Treaty&ndash&ndashstarting with the announcement that Germany had an air force and then moving troops into the demilitarized Rhineland&ndash&ndashand got away with it. If, and it is one of those big &lsquoifs&rsquo in history, he had been stopped early on, the Second World War in Europe might not have taken place.


      Paris Peace Conference - History

      Oct. 1918 - Armistice of Mudros (Ottoman Empire)

      Nov. 3 1918 - Armistice with Austria-Hungary

      Nov. 9 1918 - November Revolution. Abdication of Wilhelm II.

      Nov. 11 1918 - Armistice with Germany

      Nov. 12 1918 - Abdication of Emperor Karl of Austria-Hungary

      Jan. 1919 - Paris Peace Conference opens

      Apr. 1919 - Conference rejects Japan's Racial Equality clause

      Apr. 1919 - Orlando storms out of conference with the rest of the Italian delegation after the Treaty of London conditions are rejected

      May 1919 - Treaty of Versailles completed

      June 1919 - Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles

      Aug. 1919 - Wilson returns to the United States

      Dec. 1919 - US Senate rejects the Treaty of Versailles

      Jan. 1920 - Paris Peace Conference closes as League of Nations comes into operation


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