From Volume Five, Issue Three, Fall 1996:
Versailles by Herbert Olivier
A RE-EVALUATION OF THE VERSAILLES PEACE
By William R. Keylor
Editor's note: This article is adapted from Dr. Keylor's presentation at the Great War Society 1995 seminar at Bethesda, Md.
The peace settlement that terminated the First World War has long suffered a "bad press" in the newspapers as well as in the history books. The ink was scarcely dry on the Versailles treaty when it became the object of the most intense criticism, mainly from youthful "insiders" in the American and British delegations who felt that they had witnessed at first hand the betrayal of Woodrow Wilson's august principles. The jeremiad from the pen of John Maynard Keynes was the first to hit the bookstores. It expressed the smoldering resentment of the British Treasury's self-appointed specialist on reparations at seeing his advisory authority in the British delegation in Paris l usurped by the deaf little Australian Prime Minister, William Hughes, and the detestable "heavenly twins," Lords Cunliffe and Sumner.
Keynes's critical attitude toward the peace settlement may also have reflected his sense of guilt at having served in the British government during the war while his pacifist chums in the Bloomsbury set, such as the writer Lytton Strachey and Keynes's former lover, the painter Duncan Grant, chose conscientious objection and embarrassed him with their taunting expressions of disapproval. Whatever the psychological forces that drove him to put pen to paper in opposition to the impending peace settlement, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, that savage portrait of a well meaning but artless American chief executive outwitted at every turn by Clemenceau and Lloyd George, was to become what Keynes's biographer has accurately characterized as "one of the most influential books of the twentieth century."
Woodrow Wilson himself was in no condition, physically or mentally, to respond directly to Keynes's broadside. But his partisans rushed to their typewriters in an effort to redeem the reputation of their ailing, incommunicado chief in the face of Keynes's withering onslaught. The first in print was Ray Stannard Baker, a former muckraking journalist who had served as Wilson's press secretary at the peace conference. After obtaining unrestricted access to the president's private collection of peace conference documents for ammunition, Baker composed a ringing defense of his patron's diplomacy in Paris. This hagiographic portrait of Wilson as the courageous advocate for humanity at large against the grasping, parochial Allied statesmen and their bellicose military chiefs, which was serialized in the New York Times before becoming a best seller in book form, assumed the aspects of a morality play. The villains were French reactionaries led by Foch and Poincare, who had pressured Clemenceau into adopting intransigent positions on reparations, the Rhineland, and other matters, while Lloyd George and the British delegation lamely acquiesced in the imposition of a "vindictive peace." The hero of the book struggled valiantly for the cause of a just and lasting settlement, while his European antagonists thought only of their own narrow national interests. The tone of condescension and ridicule that had suffused Keynes's earlier portrait of Wilson as a gullible victim of old world chicanery gave way in Baker's sketch to the heroic image of the lonely campaigner for justice and right who salvaged as much as he could of his visionary plan for the future of mankind. The common thread linking both of these early and influential studies of the peace conference is the devastating representation of the European allies in general, and the French in particular, as avaricious, aggressive, reactionary powers intent on humiliating the recently defeated enemy.
Keynes's and Baker's writings reinforced the Anglo-American tendency in the 1920s to regard Versailles as a fatally flawed peace settlement from which the United States should remain aloof and which Great Britain should use its influence to revise in Germany's favor. In the fateful year 1933 these two early exposes of the peace conference were succeeded by a lamentation from another disenchanted participant as he surveyed the wreckage of the Versailles system. "We came to Paris convinced that the new order was about to be established," recalled Harold Nicolson, who had served at the peace conference as a mid-level official in the British Foreign Office. "We left it convinced that the new order had merely fouled the old. We arrived as fervent apprentices in the school of President Wilson... determined that a Peace of justice and wisdom should be negotiated: we left it, conscious that the Treaties imposed upon our enemies were neither just nor wise."
"It has all been horrible," he recalled lamenting as he gazed out a window in the hall of mirrors of the Palace of Versailles at the Big Four basking in the adulation of the crowd after the signing ceremony. And that evening he scrawled in his diary: "To bed, sick of life."
This language of despair may have reflected Nicolson's bitter memories of his turbulent personal situation at the time. While he was going "to bed, sick of life" in Paris, his flamboyant wife, Vita Sackville West, was in Monte Carlo going to bed, full of life, with Violet Trefusis (the model for the Russian princess Sasha in Virginia Woolf s novel Orlando), with whom she later eloped for a brief Bloomsbury-style "marriage." As Vita's and Harold's son later observed, my father's "narrative of those days in [his book) Peacemaking 1919 makes poignant reading when one knows the concurrent drama in his private life." Brimming with titillating gossip and vivid character sketches, Nicolson's book rapidly took its place alongside the Keynes and Baker volumes in the collection of "inside stories" by secondary figures in the dramatis personae at Versailles. The image that succeeding generations have retained of the peace conference has to a large extent remained the dreary, negative one sketched by these disappointed Wilsonians as they reflected on their experience in Paris.
The common theme pervading much of this captious literature is the supposed determination of the European victors in general, and the French in particular, to impose a "Carthaginian peace" -- to repeat Keynes's hackneyed historical allusion -- on a defeated, demoralized, but staunchly democratic Germany that was desperately struggling to survive amid the twin threats of Bolshevism from the left and militarism from the right. The territorial and reparation provisions of the Versailles treaty have borne the chief burden of this accusation. Never far from the surface of this critique was the accusation that the statesmen in Paris had missed a golden opportunity to offer moderate peace terms to the defeated power that would have proved beneficial to victor and vanquished alike. A territorial settlement eschewing immoderate amputations of territory inhabited mainly by German-speaking peoples would have reinforced the democratic, pacific tendencies in postwar Germany. The fledgling Weimar Republic would have been induced to settle the ancient quarrel with France, to discover means of coexisting peacefully with the new Habsburg successor states to the east, and eventually to rejoin the family of nations on the basis of an unequivocal commitment to respect the new territorial arrangements. Similarly, a moderate financial settlement confined to the reparation of civilian damages would have facilitated the economic rehabilitation of Germany and inoculated that country against the twin plagues of Bolshevism and militarism.
To what extent is this severe historiographical assessment of the territorial and reparation clauses of the Versailles treaty justified? How credible is the alluring counterfactual proposition sketched above as the representation of the Versailles peace as a promising opportunity tragically missed?
Let us begin with the subject of the extensive violation of the hallowed Wilsonian principle of national self-determination that had replaced the discredited concept of the balance of power as the criterion for the redrawing of Europe's postwar frontiers. That principle had been articulated with much fanfare by the American president in his wartime address of 11 February 1918, when he issued his memorable admonition to America's European associates in the Great War: "Peoples and provinces must not be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels or pawns in a game, now forever discredited, of the balance of power....Every territorial settlement...must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the population concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival states."
While Wilson's own definition of national self-determination was subtle and complex and tempered by all manner of nuances and qualifications, the popular definition of this new concept was straight-forward and simple, if not simplistic, for those critics of the Versailles treaty in the English-speaking world who proudly called themselves "Wilsonian." In this popular version the term "national self-determination" bore the unmistakable and potent connotation of ethnicity whether defined in linguistic, cultural. or religious terms, or some combination thereof. It asserted that the fairest and most efficacious means of ensuring peace and stability in the postwar world was to redraw the national frontiers of Central Europe in such a way as to establish a set of sovereign political units that were as ethnically homogeneous as possible.
Alas, the peace treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary after the Great War fell far short of that goal. The resulting territorial settlement, which produced a collection of ethnically heterogeneous states with large and restive national minorities within their frontiers, was objectionable on the moral grounds that it violated the putative Wilsonian principle that nationality groups deserved the right to determine their own political future. It also suffered from the practical disadvantage, as Lloyd George had periodically complained throughout the peace conference, of creating half a dozen new "Alsace-Lorraines," that is, perpetual pretexts for irredentism that would fatally undermine the stability of the new international order being formed.
The reason for this wide gap between intention and achievement is not difficult to discern. The geographical realities in Europe after the disintegration of the Habsburg, Hohenzollern, and Romanov empires were scarcely conducive to the scrupulous application of the pristine principle of national self-determination as defined by the Wilsonians. The intermingling of ethnic groups as a consequence of a thousand years of migration sorely tested the ingenuity of the geographers and demographers and other specialists that the peacemakers had assembled in Paris to advise them on the technical details of drafting postwar frontiers on ethnographic lines.
Their challenge was all the greater once it became evident that ethnographic criteria alone would not dictate the location of the new boundaries. They would have to be balanced against a host of competing considerations, most notably the requirement of the strategic or economic viability of the newly formed states of Central and Eastern Europe. But the burden of proof would always rest with those who proposed to deviate from the principle of national self-determination, which remained the touchstone of the Versailles system. Each violation of that principle in the territorial settlement was accompanied by an elaborate justification solemnly invoking some overriding necessity: Poland's imperious need for a commercial port on the Baltic and secure overland access to it through territory inhabited by Germans in Posen and West Prussia; Czechoslovakia's requirement of the strategically critical glacis in the mountain range inconveniently located within the German-speaking borderland of Bohemia; and so forth. Population groups were of necessity "bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty" against their wishes, for the higher purpose of giving Germany's new neighbors to the east a fighting chance to survive and prosper.
The patent impossibility of forming ethnically homogeneous states, together with the necessity to balance purely ethnographic criteria against these other equally important considerations, prompted the peacemakers to devise a compensatory arrangement to mitigate the anticipated tensions between the dominant ethnic groups and the subordinate national minorities in the newly created or enlarged states: This was the unprecedented collection of so-called minority treaties that were signed on the same day as the Versailles treaty and have been largely forgotten or ignored by most historians until very recently, when Professor Carole Fink has begun to accord them the attention they deserve. The objective of these long forgotten treaties was to compensate for the necessary deviations from the principle of self-determination in the drafting of the postwar frontiers by requiring the governments of at least some of the new or enlarged states to respect the cultural and linguistic rights of their national minorities under the watchful supervision of the League of Nations. The goal was to enable nationality groups that spoke different languages, practiced different ' customs, or worshiped different gods to coexist in harmony and tranquillity in the same national community.
Let us pause for a moment to ponder the implications of the alternative to this imperfect, messy, ultimately unsatisfactory compromise that was proposed by the critics of the Versailles peace, namely, the scrupulous application of the principle of national self-determination to postwar Europe. On the basis of such a criterion, the German-speaking populations of what came to be called the Polish "corridor" would certainly have remained under German sovereignty, as would the port city of Danzig. The German speaking inhabitants of the Bohemian borderlands of the new state of Czechoslovakia would logically have been attached to the Germanic rump of Austria, which itself would have been united with Germany, as its citizens had been loudly demanding since the end of the war.
The faithful application of the principle of national self-determination at the peace conference would have had the paradoxical consequence of expanding the national territory of postwar Germany far beyond the frontiers of the Bismarckian Reich. Indeed, with a redistribution of territory based on exclusively ethnic or linguistic criteria, Germany's penalty for its military defeat would have been the acquisition of Lebensraum more extensive than the vast terrain acquired by the Nazi regime through diplomatic intimidation during the 1930s.
In reality, as we have seen, the principle of national self-determination was applied with great selectivity at the peace conference that was expected to enshrine it as the foundation of the "new" diplomacy. Alhough Wilson acknowledged in theory the right of nationality groups to shape their own destiny, he and his fellow peacemakers readily sacrificed that precept when it conflicted with more compelling considerations. Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged (as the historian Paul Birdsall observed during the Second World War) that the boundaries drawn in 1919 represented "the closest approximation of an ethnographic map of Europe that has ever been achieved." And it must not be forgotten -- although it has been by most -- that a genuine effort was made to safeguard the rights of those ethnic minorities that were caught within the frontiers of states dominated by other national groups. In short, here was a commitment -- however imperfect, and however ineffective as it turned out -- to what we would today call "multiculturalism."
Let us now turn to the second object of criticism of the Versailles system, namely, the subject of reparations. Here is the provision of the peace settlement that has engendered the most historiographical misconceptions and popular myths. At the end of previous wars, the victor had required tribute from the vanquished as a reward for its success on the battlefield. Such was the case with the 5 billion-franc indemnity that had been extracted from defeated France by the victorious, newly united Germany after the Franco-Prussian War. The idea of requiring compensation for specified damages caused to civilians and property by armies in the field never occurred to Bismarck and his advisers, for an obvious reason: No one in Germany had suffered any damage from the French military forces in 1870, which were intercepted at the frontier, defeated in battle, and compelled to capitulate on their own territory. A similar outcome in the summer of 1940 likewise resulted in a stiff financial exaction from defeated France, this time in the form of the wholesale requisitioning of manufactured goods, raw materials and labor, even though there was (as yet) no war-related damage in Germany to repair.
The Great War had represented an anomaly in modern military history: The four years of ruinous combat on all fronts had been confined to the territory of the eventual victors. The defeated power had shrewdly capitulated before the ravages of modern mechanized warfare had reached its frontiers. The result was a striking paradox: Defeated Germany's industrial heartland in the Ruhr, the Saar, the Rhineland, and Westphalia emerged from the war unscathed, while the industrial centers of victorious France in the northeastern départements lay in ruins. Already surpassed by Germany according to all important indices of economic achievement before the war, France faced a bleak future of even more pronounced industrial inferiority vis-a-vis her neighbor across the Rhine in the years of peace.
There were only two possible means of escaping this cruel and paradoxical fate: One was to promote French economic recovery through the retention of the wartime preferential trade arrangements among the Allied and Associated Powers and the influx of a massive dose of financial assistance from Washington. But once the Wilson administration abruptly terminated American participation in the interacted economic organizations and announced the end of U.S. Treasury advances to America's wartime partners, France's only other hope of bridging the Franco-German productivity gap was to harness the industrial strength of Germany to the cause of its own postwar reconstruction through the vehicle of reparations.
The controversy over reparations has traditionally been divided into two parts: The first is the ethical and juridical justification for the reparation liability. The second is the amount owed and the related question of how much of that total Germany could reasonably have been expected to pay in light of its available financial resources.
The issue of German responsibility -- as specified in the notorious Article 231 of the peace treaty -- has given rise to a misconception about the reparation settlement that has persisted down through the decades. What is almost always forgotten is that this provision had been inserted not by the "spiteful" French or the "rapacious" British delegates to the Reparation Commission at the peace conference, but rather by the moderate, conciliatory American representatives, Norman Davis and John Foster Dulles. These two U.S. officials had been conscientiously searching for legalistic language that would mollify the British and the French while drastically reducing the amount that Germany would have to pay were it held liable for the totality of war costs, as the French and British thought she should be. While affirming (in what was to become Article 231) Germany's legal liability for the damage to persons and property, the Reparation Commission implicitly acknowledged (in what was to become Article 232) its financial incapacity to pay the enormous bill that was certain to result from an objective inspection of the actual damage caused. With their shrewd semantic sleight-of-hand, Davis and Dulles thought they had thereby devised a brilliant solution to the reparation dilemma: Here was a means of providing a kind of psychological compensation to Allied public opinion for the failure to obtain the huge German payments that Allied leaders asked for, but knew could and would never be made. As another member of the American delegation put it, this clause "prepares the [Allied] public for the disappointment at what actually can be secured."
What the well-intentioned American experts had unwittingly accomplished instead was to hand the Germans a pretext for denouncing the entire reparation obligation. The German case against the reparation obligation in the treaty of Versailles was based on the erroneous claim that that obligation depended entirely on the indefensible moral judgment that Germany was "guilty" of launching a war of aggression. While a few historians have punctured the myth of the so-called war guilt clause, emphasizing that it had been inserted by the disinterested Americans to protect Germany rather than punish her, it continues to be depicted in the popular literature and even in some serious works of historical scholarship as a flagrant and typical example of Allied malevolence and vindictiveness.
The other controversial feature of the reparation controversy was the question of Germany's capacity to pay. A number of studies based on thorough archival research -- notably those by Charles Maier and Marc Trachtenberg -- have shown that the relatively moderate reparation requirement specified in the London Schedule of Payments of May 1921, which was approximately the amount that had been recommended by the American delegates to the Reparation Commission at the peace conference, would not have been unmanageable had the German government of the period pursued a politically courageous fiscal policy. Another study by Stephen A. Schuker has detailed the means by which the Weimar Republic ended up paying no net reparations at all, employing the proceeds of American commercial loans to discharge its reparation liability and finance its own economic recovery in the second half of the 1920s before defaulting on it foreign bonds in the early 30s. Schuker aptly entitles his work American Reparations to Germany.
Yet the presumption has endured to our own day that the reparation section of the Versailles treaty (even after the total amount was reduced progressively from the fantastic sums bandied about at the peace conference for public relations purposes, by the London Schedule of 1921, the Dawes Plan of 1924, and the Young Plan of 1929) was entirely unworkable owing not only to the "huge," "mountainous," "enormous," "heavy," "burdensome, " "astronomical," "unjust" amounts required -- those are all adjectives lifted from recent textbooks on twentieth-century history. The familiar corollary of this judgment is the conviction that the misguided attempt to collect these vast sums contributed significantly to Europe's subsequent descent into barbarism, or, as Keynes's biographer put it, "Had Keynes's 1919 programme [for a moderate reparation settlement] been carried out, it is unlikely that Hitler would have become German Chancellor." On armistice day ten years ago, a highly respected commentator on world affairs -- George Kennan -- could not restrain himself from blaming the tragic events of 1933- 1945 in Europe on "the vindictive madness of the French and British peace terms" of 1919.
Let us ponder the counterfactual proposition that is implied by such criticism of the Versailles treaty. What if the Weimar Republic had been permitted to retain or acquire those contiguous territories with predominantly German-speaking inhabitants who wished to join it and been spared the humiliation of enduring a foreign military occupation in the Rhineland, in keeping with the principle of national self-determination that Wilson promised would shape the peace settlement? What if the reparation obligation had been scaled back to the modest sum envisioned by Keynes? What if the "war guilt clause" had been expunged from the treaty in recognition of the fact that all belligerents bore an equal share of the blame? In short, what if the spirit of forgiveness and moderation had been incorporated into the German treaty in lieu of its putatively malignant, features. Consider how many lives would have been spared and how much human, suffering averted!
It should be evident from the tone of my earlier remarks that I am skeptical about such an argument. On the contrary, I would propose instead that we clear away once and for all the thick underbrush of mythology that has grown uparound the Versailles treaty during the past 75 years and which has concealed from public view the genuine achievements of the settlement of 1919.
In so doing, let us remind ourselves of the following verities: (1) The celebrated principle of national self-determination -- defined as the goal of establishing as ethnically homogeneously states as possible -- has not proved to be a reliable panacea for the world's ills. It is therefore altogether inappropriate to condemn the peacemakers of 1919 for failing to ensure its universal application. (2) The Allied leaders did not intend to destroy Germany through unpayable reparations. They originally hoped to obtain postwar reconstruction financing from the United States government, and once it became evident that there would be no Marshall Plan after the Great War, the reparation bill that they finally submitted to Germany to compensate for the absence of American aid was relatively moderate and well within that country's capacity to pay (even before it was reduced even further during the '20s). (3) Germany was not crushed by the burden of reparations; on the contrary, all of the reparation payments it did make were financed by American savers and investors rather than by German taxpayers. (4) Read my lips: There was no "war guilt" clause in the treaty of Versailles. The word "guilt" appears nowhere in the treaty, and the word, "responsibility," which does, was inserted by a sharp young Wall Street lawyer to conceal from the Allied publics who had been led to expect vast sums, the drastic reduction in the amount to which Germany would be held accountable. In sum, let us concede that the Versailles settlement was far from a Carthaginian peace. If we wish to examine a genuinely Carthaginian peace, then let us briefly review the treatment of defeated Germany after the end of the Second World War. In doing so, let us focus on the same two categories -- the territorial settlement and reparations.
As the victors of 1945 took up the issue of how to redraw the frontiers in Central and Eastern Europe, they adopted a novel solution to the conundrum of mutually antagonistic ethnic groups tenuously coexisting within the same nation state. It was borrowed from the governments of Greece and Turkey, which had first executed this new policy in the Convention of Lausanne of 30 January 1923, after the Greco-Turkish War of 1920-22. The eviction of Greeks from their ancestral homes in Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace, and the obligatory relocation of the Moslem Turkish minority in Greek Macedonia to Turkey, became the model for the "solution to the German minority problem" in Central Europe in 1945. This new procedure was endowed at the time with the high-sounding designations of "population exchange" or "population transfer." It was later employed during World War II by Hitler (without the semantic window-dressing) to repatriate German minorities from various parts of Europe, and even more extensively by Stalin, to redistribute various nationalities throughout the Soviet Union.
In the meantime, the policy of compulsory population transfer as a solution to the intractable problem of ethnic minorities in Central Europe had been refined in London by Eduard Benes, the exiled president of the partitioned state of Czechoslovakia. As the Nazi administrative apparatus and the German military forces in Bohemia disintegrated in the spring of 1945, the Czechoslovak government in exile returned to Prague to prepare the implementation of the new program. It is important to bear in mind that the expulsion of some two million German-speakers from the Sudetenland after the German surrender was not a spontaneous, emotional outburst of retribution by a liberated population against its former oppressors. The edicts that Benes issued in the summer and autumn of 1945 that provided for the eviction of the Germans of Bohemia from the territory that they and their forebears had inhabited for centuries implemented a plan for the solution of the Sudetendeutsch problem that he had already begun to ponder at least as early as 1940 and which he had expressed in public as early as January 1942.
By most accounts the expulsion of these Germans was carried out in a comparatively humane manner. Such was not the case with the German-speaking inhabitants of Silesia, West Prussia, Posen, and the area around the port city of Danzig (Gdansk), who fled or were expelled as the Soviet-installed government of Poland staked its claim to theformer German territory up to the Oder and Western Neisse Rivers. At the Yalta Conference in February 1945 Churchill had expressed to Stalin a mild reservation about the prospect of population transfer, but made it clear that the reservation was prompted by domestic political considerations rather than principle: While the British prime minister did not wish "to stuff the Polish goose until it dies of German indigestion," he nevertheless fretted about "the large school of thought in England which is shocked at the idea of transferring millions of people by force. Personally I am not as shocked but much of the [public] opinion in England is." Recalling the "great success" of the Greco-Turkish transfers in the early 1920s, he expressed his confidence that the removal of six million Germans from East Prussia and Silesia would be "manageable." But he could not ignore the potential political difficulties that he would face once news of the expulsions reached the British public. Stalin provided the requisite reassurance, in his usual blunt and inarticulate manner, that the solution to the problem was at hand: 'There will be no more Germans there for when our troops come in the Germans run away and there are no Germans left."
Those who had not yet managed to escape the Red Army as it advanced across the former German territory in western Poland were departing in droves by the time of the Potsdam Conference five months later, where the wholesale deportation of Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia was formally ratified by the Big Three.
As for the issue of reparations in 1945 -- the value of the immovable property confiscated by the Czechs and Poles as the Germans fled to the west is incalculable in both senses of the term: incalculable because reliable figures are not available to fix it precisely, and incalculable in the sense that the amounts were surely enormous, gigantic, astronomical, all those adjectives that have been applied so carelessly and so inaccurately to the reparation payments after 1919. As for the Russians, Stalin did not fool around with reparation commissions or bother about assessing responsibility for the damage or take pains to determine Germany's capacity to pay -- as the lawyers and economists and treasury officials had done in those interminable meetings after the Great War. He simply issued orders to take out everything that was not tied down in the Russian sector, and there was nothing that anyone could do about it.
Those seeking evidence of a spirit of vengeance and vindictiveness in peace- making need look no further than the Teheran -- Yalta-Potsdam diktat half a century ago. This was evident not only in the denigration of the principle of national self-determination, which permitted the indiscriminate deportation of people whose only demonstrable sins were the language they spoke or the customs they practiced, and which enabled Churchill and Stalin to partition the Balkans into spheres of influence with the tacit support of Roosevelt. It was evident not only in the reparations exaction -- which (in the Soviet zone of Germany) was based on the principle "grab what you can, and grab it fast." It was also evident in the very tenor of the conversations among the victorious statesmen after the Second World War as they reviewed their various options for punishing the defeated enemy: Churchill proposing the dismemberment of Germany and Morgenthau planning the wholesale destruction of its industry; Roosevelt casually observing that perhaps all Germans should be castrated to prevent future generations from disturbing the peace of the world; Stalin speculating about how many Germans should be shot to make room for the expellees from Silesia and the Sudetenland. The language in camera of the Big Three in 1944-45 would have made Wilson and Lloyd George blush, and perhaps might even have brought some color to the wrinkled visage of old Clemenceau.
In comparison with these subsequent policies and attitudes, perhaps the flawed and failed diplomatic handiwork of the peacemakers of 1919, which has been so widely denounced for falling short of Woodrow Wilson's hallowed principles, deserves a second look from historians and others alike.
Dr.William R. Keylor is chairman of the Department of History and professor of international relations at Boston University.