An extract from Andre Tardieu, the Truth About the Treaty (1921).   The full text is available at:

Tardieu was one of the French delegates, and a friend of Clemenceau.   After the Treaty was signed he wrote his book to defend the peacemakers against attacks in the French press by journalists who said the peace was to lenient.   Clemenceay wrote a long introduction   In this passage, he does not admit that there was anything wrong with the Peace Treaty - he merely justifies the Treaty as agreed.




[by Georges Clemenceau]



The start was not a happy one with von Brockdorff-Rantzau who, draped in brutish insolence, came to accuse us of "hating" Germany because we did not offer our necks to her executioners.   Since then the policy of Germany has merely been to gather up every chance weapon that could enable her to evade the Treaty.   Audacity and guile naturally increased under the encouragement of manifestations like that of Mr. Keynes or of the series of unholy concessions from which Germany has been led to deduce that her signature at Versailles binds her only subject to further discussions.   The hour of supreme warning came when the heads of the Allied Governments were told to their faces by a German delegate that, before they could usefully discuss, they "must cure themselves of the sickness of victory."


Brockdorff-Rantzau was leader of the German delegation.


Keynes had written a book criticising the Treaty as too harsh.

If they have as yet been unable to fathom the depth of their irredeemable downfall; if they have as yet been unable to discern the real meaning of the crowning act of the great tragedy, they still feel surging within them the deep sources of a life of work and of will.   Their trouble is that they see the future only through the blood-red mists of a civilization grafted upon the survival of barbarism.   If they can make themselves over, they will, little by little, attain the position to which they are justly entitled in the world.   If they cannot, the victors, whether they realize it or not, must continue to mount close guard over lands whose borders have become as President Wilson said, "the frontiers of freedom."   The maintenance of these frontiers which was the constant aim of French effort at the Conference, is of no small moment.


Vanquished, our lot under Ludendorff would not have differed from that of Rome under Hannibal.   Victorious, we have assumed our responsibility in the most noble effort to achieve a lasting peace by the sole forces of Right.   To one and all such a state was well worth a general effort of self-restraint instead of the old rush to divide the spoils between those who had overcome the enemy.


Ludendorff -  Leader of the German army during World War I.

The future will decide.   The mastery rests with him who wills most strongly and most enduringly.