An extract from H.A.L.Fisher, A History of Europe (1938)

Fisher was a British Cabinet minister and friend of Lloyd George who became an Oxford University professor.   This is what he thought about the Treaty of Versailles  just before World War II

 

 

chapter xcviii – TREATIES OF PEACE

 

The Legacy of War.   Conditions which shaped the Peace.   President Wilson – his great influence.   The doctrine of self-determination.   The Covenant of the League.   Georges Clemenceau.   David Lloyd George.   The reparations problem, and the English elections.   The Italian standpoint.   Flaws in the Treaty of Versailles.   The dismemberment of Austria-Hungary.   America withdraws.   The triumph of the Wilsonian doctrine. 

 

 

THE SITUATION of Europe at the time of the Armistice was one of unexampled misery and confusion. The vanquished Empires had crumbled to pieces and the new Republics had yet to acquire authority and confidence. And meanwhile, with government all over central and eastern Europe at its lowest point of experience and efficiency, with loyalties uncertain and divided, with frontiers fluctuating and unsettled, and with exhaustion as the last surviving ally of social order, a task was imposed upon philanthropists and statesmen calculated to strain and indeed to overpower the remedial resources of mankind. Eight million young men, the best and most vigorous of their generation, had been killed in the war. A greater number had been permanently disabled. Equally, if not more, serious, were the losses consequent upon starvation, malnutrition, and diseased.  Particularly were these evils terrible in Russia, where the horrors of cholera, typhus, and food shortage were aggravated by revolution and continuing war: but they were great all through central and eastern Europe, in war-scourged Poland, where the peasantry were living on roots, grass, acorns, and heather; in Germany, where by reason of underfeeding the number of births in 1918 was actually below the number of deaths; in Austria, where, since the factories were devoid of coal and raw material, every poor home was menaced by the spectre of famine; and in Serbia, where half the male population had been killed, and 35 per cent. were suffering from recognizable tuberculosis.  It is difficult to bring before the imagination the hopelessness and dejection which were produced by these dreadful conditions, or to estimate the consequences for the quality of the population of Europe of four years of nervous overstrain and malnutrition. The destruction of fixed capital through high explosives, save in so far as it was the occasion of want and exposure, was by comparison a negligible calamity.

These evils, though specially evident in Russia and the defeated countries, were by no means confined to them. Victors and neutrals also suffered. The losses of France calculated in dead and wounded, in farms ravaged, in factories, mines, and machinery destroyed were enormous. The privations of Italy through lack of fuel were great. Indeed, the ill consequences of the war were felt throughout the world, and nowhere more seriously than in those regions where a slight rise in food prices drives a whole population into want. Such was the case of India, where an epidemic of influenza which might otherwise have been relatively harmless carried off the enormous total of six million lives.

The extremity of these and other sufferings had produced in the public mind a pining for a world organized on a new and better plan, and, as often arises when desires are strong, a belief that such a world could be brought into being. The aspirations of Russia were centred round the person of Lenin. Western Europe looked for its salvation to President Wilson.  

  

The Legacy of War. 

The Treaties of Peace were made under the direction of three democratic statesmen, each possessing astonishing prestigeWilson, Clemenceau, Lloyd George.  Yet while each of these remarkable men exercised his specific influence on the Treaties, so that we may say here is the trace of Wilson, here of Lloyd George, here of Clemenceau, the substance of the settlement was dictated by inexorable facts, which these men were compelled to accept, and which no other set of statesmen, however enlightened, would have been strong enough to vary or disregard had the big three been suddenly assassinated.

First of these shaping conditions was the fact that under the impact of war the old governments of Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary had disappeared and that the Poles, the Czechs, the Roumans, and the Serbs were setting up new national governments in their place. If the allied statesmen in Paris had desired to check these nationalist movements, they could have enforced their will only by armed force. And where could they have found that force? The French, the British, and the Italians were weary of war. There was but one fresh army available, and this had already accomplished its mission. Not for a moment would the United States have assented to the employment of even a single American division in a campaign to thwart the national aspirations of the Poles or the” Czechs.

A second circumstance was the temper which then prevailed in the European belligerent countries, which had only by the nearest margin, and at the eleventh hour, been preserved from destruction.  They held Germany responsible for the war. They observed that it was not the Serbs who had invaded Austria, nor the Belgians who had attacked the Germans, and that it was the government of the Kaiser which had declared war on Russia, Belgium, and France. They were angry, vindictive, unquiet. They wanted redress and safety.  No statesman in a democratic age, however independent, can prevail against the clear and passionate wishes of his countrymen.  Clemenceau would have ceased to represent France, Orlando would have ceased to represent Italy, if they had not worked for the weakening of the enemy powers, and for the better protection of their respective states.  Lloyd George had received an emphatic mandate from his constituencies that the enemy must be made to pay, and if he had not already obtained the internment of the German Fleet at the Armistice would have been asked the reason why by the British people. Of all these statesmen, the one most naturally prone to take a liberal view of the situation, the British Prime Minister, was the most clearly committed to a course of retribution.

Thirdly, it was unfortunate that the Conference should have been held in a capital which was still reeling under the tragedies of the war and the shock of bombardment. In the inflamed atmosphere of Paris the ideals of appeasement fought an unequal battle with those of retribution. The cooler air of a Swiss city, as recommended by the British, would have been more conducive to a happy end.

       To Paris, however, the Conference was summoned on January 18, 1919. It was a gathering unique in history, for the war, which had disturbed everyone everywhere, had quickened every resentment, revived every claim, fostered every vision, and sharpened every appetite, and with all these appetites,  claims, visions, and resentments a handful of war-weary statesmen, each responsible to an exacting democracy in his own country and pestered by the ravings of a debased press, was expected to cope as best it might. The scene has been well described by a brilliant eye-witness. “The Paris of the Conference,” writes Dr. Dillon, “ceased to be the capital of France.  It became a vast cosmopolitan caravanserai teeming with unwanted aspects of life and turmoil, filled with curious samples of the races, tribes, and tongues of four continents who came to watch and wait for the mysterious to-morrow. “

An Arabian Nights touch was imparted to the dissolving panorama by strange visitants from Tartary and Kurdistan, Corea and Azerbeijan, Armenia, Persia, and the Hedjazmen with patriarchal beards and scimitar-shaped noses, and others from desert and oasis, from Samarkand and Bokhara. Turbans and fezes, sugar-loaf hats and headgear resembling episcopal mitres, old military uniforms devised for the embryonic armies of new states on the eve of perpetual peace, snowy-white burnouses, flowing mantles, and graceful garments like the Roman toga, contributed to create an atmosphere of dreamy unreality in the city where the grimmest of realities were being faced and coped with.

“Then came the men of wealth, of intellect, of industrial enterprise, and the seed-bearers of the ethical new ordering, members of economic committees from the United States, Britain, Italy, Poland, Russia, India, and Japan, representatives of naphtha industries and far-off coal mines, pilgrims, fanatics and charlatans from all climes, priests of all religions, preachers of every doctrine, who mingled with princes, field-marshals, statesmen, anarchists, builders-up, and pullers-down. All of them burned with desire to be near to the crucible in which the political and social systems of the world were to be melted and recast.”

 

Conditions which shaped the Peace.

In this scene of confusion the American President shone at the opening of the Conference with the lustre of a Messiah. At one time he had been violently unpopular with the belligerent nations. He had recommended the “neutral mind” as though ethical differences did not exist, and “peace without victory” as though war held no resentments. But now all this was forgotten. The Princetown professor had brought America into the war. In a series of lofty and eloquent speeches he had defined the aims of the allies and indicated the new political formations in Europe. He had noted that the enemy was “Prussian militarism,” that the aim was “to make the world safe for democracy.” It was from him that the allies learnt that they were fighting not only to restore Alsace-Lorraine to France, but for a revived Poland with an access to the sea, and for a new republic of Czecho-Slovakia. It was he who had formulated “the fourteen points,” who had negotiated with the German Government, who had insisted on the military armistice.  His country wanted no territory and no indemnities.  Even in Germany he was widely regarded as an oracle of disinterested morality and wisdom, as a prophet sent by the New World to cleanse the impurities of the Old. But whereas other prophets had been voices crying in the wilderness, Wilson was the master of a powerful state. The Allies were dependent on America for their food supplies and finances. While the young manhood of France and England were lying beneath the sod, two million fresh American troops were encamped upon the soil of France.

One weakness in the President’s position, obvious to Americans, was not appreciated at the time in Europe. He did not represent his countrymen. He was a Democrat and an idealist The people who mattered most in the United States at that time were neither the one nor the other. The Republicans had a majority in the Senate, and the Senate in the last resort controlled American foreign policy.  It would have seemed, therefore, an obvious counsel of prudence for the President, when once he had decided to go to Paris in person, to have invited the assistance of certain eminent Republican statesmen. But the President was in temper an autocrat and in home politics a bitter partisan. He went to Paris without the Republicans, and the Republicans in revenge upset his plans.  

  

President Wilson – his great influence. 

For the Peace Treaties bear Wilson’s mark. The new map of Europe was drawn according to that principle of self- determination (a phrase borrowed from the Bolsheviks) which the President had proclaimed as the clue leading through a labyrinth of evils to justice and peace.  Over the Poles and their Corridor, as over the Czechs and the Slovaks, he cast his peculiar benediction, perhaps desiring to right the errors of history, but perhaps also recalling how useful was the Polish vote at home, and how numerous and weighty were the Czechs in the city of Chicago. Americans have no right to argue, as some do, that in this fundamental aspect of the peace-making, American idealism was upset by the wickedness of Europe. The new political frontiers of Europe are Wilsonian, and so drawn that three per cent. only of the total population of the continent live under alien rule. Judged by the test of self-determination, no previous European frontiers have been so satisfactory.  

    

The doctrine of self-determination.

In another important respect the treaties are Wilsonian. But for the American President the Covenant of the League would not have been drafted then, and placed within the framework of the Treaties. The idea of a League of Nations was not original with Wilson, but was an Anglo-Saxon conception, foreign to the Latins, which had germinated during the course of the war in many peace-loving minds both in England and America, and had led to the formulation of definite proposals, the most important of which were drafted by Lord Phillimore and General Smuts. But it is one thing to draft proposals and quite another thing in a vast press of competing claims to carry them into execution. Wilson took the Phillimore-Smuts drafts, insisted on placing the problem of the League in the forefront of the Peace discussions, himself presided over the commission which drew up the Covenant, and with his great authority pushed the work to a conclusion. So resolved was the President to force the Covenant on his Senate by making it an integral part of all the Peace Treaties that two precious months went by before the Conference addressed itself to the real work of peace-making.

It is not, therefore, true to say that the Peace Treaties are lacking in idealism, or that they are destitute of principle. They contain an ideal in the Covenant. They follow a principle in self-determination.  But the ideal was not one generally shared on the continent: and the principle, albeit just, was full of danger and innovation, for it led to the erection of five new states all of questionable stability, and to large transfers of territory and population at the expense of the Teutonic and Magyar races.

The war against the German Empire ended in a radical and revolutionary peace drawn up by democratic politicans. It recognized the liberation of nations, canonized new republics, provided for the protection of minorities.  The general trend of Europe towards nationalism and democracy, which had made itself felt ever since 1848 with steadily increasing emphasis, seems to culminate naturally in Mr. Wilson’s peace.  

  

The Covenant of the League. 

The French Prime Minister was Clemenceau, a rude, sensible, witty octogenarian, utterly empty of illusions, but faithful throughout his violent Parliamentary and journalistic career to three affections, science, France, and liberty. Save that he liked and understood the Anglo-Saxon race, and realized more perfectly than his fellow-countrymen the value of Anglo-Saxon friendship, Clemenceau was the mirror of logical and realist France. The ghosts of immemorial policies, of Richelieu, of Mazarin, of Louis XIV and of Danton, lived again in this brilliant and fiery republican. He had seen his country twice invaded, and now saved from utter destruction only by alliances never likely to be repeated; and knowing that by 1940 Germany would have twice as many men of military age to put into the field as France, he doubted whether any league would avail to protect her. Is it wonderful that his mind should have been filled with two things only, reparations for the past, security for the future, or that when Marshal Foch, with the aureole of victory on his brow, asked in effect for the bridgeheads of the Rhine, Clemenceau, who put no faith in Germans, should have vehemently supported the claim? But here France was countered by the two Anglo-Saxon statesmen, who argued that to detach the Rhineland from the Reich was to create another Alsace-Lorraine and to lay the seeds of a future war.

 On this Mr. Lloyd George was adamant. What was offered to France in exchange for the Rhineland was the abolition of conscription in Germany and the fixed reduction of the German army to a hundred thousand men, a demilitarized zone on the right bank, and a treaty of guarantee signed by Wilson and Lloyd George pledging their respective countries to defend the soil of France against aggression. Clemenceau bowed to the Anglo-Saxons. But when the American Congress refused to ratify the treaty of guarantee, France felt that she ‘ had been induced to part with the Rhineland for a scrap of paper. The French army, it was said, had won the war, but Clemenceau had sold the peace.  

  

Georges Clemenceau. 

As for the English Prime Minister, he brought back trophies for his country such as even Chatham might have envied; the bulk of the German Fleet (surrendered at the Armistice and afterwards sunk in Scapa Flow), and of the German commercial navy, a sphere of influence in Mesopotamia, Palestine, Tanganyika, the most valuable of the German colonies (while other less important colonies were secured for the South African Union, the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Dominion of New Zealand), a share in German reparation payments, and the recognition of the Dominions as qualified to take part in the treaty making and to be separately represented in the League of Nations.  Every point in the negotiations which could be won for the British Empire Mr. Lloyd George was successful in gaining.

Judged by the conventional standard of power-politics no triumph could have been more complete. Yet despite his brilliant war-leadership, and all the lustre of his country’s achievements by sea and land, Mr. Lloyd George went into the Conference under a handicap. There had been in England the unescapable calamity of a General Election. A rare mood of vindictive passion, strengthened rather than assuaged by the new women voters, had convulsed the electorate. The cry went up that Germany should pay the whole cost of the war, that the Kaiser should be hanged, and that all Germans who had violated the laws of war should be brought to trial and punished. The doctrine had been so assiduously preached that war was a crime, the sinking of passenger ships by submarines was so fresh a memory, that the rank and file of the British electorate may be excused for thinking that the authors of such a war should suffer the fate of criminals. Politicians, of course, knew better, and to statesmen this intense manifestation of national fury came as an embarrassing surprise.  Speakers at the election were thrown off their balance. The Prime Minister was no exception.  By sheer pressure of popular sentiment he was driven from the noble appeal for national reconstruction with which he had launched his electoral campaign. “Homes for heroes” failed to interest. His audiences were set on the punishment of the enemy. An orator is sensitive to an audience. The Prime Minister’s tone hardened. He enlarged on penalties. Though he was careful to make some wise reservations and to disclaim responsibility for the astonishing figures which were recommended by an expert committee, he propounded the legal view that the beaten party pays the costs, and certainly led the country to believe that a very considerable sum could be and should be extracted from the enemy. Afterwards he discovered the truth that Germany’s capacity to pay might be more nearly assessed at 2,000 millions than at the fantastic figure of 24,000 millions, at which one British committee of experts had put it. But in the atmosphere of chimerical hopes which then prevailed, the announcement of so low a figure would have been received as an outrage. No figure, then, was put into the treaties.  By a wise and statesmanlike provision it was left to a Reparations Commission, on which the United States was invited to serve, to decide what the reasonable figure should be.

    

David Lloyd George. 

 

The unsettled condition of the Reparations question caused great bitterness of feeling and undoubtedly helped to weaken the German Republic and to retard the economic convalescence of Europe. But it was a transitory evil. Sooner or later, as the British Prime Minister foresaw, business men would meet together and, with or without American help, fix a scale of payments which it was possible for the debtor country to make and profitable for her creditors to receive. The event proved this to be the case. Frontiers are seldom altered without force, but money payments are susceptible of infinite adjustments. By degrees, though not before they had been the cause of much heartburning and confusion, Germany’s reparation payments were scaled down until eventually at Lausanne (1932) they were reduced to negligible proportions.

While England agreed with France in thinking that German militarism was the danger, and was willing that Germany and Austria should be stripped of non-German territory, in two vital particulars she parted company with France.  Her trade interests demanded a convalescent, a prosperous Germany. Her political interests required that Germany should be peaceful and content. The influence, therefore, of Mr. Lloyd George was cast in the scale of mitigation. He was opposed to the suggestion that the Rhineland should be severed from the Reich, or that the whole of the rich industrial district of Upper Silesia should be handed over to the Poles, or that the Allies should be entitled, under the Treaty, to occupy German territory for fifteen years. Collecting the Imperial Cabinet around him in Paris, he secured that the destination of Upper Silesia should be determined by a plebiscite of its inhabitants.   

 

 

The reparations problem, and the English elections. 

The attitude of Italy was strictly national. No wide philanthropic ideas obscured the vision or warmed the heart of the realist politicians of the Monte Citorio.  The League of Nations, which almost consoled many Anglo-Saxons for the war, excited little interest in Milan or Rome. Did it not evecn, thought the papalini, invade the immemorial prerogatives of the Vatican to impose its mediation on conflicting nations? A frontier running up to the crests of the Alps and a line of ports on the Adriatic were more to be valued than a Parliament in Geneva.  Italy said to herself: “France is getting Alsace-Lorraine, England is getting the bulk of the German colonies, what do we get?” In the end she was allotted the Trentino, Trieste, and Zara, and helped herself to Fiume, the Hungarian port at the head of the Adriatic sea, by the coup de main of d’Annunzio the poet.  But even so, she was bitterly chagrined: the Dalmatians, who had been evangelized by Italian missionaries and civilized by Italian artists, were allotted to Yugo-Slavia.  

  

The Italian standpoint.

When the terms of the draft treaty were made known to the Germans, they were regarded as staggering in their severity and impossible of fulfilment. The whole scheme seemed designed to keep the country in perpetual subjection. While Germany was to be stripped of her armaments and left naked before her enemy, the allies were entitled to ask for impossible sums, and to occupy German territory as a gage of payment. Loud complaint went up that the instrument differed widely from President Wilson’s fourteen points and subsequent speeches, upon the faith of which Germany had, as it was contended, laid down her arms. The prospect of a crushing tribute spread over two generations, and of a long military occupation, the forced destruction, under the eyes of an allied commission, of the mechanism and equipment of the German national army, and the abolition of conscription, were  humiliations difficult to bear.  Most obnoxious too were the arrangements for the eastern frontiers, the revival of Poland, the Polish corridor to the sea severing East Prussia from Brandenburg (though these were among the fourteen points) and the cession to Poland of a large slice of the industrial area of Silesia which, but for German brains and German capital, would never have attained to its swift and imposing development. That the conquests of the Great Frederick should be thus abandoned through compulsion was of all the conditions of the Treaty that which German pride found it least easy to accept. The loss of Alsace-Lorraine, always a troublesome problem, was comparatively light to bear, and the temporary relinquishment of the Saar valley as a compensation for the injury done by the German army to the French mines a bagatelle. 

It is for the Republic of Poland to justify, by its prudence, justice, and toleration, the confidence which was reposed in the Polish nation by the signatories of the Treaty of Versailles.

On its economic side the Treaty was much too harsh, and prejudicial to the stability of the Republican regime in Germany, which it should have been the aim of the Allies to assist.  But while Englishmen blamed the pact of Versailles for its severity, the prevalent view in France was that Clemenceau, in his endeavour to meet the Anglo-Saxons, had still left the enemy too strong for the peace of Europe and the world.

The Treaty of Versailles has often been condemned as having been imposed and not negotiated. All treaties struck between conqueror and conquered are made under constraint. The Treaty of Bucharest, which the Germans imposed on Roumania, and the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which they dictated to Russia, are savage exemplifications of that genus. When it is remembered how vast and complex was the ground covered by the treaties, how essential was despatch, how impatient were the war-weary armies for the hour of demobilization, and how easily protracted discussions might have jeopardized a settlement, the desire of the Allied and Associated Powers to proceed as they did becomes intelligible. To the written German criticism of the draft treaty, an allied reply containing some concessions was delivered in writing. For a more generous, open, and elastic proceeding, no allied statesman in that tense and passionate Parisian atmosphere was prepared.  

  

Flaws in the Treaty of Versailles. 

Austria, the prime mover in the war, was the greatest sufferer through its miscarriage.  Dynasty, army, empire disappeared in the whirlwind.  The Hungarians declared themselves independent and were invaded by the Roumans. The Czechs and Slovaks broke away. The Serbs exploited their victory in the south. In the end a small republic of six million souls, specifically forbidden under the terms of the Treaty of St. Germain to join itself with Germany, save with the consent, only to be obtained by a unanimous vote, of the League of Nations, was all that remained of the famous polity which had ruled over fifteen races and given the law to central Europe. With a capital city many times too great for its contracted needs, with a Civil Service framed for a wide Empire, with enemy neighbours killing its trade with their tariffs, with a city population bitten with Bolshevism, and a peasantry as mediaeval and superstitious as any in Europe, Austria was plunged into the pit of despair. In the face of the fierce nationalism of the new states a Danubian Zollverein was impossible to impose or to sustain. In the dark landscape there were only two gleams of light, the opera in Vienna and the remedial action of the League of Nations, which at the crisis of its fortune (October, 1922) saved the new Republic from bankruptcy.

The treatment of Hungary under the Treaty of Trianon is of all parts of the peace settlement that which has aroused most misgiving. The Hungarians were stripped of Slovakia, which was transferred to the Czechs, of Transylvania, which was conquered by the Roumans, and of Croatia, which now became part of Yugo-Slavia in the Serbo-Croat-Slovene Kingdom. Some six hundred thousand men and women of Magyar race, some, four and a half million of former subjects of the Hungarian crown, passed under alien domination.l To the proud Magyar aristocracy the spoliation of their ancient kingdom by peasant democracies without lineage or distinction seemed an intolerable affront. Lost, too, was the lovely mountain region of Transylvania, where the Magyar noble was wont to take his pleasure in sport. His sentiments may be imagined. As easily would the owner of a Scottish deer forest welcome the news of its forced partition among the Irish immigrants in Lanark.

The treaty, then, has left sore places. There is the little republic of Austria, too weak to live comfortably by herself, yet debarred by the peace treaties from joining Germany without the consent of the League. There are the transferred Magyars, there is President Wilson’s Poland with its special points of irritation in the Corridor and Silesia, there is the subjection of some 230,000 German Tyrolese and 1,300,000 Yugo-Slavs to Italian rule. To a smaller yet sensible degree the Germans resented the cession of the little woodland districts of Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium, and the temporary submission of the Saar district to the League of Nations. Yet viewed in proper perspective and despite these defects, the political map of Europe is drawn more closely than ever before in accordance with the views of the populations concerned.  

  

The dismemberment of Austria-Hungary.

It was a common hope and expectation among the Allies not only that America would sign the Treaty, which had been so largely shaped by the President’s ideas, but that she would join the League of Nations, which was perhaps the most characteristic and remarkable contribution made by that great American statesman to the problem of international order. In both these respects the United States falsified the expectations of Europe. America neither signed the Treaty nor joined the League. All the hopes, therefore, which had been founded upon American co-operation in scaling down reparations, upon an Anglo-American guarantee to France, upon the assistance which America might render as a member of the League in bringing economic pressure to bear on a peace-breaker were suddenly dissipated. The disappointment was extreme. Yet a close knowledge of American history and the American outlook might have warned Europeans that it was as natural for America to withdraw from Europe, as for England to require the Germans to evacuate Belgium, or for France to demand the restoration of Alsace-Lorraine. The Americans did not come into the war when the neutrality of Belgium was violated, nor when the Lusitania was sunk. They decided to fight only when their merchantmen were sunk by German submarines. That outrage they were determined to punish. When the punishment was inflicted they reverted to that policy of withdrawal from European entanglements which they had inherited from George Washington. President Wilson indeed was an idealist: but in his own country he was almost alone.

There the Republican reaction was in full spate. With a sharp swing away from Europe and its miseries “the hundred per cent. American he-man” now coming into fashion was content with the glories of his own nation, enriched beyond the dreams of avarice, and towering above an exhausted and impoverished world....

   

America withdraws.

Nevertheless, when the Treaty of Versailles was finally signed in the Galerie des Glaces, where half a century earlier the Hohenzollem Empire had been proclaimed, everybody felt that a great opportunity had been missed. The statesmen had not been equal to the grandeur of events. They had made a peace which was no peace. American idealists, who were well content that the doctrine of self-determination should be violated in respect to their Red Indians and Africans, joined with English idealists, who were not proposing to march out of India or Egypt, in denouncing the lapses from the high doctrine of self-determination which were noted in the treaties. Human nature, it was widely felt, had failed. Europe had not been made safe for democracy. The bright exhilaration of victory was soon blotted by the fog of disillusion, resentment, and despair.

It is too soon to pass a final verdict on the work of the treaty-makers. They will be judged by the success of the states which they brought into being or greatly augmented, by the new Poland, the new Czecho-Slovakia, the new Roumania, the new Yugo-Slavia, and the new Greece. A hundred years hence the historian will know. We who are passing through the zone of maximum friction and uneasiness, when the war passions are still alive and the minorities are wincing under new masters, and before the oil of habit has begun to smooth the springs of the newly-made chariots of state, can hardly with any show of confidence formulate a guess....

The triumph of the Wilsonian doctrine. 

 

While all countries stand to lose by war, to no country is war more injurious than to Britain, which can feed its population only by the profits of international trading.  Here, more even than in France, was the doctrine preached and believed that this was a war to end war. The dream so often entertained, so often frustrated, of a world organized not for war but for peace, once more became alive in the thoughts of men. After the torments of the war the Covenant of the League of Nations furnished to most Englishmen a gleam of consolation and of hope.