A SILLY QUESTION
This is a question not well answered in the textbooks – probably because it the answer is a difficult mix of the devil-in-the-detail and the blindingly-obvious!
So, anyway, here are a few ideas:
Different victors wanted different things, so they couldn’t ALL have
everything they wanted.
Moreover, it was not as though the victors had only themselves to think
Perhaps if they had gone
Even without those higher motives, however, there were plenty people who
were not prepared to allow the Big Three just to think of themselves and no
Thousands of lobbyists
When you’re sat in the
pub pontificating everything seems so easy … but the real world is much more
HOW, for example,
do you sort out the principle of self-determination in Hungary, which was
evidently populated mainly by Hungarians – but which was peppered with small
enclaves of Germans, who had emigrated there centuries earlier?
HOW do you work out what figure should be set on reparations –
suggestions ranged wildly from £1 billion to £21 billion.
In the end, the Big Three found a series of expedients to help them
through – they ‘passed the buck’.
They sanctioned plebiscites (= referendums) to let people decide for
themselves which country they wanted to live in (e.g. in
It is often said that the Treaty of Versailles was a
poor peace – that it angered the Germans,
and none of the victors were
completely happy with it.
you are thinking sensibly about it, what else did you expect?
The negotiations were ALWAYS
going to have to be a compromise – that is what negotiations ARE!!!
What I find surprising is not that the victors came away not having
got everything they wanted, but that statesmen as experienced as Harold
Nicolson should ever have gone to
In fact, thinking about it, they came away with a lot
more of what they wanted than they might have done, didn’t they!
The Paris Peace Conference was initially planned as a pre-Conference,
when the Big Three met to sort out their own position before they went to
negotiate with the Germans.
time went on and they found it difficult enough just to negotiate with each
other, that aim fell by the wayside, and in the end they didn’t negotiate
with the Germans at all, but just gave them the Treaty they had negotiated
(7 May 1919) and told them to sign it.
The Germans went away and made rival proposals, and for a while Lloyd
George wondered if they ought to listen to some of them.
But in the end, the Big Three just forced Treaty on the Germans with
the threat of war.
wondering why the Big Three didn’t get all they wanted from the Peace,
perhaps you might like to wonder how much LESS they would have got if they