All Rights Reserved. OSO version 0. University Press Scholarship Online. Sign in. Not registered? Sign up. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search my Subject Specializations: Select Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Our other review this month is by Laura Tabili, who recommends no. January 7 December 10 We solicit proposals for panels on Britain, the British Empire, and the British world.
Our interests range from the medieval to the modern. Though primarily a conference of historians, we welcome participation by scholars across the humanities and social sciences, especially on interdisciplinary panels. We invite panel proposals addressing selected themes, methodology, and pedagogy, as well as roundtable discussions of topical and thematic interest, including conversations among authors of recent books.
Strong preference will be given to complete panel or roundtable proposals that consider a common theme. Panels typically include three papers and a comment; roundtables customarily have four presentations. Individual paper proposals will also be considered in rare cases.
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Those with single paper submissions are strongly encouraged to search for additional panelists on lists such as H-Albion or at venues such as the NACBS Facebook page. Committed to ensuring the broadest possible participation of scholars in British Studies, the Program Committee will give priority to those who did not read papers at the meeting. Panels that include both graduate students and established scholars are especially encouraged, as are submissions with broad chronological focus and interdisciplinary breadth.
In order to encourage intellectual interchange, we ask applicants to compose panels that feature participation from a range of institutions.
Guarantee of Peace: The League of Nations in British Policy 1914-1925
Single-institution panels are not encouraged; similarly, graduate supervisors are discouraged from appearing on panels with their own students and very recent graduates. No participant will be permitted to take part in more than one session except in exceptional circumstances cleared by the Program Committee, and no more than one proposal will be considered from each applicant. All submissions must be received by March 1, After the Versailles conference, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson claimed that "at last the world knows America as the savior of the world!
It proved possible to build a majority coalition, but impossible to build a two-thirds coalition that was needed to pass a treaty. A discontent bloc of 12—18 " Irreconcilables ", mostly Republicans but also representatives of the Irish and German Democrats, fiercely opposed the treaty. One block of Democrats strongly supported the Versailles Treaty, even with reservations added by Lodge. A second group of Democrats supported the treaty but followed Wilson in opposing any amendments or reservations. The largest bloc, led by Senator Lodge,  comprised a majority of the Republicans.
They wanted a treaty with reservations, especially on Article 10, which involved the power of the League of Nations to make war without a vote by the US Congress. However, Wilson collapsed midway with a serious stroke that effectively ruined his leadership skills. The closest the treaty came to passage was on 19 November , as Lodge and his Republicans formed a coalition with the pro-Treaty Democrats, and were close to a two-thirds majority for a Treaty with reservations, but Wilson rejected this compromise and enough Democrats followed his lead to permanently end the chances for ratification.
Among the American public as a whole, the Irish Catholics and the German Americans were intensely opposed to the treaty, saying it favored the British. Harding continued American opposition to the formation of the League of Nations. Congress subsequently passed the Knox—Porter Resolution bringing a formal end to hostilities between the United States and the Central Powers.
It was signed into law by President Harding on 2 July Wilson's former friend Edward Mandell House , present at the negotiations, wrote in his diary on 29 June I am leaving Paris, after eight fateful months, with conflicting emotions. Looking at the conference in retrospect, there is much to approve and yet much to regret. It is easy to say what should have been done, but more difficult to have found a way of doing it.
To those who are saying that the treaty is bad and should never have been made and that it will involve Europe in infinite difficulties in its enforcement, I feel like admitting it. But I would also say in reply that empires cannot be shattered, and new states raised upon their ruins without disturbance. To create new boundaries is to create new troubles. The one follows the other. While I should have preferred a different peace, I doubt very much whether it could have been made, for the ingredients required for such a peace as I would have were lacking at Paris.
Many in China felt betrayed as the German territory in China was handed to Japan.
Wellington Koo refused to sign the treaty and the Chinese delegation at the Paris Peace Conference was the only nation that did not sign the Treaty of Versailles at the signing ceremony. The sense of betrayal led to great demonstrations in China such as the May 4th movement. On 12 June , the Chinese cabinet was forced to resign and the government instructed its delegation at Versailles not to sign the treaty. On 7 May, when faced with the conditions dictated by the victors, including the so-called " War Guilt Clause ", von Brockdorff-Rantzau replied to Clemenceau, Wilson and Lloyd George: "We know the full brunt of hate that confronts us here.
You demand from us to confess we were the only guilty party of war; such a confession in my mouth would be a lie. Germans of all political shades denounced the treaty—particularly the provision that blamed Germany for starting the war—as an insult to the nation's honor. They referred to the treaty as "the Diktat " since its terms were presented to Germany on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Germany's first democratically elected head of government, Philipp Scheidemann , resigned rather than sign the treaty.
In a passionate speech before the National Assembly on 12 May , he called the treaty a "murderous plan" and exclaimed,. Which hand, trying to put us in chains like these, would not wither? The treaty is unacceptable. After Scheidemann's resignation, a new coalition government was formed under Gustav Bauer. President Friedrich Ebert knew that Germany was in an impossible situation. Although he shared his countrymen's disgust with the treaty, he was sober enough to consider the possibility that the government would not be in a position to reject it.
He believed that if Germany refused to sign the treaty, the Allies would invade Germany from the west—and there was no guarantee that the army would be able to make a stand in the event of an invasion. With this in mind, he asked Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg if the army was capable of any meaningful resistance in the event the Allies resumed the war.
If there was even the slightest chance that the army could hold out, Ebert intended to recommend against ratifying the treaty. Hindenburg—after prodding from his chief of staff, Wilhelm Groener —concluded the army could not resume the war even on a limited scale.
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However, rather than inform Ebert himself, he had Groener inform the government that the army would be in an untenable position in the event of renewed hostilities. Upon receiving this, the new government recommended signing the treaty. The National Assembly voted in favour of signing the treaty by to , with five abstentions there were delegates in total. This result was wired to Clemenceau just hours before the deadline.
The treaty was signed on 28 June and ratified by the National Assembly on 9 July by a vote of to On 5 May , the reparation Commission established the London Schedule of Payments and a final reparation sum of billion gold marks to be demanded of all the Central Powers. This was the public assessment of what the Central Powers combined could pay, and was also a compromise between Belgian, British, and French demands and assessments. Furthermore, the Commission recognized that the Central Powers could pay little and that the burden would fall upon Germany.
In order to meet this sum, Germany could pay in cash or kind: coal, timber, chemical dyes, pharmaceuticals, livestock, agricultural machines, construction materials, and factory machinery. Germany's assistance with the restoration of the university library of Louvain , which was destroyed by the Germans on 25 August , was also credited towards the sum. Territorial changes imposed by the treaty were also factored in. The German Government was to issue bonds at five per cent interest and set up a sinking fund of one per cent to support the payment of reparations.
In February and March , the Schleswig Plebiscites were held. The people of Schleswig were presented with only two choices: Danish or German sovereignty. The northern Danish-speaking area voted for Denmark while the southern German-speaking area voted for Germany, resulting in the province being partitioned.
Further plebiscites were held in Eupen, Malmedy, and Prussian Moresnet. On 20 September , the League of Nations allotted these territories to Belgium. These latter plebiscites were followed by a boundary commission in , followed by the new Belgian-German border being recognized by the German Government on 15 December Following the implementation of the treaty, Upper Silesia was initially governed by Britain, France, and Italy. The plebiscite resulted in c.
Memel remained under the authority of the League of Nations, with a French military garrison, until January The League of Nations mediated between the Germans and Lithuanians on a local level, helping the power-sharing arrangement last until On 13 January , 15 years after the Saar Basin had been placed under the protection of the League of Nations, a plebiscite was held to determine the future of the area.
United States and the League of Nations - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History
The region returned to German sovereignty on 1 March When the result was announced 4, people, including refugees from Germany fled to France. In late , American, Belgian, British, and French troops entered the Rhineland to enforce the armistice. Belgium maintained an occupation force of roughly 10, troops throughout the initial years. The British Second Army , with some , veteran soldiers, entered Germany in late The total number of troops committed to the occupation rapidly dwindled as veteran soldiers were demobilized, and were replaced by inexperienced men who had finished basic training following the cessation of hostilities.
The size of the BAOR fluctuated over the following years, but never rose above 9, men. The French Army of the Rhine was initially , men strong, including at a peak 40, African colonial troops Troupes coloniales. By , the French occupation force had decreased to roughly , men, including 27, African troops.
This campaign lasted throughout the s and 30s, although peaked in and For example, a German Government memo detailed acts of violence from colonial troops, which included 65 murders and sexual offenses. Historical consensus is that the charges were exaggerated for political and propaganda purposes, and that the colonial troops behaved far better than their white counterparts. In June , the Third Army demobilized and by the US occupation force had been reduced to 15, men.
Harding in The German economy was so weak that only a small percentage of reparations was paid in hard currency. Although the causes of the devastating post-war hyperinflation are complex and disputed, Germans blamed the near-collapse of their economy on the treaty, and some economists estimated that the reparations accounted for as much as one-third of the hyper-inflation.
In January , French and Belgian forces occupied the rest of the Ruhr area as a reprisal after Germany failed to fulfill reparation payments demanded by the Versailles Treaty. The German government answered with "passive resistance", which meant that coal miners and railway workers refused to obey any instructions by the occupation forces.
Production and transportation came to a standstill, but the financial consequences contributed to German hyperinflation and completely ruined public finances in Germany. Consequently, passive resistance was called off in late The end of passive resistance in the Ruhr allowed Germany to undertake a currency reform and to negotiate the Dawes Plan , which led to the withdrawal of French and Belgian troops from the Ruhr Area in In , the head of the Reichswehr Hans von Seeckt clandestinely re-established the General Staff, by expanding the Truppenamt Troop Office ; purportedly a human resources section of the army.
In response, French troops advanced further into Germany until the German troops withdrew. German officials conspired systematically to evade the clauses of the treaty, by failing to meet disarmament deadlines, refusing Allied officials access to military facilities, and maintaining and hiding weapon production. Bofors was bought by Krupp , and in German troops were sent to Sweden to test weapons. Publicly, these diplomatic exchanges were largely in regards to trade and future economic cooperation.
However, secret military clauses were included that allowed for Germany to develop weapons inside the Soviet Union. Furthermore, it allowed for Germany to establish three training areas for aviation, chemical and tank warfare. During the year, over half of Chinese arms imports were German and worth 13 million Reichsmarks. In January , following the withdrawal of the Allied disarmament committee , Krupps ramped up production of armor plate and artillery. Non-commissioned officers NCOs were not limited by the treaty, thus this loophole was exploited and as such the number of NCOs were vastly in excess to the number needed by the Reichswehr.
In December , the Reichswehr finalized a second rearmament plan that called for million Reichsmarks to be spent over the following five years: this program sought to provide Germany the capability of creating and supplying a defensive force of 21 divisions supported by aircraft, artillery, and tanks. This coincided with a 1 billion Reichsmark programme that planned for additional industrial infrastructure that would be able to permanently maintain this force.
As these programs did not require an expansion of the military, they were nominally legal. The British later proposed and agreed to an increase in the Reichswehr to , men, and for Germany to have an air force half the size of the French. It was also negotiated for the French Army to be reduced. On 7 March , German troops entered and remilitarized the Rhineland. According to David Stevenson , since the opening of French archives, most commentators have remarked on French restraint and reasonableness at the conference, though Stevenson notes that "[t]he jury is still out", and that "there have been signs that the pendulum of judgement is swinging back the other way.
In his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace , John Maynard Keynes referred to the Treaty of Versailles as a " Carthaginian peace ", a misguided attempt to destroy Germany on behalf of French revanchism , rather than to follow the fairer principles for a lasting peace set out in President Woodrow Wilson 's Fourteen Points , which Germany had accepted at the armistice. He stated: "I believe that the campaign for securing out of Germany the general costs of the war was one of the most serious acts of political unwisdom for which our statesmen have ever been responsible.
Keynes in an attempt to rebut Keynes' claims. More recently economists have argued that the restriction of Germany to a small army saved it so much money it could afford the reparations payments. It has been argued for instance by historian Gerhard Weinberg in his book A World at Arms  that the treaty was in fact quite advantageous to Germany. The Bismarckian Reich was maintained as a political unit instead of being broken up, and Germany largely escaped post-war military occupation in contrast to the situation following World War II.
In a essay, Weinberg noted that with the disappearance of Austria-Hungary and with Russia withdrawn from Europe, that Germany was now the dominant power in Eastern Europe. The British military historian Correlli Barnett claimed that the Treaty of Versailles was "extremely lenient in comparison with the peace terms that Germany herself, when she was expecting to win the war, had had in mind to impose on the Allies".
Furthermore, he claimed, it was "hardly a slap on the wrist" when contrasted with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that Germany had imposed on a defeated Russian SFSR in March , which had taken away a third of Russia's population albeit mostly of non- Russian ethnicity , one-half of Russia's industrial undertakings and nine-tenths of Russia's coal mines, coupled with an indemnity of six billion marks. Barnett also claims that, in strategic terms, Germany was in fact in a superior position following the Treaty than she had been in Germany's eastern frontiers faced Russia and Austria, who had both in the past balanced German power.
Barnett asserts that its post-war eastern borders were safer, because the former Austrian Empire fractured after the war into smaller, weaker states, Russia was wracked by revolution and civil war , and the newly restored Poland was no match for even a defeated Germany. In the West, Germany was balanced only by France and Belgium , both of which were smaller in population and less economically vibrant than Germany.
Barnett concludes by saying that instead of weakening Germany, the treaty "much enhanced" German power. The British historian of modern Germany, Richard J. Evans , wrote that during the war the German right was committed to an annexationist program which aimed at Germany annexing most of Europe and Africa. Consequently, any peace treaty that did not leave Germany as the conqueror would be unacceptable to them.
He also argued that Versailles was not the "main cause" of National Socialism and the German economy was "only marginally influenced by the impact of reparations". Ewa Thompson points out that the treaty allowed numerous nations in Central and Eastern Europe to liberate themselves from oppressive German rule, a fact that is often neglected by Western historiography, more interested in understanding the German point of view. In nations that found themselves free as the result of the treaty—such as Poles or Czechs —it is seen as a symbol of recognition of wrongs committed against small nations by their much larger aggressive neighbours.
Resentment caused by the treaty sowed fertile psychological ground for the eventual rise of the Nazi Party. French historian Raymond Cartier states that millions of Germans in the Sudetenland and in Posen-West Prussia were placed under foreign rule in a hostile environment, where harassment and violation of rights by authorities are documented. The plebiscites initiated due to the treaty have drawn much comment. Historian Robert Peckham wrote that the issue of Schleswig "was premised on a gross simplification of the region's history.
Versailles ignored any possibility of there being a third way: the kind of compact represented by the Swiss Federation; a bilingual or even trilingual Schleswig-Holsteinian state" or other options such as "a Schleswigian state in a loose confederation with Denmark or Germany, or an autonomous region under the protection of the League of Nations. Poland appeared so close to collapse that even Polish voters had cast their ballots for Germany".
Blanke alleged "coercion of various kinds even in the face of an allied occupation regime" occurred, and that Germany granted votes to those "who had been born in Upper Silesia but no longer resided there". Blanke concluded that despite these protests "there is plenty of other evidence, including Reichstag election results both before and after and the large-scale emigration of Polish-speaking Upper Silesians to Germany after , that their identification with Germany in was neither exceptional nor temporary" and "here was a large population of Germans and Poles—not coincidentally, of the same Catholic religion—that not only shared the same living space but also came in many cases to see themselves as members of the same national community".
Despite the oppression and migration, Opole Silesia "remained ethnically mixed.
Frank Russell wrote that, in regards to the Saar plebiscite, the inhabitants "were not terrorized at the polls" and the "totalitarian [Nazi] German regime was not distasteful to most of the Saar inhabitants and that they preferred it even to an efficient, economical, and benevolent international rule. During the formulation of the treaty, the British wanted Germany to abolish conscription but be allowed to maintain a volunteer Army. The French wanted Germany to maintain a conscript army of up to , men in order to justify their own maintenance of a similar force.
Thus the treaty's allowance of , volunteers was a compromise between the British and French positions. Germany, on the other hand, saw the terms as leaving them defenseless against any potential enemy. Max Hantke and Mark Spoerer wrote "military and economic historians [have] found that the German military only insignificantly exceeded the limits" of the treaty prior to Bell argued that the British Government was aware of later Weimar rearming, and lent public respectability to the German efforts by not opposing them,  an opinion shared by Churchill.
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