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100 years ago- the Treaty of Versailles (1 Viewer)

timschochet

Footballguy
It was actually signed on June 28, 1919, but the negotiations began on January 18, so it seems reasonable to discuss it now. 

It’s probably the most calamitous peace treaty ever signed, and the lessons we derive from it remain extremely relevant. 

I could offer a running narrative of what exactly happened, or we could simply discuss it. Let’s see how much interest there is in this topic. 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
It was actually signed on June 28, 1919, but the negotiations began on January 18, so it seems reasonable to discuss it now. 

It’s probably the most calamitous peace treaty ever signed, and the lessons we derive from it remain extremely relevant. 

I could offer a running narrative of what exactly happened, or we could simply discuss it. Let’s see how much interest there is in this topic. 
I'd go with running narrative. I personally have very little to say about it. IIRC, the League of Nations was on the table, but the Senate wouldn't ratify Wilson's Idea. France and England were too punitive on Germany, and we wound up with Weimar. Other than that, not much.   

 

timschochet

Footballguy
I'd go with running narrative. I personally have very little to say about it. IIRC, the League of Nations was on the table, but the Senate wouldn't ratify Wilson's Idea. France and England were too punitive on Germany, and we wound up with Weimar. Other than that, not much.   
I actually started this thread in the wrong forum. Sorry about that. 

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
I'd go with running narrative. I personally have very little to say about it. IIRC, the League of Nations was on the table, but the Senate wouldn't ratify Wilson's Idea. France and England were too punitive on Germany, and we wound up with Weimar. Other than that, not much.   
Yeah, not sure what is left to be said other than maybe countries in the future (hopefully never) might want to have a 3rd party organize these types of things. The countries themselves were far too angry and bitter to negotiate objectively. It was really just another piece in the WW1-WW2-Cold War re-shaping of the world.

 

Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
The best factoid about the TOV is that Germany's final installment of $94 million,  in regards to reparations, was made on 3 October 2010.

Another, lesser known bit is that Japan was on the side of the Allies in WW1 but they got shut out of the benefits of the TOV and those hard feelings fueled a lot of their anti-Western sentiment that led to imperialism and WW2.

 
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rockaction

Footballguy
The best factoid about the TOV is that Germany's final installment of $94 million,  in regards to reparations, was made on 3 October 2010.

Another, lesser known bit is that Japan was on the side of the Allies in WW1 but they got shut out of the benefits of the TOV and those hard feelings fueled a lot of their anti-Western sentiment that led to imperialism and WW2.
Wow, that's interesting. I didn't know that. Hey, Andy, you should keep posting here. Just as a neutral observer who will give you stuff but loves your comments regardless.  

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Another, lesser known bit is that Japan was on the side of the Allies in WW1 but they got shut out of the benefits of the TOV and those hard feelings fueled a lot of their anti-Western sentiment that led to imperialism and WW2.
They weren’t the only ones. Ho Chi Minh was an admirer of the US at the time and went to Versailles seeking recognition of an independent Vietnam. Completely rebuffed he turned to the only people that would support him: Communists. 

And why were the Japanese and the Vietnamese and many other movements and nations ignored? Because Woodrow Wilson was one of the worst racists that we’ve ever had in the White House. He believed, and stated openly, that the non white races could be ignored as inferior, had no role in international affairs except as beneficiaries of the white man’s burden. 

 

Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
They weren’t the only ones. Ho Chi Minh was an admirer of the US at the time and went to Versailles seeking recognition of an independent Vietnam. Completely rebuffed he turned to the only people that would support him: Communists. 

And why were the Japanese and the Vietnamese and many other movements and nations ignored? Because Woodrow Wilson was one of the worst racists that we’ve ever had in the White House. He believed, and stated openly, that the non white races could be ignored as inferior, had no role in international affairs except as beneficiaries of the white man’s burden. 
That's quite true. However, it's likely that Wilson didn't even know that Minh was there. Watching the Ken Burns Vietnam doc makes it sound like Minh's note reaching out to Wilson never made it. Again, it likely wouldn't have mattered if it did.

I

For those interested in WW2, I still think one of the absolute best reference sets is this one by Time Life. https://www.amazon.com/World-War-II-39-Set/dp/B000MC7H4I

 

timschochet

Footballguy
Versailles was also the root of most of our current Middle East problems. During the War Great Britain promised the establishment of a Jewish nation-state in Palestine in return for support of its war effort by international Jewry. But at the same Great Britain offered the Arabs independent nation-states freed from Turkey if they would support its war effort. France balked at all of these ideas, wanting to keep its colonial situation in place, while the USA under Wilson demanded that any nation state so created have immediate democracy. Faced with all of these contradictions, England simply moved troops in and declared they would stay until the whole thing was sorted out. 

 

Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
The Germans knew what they were in for at Compiegne when their enjoy Matthias Ertzberger met with French general Foch and the exchange went like this:

Foch: What brings these gentlemen here? What do you wish of me?

Ertzberger said they had come to receive the Allied proposals for an armistice.

Foch: I have no proposals to make.

The Germans asked how he wanted them to express themselves.

Foch: Do you ask for an armistice? If you do, I can acquaint you with the conditions under which it can be obtained.

Is there any wonder Hitler made them surrender in the very same railcar some twenty odd years later? And then had that car destroyed?

 

Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
To me, one of the craziest provisions was the creation of the Danzig Corridor with the establishment of Poland, cutting off East Prussia from the rest of Germany.

With the Prussian military tradition firmly ingrained in German society, how could that end any other way than badly?

 

timschochet

Footballguy
To me, one of the craziest provisions was the creation of the Danzig Corridor with the establishment of Poland, cutting off East Prussia from the rest of Germany.

With the Prussian military tradition firmly ingrained in German society, how could that end any other way than badly?
It angered the Germans more than any other provision. The Poles were regarded as an inferior race. 

 

Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
The Germans filed 443 pages of objections to the 230 page treaty.

The Treaty was never ratified by the U.S. It signed a separate peace with Germany in 1921.

The Russians weren't at Versailles (not should they have been).

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
The Germans filed 443 pages of objections to the 230 page treaty.

The Treaty was never ratified by the U.S. It signed a separate peace with Germany in 1921.

The Russians weren't at Versailles (not should they have been).
Just because of the new government? How that government ended up in place? Because they pulled out of the war? Because they had their own seperate treaty with Germany? All of the above

 

BroncoFreak_2K3

sucker for Orange
The Germans knew what they were in for at Compiegne when their enjoy Matthias Ertzberger met with French general Foch and the exchange went like this:

Foch: What brings these gentlemen here? What do you wish of me?

Ertzberger said they had come to receive the Allied proposals for an armistice.

Foch: I have no proposals to make.

The Germans asked how he wanted them to express themselves.

Foch: Do you ask for an armistice? If you do, I can acquaint you with the conditions under which it can be obtained.

Is there any wonder Hitler made them surrender in the very same railcar some twenty odd years later? And then had that car destroyed?
Yep. Paybacks are a ##### 

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
I wonder sometimes why we bailed the French out...twice. They were kind of ##### in the 19th/early 20th centuries.
All those countries were ##### during that time period. America usually liked to help the French because of the help they provided in the American Revolution

 

Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
I had an advanced history class in HS and a really cool teacher. He was a WW1 buff and I recall we spent a good chunk of one semester on it (I've forgotten most of it in the 42 years since - not his fault; blame it on the '70s). Anyway, I will never forget what he said to us near the end: "I am trying to think of a way the Allies could have realistically ####ed this up worse and am coming up empty". 

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
But as you stated, those were the pre-Bolshevik days.
Right and obviously Europe didn't want anything to do with Communist government- especially after executing the royal family. However, I think Russia could make an honest argument that they deserved a say in the treaty since arguably no country lost more during the war than Russia. 

 

Yankee23Fan

Fair Tax!
The Germans filed 443 pages of objections to the 230 page treaty.

The Treaty was never ratified by the U.S. It signed a separate peace with Germany in 1921.

The Russians weren't at Versailles (not should they have been).
Yeah, but let's be honest, Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz is the word they use to say, "test beef." So you can see where the extra pages come in.

 

beer 30

Footballguy
Versailles was also the root of most of our current Middle East problems. During the War Great Britain promised the establishment of a Jewish nation-state in Palestine in return for support of its war effort by international Jewry. But at the same Great Britain offered the Arabs independent nation-states freed from Turkey if they would support its war effort. France balked at all of these ideas, wanting to keep its colonial situation in place, while the USA under Wilson demanded that any nation state so created have immediate democracy. Faced with all of these contradictions, England simply moved troops in and declared they would stay until the whole thing was sorted out. 
I ran across this podcast quite by accident one day and instantly was drawn to it. It was fascinating, drew me in the same way Dan Carlin's Hardcore History did. Highly recommend it :thumbup:

Fear & Loathing in the New Jerusalem by Darryl Cooper.

His pods on the My Lai massacre are very good as well.

 

Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
General WW1 Trivia that I find fascinating was how inter related several of the major players were.

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe, most notably his first cousins King George V of the United Kingdom and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia.

And right up to the beginning of the war, Wilhelm and Nicholas were telegramming each other trying to prevent the war. 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-nicky-and-willy-could-have-prevented-world-war-i/2014/07/25/192165ca-1275-11e4-98ee-daea85133bc9_story.html?utm_term=.bd9313644beb&noredirect=on

 
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shadrap

Footballguy
Ilov80s said:
Right and obviously Europe didn't want anything to do with Communist government- especially after executing the royal family. However, I think Russia could make an honest argument that they deserved a say in the treaty since arguably no country lost more during the war than Russia. 
Russia's complete disdain for their own soldiers is also to blame for their massive loss of life.   Charge!!!!  but I don't have a weapon.   Charge or be shot.  WW I & WW II.

P.S.  i like your knowledge on this.  Teacher??

 

jonessed

Footballguy
Ilov80s said:
Right and obviously Europe didn't want anything to do with Communist government- especially after executing the royal family. However, I think Russia could make an honest argument that they deserved a say in the treaty since arguably no country lost more during the war than Russia. 
They had already withdrawn from the war with their own armistice and peace agreement with Germany.  Why would they be invited to another armistice conference?

 
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