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					Wilson and the Treaty of
Versailles


Lecture 4
It was the strength of the opposition forces ,
both liberal and conservative , rather than the
ineptitude and stubbornness of President
Wilson that led to the Senate defeat of the
Treaty of Versailles.
Using the documents and your knowledge of
the period 1917-1921 , assess the validity of
this statement.
USE American Spirit Readings:
  Pages 248-253
  Pages 258-264
     TO DO :
Define the terms in the question
Determine the “essence” of the question
Brainstorm relevant outside information
      To Do :
Read each document – try to write a quick one
sentence summary of each document
Categorize documents into three groups
  Wilson supporters and liberal internationalists
  Reservationists – conservative internationalists
  Irreconcilables – isolationists
  Who in your opinion was MOST
  responsible for the demise of the
  Treaty of Versailles?
You must be able to categorize evidence.
What evidence supports placing the responsibility for
the demise of the Treaty ratification on each
potentially responsible group?
      Liberal v. Conservative
Liberal – Interventionists /Internationalists
Conservative – Isolationist
Terms: Liberal and Conservative meanings differ when
applied to foreign vs. domestic affairs. Progressives
were liberal on domestic issues but many of the
“irreconcilables” were progressive although they were
“isolationist” (conservative) when it came to the
Treaty of Versailles.)
Reservationists - Internationalists
It was the strength of the opposition forces ,
both liberal and conservative , rather than the
ineptitude and stubbornness of President
Wilson that led to the Senate defeat of the
Treaty of Versailles.
Using the documents and your knowledge of
the period 1917-1921 , assess the validity of
this statement.
Recognize the complexity of the question
  The tension between:
   • Wilson’s “ineptitude and stubbornness”
      vs.
   • The strength of the opposition forces, both liberal and
     conservative
  The thesis may argue for one of these contributing
  factors over the other but the best answers
  recognize the “other sides” role in the defeat , if
  only in a few references or sentences
DO the DBQ Thesis Worksheet on this question
The 96 senators who were eligible to vote on the
   treaty belonged to one of three groups:
1. Wilson Supporters and liberal Internationalists
2. Reservationists led by Henry Cabot Lodge
3. Irreconcilables who were mostly isolationists
I. WILSON'S FOURTEEN
POINTS
JANUARY 8, 1918
a speech to Congress which was his
proposal for peace after World War I
    Fourteen Points
    a mixture of :
Human rights principles
Preventive medicine in dealing with
the causes of warfare
European territorial division of spoils
Wilsonian idealism with the proposed
League of Nations
1. No secret treaties (A)
   Secret diplomacy abolished
   Nations would practice diplomacy
   openly and make no secret treaties
   All treaties open covenants arrived at
   openly
2. Freedom of the seas (M)(I)
   Ships allowed to move freely during
   peace and war
3. No economic barriers between
nations (I)
   Removal of tariff (taxes on imports)
   barriers to allow free trade
4. Arms cuts (M)
   Nations would reduce their armaments
5. A voice for colonized peoples (N)
 Self determination for former colonies
 Competing claims over colonies settled
 impartially in the best interests of the colonial
 peoples
   National borders adjusted to allow for self rule
   Protection of ethnic and national groups under
   foreign rule
    • prevent genocide
    • attempted by Ottoman Turks against Armenians
6. Germany out of Russian (I)

7. Germany out of France and Belgium (I)

8. Alsace - Lorraine to France (I)

9. Expansion of Italy (I)
10. Autonomy for Czechs, Magyars, Bulgars
  (N)

11. Poland's independence (N)

12. Autonomy for Greeks, Armenians, etc (N)

13. Free passage thru the Dardanelles (I)
         14. A league of nations
"A general association of nations should be
formed on the basis of covenants designed
to create mutual guarantees of the political
independence and territorial integrity of
States, large and small equally."
Wilson was also against
war reparations
2. Woodrow Wilson Versus Theodore
Roosevelt on the Fourteen Points
(1918)
II. TREATY OF
VERSAILLES

JUNE 28 1919
A. The four leaders who dominated the
conference:
    President Wilson (US)
    Prime Minister David Lloyd George
    (Britain)
    Premier Georges Clemencaeau (France)
    Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando (Italy)
B. Germany is required to:
1. Admit guilt
2. Pay war reparations
     Allies take temporary control of the German
      economy
3.Return the rich Alsace - Lorraine region to
  France
4. Surrender her overseas colonies
5. Disarm
     German rearmament is strictly limited
C. Redrew Map of Europe
 Divided the Austria-Hungary empire into four
 nations
   Sudetenland
 Created mandates in the former Ottoman
 Empire and Germany’s former colonies
D. Established the League of Nations
   Executive Council (like the Security Council)
     Decisions would require unanimous approval for
     action
   Agreed to not make war without arbitration
     Unilateral action amounted to war against the
     entire league
   Article X
     Executive Council could “advise upon measures
     necessary to maintain order and keep peace in
     the world.”
Woodrow Wilson
on the League of Nations

   “I think I can say of this document that it
     is at one and the same time a practical
     and humane document. There is a
     pulse of sympathy in it. It is practical,
     ad yet it is intended to purify to rectify
     to elevate…”
  Wilson’s Reasons for Ratification
“Collective Security”
League of Nations would simply make
the world a safer place by
 reducing the chances for war
 stopping needless arms building
Enable US to assume its rightful role in
the forefront of world affairs
 where we could use our best intentions and
 leadership to promote world peace
 “We are participants in the world, whether we
 wish to be or not… What affects mankind is
 inevitably our affair as well…”
III. THE RATIFICATION
FIGHT
          TIMELINE
February ,1919 – trip to Washington listened
to harsh criticism
March, 1919 - Wilson allows 4 changes
July , 1919 – presented the Treaty to
Congress
August , 1919 – Wilson met with entire
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  DOCUMENTS - Read: 1,2,3,4 – The Text of Article X; Wilson testifies for Article X (1919) ; The Lodge-

  Hitchcock Reservations(1919) ; The Aborted Lodge Compromise (1919)


late in the summer of 1919- Wilson took his
case to the people
     Speech Wilson 1919
When you read Article X, therefore you will see that it
is nothing but the inevitable , logical center of the
whole system of the Covenant of the League of
nations, and I stand for it absolutely. If it should ever
in any important respect be impaired, I would feel like
asking the Secretary of War to get the boys who went
across the water to fight… and I would stand up
before them and say, Boys I told you before you went
across the seas that this war was a war against wars,
and I did my best to fulfill the promise, but I am
obliged to come to you in mortification and shame and
say I have not been able to fulfill the promise. You are
betrayed. You have fought for something that you did
not get.”
Wilson’s speech defends Article X of
Treaty as essential to achieve goals for
which the war was fought.
        TIMELINE
November , 1919 Senate voted
  with reservations 39- 55 defeated
   • DOCUMENTS - Read: 5. Wilson Defeats Henry Cabot Lodge’s Reservations (1919)

  without reservations 38 – 53 defeated
   • DOCUMENTS - READ : 6. Lodge Blames Wilson (1919)


March 19, 1920- with reservations 49 for 35
against (7 short of 2/3 needed for approval)
November - 1920 Presidential Election -
Wilson believed it would be “solemn
referendum” on the League
     Woodrow Wilson “Appeal” to the Country
     October 3, 1920
“This election is to be a genuine national
referendum… The chief question that is put to you is,
of course: Do you want your country’s honor
vindicated and the Treaty of Versailles ratified? Do you
in particular approve of the League of Nations as
organized and empowered in that treaty? And do you
wish to see the United States play its responsible part
in it?... [The founders of the Government] thought of
America as the light of the world as created to lead
the world in the assertion of the rights of peoples and
the rights of free nations … this light the opponents of
the League would quench.
Wilson’s appeal to the country views
election of 1920 as a referendum on the
Treaty.
Factors that Defeated the Treaty
Ratification:
   1. Climate of post war U.S.
   A. Rising intolerance towards things “un-
       American”
        Ku Klux Klan reborn
        Red Scare
        The Great Migration
1. Climate of post war U.S.
B. Backlash against the Great War
     Questioning the wisdom of having participated in
     a war that had caused many American deaths and
     wounded
     Stories of Allied greed and desire for revenge
     disillusioned many who thought that the war had
     been fought to “make the world safe for
     democracy”
     revulsion of the treaty led to desire to return to
     isolationism
2. Political Opposition
 Irish Americans
 German Americans
 Italian Americans
 Conservatives
 Liberals
 Isolationists
 Senate Republicans
 Anti-Wilsonites
    1a. Wilson
  supported ratification un- amended
    Democrat
    Internationalist
    Liberal –foreign policy because he was an
internationalist
  1b.Other Internationalists
Liberals who believe the treaty does not do enough to
change the old world order or enough to put in place the
protections against future war; against the treaty with any
restrictions on the power of the League of Nations
     The New Republic May 24,1919
     an editorial from the new liberal periodical
Liberals all over the world have hoped that a war
    ,which was so clearly the fruit of competition and
    imperialist and class-bound nationalism , would
    end in a peace which would moralize nationalism
    by releasing it from class bondage and exclusive
    ambitions. The Treaty of Versailles does not even
    try to satisfy these aspirations. Instead of
    expressing a great recuperative effort of the
    conscience of civilization which for its own sins
    has sweated so much blood, it does much to
    intensify and nothing to heal the old and ugly
    dissensions.
refers obliquely to issues (war guilt and
reparations) that sully the treaty from the editor’s
viewpoint; students should make those issues
explicit
Based on the excerpt / document do you think
The New Republic editorial is for or against the
Treaty ratification
LIBERAL
For or Against ???
Probably Against – liberal internationalist against
The New Republic’s liberal position that
war was caused by imperialism and
nationalism and that Treaty intensifies
dissension and will not heal wounds.
     1b.John Maynard KeynesEconomic Consequences of the Peace,1920
“According to [the French] vision of the future,
    European history is to be a perpetual prize-fight , of
    which France has won this round, but of which this
    round is certainly not the last…. For Clemenceau
    made no pretense of considering himself bound by
    the Fourteen Points and left chiefly to others such
    concoctions as were necessary from time to time to
    save the scruples or the face of the President
    [Wilson].
… The policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a
    generation of degrading the lives of millions of
    human beings and of depriving a whole nation of
    happiness should be abhorrent and detestable –
    abhorrent and detestable , even if it were possible
    even if it enriched ourselves, even if did not sow the
    decay of the whole civilized life of Europe.
Based on the excerpt / document do you thin
John Maynard Keynes is for or against the
Treaty ratification
For or Against ???
Seeds for future war sewn in the treaty
J.M. Keynes foresees that the Treaty’s
destruction of Germany will lead to the
decay of European civilization.
   1b.WEB Du Bois   “The League of Nations”, Crisis, 1921

Forty-one nations , including nearly every Negro and
mulatto and colored government of the world , have
met in Geneva and formed the assembly of the
League of Nations. This is the most forward –
looking event of the century. Because of the idiotic
way in which the stubbornness of Woodrow Wilson
and the political fortunes of the Republicans become
involved, the United States was not represented ,
but despite its tumult and shouting this nation must
join and join on the terms which the World lays
down. The idea that we single-handed can dictate
terms to the World or stay out of the World , is an
idea born of the folly of fools.
  WEB Du Bois   “The League of Nations”, Crisis, 1921

Liberal- represent the disappointment and
dismay that lingered in the years after the
treaty fight.
Editorial in the NAACP periodical Crisis
one can still hear echoes of the hopes that
Wilson had raise when he spoke of anti
colonialism and self determination of his 14
points.
Du Bois still on the road to being radicalized
wishes a plague on both the Internationalist
and Reservationists houses but his
sympathies still rest with the League
W.E.B. Du Bois editorial in Crisis argues
that U.S. must join League and that
both Wilson and Republicans are
responsible for the defeat of the Treaty.
     1b.Jane Addams Peace and Bread in time of War, 1922
The League of nations afforded a wide
  difference of opinion in every group. The
  Woman’s Peace Party held its annual meeting
  in Chicago in the spring of 1920 and found
  our branches fairly divided upon the
  subject…. The difference of opinion was
  limited always as to the existing League and
  never for a moment did anyone doubt the
  need for continued effort to bring about an
  adequate international organization.
Jane Addams
  after noting the sharp division of opinion
  among members of the Women’s Peace Party
  regarding the treaty itself
  notes that her (liberal) group is still virtually
  unanimous on the need for an “adequate
  international organization.”
Jane Addams admits that women are
divided on the League of Nations, but
some international organization is
needed.
     2. Lodge
supported ratification amended
  Reservationists? – supported ratification with
  amendments (mostly Republicans led by Lodge)
   Republican
   Internationalist
   Liberal – foreign policy
 2. Herbert Hoover (R) to Wilson, November 19, 1919
“I take the liberty of urging upon you the
    desirability of accepting the reservations now
    passed …. I have the belief that with the
    League once in motion it can within itself and
    from experience and public education develop
    such measures as will make it effective. I am
    impressed with the desperate necessity of early
    ratification. The delays have already seriously
    imperiled the economic recuperation of Europe.
    In this we are vitally interested from every
    point of view. I believe that the Covenant will
    steadily lose ground in popular support if it is
    not put into constructive operation at once
    because the American public will not appreciate
    the saving values of the Covenant as
    distinguished from the wrongs imposed in the
    Treaty….”
Herbert Hoover’s letter asks President
Wilson to accept reservations ; peace
can be developed with reservations and
public support may decline over time.
based on the bride’s homeliness (undesirable
“Foreign Entanglements”) and the groom’s
(Uncle Sam) nervous look
Political Cartoon can be interpreted as pro-
Reservationists
grasp the cartoon’s viewpoint, not merely as
descriptive
Cartoon shows U.S. Senate opposing
foreign entanglements and infringement
of its Constitutional rights.
Show you understand this issue –
remember Lodge – Hitchcock
reservations re: Article X
    3. Irreconcilables
opposed ratification
Conservative - Isolationist
many of the “irreconcilables” were progressive
although they were “isolationist” (conservative)
when it came to the Treaty of Versailles
   3. William Borah Idaho Senator (Irreconcilable)
   speech in US Senate , December 6, 1918
The first proposition connected with the proposed league is
that of a tribunal to settle the matters of controversy which
may arise between the different nations.
Will anyone advocate that those matters which are of vital
importance to our people shall be submitted to a tribunal
created other than by our own people and give it an
international army subject to its direction and control to
enforce its decrees? I doubt if anyone will advocate that … If
you do not do so, Mr. President, what will your league
amount to? …
In its last analysis the proposition is force to destroy force,
conflict to prevent conflict, militarism to destroy militarism,
war to prevent war. In its last analysis it must be that -- if it
has any sanction behind its judgment at all. There is where
the difficulty lies…
Senator Borah’s isolationist position that
fears loss of U.S. sovereignty and
contends that Treaty encourages the
use of force, conflict , militarism, and
war.
WRITE YOUR ESSAY
45 minutes
I. Attempts to mediate a
peace in Europe, 1916-17
A. 1916- Wilson offered to mediate a peace
  A.   Britain rejected the proposal
       Therefore never extended to the Central Powers
B. The Development of Wilson’s Ideas on a peace
settlement
     1. Formation of a world federation (an association of
        nations ) to end future wars
     2. 1917 – Peace without Victory speech to Congress
        a. US had a right to a voice in the peace talks at the
           end of the war as a neutral whose rights had been
           violated
        b. US would insist upon a just and lasting peace
            i. No victor’s peace
            ii. Peace without victory
3. Difficulties in Wilson’s position
        A. “impartial mediator” inconsistent with US policies
                toward Britain
        B. the US as a powerful neutral
                1. by March 1917 Wilson had concluded that
                the US could play an important role in the
                peace negotiations only by becoming a
                belligerent
II. Wilson as spokesman for
the Allies
A. Declaration of the Fourteen Points
   (basis for a just peace)
1. First five points aimed at elimination of the fundamental causes
     of war
        a. abandonment of secret diplomacy
        b. freedom of the seas
        c. elimination of economic barriers
       d. reduction of armaments
        e. recognition of subject colonial peoples rights
2. Next 8 points dealt with various territorial restitution and
   adjustments, and with the political self determination of
   peoples
3. Last point , Wilson felt most important, creation of “ a general
   association of nations…under specific covenants for the
   purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political
   independence and territorial integrity to great and small states
   alike.”
4. Wilson closed by stating that the Allies would never make
   peace with a German Government controlled by the military ;
   invitation to the German people to revolt
B. The Fourteen Points and the Armistice
1. October 4, 1918 – Germany asked Wilson to arrange for the
   negotiation of an armistice and a treaty based on the Fourteen
   Points
2. November 11, 1918 Armistice signed
      Germany forced to agree to
       • Provisions designed to ensure that she would not start
         war again in the near future
       • Surrender her navy and heavy armaments of all types
       • Allied forces occupied portions of German territory
       • British blockade was continued until June 1919
III. Wilson’s Troubles on the
Home Front
A. Republican Victory in the Election of 1918
  1. Republicans won control of both houses of Congress
     a. Negated his claim to speaking for the whole American
         people
     b. Although continued to be the spokesman for the Allies
 B. Costly Mistakes Before the Peace
 Conference
December 1918 :
Wilson
       Decided he would attend the peace conference in person
       Hoped to be the presiding officer at the conference
 Costly mistakes….
1. Selection of a Democratic Delegation
  1.   Treaty would have to be ratified by a Republican-
       controlled Senate
2. Failure to Consult Senators
  1.   Attitude toward the senate extremely arrogant cost him
       support of Democrats as well as Republican Senators
3. Failure to Understand European Economic Problems
  1.   Primarily concerned with political aspects of the formation
       of a league of nations
IV. Wilson’s Reception in
Europe
A. Accepted as a great democratic champion by the
   people of Europe

B. Example of misunderstandings:
  1.French people supported Wilson’s idea of a just peace but…
     a. A just and lasting peace for France would strip and
         dismember Germany
     b. Not what Wilson had in mind
V. Wilson’s Defeats at the Paris
Conference
A. Character of the Conference itself
  1. Not actually a “peace” conference
      A. The defeated powers were not allowed to send
         delegates
      B. Decisions made by a small minority of delegates
        1. A committee of 10 out of the 32 victor nations set up
        2. The committee of 10 turned into the “Big Four” who met in
            secret violation of one of the 14 Points that called for “open
            covenants, openly arrived at”
             a. France – Clemenceau
             b. Britain – Lloyd George
             c. Italy – Orlando
             d. US – Wilson
     C. Passions and hatreds of war would dominate the
        conference
B. French and British demands for revenge
1.  Georges Clemenceau
   a. Alsace-Lorraine
   b. “Mr. Wilson bores me with his Fourteen Points; why , God
       Almighty has only ten !”
2. David Lloyd George
   a. German Reparations
   b. “When I talk to Woodrow Wilson, I always feel that I am
       addressing Jesus Christ !”
C. Secret Agreements Among the Allies
1. Dating back to 1915 ,
   a. provided for dismemberment of German and Austrian
       empires
   b. Distribution of the spoils among the victors
2. Critics claimed that Wilson should have insisted that the
    Allies give up these treaties as a condition of US
    participation and aid
   a. Wilson claimed he had no knowledge of these secret
       agreements
 D. Difficulties with the Fourteen Points
1.  Principle of Self Determination
   a. Polish Corridor
   b. Ethnic groups in Central Europe & the Balkans
2. Wilson’s faith in the League of Nations to establish security
    and prevent war not shared by European governments
   a. Member nations:
       i. not required to give up any of their sovereignty
       ii. Would retain the right to maintain their own armed
           forces
 E. The Treaty of Versailles
1. June, 1919
       a. Presented to Germans
       b. Signed by Germany
          after protest of harsh conditions
          and
         ultimatum : sign or Allies would resume war against
          Germany
Robert Lansing
 US Secretary of State
 Memorandum not made public until 1945
 Regarded the treaty as too harsh , the League
 used to enforce the harsh conditions , and the
 arbitrary placing of peoples under government
 not of their choosing would lead to future war
VI. Analysis of Alternative
Solutions
Would the treaty have ensured peace if it
had been based entirely on Wilson’s plan?
A. Wilson’s Peace Program
  A.   Germany retain colonies
  B.   Few boundaries in Europe would have been drawn
       differently
  C.   Japan would not have been awarded the Shantung
       Peninsula
  D.   No reparations would have been imposed on defeated
       German nations
B. These differences would probably not have
prevented the outbreak of future wars because…
1.   The League of Nations was inadequate as a guarantor of
     peace.
2.   No provision designed to deal with the basic problems of
     imperialism
3.   Wilson’s program would not have achieved correction or
     removal of the fundamental economic causes of the war
VII. The Fight for
Ratification in the U.S.

July 1919 submitted to the Senate
A. Reasons for Hostility to the treaty
  1. Small group , led by Senator Robert M. La Follette , opposed
      ratification on idealistic grounds , seeing in the treaty a
      betrayal of Wilsonian idealism

  2. Personal feelings of Wilson’s enemies in both parties ; his
      aloofness
3.Opposition by certain national groups
   •   Irish Americans opposed as Ireland remained under British Rule
   •   German Americans opposed because of harsh conditions on
       Germany
4.Traditional American attitude of avoiding involvement in
the affairs of Europe
   1. Now that Germany defeated, semblance of balance of power
       restored, feeling of security ; desire for isolationism
5. Partisan politics
   1. Republican leaders opposed in part due to Wilson’s actions
       towards Republicans in Congress
B. Four Groups of Opinion in the Senate
1.  23 Senators
   a. Supported Wilson and wanted the treaty ratified without
       changes or reservations
2. Approved of the treaty but would accept moderate changes
   a. Mostly Democrats
3. Group led by Henry Cabot Lodge
   a. Insisted on drastic changes and reservations
   b. Mostly Republicans
4. Irreconcilably opposed smallest group
   a. La Follette, Hiram Johnson and William Borah
C. Defeat of the Treaty
1.    The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee recommended
      ratifications with 42 amendments
2.    Wilson went on tour for public support of the un-amended
      treat
     a.   Suffered a physical collapse (stroke)
     b.   Mrs. Wilson served as his unofficial secretary
3.    Compromise might have secured passage
     a.   Vote : 49 for / 35 against (less that 2/3 needed)
          i. 12 of 35 against were the “irreconcilables”
          ii. 23 of the 35 against were Wilson’s friends who he told not to vote for a
                compromise
              a.   Wilson partly responsible for defeat
              b.   If Wilson not so stubborn about compromise the treaty would have been
                   accepted without basic alterations

				
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