Wilson and His Peacemakers: American Diplomacy at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919

By Arthur Walworth | Go to book overview
Save to active project


A New Order for a New Era

THE American peacemakers of 1919 viewed the postwar chaos from the perspective of a nation that was remote and self-sufficient. The United States, entering the war late, had the good fortune to escape the exhaustion that had overtaken the European Allies. Its surplus resources put it in a position to exert a stabilizing influence in vacuums that had been created.

The American people were shocked by the breakdown of European diplomacy in 1914 and were in revolt against what they vaguely denounced as "the old system." Distrustful of precedent, they saw no adequate basis for a lasting peace in what one of them called "a re-weaving of the Penelope's web" that had been unraveled by every peace congress of the past two centuries. 1. Many Americans advocated a league of all the nations, and some looked to such a league as an influence for social justice as well as for peace. They foresaw a conflict of their ideals with the purpose of European peacemakers who hoped to safeguard peace by a policy of strategic security and by accommodation of national interests through traditional diplomacy. 2.

Actually Georges Clemenceau, president of the French Council of Ministers and also minister of war, was convinced that the peace terms would have to be enforced upon Germany. His people demanded above all some assurance that France could exist next to its potentially powerful neighbor without danger of becoming a satellite. Determined to avoid any concession to the enemy that might weaken the resilience of his own people after the ordeal of war, he could be expected to advocate measures that would guarantee strategic security for France.

Prime Minister David Lloyd George, representing an empire at the height of its sway and probably not yet fully aware of the gap that had widened during the war between British power and British responsibilities, saw less need to be concerned about national security. The two essentials of his policy in the peacemaking were to produce a treaty that would dispose Germany to keep the peace, and to bring the United States into the European settlement in a permanent and practical way. 3. Lloyd George's task was complicated by demands of the Dominions for the annexation of

Tasker H. Bliss to Secretary of State, December 15, 1918, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1919, Paris Peace Conference (hereinafter designated as F.R., P.P.C.), vol. 1, p. 296.

Complete bibliographic information, when not given in the footnotes, may be found in the List of Abbreviations (p. 571) and in the Bibliography (pp. 572-585).

See Arthur Walworth, America's Moment: 1918, pp. 2, 3, 6.
D. R. Watson, "The Making of the Treaty of Versailles."


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Wilson and His Peacemakers: American Diplomacy at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 618

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?