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

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

PART FOUR

The Treaty of Versailles

AT the end of April the threat of general social revolution put constant pressure upon the peacemakers to hasten their work. On the last day of the month the Soviet Republic of Bavaria was destroyed violently and its leaders shot or imprisoned. In Paris, on May Day, demonstrators marched to the very doors of the Peace Conference. Soldiers of the United States were ordered off the streets, and mounted French troops, which Clemenceau had brought into the city as a precaution, charged a riotous crowd beneath the windows of the Crillon.

The tension made the peacemakers the more intent upon haste in producing a draft treaty to be presented to the Germans. They had made the most of the expedient of referring difficult matters to small ad hoc committees, who reported their decisions to the Council of Four, sometimes with dissenting opinions. In this inner council the chiefs spoke with the utmost frankness and with no American secretary present. This all-powerful body, occasionally aided by the Council of Foreign Ministers, considered and acted upon the many reports that came in. The most perplexing of the questions demanding attention were considered only in secrecy. However, delegates were so active in the corridors and at social occasions that Balfour was moved to remark: "All important business is transacted in the intervals of other business." 1.

The machinery that was improvised had wheels within wheels and gears that did not always mesh. As the delegates met in various groups day after day, each man enjoyed freedom to assert his own weight as well as the virtue of his nation's cause. Imprecise thinking and faulty translation often stood in the way of the understanding and reconciliation of conflicting views. Often too much attention was given to small points and not enough to the fundamental issues.

The day-by-day encounters of the American delegates with their European associates were a challenge to ingenuity as well as to patience. One of the financial advisers, Thomas W. Lamont, unschooled in diplomacy and accustomed to the ways of business in New York, described the "Tower of Babel" in which he lived for several months in Paris. He wrote:

We started out on the principle that all the nations should have liberty of action and freedom of expression.... Every nation wanted representatives on every commission.... To deny

____________________
1.
Eustace Percy, Some Memories, pp. 60-61.

-377-

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
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

Settings

Settings

Typeface
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

Style
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?