Wilson and the Peacemakers: Combining Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace and Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal

By Thomas A. Bailey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN

THE DAY OF RECKONING

"The Germans don't like the peace terms, but they ought to remember that if they did nobody else would." PHILADELPHIA NORTH AMERICAN, May, 1910.


1

ON APRIL 14, 1919, when it seemed as though a settlement were in sight, the German delegates were summoned to Versailles to receive the Treaty. Upon arriving late in the month, they were assigned as Virtual prisoners to a hotel, about which a fence was hurriedly erected to shield them from the stares of the, curious and from the possible violence of the mob. This precaution was far from foolish, for several weeks later the delegates were assailed by a crowd of angry Frenchmen, and two of the Germans were injured by stones. Nothing could, better illustrate the poisonous atmosphere surrounding the Conference.

The German delegates had arrived, but still there was no treaty. The explanation is that during the closing days of April the Fiume and Shantung crises came to a head, and for a while it seemed as though there would be nothing to present to the Germans. Agreement was finally reached, and the various parts of the Treaty on which the numerous committees had been working were thrown together and sent to the printer. The first printed copies were not available until the early morning of May 7, 1919 -- the day of the presentation of the pact to the German delegates. It is an almost incredible fact that probably no single one of the Allied statesmen had read the Treaty as a whole until the day it was handed to the Germans.

Herbert Hoover remembers that a messenger brought a copy to him on the morning of May 7, and he was so disturbed by what he found that he went for walk in the early morning air.

-286-

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