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 SIXTEEN

MAKING THE PIPS SQUEAK

"We have been attacked; we want security. We have been despoiled; we demand restitution. We have been devastated; we want reparation." STEPHEN PICHON, French Minister for Foreign Affairs, December 30, 1918.


1

WE MUST continue to bear in mind that the problems of the
Rhineland occupation, the Rhineland buffer state, and the
Treaty of Guarantee, as well as the Saar, were all related to
security and to one another, and that they were all solved more
or less concurrently. Precisely the same thing may be said of
reparations.

The first great battle over reparations was waged by the American delegation in connection with the Allied demand that Germany should pay the entire cost of the war. This, of course, was directly contrary to the pre-Armistice contract, which stipulated that Germany should pay only for civilian damages.

But as the Allies viewed their staggering bills, and observed that the enemy was now completely at their mercy, they began to repent of their bargain. Why should they pay the cost of Germany's aggression, and especially why should France pay -- France, whose only crime, in the words of Clemenceau, "is to have taken up arms against the invader!"

Under the pre-Armistice agreement, a French peasant should obviously be compensated for the loss of his ruined farm. But, demanded Prime Minister Hughes of Australia, how about the Australian shepherd who had lost his farm through a mortgage foreclosure resulting from the war? When the American experts objected to this line of reasoning, Hughes accused them of being pro-German, and shouted, shak-

-238-

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