What Really Happened at Paris: The Story of the Peace Conference, 1918-1919

By Edward Mandell House; Charles Seymour | Go to book overview

IX
THE PROTECTION OF MINORITIES AND NATIVES IN TRANSFERRED TERRITORIES

BY MANLEY O. HUDSON

The gulf between German practices before the war and the announced aims of the Allies during the war is nowhere more notable than in dealing with subject peoples. It was Prince Bülow's defense of German policy in Poland that "in the struggle between nationalities, one nation is the hammer and the other the anvil; one is the victor and the other the vanquished." "It is a law of life and development in history," he said, "that when two national civilizations meet, they fight for ascendancy." It would probably be untrue to say that such a conception of domination was ever prevalent throughout Germany. But the notorious efforts at Prussianization of the Poles before 1914, and the measures taken by the Germans during the war to spread the German language in occupied territories, undoubtedly did much to bring German Kultur into such universal disrepute. The failure of the Germans to enlist the sympathies and the ambitions of the mingled nationalities in eastern Europe must be counted as one of the things that destroyed them.

When President Wilson proclaimed as running through the whole programme of the Fourteen Points, "the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak," the war

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