THE DISARMAMENT OF GERMANY
ALL through the war, the Allies proclaimed, as first among their war aims, the destruction of German militarism. The instrument of aggression forged by the elder Moltke, increased and strengthened by his successors, had filled Germany with that insensate pride which inspired her crime of 1914. German militarism was as formidable materially as it was morally pernicious. After having fashioned its weapons, it built up its faith. Maker of rifles, of machine guns and of cannons, it had given birth to a philosophy. Defeat had overwhelmed it, but---prompt in deceit---it had taken pains to hide defeat beneath the triumphal arches raised in all German towns in honour of the beaten and retreating Army. Had but the instrument of aggression survived, in five years---in ten years---in twenty years, it would have meant certain war. It was necessary to break it---to break it in its three essentials: in its organization, in its man power, in its armament. It was necessary to wrest from Germany both the means and the temptation of war; to reduce in the immediate present her military state to the minimum compatible with the necessities of her defense and the maintenance of order; to give in the future to peaceful nations the means of verifying Germany's compliance with the clauses of the Treaty imposed upon her. An immense task, which Napoleon---the conqueror of Prussia, occupying all of its territory---had attempted without success but which, however, it was the Allies' duty to undertake and to carry through, if the world was to be saved.
The Armistice had begun the disarmament of Germany. It was far from having completed it. To achieve their aim, the negotiators of the peace had a long way to go. I have already told why Marshal Foch had not thought right to demand either the demobilization of the German Army or its total disarmament in the field.(14) I add that, even in the matter of partial disarmament considered sufficient by the inter-allied High Command, errors of calculation had been made. In the letter of October 26, 1918, the Commander-in-Chief had estimated the 5,000 cannon and the 30,000 machine guns the surrender of which he demanded, as respectively one-third and one-half of the enemy supplies, which means that at the moment of the Armistice Germany was believed to have 15,000 cannon and 60,000 machine guns. But on January 5, 1920, the German Government, while asserting that it had destroyed a large part of its war material, admitted that it still had 24,625 cannon or tubes and 41,318 machine guns. However that may be, the heads of the Allied Governments in the beginning of 1918 became alarmed at the force which still remained at Germany's disposal and---in the various renewals of the Armistice in January and February, 1919, as well as in the elaboration of the Treaty itself---they unanimously sought in conjunction with the military authorities the means of further disarming Germany.
By January 15, 1919, the whole war material which Germany was to surrender under the Armistice of November 11, 1918, was in the hands of the victors. But it was clear to all that Noske, the Minister of War of the German Reich, was endeavoring in a thousand ways to elude the clauses which he foresaw would be inserted in the Treaty. There were threatening concentrations of troops on the Polish frontier. The manufacture of war material continued. Innumerable undemobilized units were kept in the dépots. New formations were created under all sorts of pretexts : volunteers, surety police, technical aid corps and others galore, who with their machine guns and their cannon cooperated to a disquieting extent in the maintenance of order. At the meeting of the Conference on January 23, 1919, Mr. Lloyd George, voicing the unanimous feeling, declared that this situation could not be allowed to continue:
"The Germans," he said, "are demobilizing slowly. They have still more than fifty divisions. Why do we not make them demobilize quicker? Why was this condition not imposed on them in the Armistice of November 11? Why not introduce it next time when the Armistice is to be renewed on February 16? It is essential in some way or other not only to oblige Germany to reduce without further delay, the number of men she has under arms but also to take from her the war material she still has."
Everyone was of the same opinion. But the formula remained to be found. M. Clemenceau recalled the fact that, if the demobilization clause did not appear in the Armistice of November 11, it was because Marshal Foch had declared it to be impossible of execution, as it could not be controlled. The following day, January 24, the Commander-in-Chief, summoned to the Conference, declared:
"We can insert in the next Armistice a clause imposing upon Germany a thoroughgoing demobilization of men and material. But it will be very different to verify and enforce, and the results are more than doubtful. The only means of pressure is first of all for us to keep strong forces mobilized and as a second and additional means there is the blockade."
Then began a period of laborious effort which lasted three weeks, in which much work was done without tangible result. Three commissions were appointed one after the other to inquire into and report upon this question. The first, appointed on January 24, included besides M. Loucheur, the Chairman, Mr. Winston Churchill, Marshal Foch and Generals Bliss and Diaz. The second, appointed on February 8 to simplify the suggestions of the first, was composed of Mr. Lansing, Lord Milner and myself. The third, presided over by Marshal Foch, included as military members representing the Supreme War Council, Generals Bliss, Degoutte, Thwaites, Cavallero and Colonel Nagai; as civilian members representing the Supreme Economic Council, Lord Robert Cecil, Norman Davis, Clementel, Crespi and Mori. The Commanders-in-Chief of the Armies and Navies were present at the meeting of the latter on February 10.
The object to be accomplished by these various committees was the same: to exert on Germany, at the time of the renewal of the Armistice, sufficient military and economic pressure to force her to demobilize her forces and surrender her war material. But it very quickly appeared ---and this explains the appointment of three commissions in succession---that there was a divergence of view both on the means to be employed and on the conditions to be imposed.
The French delegates sought only to disarm Germany and to enforce this whether she wished it or not. They therefore proposed that the next Armistice should enforce the reduction of the number of her divisions, the surrender of a further slice of her war material, the Allied control of her thirteen principal war factories; finally and above all, as an ultimate penalty for non-compliance, the occupation of the industrial region of Essen. These proposals were advanced both by M. Loucheur in the first commission and by myself in the second. They were simple and self-sufficient.
The state of mind of our Allies was more complex. The idea of introducing into a renewal of the Armistice terms which were different from those of the initial Armistice, was repugnant to some of them, especially to the Americans,---and they made no secret of it. In vain, we replied that, if the Armistice had been concluded for one month only, it was precisely in order to reserve to the Allies the right of changing the conditions. Our contentions found no support. Others sought by the demobilization of Germany to facilitate the repatriation of their own troops and the hastening of their own demobilization. All of them, whatever their reasons, were equally hostile to a further occupation of German territory and agreed in their conclusions which were, it is true, to oblige Germany to demobilize. But to add to the military and economic means of pressure the bait of certain concessions in the matter of food supplies and raw material, in order to obtain demobilization, would have transformed the renewed Armistice into a species of bilateral contract, would have mortgaged the future conditions of peace and have left the Allies open to German blackmail.
Thus the difficulties grew. M. Clemenceau, no less harassed by Parliament than were his foreign colleagues, was as anxious as anybody to accelerate the demobilization of the French Armies by immediate disarmament of Germany. He was as anxious as anybody also that the Allies should retain to the very end of the negotiations a military force superior to that of Germany and this added to his anxiety to reduce the strength of the German Army. But at no price was he willing to consent that this should be at the cost of losing, while the war was still on---for an armistice is not peace---the advantage of the Allies' position as conquerors by a give and take arrangement, which, before their peace conditions had been accepted, might undermine their authority.
A difficult time indeed, as I have said above, often a painful time, in which the head of the French Government was forced, on four or five occasions, to intervene personally and with all his might to insure that the renewal of the Armistice would preserve the character he was anxious to give it and avert a dangerous bargaining. After a dozen meetings, it was agreed that while pursuing by some other means the disarmament of Germany, we would confine ourselves in the renewal of the Armistice on February 16 to making her feel the pressure first by demanding the immediate halt---which was obtained---of her preparations against Poland, and then by renewing the Armistice only for a short and undefined period with the right for the Allies to bring it to an end at any moment on three days' notice. No mention was made of disarmament. Neither was any mention made of food supplies. Thus was preserved in the document handed to the Germans the military character of the Armistice.
As to the reduction of the German forces, it was decided that we should bring it about without further delay not by means of the Armistice but by fixing as quickly as possible the final military conditions of the peace. Immediately on his return from Treves, on February 17, Marshal Foch was asked to hasten the study of these clauses. In the last week of February, the work of the Military Commission was brought to a close. Its report was distributed on March the first.
We appeared to be reaching the end. The desire to reach a conclusion was unanimous. And yet so great is the difficulty of attuning views based upon conflicting traditions, interests and habits of mind that two more weeks passed before agreement was reached on a text. I lay special stress upon this illuminating incident. If the difficulty was so great when no divergence of principle separated the Allies, it can be judged what the debates were like when they were at variance on the principle.
On every point and without ill intention on the part of anyone, discussions arose over points of detail which had to be settled before progress could be made. One day, on February 22,---in the absence of M. Clemenceau, grievously wounded the day before by an assassin---it was suggested that the military clauses as soon as they were ready should be handed to Germany without waiting for the others. From his sick-bed the French Premier answered that this was impossible and in his name the French delegation in full accord with Marshal Foch showed that the military clauses could not be separated from those which would fix the frontiers of Germany, the situation of the Rhenish Provinces, the occupation, etc.. Another day, on March the third, it was maintained that the disarmament of Germany should only be of limited duration. An entire meeting was necessary to dispose of this suggestion, Marshal Foch very pertinently recalling that President Wilson, who was then on the high seas, had asserted the "moral right" of the Allies to disarm Germany completely. M. Clemenceau, who had resumed his place as President, added:
"We must know what we want and say it. Otherwise we are living in a dream and reality will be avenged."
On another occasion, the American delegates put forward the idea of "guaranteeing the neutrality" of a disarmed Germany. Here again M. Clemenceau refused, declaring that he was not willing to risk the life of a single French soldier to guarantee Germany anything. Some of these debates were strenuous, at times even dramatic. No progress was being made. At last on March the sixth the discussion of the report of the Military Committee presided over by Marshal Foch began. The plan presented left Germany an army of 200,000 men recruited by conscription on a one-year service plan, five army corps staffs, fifteen divisions, 180 pieces of heavy artillery and 600 field pieces. Immediately Mr. Lloyd George, supported by M. Clemenceau, put the vital question:
"Germany," he says, "will train 200,000 men a year or two million in ten years. Why make her a present of a system which in fifteen or twenty years from now will give her millions of trained soldiers to mobilize?"
To the objection of the military experts, who answered that an army based upon long term enlistment would be a nursery of officers and non-commissioned officers, Mr. Lloyd George replied:
"Officers and non-commissioned-officers? Germany as a result of the war has more than enough for fifteen years to come and if she trains 200,000 men a year, you may be quite sure that at the end of ten years she will have formed a hundred thousand non-commissioned officers."
It was self-evident. The suppression of compulsory service was decided upon; the military experts were invited to resubmit by March 10 a plan thus amended...
This plan---the principle of which the Technical Commission continued to oppose---was submitted on the day named to the Supreme Council. No more conscription: twelve years engagements: strength of 140,000 men; war material reduced in proportion. Immediately and insistently M. Clemenceau and Marshal Foch demanded a further reduction to 100,000 men.
"I insist with all the strength at my command," said the French Premier, "for it is France who to-morrow as yesterday will be face to face with Germany."
Agreement was quickly reached. Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. House despite certain objections of their technical advisers declared:
"If France expresses a formal opinion in this matter neither Great Britain nor the United States has the right to oppose her wish."
The German Army was therefore limited to 96,000 men and 4,000 officers and its rÙle restricted to the maintenance of internal order and the policing of her borders. At the request also of the French delegation, the General Staff was suppressed as was also the heavy artillery: the supplies of munitions diminished by half; an inter-allied commission to supervise disarmament appointed; time limits for compliance with the various clauses fixed as follows:
1. Within two months after the coming into force of the Treaty.
Art. 167.---Delivery to the Allies for destruction of all the war material whatsoever exceeding the authorized quantities, as well as all machinery designed for war manufacture, with the exception of such as may be recognized as necessary for the arming and equipment of the German military forces authorized.
Art. 176.---Suppression of Military Schools.
Art. 180. ---The disarmament of fortifications within the demilitarized zone.
Art. 198.---Demobilization of all the personnel of the Air Services.
Art. 202.---Surrender of all the aviation material.
2. Within three months after the coming into force of the Treaty.
Art. 263.---The reduction of the total effective force to 200,000 men.
Art. 168.---Prohibition to manufacture arms or war material of any kind elsewhere than in factories authorized by the Allies. Suppression of all other factories and arsenals.
Art. 172.---Revelation of secret processes.
Art. 221.---Modification of German military. legislation in accordance with the Treaty.
3. Within four months after the coming into force of the Treaty.
Art. 180.---Dismantling of the fortifications in the demilitarized zone.
4. Before March 31, 1920.(15)
Arts. 160-163.---Complete compliance in all respects of the German Army with the dispositions of the Treaty (reduction to 100,000 men).
Art. 166.---Limitation and warehousing of all munition stocks.
Art. 170.---Prohibition to import or export war material.
Art. 171.---Prohibition to manufacture poison gases, tanks, etc.
Art. 173.---Abolition of compulsory service.
Art. 175.---Status and number of officers.
Art. 177.---Prohibition for schools and athletic associations to concern themselves with military questions or to have any connection with the Minister of War.
Art. 213.---Right of the League of Nations to exercise supervision.
Arts. 42 and 43.---Complete demilitarization of the Rhine region.
This was drafted Chapter V of the Peace Treaty. However improved it may have been by the debates from March 3 to 12, this chapter did not yet provide France---invaded twice in fifty years---with sufficient security. Furthermore it was necessary that the military, if not the political, frontier of Germany be fixed in such a manner that neither the left bank of the Rhine, nor the bridges, nor the neighboring zone of the right bank should ever again be used against France as the offensive military base it had been in the past. It was also necessary that once the military clauses had been enforced by the competent Inter-allied Commissions, any eventual violations thereof by Germany should be made the object, not only of verifications of the facts, but also of official inquiries to be provided for by the Treaty itself. Finally it was necessary that, so long as Germany should dispose of several million men trained to war-men who had actually fought-the occupation of the left bank and of the bridgeheads would provide our country a natural guarantee.
The total demilitarization of the left bank of the Rhine and of a zone of fifty kilometers to the east of the river was accepted from the first and was not made the object of any discussion. The definitive formula thereof was drafted in the clearest terms by President Wilson in a Note of March 28, which the final enactments of the Conference reproduced almost literally. This Note was drawn up as follows:
Stipulations to Be Embodied in the Treaty
(1) No fortifications west of a line drawn fifty kilometers east of the Rhine (as already provisionally agreed upon in the military terms).
(2) The maintenance or assembling of armed forces, either permanently or temporarily, forbidden within that area, as well as all manoeuvres and the maintenance of facilities for mobilization.
(3) Violation of these conditions to be regarded as hostile acts against the signatories to the Treaty and as calculated to disturb the peace of the world.
In a separate Treaty with the United States.
(4) A pledge by the United States, subject to the approval of the Executive Council of the League of Nations, to come immediately to the assistance of France as soon as any unprovoked movement of aggression against her is made by Germany,---the pledge to continue until it is agreed that the League itself affords sufficient protection.
The question of the further control to be exercised was more lengthily discussed. To reduce Germany to the military status imposed by the Treaty, commissions were provided for. But their rÙle was temporary and, the reduction of German forces to the figures of the Treaty once achieved, these commissions would disappear. For the future something else was needed. What? Not merely the ordinary military Intelligence Services possessed by all countries, but an official body that would have the specific right to make inquiries in Germany and to suggest measures based on its investigations. This was a matter which aroused the keenest attention of the Anglo-Saxons. Asserting at every turn their desire not to interfere in any way, once peace was signed, in the internal affairs of Germany, they considered that a permanent right of control over her military institutions would affect her sovereignty.(16) Such was certainly not the object of the French proposal. Still it was none the less essential that some kind of a body should be provided for, with power to verify the military execution of the peace. On five occasions, M. Clemenceau insisted on this necessity without obtaining a decision. On March 22, I handed to Colonel House a Note summing up the problem. It is proper that it should be published in full although up to the present it has remained secret.
NOTE FOR COLONEL HOUSE
March 22, 1919.
The Treaty, in which is incorporated the Covenant of the League of Nations, recognizes that the immediate disarmament of Germany is necessary and institutes a control to make sure that the disarmament clauses will be carried out.
Germany, once disarmed, is it admitted that she can re-arm? That is the question.
To this question a satisfactory reply can be made only by inserting in the Treaty the right of the League to assure itself that Germany is not re-arming.
Failing this, the League would confess to working for only six months, or eighteen months, which would be disastrous.
This truth is easy to prove.
The League wishes to compass the at least partial disarmament of its members. If one subordinates this disarmament of its own members to the disarmament of non-member nations without having the right of supervision over these latter, a weak instrument is being drawn up, dangerous and absurd, and all the weaker, more dangerous and more absurd since the bad faith of Germany has been the more clearly established.
It is said: "The Military Attachés will exercise this supervision." That is not exact.
In actual practise, to begin with, everyone knows that Military Attachés only obtain officially such particulars as it is desired to give them or those which are already public property. In 1914 they were without exact knowledge either as to the number of German Reserve Corps or as to the importance of heavy artillery.
Will it be said that the Intelligence Departments could procure these particulars? But these services have limited means. Furthermore one cannot invoke them without making them known, and their reports have no official value vis-à-vis those of a Foreign Government.
If, therefore, the League of Nations, having learned in one way or another (Military Attachés or Intelligence Services) that Germany is secretly violating the Disarmament clauses, wishes to make representations to her on the subject, the German Government will be justified in replying, "Your information is false" and her denial will be sufficient for the League to be disarmed.
Will the League say to Germany, "Prove that my information is false," or even, "We wish to verify."
But then it is claiming a right of supervision and Germany will reply: "By what right?"
That is what Germany will reply and she will be justified in so replying, if she is not forced by the Treaty to recognize the right of verification.
In a word, if this right is not given by the Treaty, Germany can always re-arm.
It will be objected perhaps that preparations for war by a great nation like Germany cannot pass unnoticed. But between complete disarmament and complete preparation there are many intermediate stages which are none the less a danger and may more or less circumscribe plans to break up the future political status of Europe.
Where will the forbearance of the League end and when will it begin to take necessary precautions if the uncertainty about what Germany is doing and preparing cannot be officially dispelled?
This situation, perilous because of Germany, will be dangerous also for the members of the League.
If a right of verification is not given to the League by the creation of a body for that purpose, what will happen, in the case where the Governments composing the League would not be in agreement as to German preparations?
There may be serious divergencies either between the facts reported by their agents or their interpretation thereof. This has happened and is constantly happening.
How can the difficulty be solved?
Another danger: the Pacifist element in each of the Nations of the League will be quite naturally inclined to deny reports disturbing to their peace of mind and more or less consciously to espouse the cause of the German Government which will deny the said reports. Must we recall the opposition of these Pacifist elements at the time when Germany armed to the teeth was openly making ready for the aggression of 1870 and that of 1914!
To sum up, the situation will be the following:
---Germany will deny
---The governments will discuss
---Public opinion will be divided, alarmed, nervous, and finally, the League unarmed will have brought to pass in the world not general Peace but general uncertainty which may give birth to an kinds of interior and exterior conflicts
It is important in this matter to lay down the principle and to assert the right.
Let care be taken to avoid vexatious proceedings in the exercise of after-war supervision, and let use be made, as agents officially recognized by Germany, of military attachés or other agents of the League, on which we are agreed:
But to deny the principle itself of this right of supervision by the League of Nations and not to embody it in the Treaty to be signed by Germany, this would amount to giving the whole world and our enemies of yesterday the very clear impression that nothing durable has been achieved and that we are ever ready to turn back to the past.
Signed: André Tardieu.
Days passed-without a decision. Sometimes we were told that our demand was excessive: sometimes that it was useless: always that such a provision of so special a character could not find place either in the Covenant of the
League of Nations, nor in the Franco-British and Franco-American Treaties of Guarantee. In a Note of April 2, we had presented the draft of a clause worded as follows.
If one of the signatory Powers considers that Germany has violated any of the above clauses (demilitarization of the left bank of the Rhine and of 50 kilometers on the right bank, and the military clauses) it will have the right to bring the matter before the Executive Council of the League of Nations which will at once proceed to verify the facts stated. Germany undertakes to submit to the said verification made in the interest of peace and to facilitate its execution.
On April 12, in a Note of reply, President Wilson maintained his refusal and wrote .
With regard to the added paragraph concerning the right of the signatory Powers to notify the Executive Council of the League of any violations of these regulations, which might have been observed, it is clear that the right already exists, on the part of members of the League, if any action is taken anywhere, which threatens to disturb the peace of the world and that it would be unwise to connect it with this special agreement and treaty.
It was once again proof of our failure. to agree. But for the first time, the door was open to agreement. Leaving aside the Treaties of Guarantee we asked by a Note of April 15 that the article proposed by us should figure in the military clauses of the peace. We showed that it was a matter of necessary precaution and closely allied to all the objects of the Conference. We wrote:
What does France demand? That the precision and strength added by the special Franco-British-American Treaty to the general clauses of the League of Nations, in case of a German attack shall be incorporated in some part of the Peace Treaty in case of preparation for such an attack.
In other words, it is a matter of giving article XIII of the Covenant, as regards possible preparations by Germany, the same complement as the special Treaty gives to article X.
The British and American Governments which have so justly understood that France has need of an additional guarantee against the realization of a German attack, will certainly admit that the same additional guarantee should appear in the preventative methods to be opposed to this attack.
The President considers that it is not proper to insert this clause in the special Treaty with Great Britain and the United States. The French Government is quite ready to abide by this opinion.
But it insists that, either in the Covenant of the League or in the military clauses of Peace, this provision shall appear.
The common work of Governments needs the ratification of Parliaments and of peoples. The clause asked for will do much for this ratification as far as France is concerned.
In this matter the position of the French Government is identical with that which prompted the American Government to introduce an amendment to the Covenant touching the Monroe Doctrine. This also is a question of public feeling.
The introduction of such a provision seems particularly easy.
1° Article X sets forth that the members of the League undertake to respect and preserve against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all the members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.
To this general provision the special Treaties of Great Britain and of the United States add a precise undertaking, the object being, in case of danger, to shorten the formalities and gain time.
2° Article XIII provides for the right of investigation by the Council. The State under suspicion and about which investigation is to be made must submit to it, if not by terms of the article XVI it may be outlawed.
This article might also be supplemented by a precise provision.
What is needed indeed in the second case as in the first is to gain time,---but precision is not less necessary.
Germany is, of all the nations not members of the League, the only one capable of letting loose an irreparable catastrophe---irreparable, if not as far as final victory is concerned, at least as regards the security of French soil.
For this reason, we are justified in forcing Germany by the Peace Treaty to submit to investigation which alone can prevent her from placing France and the League in presence of a fait accompli.
Our argument at last met more favourable reception and prevailed on April 17. On that day President Wilson offered to us a formula which we accepted immediately.
As long as the present Treaty (with Germany) remains in force, a pledge to be taken by Germany to respond to any inquiry that will be deemed necessary by the Council of the League of Nations.
This was the very object of our proposition. To avoid the delay which might have been brought about by the necessity of a unanimous vote of the Council of the League of Nations, we merely asked---and it was consented to without discussion---that the Council, in this case, "would act by a majority vote." After a month of efforts, we were at the goal. The general security of the world gained as much thereby as the security of France.
The right of occupation of the left bank of the Rhine and the Treaties of Guarantee with Great Britain and the United States were to complete the measures taken for the common defense of the "Frontier of Freedom." These two problems, by reason of their importance, are dealt with in special chapters,(17) wherein is written the final upbuilding of the work of defense, the necessity of which was emphasized by the history of the last century.
A new work this: to break and bridle the military power of the most military people in the world. The work has been undertaken and accomplished with courage, and in a manner worthy of our great soldiers. We have struck at the head by suppressing the Army Military Staff, the schools, the plans of mobilization. We have struck at the base by suppressing conscription and by reducing the effectives to 100,000 men serving for twelve years. As to war material, we have suppressed the right to retain or to manufacture heavy artillery, tanks, aviation, gas. We have allowed only 288 field cannon manufactured in factories chosen by the Allies, supervised by them, and of which they can limit the number. Was it possible to go further without affording grounds for the objection often put forward by our Allies, "Then, we must protect and safeguard Germany."
Doubtless a danger remains: fraud, camouflage. Eternal danger---which Napoleon, occupying all Germany and incorporating it in his Armies, did not succeed in doing away with. After Jena, Leipzig. To avert it, everything has been done that could be done. Effectives? Articles 160 to 163 of the Treaty give us arms to put an end to the cunning dispersion which, under the names of Reichswehr, of Sicherheitspolizei, of Einwohnerwehr., of Nothilfe, has reconstituted in Germany at the beginning of 1920 an army of nearly a million men. War material? Supervision is, and will be, necessary. Article 213 authorizes us to this by placing our complaints before the League of Nations, whose procedure has been simplified to this end. Furthermore, the clauses relating to the Rhineland---neutralization and occupation---are not a negligible guarantee. Unless all Germany is to be occupied and administered entirely, could one, I repeat, go further?
The effort accomplished may be gauged by figures, and I have summed it up in the following table:
SITUATION OF THE GERMAN ARMY
|Before Armistice||After Armistice||After Project of March 3||After Project of March 16||After the Treaty||Reduction effected Columns 1 & 5|
|Army Hq. Staff s||17||5||1||1||None||100 %|
|Divisional Hq. Staffs||71||7||5||4||2||97 %|
|Heavy Artillery||7,200||4,700||180||None||None||100 %|
Almost all the successive reductions, brought out in this table, are the work of the French delegation and particularly of its chief. It is M. Clemenceau who, from the first draft to the final text, reduced the number of men by 50 per cent., of infantry divisions by 54 per cent., of officers by 56 per cent., of Army Staffs by 60 per cent., of heavy guns by 100 per cent., field guns by 54 per cent., and the amount of munitions by 50 per cent. He it is who suppressed the Army Staffs retained by the military experts. This progress, slowly realized, was not always easy; not indeed that there was not always entire agreement between the Allies on the necessity of disarming Germany, but because this agreement ever easily reached on negative measures was more hesitating in the case of positive action; and also because too often the shibboleths of technique were an obstacle to the dictates of common sense.
It is M. Clemenceau also who, at the end of May, when Count Brockdorff-Rantzau put forward his counter-proposals, prevented their acceptance. Some, out of fear of Bolshevism, urged concessions, either on the time limit of execution or on stated figures. One day, the military experts proposed to grant to Germany 200,000 men instead of 100,000. On June 8, a Technical Committee composed of Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, Generals Bliss, Desticker, Cavallero and Naro, suggested to authorize during the first three months that would follow the entry of the Treaty in force, 300,000 men instead of 200,000. Unswervingly the French Government refused, for the good of all, to enter on this dangerous path, and at M. Clemenceau 's request the reply handed to the Germans on June 16 maintained absolutely the full wording of the military clauses, such as had been communicated on May 7 previously.
However appreciable this result, the value of these guarantees has none the less been discussed---and how bitterly. Let us admit that this value cannot be absolute; it remains that, compared to the precedents that history furnishes, the situation brought about by the Treaty connotes an advance which cannot be over-estimated; it remains that these guarantees taken as a whole strengthen and increase the importance of each of them. Modern wars---the last has only proved it too well---are waged not by armies alone but by whole nations not on "the front" only, but in "the rear;" by the entire country; by the mobilization of all its forces---man power, material, financial, naval, industrial, commercial and moral. The base of security under these circumstances is to know whether the Army left to Germany by the Treaty of Peace and the military status imposed upon her thereby, will enable her unknown to the Allies to plan and to accomplish this complete mobilization of all the national forces, which is the essential condition of modern warfare. If Germany cannot under the cloak of her Army of 100,000 men successfully carry out this complete mobilization essential to success, Germany is not to be feared---because she cannot make war. To prepare herself for it, she would be obliged to resort not only to secret and isolated infringements of such or such clauses of the Treaty, but to infringe them in every direction and on a scale so plain, so evident and so glaring that for her conquerors of yesterday to close their eyes and see nothing, they would have to have a will to suicide. Hindenburg for once spoke the truth when he wrote:
It is useless, to speak of the possibility for Germany to undertake a new war... Remember what a task it was for America to raise and equip an army of a million men... and yet they had the protection of the Ocean, while they prepared their artillery, their munitions and their aviation material.
Germany for her aviation, her heavy artillery, her armament, is not separated by the Ocean from her enemies; on the contrary these are already firmly established in German territory. Months would be necessary to prepare a new war, and do you think that the French would look on with their hands in their pockets?
A modern mobilization demands years of preparation and cannot be carried out in secret. Neither of these essentials is henceforth in the hands of Germany and if the military clauses of the Treaty do not suppress a danger which will exist as long as there will be at our gates sixty million men who are proud to be called Germans, these clauses raise against this danger the greatest obstacles that reason can conceive and accumulate guarantees the like of which history has never recorded. If these clauses are en forced; if the suppression of obligatory military service is rigorously maintained; if the aeroplanes, tanks, heavy artillery disappear; if there remain but 100,000 men with 288 field guns, manufactured in factories chosen by the Allies; if the left bank of the Rhine and the zone of 50 kilometers to the east of the river remain strictly closed to all German preparations; if the German mobilization instead of taking place on the left bank of the Rhine, must be carried out between the Elbe and the Weser; if finally the national Intelligence Services on whose findings the League of Nations will pass and take action, are vigilant, Germany will be---for so long as all this is done with care---incapable of preparing and of carrying into effect that fundamental act of war which is called the Mobilization. Enforced as they should be, the military clauses of the Treaty of Versailles make this certain.
To have demanded less would have been an insult to our dead and a betrayal of our living.
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