Introduction by Clemenceau
1. A tiny instance can give some idea of the difficulties of agreement on points. For France to obtain the right to subject to military service, for the exclusive defense of her own territory, the natives of the countries over which she obtained a mandate, it was necessary to assert the contrary principle and it was only at the end of a year that (see the texts) a right of interpretation was implicitly recognized to us which amounted to nothing less than the formal negation of the professed agreement. As to an express recognition, it was always energetically refused to us.
André Tardieu. The Truth About the Treaty.
2. Speech at Friedrichsruhe, April 24, 1895.
3. See Chapter IX, page 281.
4. The foregoing account makes it unnecessary for me to insist on the legend of "Peace was possible as early as 1917." As is well known, M. Aristide Briand, formerly French Premier, was approached in the middle of 1917 by a Belgian, Baron Coppée with so-called Peace proposals from Baron Von Lancken, who bears so heavy a responsibility for the martyrdom of Belgium. M. Aristide Briand, in laying these overtures before M. Ribot who had succeeded him as Premier, appeared to believe that they were serious and would lead to the restitution of Alsace-Lorraine. M. Ribot on the contrary thought that "it was a trap." It is clear from the quotations and facts given above that as late as the beginning of July, 1918, Germany intended to make only a peace with "the maintenance of the war aims established in view to 'victory," that is to say a peace of annexation and not of restoration. The official evidence of Admiral von Hintze, the Kaiser's foreign Minister, and the documents quoted above settle the question.
5. The Chief of Staff of the Belgian Army summoned at the same time as the Commanders-in-Chief could not on account of the distance reach my H.Q. in time.
6. Or about one-third of the artillery of the German Army.
7. Or about half the machine guns of the German Army.
8. Of these amounts 2,500 locomotives and 135,000 cars represent the rolling stock carried off from France and Belgium, the surplus is needed for the service of the railroads on the left bank of the Rhine.
9. Outside of the exchange of views between the military advisers, this proposal was not officially submitted by the American delegates to the heads of the Governments.
10. I shall not waste time in this book on the insults addressed by Mr. Keynes to France, her representatives and her policy. I confine myself to noting once for all that this writer, whose contentions do not withstand examination in the light of the facts here set forth, condemns himself both by the violence of his words and the contradiction of his acts. The violence of his words? Here are a few samples: "Nightmare; empty and intrigue; puppet-show; carthaginian peace; the hot and poisoned atmosphere of Paris; the treacherous halls of Paris; the morass of Paris; insincerity; systematic destruction; Germany's outlawry; spoliation; imperial aggrandisements; ridiculous and injurious provisions; the policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a generation, of degrading the lives of millions of human beings, of depriving a whole nation of happiness; a destructive blow at the so-called international law; some preach in the name of justice; cavern; sophistry and jesuitical exegesis; dishonourable to the Allies in the light of their professions; dishonesty; the grossest spectacle; food for the cynic; imbecile and senseless greed; unveracity; crushing policy; policy of pretence; so contorted, so miserable negotiation; shame; false statement, breach of engagements and of international morality comparable with the invasion of Belgium; one of the most outrageous acts of a cruel victor in civilised history." When a man is right he does not write thus. As to Mr. Keynes' acts I will merely say this: "Mr. Keynes was attached as an expert to the British delegation up to June 9, 1919, that is to say for six months. Long before this date the Treaty drawn up with his collaboration contained all the features for which he has since criticized it so virulently. So he would have been better inspired if he had resigned a few months sooner instead of abusing to the end the confidence of those he was preparing to insult."
11. In connection with these preliminary discussions in December, 1918, it is only right to destroy a legend which has found almost as many believers as that of "peace was possible in 1917"---and which is quite as untrue. I refer to the so-called deal said to have been made in London between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George, the former giving up "Freedom of the Seas" in exchange for British support of the League of Nations. It is a fabrication, pure and simple. "Romancing," as M. Clemenceau said. There was not in London in December, 1918, any deal or negotiation on the subject of the "Freedom of the Seas." Mr. Wilson held that with the League of Nations established there would be no more neutrals and that the problem of neutrality discussed for centuries in connection with the Freedom of the Seas no longer arose and could not arise. The President of the United States moreover made a public statement on this subject in the spring of 1919. Besides agreement was complete between the three heads of the Governments of the United States, of France and of Great Britain on the subject of the decisive services rendered by the naval power of Great Britain. M. Clemenceau said so plainly on September 26, 1919, in the Chamber of Deputies in the following words: "Mr. Lloyd George said to me: 'Do you admit that without the British fleet you could not have continued the war?' And I answered: 'Yes.' Mr. Lloyd George had added: 'Are you disposed to prevent us in case of war doing the same thing again?' And I answered: 'No.' Well now I repeated this conversation to President Wilson. It did not in the least disturb him. President Wilson answered me: 'I have nothing to ask you which could displease or embarrass either of you.' Already then Mr. Wilson was convinced that the League Of Nations by itself sufficed to solve the problem. Mr. House in a letter of October, 1920, was so kind as to confirm that no negotiation whatever took place on this subject in London at the end of 1918.
12. See specially his Note of March 26, 1919.
13. See Chapters V, VIII and IX.
14. See. Chapter II, page 66.
15. By decision of the Supreme Council on February 12, 1920, the date was extended to July 1, 1920, owing to the delay in the coming into force of the Treaty which did not occur until January 10, 1920.
16. A proposal to organize a general supervision of armaments, presented in February by Mr. Léon Bourgeois at the League of Nations Commission, had been rejected by twelve votes to three.
17. See Chapters V and VI.
18. In other words an occupation for thirty years.
19. See Chapter VI, page 209, and following.
20. See Chapter X, page 334.
21. See Chapter VI, page 211.
22. See Chapter V.
23. See Chapter V, page 182.
24. See Chapter VIII.
25. See Chapter V.
26. See Chapter VII.
27. Article 67 of the Treaty of Versailles, substituting the French Government in all the rights of the German Empire over all the railway lines managed by the Empire Railroad Administration, had placed in the hands of France, the Luxemburg system which had, moreover been operated before 1870 by the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer de l'Est. It was on this point that Belgium has asked for an amendment.
28. "The representatives of Alsace and Lorraine, prior to any negotiations for peace, have laid on the table of the National Assembly a declaration most solemnly stating, in the name of both Provinces, their wish and right to remain French.
"Having been handed over, contrary to all justice, and through an odious abuse of power, to the domination of the foreigner, we have one last duty to perform.
"We once again declare to be null and void a treaty which disposes of us without our consent.
"The revindication of our rights remains forever open to each and all, according to the dictates of our conscience.
"On leaving these precincts, where our dignity will not allow us to remain any longer, and despite the bitterness of our sorrow, the supreme thought, which lies at the bottom of our hearts, is one of gratitude to those who, for the last six months, have unceasingly defended us, as also of unalterable attachment to the Mother country from which we have been so violently torn.
"We shall still be with you in our prayers, and shall wait, with full confidence in the future, for regenerated France to resume the course of her great destiny.
"Your brothers of Alsace and Lorraine, albeit separated for the time being from the common family, will retain for France, absent though she be from their homes, a filial affection until the day when she returns to take again her place therein. "
29. See Chapter IX, page 281.
30. See Chapter III, page 86.
31. Article 231. The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.
Article 232. The Allied and Associated Governments recognize that the resources of Germany are not adequate, after taking into account permanent diminutions of such resources which will result from other provisions of the present Treaty, to make complete reparation for all such loss and damage.
The Allied and Associated Governments, however, require, and Germany undertakes, that she will make compensation for all damage done to the civilian population of the Allied and Associated Powers and to their property during the period of the belligerency of each as an Allied or Associated Power against Germany by such aggression by land, by sea and from the air, and in general all damage as defined in Annex I hereto.
32. The valuation, according to the terms of the Treaty, must be made in accordance with the cost of reconstruction, which, since the Armistice, has constantly increased. The French Government, in July, 1920, supplied the following approximate values: damages one hundred and fifty-two thousand millions; pensions fifty-eight thousand millions. See Chapter XII, page 396, for the evaluation of December, 1920.
33. In connection with these figures I desire to make once for all two very important remarks.
1° When discussing the annuities to be paid by Germany, it is most important always to bear in mind this idea of "present value." The Allies have an immediate need of money. What interests them is the amount to be received or to be minted in the near future. Thus defined, the present value of a series of annuities is very inferior to the arithmetical sum of these annuities, and the longer the duration, the greater difference becomes. If, for example, we consider a series of annuities of ten thousand millions, their arithmetical calculation gives, for twenty-five years, 250 thousand millions. But their present value, on the basis of a rate of interest of five per cent. represents only 140 thousand millions, because we must take into account the interest. For fifty years, the arithmetical total would be 500 thousand millions, but the present value would be only 182. For one hundred years, the difference is greater still. The arithmetical total is 1,000 thousand millions; the present value only 198.
2° The fact that Allied claims are expressed in national currency at current rates and the German debt in marks gold should not be allowed to create any illusion as to the possibility of utilizing exchange fluctuations in order to reduce the German debt. As a matter of fact, the payment will be spread over a long period of forty or fifty years. On the one hand, the exchange difficulties (especially in the case of France whose commercial balance is improving from month to month) is only temporary. On the other hand, and this is even more important, the payment by Germany of even a part of her debt, say 30,000 millions in marks gold, would immediately result in bringing back exchange to par. The advantages which some seem to have expected, especially at the Boulogne Conference of June, 1920---from the fixation of the amount of the debt in gold and of the amount of the claims in national paper currency, would thus be insignificant and do not need to be taken into account.
34. Germany's total production of coal and of lignite amounted in 1913, to 280 million tons, of which the Sarre accounted for thirteen millions; Upper Silesia for forty-eight. But, on the one hand, the production of the Sarre was consumed nearly entirely in Alsace-Lorraine; on the other, the Silesian production was consumed to the extent of ten million tons by the local factories; nine million tons by Poland, and four millions by Austria, leaving but twenty-five millions for German consumption. Taking into account the reduction of coal consumption resulting for Germany from the cession of territories the net loss of combustibles to her amounts only to twenty-five million tons, or one eleventh of the total production of 1913.
35. The Treaty of Bucharest obliged Roumania from 1919 to 1926 to deliver to Germany her entire surplus, and to yield to a company controlled by the German Government, the right to operate, for ninety years, all her petroleum wells. The treaties of Germany with Ukrainia, Poland and Finland contained analogous clauses.
36. See Chapter V.
37. The German Railways are now being operated at very considerable loss.
38. See Chapter IX, page 317.
39. See Chapter II, pages 37-42.
40. It is right to remark that a considerable portion of the powers conferred by the Klotz plan to the Financial Section of the League of Nations has been effectively conferred by the Treaty to the Reparations Commission.
41. See Chapter IX, page 312.
42. See Chapter IX, pages 286-294.
43. This French estimate, correct in March, 1919, had in December, 1920, revealed itself as less than half the actual cost of reconstruction.
44. See Chapter III, pages 81-82.
45. See Chapter V.
46. See Chapter IX, page 281.
47. See Chapter IX, page 281.
48. Plus the pensions, i. e. 58 billions.
49. See Chapter II, pages 31-35.
50. See Chapter X, pages 320-321.
51. See pages 418-421.
52. See Chapter XIV, pages 462-463.
53. See Chapter VI, pages 209-212.
54. See Chapter III, pages 120-122.
55. At least twice in 1920, the French Government violated this rule. It was by the French papers that Mr. Lloyd George learned of the occupation of Frankfort. As to the recognition of Wrangel, M. Millerand's Government informed Great Britain on a Wednesday when on the Sunday and Monday preceding a conference had taken place at Hythe between the two Premiers in which not a word was said about it. In both cases telegraphic delays were blamed which merely added ridicule to lack of tact.
56. M. Millerand, the French Premier, told the Chamber of Deputies on may 28, 1920: "The Treaty of Versailles contains more promises than realities." He added on July 20, .... "it is a diplomatic instrument in which all things are asserted and nothing is settled, so it is necessary to interpret it in order to obtain tangible results."
57. See Chapter II, pages 43-76.
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