The Economic Consequences of the Peace eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 207 pages of information about The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

But the work was too complete, and to this was due the last tragic episode of the drama.  The reply of Brockdorff-Rantzau inevitably took the line that Germany had laid down her arms on the basis of certain assurances, and that the Treaty in many particulars was not consistent with these assurances.  But this was exactly what the President could not admit; in the sweat of solitary contemplation and with prayers to God be had done nothing that was not just and right; for the President to admit that the German reply had force in it was to destroy his self-respect and to disrupt the inner equipoise of his soul; and every instinct of his stubborn nature rose in self-protection.  In the language of medical psychology, to suggest to the President that the Treaty was an abandonment of his professions was to touch on the raw a Freudian complex.  It was a subject intolerable to discuss, and every subconscious instinct plotted to defeat its further exploration.

Thus it was that Clemenceau brought to success, what had seemed to be, a few months before, the extraordinary and impossible proposal that the Germans should not be heard.  If only the President had not been so conscientious, if only he had not concealed from himself what he had been doing, even at the last moment he was in, a position to have recovered lost ground and to have achieved some very considerable successes.  But the President was set.  His arms and legs had been spliced by the surgeons to a certain posture, and they must be broken again before they could be altered.  To his horror, Mr. Lloyd George, desiring at the last moment all the moderation he dared, discovered that he could not in five days persuade the President of error in what it had taken five months to prove to him to be just and right.  After all, it was harder to de-bamboozle this old Presbyterian than it had been to bamboozle him; for the former involved his belief in and respect for himself.

Thus in the last act the President stood for stubbornness and a refusal of conciliations.

FOOTNOTES: 

[6] He alone amongst the Four could speak and understand both languages, Orlando knowing only French and the Prime Minister and President only English; and it is of historical importance that Orlando and the President had no direct means of communication.

CHAPTER IV

THE TREATY

The thoughts which I have expressed in the second chapter were not present to the mind of Paris.  The future life of Europe was not their concern; its means of livelihood was not their anxiety.  Their preoccupations, good and bad alike, related to frontiers and nationalities, to the balance of power, to imperial aggrandizements, to the future enfeeblement of a strong and dangerous enemy, to revenge, and to the shifting by the victors of their unbearable financial burdens on to the shoulders of the defeated.

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The Economic Consequences of the Peace from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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