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

New York, September 27.—­(1) “The impartial justice meted out must involve no discrimination between those to whom we wish to be just and those to whom we do not wish to be just.” (2) “No special or separate interest of any single nation or any group of nations can be made the basis of any part of the settlement which is not consistent with the common interest of all.” (3) “There can be no leagues or alliances or special covenants and understandings within the general and common family of the League of Nations.” (4) “There can be no special selfish economic combinations within the League and no employment of any form of economic boycott or exclusion, except as the power of economic penalty by exclusion from the markets of the world may be vested in the League of Nations itself as a means of discipline and control.” (5) “All international agreements and treaties of every kind must be made known in their entirety to the rest of the world.”

This wise and magnanimous program for the world had passed on November 5, 1918 beyond the region of idealism and aspiration, and had become part of a solemn contract to which all the Great Powers of the world had put their signature.  But it was lost, nevertheless, in the morass of Paris;—­the spirit of it altogether, the letter in parts ignored and in other parts distorted.

The German observations on the draft Treaty of Peace were largely a comparison between the terms of this understanding, on the basis of which the German nation had agreed to lay down its arms, and the actual provisions of the document offered them for signature thereafter.  The German commentators had little difficulty in showing that the draft Treaty constituted a breach of engagements and of international morality comparable with their own offense in the invasion of Belgium.  Nevertheless, the German reply was not in all its parts a document fully worthy of the occasion, because in spite of the justice and importance of much of its contents, a truly broad treatment and high dignify of outlook were a little wanting, and the general effect lacks the simple treatment, with the dispassionate objectivity of despair which the deep passions of the occasion might have evoked.  The Allied governments gave it, in any case, no serious consideration, and I doubt if anything which the German delegation could have said at that stage of the proceedings would have much influenced the result.

The commonest virtues of the individual are often lacking in the spokesmen of nations; a statesman representing not himself but his country may prove, without incurring excessive blame—­as history often records—­vindictive, perfidious, and egotistic.  These qualities are familiar in treaties imposed by victors.  But the German delegation did not succeed in exposing in burning and prophetic words the quality which chiefly distinguishes this transaction from all its historical predecessors—­its insincerity.

This theme, however, must be for another pen than mine.  I am mainly concerned in what follows, not with the justice of the Treaty,—­neither with the demand for penal justice against the enemy, nor with the obligation of contractual justice on the victor,—­but with its wisdom and with its consequences.

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