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387 - Week 13 – Lecture 1 - Results .docx

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McGill University
HIST 387
Peter Hoffmann

Week 13 – Lecture 1 History 387 – the First World War Results st WW1 – the key catastrophe in the 21 C as it turned out - evident pretty soon after due to the events of the war, whilst the long-term effects also underlined this interpretation o post-war; the art of peace-making had been lost  1815 – after some 20 years of warfare, Europe was balanced in a way that there was no major conflicts following the Congress of Vienna; there were no large grievances left over from the wars as a result of the peace settlement – Concert of Europe in which the major powers of Europe were agreed that no great campaigns would be launched  it also helped that there were no ‘geniuses’amongst the monarchs whom had an excess of energy and ambition whilst long-lasting diplomats ensured the prevalence of peace • 1848 Revolutions were also contained by 1850 in comparison, the art of peace-making – balancing interests, territories, numbers, potential resources – were lost  lost in the democratic masses - the masses to whom suffering, death, bereavement, ruined lives had to be justified post-war ▯ one did that by blaming another power or person o blame was thus focused on the defeats providing their demagogues with ammunition; by blaming the defeated for everything and imposing reparation for everything with no distinction between destruction caused by German andAllied forces in Belgium  resentment this provided for demagogues, nationalists and extremists on both ends of the left and right wing stectrum was predictable and thundpredicted BUT it would be facile to say that the settlement of the 1 World War programmed the 2 World War • it would be easy to say that the settlement and resulting reactions and contradictions in national self-determination for instance (e.g. Czechoslovakia which was formed of multiple ethnicities, means that the principle of self-determination sounds like a joke given that a small but precise replica of theA-H empire was created in terms of the ethnic composition) = seeds of a nnd conflict were there but that does not mean that they had to germinate  there were other factors that made possible the 2 World War - another factor = Japan; started disturbances far prior to Hitler o another factor = Hitler = BUT it took the Great Depression to make Hitler more than a marginal politician; National Socialists in the 1920s obtained below 3% of the popular vote before 1930 and the Great Depression had set in - other things also happened = ineptitudes and mistakes; circumstances such as a powerful but aging President of the German Republic (Hindenburg); had a complete breakdown in Autumn 1931 and didn’t want to run again in 1932 but was persuaded ▯ he himself did it because he wanted to prevent the election of a radical, Communist or Nazi o Hitler was almost a close runner-up to Hindenburg necessitating a run-off election The emergence of the demagogueAdolf Hitler as a political force was NOT predictable in 1918; with all his organisational and charismatic attraction, he would have remained marginal without the Great Depression - necessary to attach a reservation to this statemen▯ predicting the past = something else might have brought him into leadership; the future was open to the generation of 1928 or 1930 ▯other options to Hitler, but this is rather speculatory and somewhat useless o the point is that, WW1 did not necessarily lead to WW2 Armistice - signed by Marshall Foch, CIC of theAllied Armies acting in the name of theAllied andAssociated Powers with Admiral ____ and Herr Hoetzberger, Count von Obandorff, Major General von Fiedervelt and Captain Vonsilo ‘duly empowered and acting with the concurrence of the German chancellor’ Conditions: as all Armistices begins with the cessation of hostilities and goes on to stipulate immediate evacuation of invaded countries inc. Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Alsace-Lorraine (not enumerated under countries but is added)  to be completed in 15 days from the signature of theArmistice - repatriation to be commenced within 15 days inc. hostages, persons under trial or condemned o also repatriation of all prisoners war of theAllied powers without reciprocity - surrender in good condition of 5000 German guns, 25,000 machine guns, 3000 trench mortars, 1700 airplanes - evacuation by the Germans of the Left Bank of the Rhine  entire territory here to be evacuated - detailed stipulations re. which cities must also be evacuated with a 30km radius on the right bank of the Rhine = neutral zone shall be reserved on the east/right bank of the Rhine and the line drawn parallel to the river and bridges and 10km from them between the Dutch and Swiss frontier - stores of food and military equipment must be left behind - roads and means of communication inc. telegraphs, bridges, telephones shall in no way be impaired - 5000 motor lorries to be delivered in good condition along with 5000 locomotives and 550,000 railway wagons also to be given = according to German statistics, there were in Germany in 1915, 32,798 locomotives and 725,000 freight cars  these numbers may have grown a little by 1918 but probably not by much right of requisition mentioned byAllied forces German prisoners of war and their return would be settled at the conclusion of the peace preliminaries  basically, would be kept as hostages until the peace was concluded  all German troops at present in any territory that pre-war formed part of Romania,A- H or Turkey shall withdraw toAugust 1914 borders whilst all German troops in pre-war borders of Russia would also withdraw as soon as theAllies should think the moment suitable  not yet! TheArmistice was a long document – about 10 pages in print, in the sessional papers of the British House of Commons - financial clauses follow beginning with the reservation that any subsequent claims by theAllies remain unaffected, the following conditions are imposed: o reparation for damage done  the chief financial clause - naval conditions stipulate the surrender of the entire German navy, which was avoided by scuttling the ships at Scapa Flow - existing blockade conditions set up byAllies and associated powers were to remain unchanged and all German merchant ships found at sea were to remain liable to capture  USAand allies were to contemplate the provisioning of Germany as deemed necessary o somewhat of a contradiction  hardly like a cessation of hostilities o blockade was lifted two weeks after the signing of the Peace Treaty – 12 July 1919 the Peace Negotiations - the terms of the peace are numerous and somewhat lengthy - primarily, the actual course of the negotiations: French PM Clemenceau wanted a league of nations army for collective security and the Rhine as a military frontier which he had to give up; received only an English and American promise for a reaty of guarantee against a Germany revenge attack  French must have been worried re. revenge attack since they themselves had contemplated a revenge assault since 1871  it was therefore expected from the Germans o they wanted a treaty of guarantee whichAmerica and Britain promised but only a declaration of support against German aggression was made and no formal treaty was ever fully concluded - President Wilson has often been accused of having ‘given-in’to Clemenceau’s demands and hatred but this is less than accurate or fair  he made many concessions concerning the Rhineland, the ‘Tsar question’, the League of Nations – important and dear to him – was formed but didn’t really get ‘teeth’,America stayed away as it turned out since the US Senate refused to sign the Versailles Treaty because it contained as a pre-amble the League of Nations statute - Russia was not admitted to the negotiations/peace deliberations = negotiations would be misleading since Germany was wholly excluded on the insistence of Clemenceau - Clemenceau and the French government wanted a ‘cordon sanitaire’around Germany, esp. to the East but this could not be consistently established and was weakened by inner conditions o Astring of states to protect Europe from bolshevism and keep Germany in check was aimed at but inner contradictions weakened the arrangement e.g. territory inhabited by Germany was given to Poland, Lithuania and Czechoslovakia  not only a contradiction but actually a plan for antagonism between Germany and E European states  Germany should not be put in a position to ally herself with the E European states and thus antagonism were created  Poland and other E European territories were thus made dependent on France’s support and a French alliance and in turn were to give France support - The situation was basically that the 5 power system of Europe that had emerged from the 18thC, no longer existed (pentarchy no longer existed)  no Concert of Europe o A-H was destroyed along with the Ottoman Empire o Russia was severely amputated and absent o Germany was excluded from the deliberations o Italy and the USAwere added = in such a situation where France turned out to be the hegemonic power on the continent, no attempt at equilibrium was made though the British did have misgivings and attempted half-heartedly to restore some balance, France for the moment was predominant - a peace conference could therefore not be expected to achieve results in the best interest of Europe nor fulfil Wilson’s dream of settling disputes or achieve permanent order in the League of Nations; his dream of a just equitable peace with agreement and participation of all nations was just a dream o mi
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