Paris Peace Conference

Oct 2007
308
From studying the events following the armistice of World War I, it seems like many of the treaties signed in the suburbs around Paris only further polarized pre-existing camps.

The Bulgarians, their army limited to 10,000 men, disallowed an air force, and lands of theirs around the Mediterranean and the Dobruja stripped from them;

the Austrians, their army limited to 30,000 men, disallowed an air force, the Tyrol given to Italy, and not allowed union with Germany, even though many Austrians viewed themselves as Germans;

the Hungarians, their army limited to 35,000 men, 2/3 of their lands taken, and an enormous percentage of their population lost with it;

and the Germans, allowed only a 100,000 man army, no air force, no submarines, a de-militarized Rhineland, re-established Poland with access to the sea via Prussia, lands in the north given to Denmark, Alsace-Lorraine taken back by France, and they had to give over 1/4 of their fishing fleet to Great Britain.

Marshal Foche did not think the peace was hard enough, but this peace seemed to effectively establish the configuration of World War II. What do you all think?
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
NomadBard,

What you have written is exactly true. In this case, it also happens to be the conventional wisdom. : ]

But what were the Allies supposed to do? The poilus were only slightly less mutinous than the landsers. France needed peace almost as much as Germany did. And the Germans knew it. And the Allies knew what happened when Germany had imposed draconian terms on Russia. They certainly didn't want any such phenomenon occurring right across the Rhine. So, they fell between two stools.

By June 28th 1919, when the treaty was signed, the tide was turning in Trotsky's favor in Russia. So, the clock was ticking for everybody.
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
...and the Germans, allowed only a 100,000 man army, no air force, no submarines, a de-militarized Rhineland, re-established Poland with access to the sea via Prussia, lands in the north given to Denmark, Alsace-Lorraine taken back by France, and they had to give over 1/4 of their fishing fleet to Great Britain.
This was perhaps the biggest joke of all. The 100,000 man army limit was immediately circumvented by reducing the term of service to by 1920 the "real " fully trained German army was closer to 400,000. 100,000 were active at any one time. add to this a further 100,000 "police" all of whom were ex-servicemen and you have a sizeable pool to mobilize in an emergency. Then of course we have the "spontaneous" creation of the Freikrops. As for the Airforce? Lufthansa the "state airline" was a military pilot training school. German Pilots also trained and practised combat flying techniques in Russia. Was the sudden German obsession with gliding coincidental?
 
Oct 2007
308
They did not get the treaty with Hungary done until 1921, but that was due to a civil war in the time between.
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
Wasn't all these problems to do with Wilson's "right of self determination". This created an independent Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, etc. I know that Poland seized the opportunity provided by the break up of Prussia/Germany, Austria/Hungary and Russia to grab it's ancient pre-partition territories. This started a war against Russia. Presumably other countries did the same.
 
Sep 2006
1,453
Korea (but I'm American!)
What choice did France really have? The balance in Europe was gone. With Russia defeated it left Germany in an even better strategic position than in 1914 and France in the worst one imaginable. With no permanent guarantees from the US or Great Britiain, France was stuck all alone with a country they could never outmatch.
 
Oct 2007
107
Florida
What's funny is that the railroad car that the Germans surrendered in was the same one that the Germans had the French surrender in when the Germans defeated France in WW2
 
Oct 2007
107
Florida
Yea and in all honesty to me the Germans were not the aggressors, it was more of a petty sibling rivalry, (The Czar,Kaiser, King of England) all related. And when the Americans got involved, there was no justification for the Americans getting angry at German Sub attacks. The Germans warned them ahead of time and that the Germans knew that the Americans were smuggling weapons and everything else to its buddies over the Atlantic. The other cause for American entry was the intercepted radio transmission from Germany to Mexico asking for them to ally with them when al was over in Europe to stage an attack on America.
 

Lucius

Forum Staff
Jan 2007
16,363
Nebraska
Sun Tzu,

Yes, the situation was too complicated to say that Germany was "the" aggressor. In hindsight though, I think they had the most to gain by staying out of it. Isn't hindsight wonderful?
 
Sep 2006
1,453
Korea (but I'm American!)
I don't think the US got into the war because of submarines. That was just the justification. The reason was that W. Wilson's friends couldn't allow France and Britain to default on their credit by losing the war and paying a bunch of reperations to Germany. Also, his business friends stood to make a lot of money selling weapons to the US, some of which were still being delivered in 1920 if I recall correctly.

It was a hegemonic war, and Germany was the challenger. If they hadn't tried to challenge the Royal Navy's dominance, Britain wouldn't have made ammends with Russia and France and would have remained the wildcard in the system.