Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2018 09:56 am
The "Great War" and the peace gave ... some bizarre borders in Europe.

Grenzmark Posen-West Preußen ("Frontier March of Posen-West Prussia") was a weird 'leftover province' in the interwar Free State of Prussia (itself part of [Weimar] Germany).
The newly independent Poland took control of some Prussian territories, including most of the province of Posen (aka Greater Poland region) and West Prussia. Small bits of them stayed in Germany, however. Rather than rearranging the administrative divisions and absorbing the leftovers into neighbouring provinces, Prussia kept them separate as-is, with the intention of gluing them back to the lands lost to Poland, should Germany somehow re-gain them back in the future.

Grenzmark Posen-West Preußen - a province with enclaves not connected to each other, named after a capital city that was in a different country - existed from 1922 to 1938.
(For more see wikipedia)
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2018 12:29 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
The most interesting border change (in my neck of the woods) was in my opinion that >Neutral Moresnet< disappeared completely.


Neutral Moresnet was a curiosity, occasionally catching the eye of the world's press, such as when it announced that it was going to be the world's first, and only, Esperanto-speaking 'state'. It was not, of course, a state at all, but a condominium of shared responsibility on the part of two governments, like the equally curious Anglo-French condominium of the New Hebrides. (Which became the Republic of Vanuatu, in 1980.)

https://i.imgur.com/JcZwrMhh.jpg

With article 32 of the Treaty of Versailles - "Germany recognises the full sovereignty of Belgium over the whole of the contested territory of Moresnet" the history of this "state" ended.

https://i.imgur.com/HgHH285l.jpg

A true anecdote: Moresnet also employed a police force of one, referred to with local good humour - and perhaps mocking nearby Prussia with its General Staff and large social class of military officers - as Moresnet's "Secretary of War". The lone police officer was usually "to be seen in full uniform enjoying a game of chess or billiards with the burgomaster at the beer garden on the shores of the lake".
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2018 12:39 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I believe that. The war was fought in France & Belgium and not Germany: the German people, though they suffered from a shortage of food and effects of the British blockade had no comparable experience of the war as was the case with the French.

However I am not as categorical in this matter as evidently are you and Setanta. The facts remain that, after the fall of Wilhelm's government, the Armistice became a surrender and negotiations were largely replaced by dictates. I've read the history to which Setanta referred. and many others as
well.
I'm not suggesting that the treaty alone caused the subsequent war. Rather that WWI itself, the individual war aims of the participants and the issues that led up to the conflict, which all largely remained unresolved beyond it; plus the manner in which the peace arrangements were conducted - together did that. Again, it was a great tragedy, and not a conspiracy.

I do agree that the Treaty became a useful talking point for the Nazis after the war, just as did the threat of Soviet Communism. That fact however does not erase the reality of those issues - both consequences of the war.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2018 12:51 pm
@georgeob1,
I'm not that categorical either. And perhaps I'm too much biased due to the fact that the generation of my grandparents preponderantly talked about it as if "we" were the only maltreated. Which I never believed.
(As an excuse for the relatives on my mother's side it should be said that in my otherwise contemplative hometown hall battles with the Ruhr area SA took place in the 20's - "the Ruhr" was occupied French [and Belgium] territory, the fights often had to be fought elsewhere.)
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2018 01:43 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Thank you. Forgive your grandparents: a focus on your own problems, to the exclusion of those of others, is a very common human trait.

I infer that Setanta is rejecting a notion, accepted by some, that the Treaty signed in Versailles was the work of a conspiracy by Lloyd George and Clemenceau to destroy Germany and , at least keep it subservient to the then triumphal British & French Empires, and that this alone set the stage for WWII. I don't buy that argument, and, if this is indeed Setanta's point, we agree.

However, the Fact remain that Lloyd George & Clemenceau were indeed the decision makers in the Paris negotiations, wielding great power over matters like the redrawing of borders in Europe, the reconstruction of the remains of the former Ottoman Empire, and adjudicating the various claims for reparations among the parties. It takes nothing more than the observation that they faced little external restraint (apart from each other) in making these decisions, and that, as a direct consequence, their self interest would likely prevail in the outcome. This, I believe, is the central point.

Our President Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteen Points" created a bit of excitement and expectation among those likely to be subject to the then ongoing Treaty negotiations, but he was no more effective in pursuing them than he was later in selling his League of Nations to the U.S. Senate. There were however a number of fascinating anecdotes involving the Paris negotiations. The very effective lobbying of Queen Marie of Romania that gave her country large disputed territiories formerly a part of Hungary and the Empire. The Japanese delegation, in pursuit of recognition from the West as a major power ( during the war the British had given them license to seize all the German island possessions in the Pacific) proposed a clause in the treaty rejecting racism, and through it their desired recognition. It was rejected by the decision makers. A future leader of Vietman, Ho Chi Minh, was also present in a minor role proposing some autonomy for Vietnam, then a French colony. That too was ignored.

Though it was not formally a pert of the treaty the leaders of Britain and France also completed the arrangements they had begun before the war for the division of the Spoils of the former Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, thereby opening a door to unrest that continues today.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2018 01:51 pm
The reason I value McMillan's book is that she pulls all the threads together. No other book on the topic that I've read has done that, and long before her book came out, I had disagreed with the thesis that the Great War caused the Second World War. More than any other single individual, I blame Woodrow Wilson. He was elected in 1912 because Roosevelt split the Republican vote. He (Wilson) was re-elected because the American electorate usually returns a sitting president who has not screwed up too badly, and he used the "I kept us out of the war" theme effectively in 1916 (just as FDR would do in 1940). But after the Paris Peace Conference, Wilson came back to the States expecting the Senate to ratify just because he said so. The Republican leader in the Senate, Henry Cabot Lodge. was one of the last of the Republican progressives, and a long-time crony of Theodore Roosevelt (who had died the previous year). He wanted to do some horse-trading, and as it takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to ratify treaties, Lodge held the hammer. Wilson would not even consult with him, and so doomed the ratification of the treaty. When Italy invaded Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935 (Mussolini wanted to wipe out the stain of the Italian defeat in 1896), the League of Nations was shown to be a paper tiger. This only encouraged Italy, and, of course, Germany. It may also have encouraged Franco, who effectively invaded Spain from Spanish Morocco. I can't say the League of Nations would have been effective with American participation, but it clearly was no threat without it. At the time that Germany called for an armistice in 1918, the Americans were delivering more than 200,000 troops per month to French ports. No other nation could match that in the 1930s.

Wilson was the most autocratic president we've ever had. His campaign manager Mr. Creel stared the CPI--the Committee for Public Information--in April, 1917, and the press got no information on government policies and actions from any other source. There was no radio, no television and no internet. You got what the papers published, and they only got what Creel would let them have--critics were frozen out. Additionally, Wilson was clearly a racist. Theodore Roosevelt had desegregated federal offices when he was the head of the Civil Service Commission under Benjamin Harrison (by executive order) in 1889--of course, to progressive Republicans, that was the right thing for the party of Lincoln to do. When Wilson took office, white women in federal offices went to him to complain about being obliged to work in the same offices as black women, so Wilson issued an executive order to segregate federal offices. When the United States went to war, Wilson's administration did everything it could to keep black men out of combat. The French had no such problems, and black American soldiers saw combat with French division. They served with distinction and were highly decorated. For blacks, the summer of 1919 was known as "the red Summer," because of the attacks on black veterans returning from France. There were beatings, shootings and lynchings. Wilson would not even discuss the matter, and reporters did little to cover the events, because they knew they would be blackballed by Creel if the brought it up.

All in all, I consider Wilson to have been the worst would-be autocrat ever to hold that office . . . at least until now.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2018 02:09 pm
@georgeob1,
As far as I know, in the USA the reactions to the Treaty were generally negative.
But the results of the treaty ...
https://i.imgur.com/57ztktSh.jpg
... left Germany strong enough to seek revenge.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2018 02:20 pm
@Setanta,
I largely agree with you about Wilson. He was strangely self-absorbed, and apparently unaware of the stark contradictions between his own actions and the lofty principles with which he salted his political pronouncements. He was, largely as a result of these traits, ineffective in getting what he sought. In his self absorption, and conviction that the lofty goals and motives he expressed both justified whatever he did or failed to do, and compelled his listeners to do as he wished, he was indeed an authoritarian of the first rank. That too is a common human failing, and the authoritarianism of self-appointed idealists who believe that they alone have found the essential truth in the organization of human affairs, thereby justifying whatever they may do to attain them, is still with us today.

History is the story of humanity, and human aspirations, greed and folly. Perhaps we agree that it is a story involving far more comedy and tragedy than conspiracy and evil intent by those recognizing it.

Walter Hinteler
 
  3  
Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 01:29 pm
@georgeob1,
Romanian officials have reacted angrily following a German media report on their country's union with Transylvania in 1918. The article mentioned an "anschluss," which has the connotation of forced annexation.

DW: Romania protests German report on Transylvania 'anschluss'
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2018 04:13 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Fascinating.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

World War I - Question by einsteinius
THE GREAT WAR - Discussion by Setanta
 
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