AP US History March 1, 1997 Period 4 Treaty of Versailles: Who was at fault for its denial? The Treaty of Versailles, which was a peace treaty that called for the end of World War 1(between Germany and the Allies), was defeated in the Senate by an unknown alliance of two forces. The two forces were President Wilsons all or nothing attitude and the strong opponents of the Treaty in the Senate. William Borah (Sen, Idaho), one of the irreconcilables, brings out a clear weakness in the Covenant of the League of Nations in his speech to the Senate. The weakness is that will any country really feel comfortable, or approve of, another countrys government dealing with their domestic affairs and concerns, especially if they have an army to support whatever they decide. He also brings up a point that no one would approve of a tribunal, with 41 other nations in it, to settle a problem that might arise between members of the nation because what one nation sees a vital, another nation may see as wasteful, which might just lead to another World War.
The League as he describes it is contradictorial in all that it is to accomplish (force to destroy force, conflict to prevent conflict, militarism to destroy militarism, war to prevent war) and it cant work like that because it has no authority to back up its own judgment. This goes against Wilsons idea of the League because he helped create it and it is a very important and big step to him in creating a worldwide government (Doc A) The Treaty as portrayed in The New Republic is useless, which is a strong reason it shouldnt be passed. It wasnt useless in the sense that it would officially end the war, but in a sense that it would not moralize nationalism. The moralization of nationalism could be achieved by ending the separation of classes and ambitions that could only be enjoyed by some, not all, people in the country. According to the journalist the Treaty doesnt make even a bland attempt to solve these problems, and that it, in fact, promotes and heightens those differences of opinion between the nations.
(Doc B) In a general speech given by Wilson, he provides that Article X, which morally bound the U.S. to aid any member of the League victimized by external aggression, is the inevitable, logical center to the whole system of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Although he supports it, he feels he is not at fault if the Covenant isnt correct. On another separate occasion, Wilson defended that Article X morally, not legally, bound the U.S. to aiding other victimized nations, ergo the U.S. didnt have to help who they didnt want to help.
Article X angered Congress because they wanted to reserve their constitutional right of declaring war to themselves. Article X also enraged the great- grandson of George Cabot, Henry Cabot Lodge (R, Idaho). He so disliked Article X that he made his own reservation to it, which provided that the U.S. has no obligation to get involved with the affairs of any other country. His reservation would later be turned down by Congress.
(Doc C) Herbert Hoover correctly advises President Wilson to, in so many words, to hurry up and do something to approve the treaty in the Senate or it will never get passed. He gives this advice to President Wilson because he knows that Lodge is effectively using delay tactics, such as reading the whole 264- page treaty aloud to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to divide and sway public opinion about the Treaty to his favor. Although he is pleased with the concern the government is giving to the treaty, he feels their could be improvements and if these improvements arent quick in happening, then the very necessary public opinion of the Americans will start to go against the treaty because of the many wrongs imposed in the Treaty and Lodges active lobbyism. When popular public opinion goes, in most cases, so does the bill. (Doc D) The cartoon (Doc E) shows how the Republicans felt about not being involved in the peace proceedings in Paris. When Wilson went to Paris, his delegation included not a single Republican which greatly infuriated them. He did not even consult the Republican leadership in the Senate about the peace negotiations, which was also an insult to the Republicans. Among the leading Republicans was Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, who was also the chairman of the Senate Committee on foreign relations.
Lodge and Wilson were the two great minds of U.S. politics at the time so they were naturally against each other because of their different partisan roots. Wilsons decision would prove to be fatal to his cause because the Senate majority belonged to the Republicans, which meant that the Treaty would not probably pass without a lot of their support. In his Economic Consequences of the Peace, John Maynard Keyes argues that Germany should have to repay the United States and other Allies for the damages they caused to them during the war. This was necessary, economically, for the U.S. and the rest of the Allies because the Allies needed the money from Germany to pay off their wartime debts to America and America needed the money so they wouldnt have to use taxpayers dollars to pay for the debt.
This would actually go against the Wilson supported idea of Article X because America would morally have to help Germany out because they did damage to Germany and Germany was damaged the most by the war! (Doc G) ( This issue would later be solved by the Dawes Plan of 1924, in which American money was cycled around the world as loans, back to the U.S. Treasury as debt payments) W.E.B. DuBois, editor of Crisis magazine, blamed both Wilson and his opponents as the main reasons that the U.S. is not in the League of Nations, in his article The League of Nations. He compares the U.S.
government to the other governments of the League and the U.S. government comes out looking very silly. He makes an interesting, but all too true point, that one nation cant control the world or just stay out of it, which the twin tower forces are causing to happen. (Doc H) Jane Addams view of the League of Nations catastrophe is actually quite similar to DuBois, but in a different way. She has found that the joining of the League by signing the Treaty is a very difficult question to answer because of the multiverse of opinion. The members of the Womens Peace Party knew there was a lot more effort needed to push forth for a sufficient international organization, but what type of effort would everyone approve? The question of the Treaty was an answerless idea among her group and among the government also, which had answers but different ones that they couldnt agree upon.
(Doc I) Although Wilson and his opposing forces were clearly against each other on their views of the whole Treaty of Versailles issue, they ended up being the main reason for the failure of it in America. They both wanted to pass the Treaty but only with their own certain reservations or without reservations. Either way they could never agree upon it in America. The strong division of the public opinion and the twin towers proved to be too much for the Treaty to be approved in the United States.