France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Sep 2020 23:00

Futurist wrote:
28 Sep 2020 19:53
This:
Despite what a Wiki entry says, insofar as I am aware no such treaty of guarantee was every formally proposed to, considered by, or disapproved by the U.S. President or Congress. It's another improbable POD tacked onto another improbable POD. You might legitimately posit the U.S. Senate passing the Versailles Treaty and joining the League, but then you have to posit a way the League would gain teeth and make such treaties feasible. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by paulrward » 28 Sep 2020 23:36

Hello All :

In fact, the Treaty of Guarantee was passed by both Houses of Parliament, and was part of the proposed
Treaty of Versailles that was presented to the United States Senate. In effect, had the Senate accepted and
ratified the Treaty of Versailles, it would have been simultaneously ratifying the Treaty of Guarantee.

It was, in fact, The Treaty of Guarantee which ' sank ' the Treaty of Versailles in the Senate. Sen. Henry
Cabot Lodge rose up, and with forceful and cogent arguments, convinced a sufficient number of his fellow
senators that, were the Treaty ratified, if would have required the United States to keep a Standing Army
and a Navy of sufficient power to enforce the Treaty of Guarantee at all times in the future. The cost of
this permanent armed force was an anathema to many intelligent citizens of the United States, and thus,
on consecutive votes, the Treaty of Versailles, and thus the Treaty of Guarantee, failed to achieve the
necessary two thirds majority required to pass, and thus the United States never joined in the Treaty of
Versailles, or the League of Nations.

The sad litany of foreign involvement that the United States has endured since 1945 shows the wisdom
of Sen. Lodge's position. We can only hope that, in the future, some President of the United States can
find a way to remove U.S. military forces from foreign soil and return American to Greatness Again.

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by T. A. Gardner » 29 Sep 2020 00:07

Without looking all that up, I agree that the US would have been fools to enter into a standing agreement to enforce the Treaty of Versailles not for reasons of enforcement but due to the terms of the Treaty. That is to say, unlike the post WW 2 world, the Treaty of Versailles was extremely punitive. The French, in particular, were trying to extract both economic and social retribution on Germany for WW 1, a war they erroneously and maliciously attributed to Germany starting.
The US was smart staying out of that European debacle of revenge. If only the US had been as prescient after WW 2...

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Terry Duncan » 29 Sep 2020 14:16

T. A. Gardner wrote:
29 Sep 2020 00:07
Without looking all that up, I agree that the US would have been fools to enter into a standing agreement to enforce the Treaty of Versailles not for reasons of enforcement but due to the terms of the Treaty. That is to say, unlike the post WW 2 world, the Treaty of Versailles was extremely punitive. The French, in particular, were trying to extract both economic and social retribution on Germany for WW 1, a war they erroneously and maliciously attributed to Germany starting.
The US was smart staying out of that European debacle of revenge. If only the US had been as prescient after WW 2...
The problem with complaining about Versailles is that it really was little different from many previous treaties including those imposed during the war itself. If its terms had been enforced there would have been no WWII in the form we know it. The first real break came from the US that had insisted on 'self-determination' when it then removed itself from enforcing the treaty it had done so much to create. From a French point of view, Germany had started the war so it was reasonable to blame it, and the actual original culprit, Austria-Hungary had fragmented beyond a point where reparations were possible for the most part.

I would suggest the terms of Versailles were preferable to those of WWII, as Germany surrendered with German territory intact. After WWII, Germany was largely bombed flat, divided into two, and in certain areas anything remaining that was possible to remove was taken to other nations, ie: the USSR. Germany lost territory in both wars, but lost more of Germany itself after WWII. You could argue all day over who really should own Alsasc-Lorraine/Elsass-Lothringen, but it was always going to change hands if Germany lost.

The problem with Versailles was that after setting it up, everyone walked away not intending to enforce it other than France, and France couldnt enforce it on its own for long.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by T. A. Gardner » 29 Sep 2020 17:09

Terry Duncan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 14:16
The problem with complaining about Versailles is that it really was little different from many previous treaties including those imposed during the war itself. If its terms had been enforced there would have been no WWII in the form we know it. The first real break came from the US that had insisted on 'self-determination' when it then removed itself from enforcing the treaty it had done so much to create. From a French point of view, Germany had started the war so it was reasonable to blame it, and the actual original culprit, Austria-Hungary had fragmented beyond a point where reparations were possible for the most part.

I would suggest the terms of Versailles were preferable to those of WWII, as Germany surrendered with German territory intact. After WWII, Germany was largely bombed flat, divided into two, and in certain areas anything remaining that was possible to remove was taken to other nations, ie: the USSR. Germany lost territory in both wars, but lost more of Germany itself after WWII. You could argue all day over who really should own Alsasc-Lorraine/Elsass-Lothringen, but it was always going to change hands if Germany lost.

The problem with Versailles was that after setting it up, everyone walked away not intending to enforce it other than France, and France couldnt enforce it on its own for long.
What Versailles did was create the conditions for another war. Germans saw it as unjust and unfair revenge for a war they didn't start. That France wanted massive reparations from Germany--onerous ones that left Germany perpetually bankrupt for all intents--was at the heart of that. Occupation of the Rhineland and Ruhr to enforce this just heaped hurt on injury.

It set the German people into a mindset where revenge for all this was seen as not only justified, but a balancing of the books.

If anything, it was France's near irrational demand for vengeance and retribution against Germany for a war Germany really didn't even start that was at the heart of this issue.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Sep 2020 20:18

Futurist wrote:
28 Sep 2020 21:33

Could we actually see Western Allied troops in Russia in this scenario?
Well, there was a British ground support/training unit in the far north 1941-42. So, we might see more of that if the Allies hold on to northern Norway.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 29 Sep 2020 22:30

Terry Duncan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 14:16
T. A. Gardner wrote:
29 Sep 2020 00:07
Without looking all that up, I agree that the US would have been fools to enter into a standing agreement to enforce the Treaty of Versailles not for reasons of enforcement but due to the terms of the Treaty. That is to say, unlike the post WW 2 world, the Treaty of Versailles was extremely punitive. The French, in particular, were trying to extract both economic and social retribution on Germany for WW 1, a war they erroneously and maliciously attributed to Germany starting.
The US was smart staying out of that European debacle of revenge. If only the US had been as prescient after WW 2...
The problem with complaining about Versailles is that it really was little different from many previous treaties including those imposed during the war itself. If its terms had been enforced there would have been no WWII in the form we know it. The first real break came from the US that had insisted on 'self-determination' when it then removed itself from enforcing the treaty it had done so much to create. From a French point of view, Germany had started the war so it was reasonable to blame it, and the actual original culprit, Austria-Hungary had fragmented beyond a point where reparations were possible for the most part.

I would suggest the terms of Versailles were preferable to those of WWII, as Germany surrendered with German territory intact. After WWII, Germany was largely bombed flat, divided into two, and in certain areas anything remaining that was possible to remove was taken to other nations, ie: the USSR. Germany lost territory in both wars, but lost more of Germany itself after WWII. You could argue all day over who really should own Alsasc-Lorraine/Elsass-Lothringen, but it was always going to change hands if Germany lost.

The problem with Versailles was that after setting it up, everyone walked away not intending to enforce it other than France, and France couldnt enforce it on its own for long.
France might have had a somewhat easier time enforcing Versailles had Germany been partitioned into numerous independent countries after the end of World War I. For instance, an independent Bavaria, et cetera.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Sep 2020 23:07

A better trained 'enforcement force' may have made a difference. The Ruhr occupation of 1923-1924 had the handicap of being executed with half trained & disciplined reservists. The officers were shoved into situations they were not prepared for and the friction with the German population was magnified. Unfortunately the idea of keeping even a single corps of well trained and disciplined solders standing as a intervention force was anthem to French leaders, left and right.

Had even one major power supported France in this effort the political equation might have changed significantly. The poor encouragement from the former Entente partners caused both France and Belgium to rethink their national strategies and military goals/organizations. It looks to be me like there is a direct connection between the failure of a aggressive policy in 23/24 and the French change to a defensive strategy five years later.

Discouraging for the Germans was the US effort to 'fix things' resulted in the Dawes Plan of 1925, which only ensured the continued payment of reparations and US bank loans. From the German view a effort to be civil and protest peacefully, to act without war was a failure. The Young Plan of 1929 seems to have reinforced their view. The German governments tried to bargain away the worst of the ToV, but came away from the table with nothing the voters thought worth looking at. On the US side the Coolidge & Hoover administrations were heavily influenced by isolationism & their best effort was renegotiating payments for the Dawes and Young Plans.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 26 Nov 2020 07:45

paulrward wrote:
28 Sep 2020 23:36
Hello All :

In fact, the Treaty of Guarantee was passed by both Houses of Parliament, and was part of the proposed
Treaty of Versailles that was presented to the United States Senate. In effect, had the Senate accepted and
ratified the Treaty of Versailles, it would have been simultaneously ratifying the Treaty of Guarantee.

It was, in fact, The Treaty of Guarantee which ' sank ' the Treaty of Versailles in the Senate. Sen. Henry
Cabot Lodge rose up, and with forceful and cogent arguments, convinced a sufficient number of his fellow
senators that, were the Treaty ratified, if would have required the United States to keep a Standing Army
and a Navy of sufficient power to enforce the Treaty of Guarantee at all times in the future. The cost of
this permanent armed force was an anathema to many intelligent citizens of the United States, and thus,
on consecutive votes, the Treaty of Versailles, and thus the Treaty of Guarantee, failed to achieve the
necessary two thirds majority required to pass, and thus the United States never joined in the Treaty of
Versailles, or the League of Nations.

The sad litany of foreign involvement that the United States has endured since 1945 shows the wisdom
of Sen. Lodge's position. We can only hope that, in the future, some President of the United States can
find a way to remove U.S. military forces from foreign soil and return American to Greatness Again.

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
Just how exactly it this consistent and compatible with what Lodge wrote here? :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lodge_Res ... ublicanism

"if there had been no proposition such as is included in Article 10, but a simple proposition that it would be our intention to aid France, which is our barrier and outpost, when attacked without provocation by Germany, I should have strongly favored it for I feel very keenly the sacrifices of France and the immense value her gallant defense was to the whole world. But they have made the French treaty subject to the authority of the League, which is not to be tolerated. If we ever are called upon to go to the assistance of France as we were two years ago, we will go without asking anybody's leave. It is humiliating to be put in such an attitude and not the least of the mischief done by the League is that Article 10 will probably make it impossible to do anything for France as Root recommends and as many of our Senators desire."

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 26 Nov 2020 07:51

Richard Anderson wrote:
28 Sep 2020 23:00
Futurist wrote:
28 Sep 2020 19:53
This:
Despite what a Wiki entry says, insofar as I am aware no such treaty of guarantee was every formally proposed to, considered by, or disapproved by the U.S. President or Congress. It's another improbable POD tacked onto another improbable POD. You might legitimately posit the U.S. Senate passing the Versailles Treaty and joining the League, but then you have to posit a way the League would gain teeth and make such treaties feasible. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...
Please take a look at pages 144-145 in this book:

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Wo ... y%20treaty

Some or even many Republicans in the US Senate supported the Security Treaty with France, but President Wilson appears to have foolishly refused to make any attempts to actually get the US Senate to ratify this Security Treaty. A different personality for Wilson, or having Wilson die from his stroke in October 1919, might have changed the calculation in regards to this.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Peter89 » 26 Nov 2020 10:58

Terry Duncan wrote:
29 Sep 2020 14:16
T. A. Gardner wrote:
29 Sep 2020 00:07
Without looking all that up, I agree that the US would have been fools to enter into a standing agreement to enforce the Treaty of Versailles not for reasons of enforcement but due to the terms of the Treaty. That is to say, unlike the post WW 2 world, the Treaty of Versailles was extremely punitive. The French, in particular, were trying to extract both economic and social retribution on Germany for WW 1, a war they erroneously and maliciously attributed to Germany starting.
The US was smart staying out of that European debacle of revenge. If only the US had been as prescient after WW 2...
The problem with complaining about Versailles is that it really was little different from many previous treaties including those imposed during the war itself. If its terms had been enforced there would have been no WWII in the form we know it. The first real break came from the US that had insisted on 'self-determination' when it then removed itself from enforcing the treaty it had done so much to create. From a French point of view, Germany had started the war so it was reasonable to blame it, and the actual original culprit, Austria-Hungary had fragmented beyond a point where reparations were possible for the most part.

I would suggest the terms of Versailles were preferable to those of WWII, as Germany surrendered with German territory intact. After WWII, Germany was largely bombed flat, divided into two, and in certain areas anything remaining that was possible to remove was taken to other nations, ie: the USSR. Germany lost territory in both wars, but lost more of Germany itself after WWII. You could argue all day over who really should own Alsasc-Lorraine/Elsass-Lothringen, but it was always going to change hands if Germany lost.

The problem with Versailles was that after setting it up, everyone walked away not intending to enforce it other than France, and France couldnt enforce it on its own for long.
How can you argue that the treaties around Paris were good if they were not lasting or accepted at all? Even Lenin realized that they will not last, and will only lead to more war.

The problem with Versailles were threefold. First, it did not address the Deutsche Frage, so in the age of nationalism, creating entities with considerable German minority or majority was stupid. When they wanted to correct it, overlooking the Anschluss and Czechslovakia, it led to a war. Second, the newly created or modified states were natural born enemies of each other, with no incentive or means to cooperate. Isolation and national policies quickly became the fertile soil for more nationalism and territorial claims. But most importantly, the treaties completely - maybe even deliberately - forgot how the defeated nations will live in the world. The role the peacemakers of 1919 gave to Germany was unacceptable, and the point came when a sizeable chunk of the population felt the same way. Let's not forget that the population of Germany was prone to radical solutions in the early 1930's, let it be radical right or radical left.

In my opinion the world order after the WW2 fared much better because the US was a much, much better peacemaker than the French and the British. The Marshall plan and other incentives in eg. Japan made it possible to rebuild the defeated nations' economies and societies, giving them future, hope and incentives to cooperate, instead of putting them down and keeping them there.

If the peacemakers of WW1 were more realistic, they should have acknowledged a few facts, starting with the A-H Empire, which had to be kept together to some degree in order to withstand both German and Russian influence, and place the bets on the Polish-Habsburg-Romanian barrier. Second, the Germans should have given access to markets and give them a bit more breathing space. If they don't give the German economy some markets to export to, they will start to build weapons. It was a known fact even in 1918. Also, the Germans were expulsed from most of the world's markets, or at least they were unwelcome. Therefore, the Germans started to invest their capital into Central-Eastern Europe, South America, Turkey, etc. making economic and political footholds where they couldn't or wouldn't do otherwise; also, the lack of economic cooperation between the former enemies made a new war between them amazingly easy. Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle realized this and founded the EU, another bright example of how a good peace is forged. Third - and this might be a bit theoretical, but - the Germans were to dominate the continent no matter what happened. The population, geographical location and culture (including scientific output) of the German people made them the heart of the continent; if they cooperate with other nations, the continent will flourish, if they don't, the continent will starve and burn. And in 1920, Europe approximately meant the world. The very idea, that the Germans as a nation "has to pay" for the crime of starting the WW1 was a very, very bad idea. Obviously, some border modifications and colony ownership changes were to be made, but the treaties near Paris made Europe dysfunctional. The Americans were so much better in this regard, too. After the first few postwar years of disarming Germany, they realized the need to rearm Germany. Lo and behold, Germany did not became a military dictatorship or a fascist state (even though they accomplished the rearmament mostly with convicted war criminals), and it had nothing to do with its cities flattened and half of the country raped and robbed. You simply cannot push proud and powerful people into submission, because they will rather choose to die. Isolation, restrictions and influence would work, apparent and direct force would not.

I can also draw analogies with the peace that reigned over Europe from 1871 to 1914, and how that treaty of Versailles (1871) was forged and maintained. Bismarck argued a lot that they shouldn't provoke France with Elsass-Lothringen, let them have that province and think about the future. In the end, the Germans argued a lot between themselves and shrunk the size they took from France (Belfort). Bismarck did not annihilate the French military, colonies, etc.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Peter89 » 26 Nov 2020 11:02

I forgot to add the jewels of the day, the naval assets. The Germans have lost the naval race against Britain by a great and ever-widening margin. If the Germans were allowed to have the same sized navy as the Italians and the French at Washington, that simply wouldn't change the game, but it could serve as a nice drain on their resources as it did before WW1.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Terry Duncan » 26 Nov 2020 15:03

Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
How can you argue that the treaties around Paris were good if they were not lasting or accepted at all? Even Lenin realized that they will not last, and will only lead to more war.
Treaties seldom last, most are simply forgotten in time. The Paris treaties would have lasted better if there were the political will to enforce them.
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
The problem with Versailles were threefold. First, it did not address the Deutsche Frage, so in the age of nationalism, creating entities with considerable German minority or majority was stupid.
Versailles didnt create the patchwork of states in eastern Europe, most of these states declared themselves long before the treaties were written, all the Paris treaties did was the acknowledge the new states. Entities with considerable minorities of all sorts existed, why do the Germans need special treatment? Places like Sudetenland had never been German, they were Austrian territories. Yes, there was a problem with the idea of self-determination, made worse by the US deciding to sit out of the body it wanted set up to keep the peace, but no treaty is perfect. The Polish people had been a sizable majority in areas of Russia, Austria, and Germany for many years.
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
When they wanted to correct it, overlooking the Anschluss and Czechslovakia, it led to a war.
The Germans deciding to attempt the Lebensraum idiocy led to war. Up until Hitler annexed the Czech lands and broke the Munich Agreement the Western Powers had mostly tried to allow Hitler to absorb the German peoples.
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
Second, the newly created or modified states were natural born enemies of each other, with no incentive or means to cooperate.
So? By that standard Germany should never have been allowed to unify as it was a natural enemy to both Russia and France, and quite possibly the Hapsburg empire too.
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
The role the peacemakers of 1919 gave to Germany was unacceptable, and the point came when a sizeable chunk of the population felt the same way. Let's not forget that the population of Germany was prone to radical solutions in the early 1930's, let it be radical right or radical left.
Not too sure what you mean here by 'role'?
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
In my opinion the world order after the WW2 fared much better because the US was a much, much better peacemaker than the French and the British. The Marshall plan and other incentives in eg. Japan made it possible to rebuild the defeated nations' economies and societies, giving them future, hope and incentives to cooperate, instead of putting them down and keeping them there.
Really? Much of Poland was taken by the USSR and Poland compensated by German territory!? Estimates of anything up to 500,000 Germans in eastern Europe were killed after the war ended as the eastern states decided to indulge in ethnic cleansing whilst the US did and said nothing. The economic plan was OK certainly, but it was the US after WWI that refused to write off debts that then causes so much of the inter-war problems!
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
If the peacemakers of WW1 were more realistic, they should have acknowledged a few facts, starting with the A-H Empire, which had to be kept together to some degree in order to withstand both German and Russian influence, and place the bets on the Polish-Habsburg-Romanian barrier. Second, the Germans should have given access to markets and give them a bit more breathing space. If they don't give the German economy some markets to export to, they will start to build weapons. It was a known fact even in 1918. Also, the Germans were expulsed from most of the world's markets, or at least they were unwelcome. Therefore, the Germans started to invest their capital into Central-Eastern Europe, South America, Turkey, etc. making economic and political footholds where they couldn't or wouldn't do otherwise; also, the lack of economic cooperation between the former enemies made a new war between them amazingly easy. Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle realized this and founded the EU, another bright example of how a good peace is forged. Third - and this might be a bit theoretical, but - the Germans were to dominate the continent no matter what happened. The population, geographical location and culture (including scientific output) of the German people made them the heart of the continent; if they cooperate with other nations, the continent will flourish, if they don't, the continent will starve and burn. And in 1920, Europe approximately meant the world. The very idea, that the Germans as a nation "has to pay" for the crime of starting the WW1 was a very, very bad idea. Obviously, some border modifications and colony ownership changes were to be made, but the treaties near Paris made Europe dysfunctional. The Americans were so much better in this regard, too. After the first few postwar years of disarming Germany, they realized the need to rearm Germany. Lo and behold, Germany did not became a military dictatorship or a fascist state (even though they accomplished the rearmament mostly with convicted war criminals), and it had nothing to do with its cities flattened and half of the country raped and robbed. You simply cannot push proud and powerful people into submission, because they will rather choose to die. Isolation, restrictions and influence would work, apparent and direct force would not.
Special pleading. The Treaties of Frankfurt and Brest-Litovsk cared nothing about pushing other proud nations about, so when Germany is happy to behave in this way why are others not allowed to also do so?

WWI caused massive debt in almost every nation, the idea someone was going to have to pay was inevitable. Who would you suggest paid for the devastated French and Belgian territory the war had been fought on? The mass looting of assets from occupied areas and forced labour? Germany lost, and as in most wars the loser is forced to pay.
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
I can also draw analogies with the peace that reigned over Europe from 1871 to 1914, and how that treaty of Versailles (1871) was forged and maintained. Bismarck argued a lot that they shouldn't provoke France with Elsass-Lothringen, let them have that province and think about the future. In the end, the Germans argued a lot between themselves and shrunk the size they took from France (Belfort). Bismarck did not annihilate the French military, colonies, etc.
Bismarck was correct. Germany lost its way when it broke from his policies.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Terry Duncan » 26 Nov 2020 15:06

Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 11:02
I forgot to add the jewels of the day, the naval assets. The Germans have lost the naval race against Britain by a great and ever-widening margin. If the Germans were allowed to have the same sized navy as the Italians and the French at Washington, that simply wouldn't change the game, but it could serve as a nice drain on their resources as it did before WW1.
So Germany gets to start a war, loses that war, and then gets to continue as though nothing at all had taken place? Germany wasnt part of Washington, it was governed by Versailles restrictions, though the Anglo-German Naval Treaty of 1935 did allow Germany 33% of the RN tonnage.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Peter89 » 26 Nov 2020 18:15

Terry Duncan wrote:
26 Nov 2020 15:03
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
How can you argue that the treaties around Paris were good if they were not lasting or accepted at all? Even Lenin realized that they will not last, and will only lead to more war.
Treaties seldom last, most are simply forgotten in time. The Paris treaties would have lasted better if there were the political will to enforce them.
A student of Clausewitz, eh? :)

No. The political will was there, and Germany cooperated for the most part, until Hitler got the power. The problem was that it was a bad peace - just think about the Italians and the Japanese, the world order that was conceived in 1919-1920 was not working. Btw I can name you a lot of treaties that lasted: Westphalia, Utrecht, the Congress of Vienna, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise... the treaties near Paris were simply not working. I don't classify them as good or bad; they were not working.
Terry Duncan wrote:
26 Nov 2020 15:03
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
The problem with Versailles were threefold. First, it did not address the Deutsche Frage, so in the age of nationalism, creating entities with considerable German minority or majority was stupid.
Versailles didnt create the patchwork of states in eastern Europe, most of these states declared themselves long before the treaties were written, all the Paris treaties did was the acknowledge the new states. Entities with considerable minorities of all sorts existed, why do the Germans need special treatment? Places like Sudetenland had never been German, they were Austrian territories. Yes, there was a problem with the idea of self-determination, made worse by the US deciding to sit out of the body it wanted set up to keep the peace, but no treaty is perfect. The Polish people had been a sizable majority in areas of Russia, Austria, and Germany for many years.
The Germans needed no special treatment, but treating them inferiors in small, neophyite national states was a bad policy, wasn't it?

From the Baltics to the Black Sea, there must be a corridor of cooperative little nations between the German and Russian influence. The treaties near Paries largely abandoned this geopolitical agenda and voted for independent nations with considerable German and Russian minorities. We know the consequences.
Terry Duncan wrote:
26 Nov 2020 15:03
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
Second, the newly created or modified states were natural born enemies of each other, with no incentive or means to cooperate.
So? By that standard Germany should never have been allowed to unify as it was a natural enemy to both Russia and France, and quite possibly the Hapsburg empire too.
Germany wasn't allowed to unify... Germany unified itself by force (btw it didn't, the Prussians fought for a Germany without Austria).

The Germans were not natural born enemies of either France or Russia; in fact Bismarck sought to ally with two of the aforementioned three. See more at the League of the Three Emperors.
Terry Duncan wrote:
26 Nov 2020 15:03
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
The role the peacemakers of 1919 gave to Germany was unacceptable, and the point came when a sizeable chunk of the population felt the same way. Let's not forget that the population of Germany was prone to radical solutions in the early 1930's, let it be radical right or radical left.
Not too sure what you mean here by 'role'?
By role I mean that Germans gave about 25% of Europe, yet they had no rights on the international table. Their currency, economy, military, social and trade affairs were dictated by foreign powers. Would we be more happy if the Communists would conquer Germany and they would attack Central-Eastern Europe in the name of internationalism and communism? Or what exactly was the goal of the treaties near Paris if not the disenfranchisement of Germany?
Terry Duncan wrote:
26 Nov 2020 15:03
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
In my opinion the world order after the WW2 fared much better because the US was a much, much better peacemaker than the French and the British. The Marshall plan and other incentives in eg. Japan made it possible to rebuild the defeated nations' economies and societies, giving them future, hope and incentives to cooperate, instead of putting them down and keeping them there.
Really? Much of Poland was taken by the USSR and Poland compensated by German territory!? Estimates of anything up to 500,000 Germans in eastern Europe were killed after the war ended as the eastern states decided to indulge in ethnic cleansing whilst the US did and said nothing. The economic plan was OK certainly, but it was the US after WWI that refused to write off debts that then causes so much of the inter-war problems!
None of the atrocities in Central-Eastern Europe happened under American command, and therefore, responsibility lies elsewhere. Mostly in the SU and the revengeful minor states. What really happened at the peace treaties near Paris was that the US just got off the table and in the end, none of the ideas of Wilson was institutionalized. Of course, the US was mercilessly after its debts, and that caused a lot of problems; but to imply that they were directly responsible for the treaties near Paris...

If you ask me, that's another angle of stupidity of the treaties near Paris. Japan and the USA - they were left out, by and large. (I dare not to tickle the Russian question here.)
Terry Duncan wrote:
26 Nov 2020 15:03
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
If the peacemakers of WW1 were more realistic, they should have acknowledged a few facts, starting with the A-H Empire, which had to be kept together to some degree in order to withstand both German and Russian influence, and place the bets on the Polish-Habsburg-Romanian barrier. Second, the Germans should have given access to markets and give them a bit more breathing space. If they don't give the German economy some markets to export to, they will start to build weapons. It was a known fact even in 1918. Also, the Germans were expulsed from most of the world's markets, or at least they were unwelcome. Therefore, the Germans started to invest their capital into Central-Eastern Europe, South America, Turkey, etc. making economic and political footholds where they couldn't or wouldn't do otherwise; also, the lack of economic cooperation between the former enemies made a new war between them amazingly easy. Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle realized this and founded the EU, another bright example of how a good peace is forged. Third - and this might be a bit theoretical, but - the Germans were to dominate the continent no matter what happened. The population, geographical location and culture (including scientific output) of the German people made them the heart of the continent; if they cooperate with other nations, the continent will flourish, if they don't, the continent will starve and burn. And in 1920, Europe approximately meant the world. The very idea, that the Germans as a nation "has to pay" for the crime of starting the WW1 was a very, very bad idea. Obviously, some border modifications and colony ownership changes were to be made, but the treaties near Paris made Europe dysfunctional. The Americans were so much better in this regard, too. After the first few postwar years of disarming Germany, they realized the need to rearm Germany. Lo and behold, Germany did not became a military dictatorship or a fascist state (even though they accomplished the rearmament mostly with convicted war criminals), and it had nothing to do with its cities flattened and half of the country raped and robbed. You simply cannot push proud and powerful people into submission, because they will rather choose to die. Isolation, restrictions and influence would work, apparent and direct force would not.
Special pleading. The Treaties of Frankfurt and Brest-Litovsk cared nothing about pushing other proud nations about, so when Germany is happy to behave in this way why are others not allowed to also do so?

WWI caused massive debt in almost every nation, the idea someone was going to have to pay was inevitable. Who would you suggest paid for the devastated French and Belgian territory the war had been fought on? The mass looting of assets from occupied areas and forced labour? Germany lost, and as in most wars the loser is forced to pay.
Hah, sure. I never said that the Germans were better. Maybe the times (ie. imperialism) were like that? I am not sure. The point is that the shortcomings of Germans do not make the ultimate failures of the British and French right.

I also never raised a word against the repatriations after WW1. The home territory of the Germans was not hit, so it made sense.
Terry Duncan wrote:
26 Nov 2020 15:03
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 10:58
I can also draw analogies with the peace that reigned over Europe from 1871 to 1914, and how that treaty of Versailles (1871) was forged and maintained. Bismarck argued a lot that they shouldn't provoke France with Elsass-Lothringen, let them have that province and think about the future. In the end, the Germans argued a lot between themselves and shrunk the size they took from France (Belfort). Bismarck did not annihilate the French military, colonies, etc.
Bismarck was correct. Germany lost its way when it broke from his policies.
We fully agree on this one. I just wonder whether you think that Clemenceau and Lloyd George were of the same caliber and possessed the same amount of prudence as him.
Terry Duncan wrote:
26 Nov 2020 15:06
Peter89 wrote:
26 Nov 2020 11:02
I forgot to add the jewels of the day, the naval assets. The Germans have lost the naval race against Britain by a great and ever-widening margin. If the Germans were allowed to have the same sized navy as the Italians and the French at Washington, that simply wouldn't change the game, but it could serve as a nice drain on their resources as it did before WW1.
So Germany gets to start a war, loses that war, and then gets to continue as though nothing at all had taken place? Germany wasnt part of Washington, it was governed by Versailles restrictions, though the Anglo-German Naval Treaty of 1935 did allow Germany 33% of the RN tonnage.
I didn't mean "nothing at all had taken place". I specifically stated that border and colony ownership changes, repatriations, etc. were all normal and realistic. To push Germany into a corner where the only chance was a death or glory mission was not.

I know they weren't at Washington... part of the problem as well. The London Naval Treaty (35%) was a sign that nobody is going to respect the Washington Conference, the British broke that treaty, so the French did in fear of the German naval expansion, so the Italians did it it maintain their positions in the Med, etc. Another sign of how unfeasible was the Treaty of Versailles.

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Please don't think I try to justify what happened as the consequnce of defying the Versailles Treaty. I simply argue against the narrative that "the Versailles Treaty was good, the problem was the lack of enforcement". It wasn't a good treaty to begin with.

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