The United States At The Paris Peace Conference

.. idea was not greeted with the reception he had expected, however, and many were opposed to the covenant as part of the treaty. Wilson found the same feeling in the United States, and received a letter signed by 1/3 of the senators, saying that they would not approve the treaty as it was. To this Wilson responded: When the treaty comes back will find the Covenant not only in it, but so many threads of the treaty tied to the Covenant that you cannot dissect the Covenant from the treaty without destroying the whole vital structure. While this occurred at home, back overseas a new situation had arisen.

With Colonel House acting in Wilsons place, the American delegates had split on the issue of how to treat Germany. Delegates Lansing, Bliss, and White maintained Wilsons original view that Germany ought to be reintegrated into Europe in peace. House, however, took a more punitive approach and favored compromise with the British and French. This Blake 6 serves to illustrate the lack of communication that took place between President Wilson and his delegates. Messages were garbled, orders were never specifically set, and too much was open to individual interpretation. This resulted in many problems arising due to simple lack of understanding. Similar problems arose when Colonel House began to agree with the other Allies that a peace settlement was necessary first, and that it would be possible to separate the League Covenant from the peace treaty.

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This was a dramatic split from the view maintained by Wilson. Because Wilson was in the United States when these proposals were initially discussed, he found himself faced with issues that substantially altered his program. Wilson reacted to this by issuing a statement on March 15 which said that he would not approve the separation of the League of Nations from the peace treaty and he made it absolutely clear to the Allied leaders that he would not consent to a treaty on Houses terms. March 1919 turned out to be the most difficult month of the conference for Wilson, whose power was at its weakest. He faced great opposition from every side, and was regarded by the other Great Power leaders as being egotistic. Clemenceau, of France, stated the following: Wilson thought himself another Jesus Christ come upon the earth to reform men. As Wilson neared desperation, the deadlock that had been intact began to break.

He conceded to compensations for France, and was persuaded to include pensions in reparations after receiving a letter that described that England would not receive its fair Blake 7 share in comparison to the other countries. While it seems simple enough that Wilson should have become more agreeable, many attribute the sudden change to the viral infection that he had come down with. This illness resulted in severe changes in his mind and on both Americas policy and position. These changes eventually reduced the possibility that the peace treaty would bring into effect entirely new international relations. Wilson continued to emphasize the sacrifice of immediate self-interest for the good of the world.

He spoke to the Italian people directly on April 23 after an unresolved conflict with Orlando left him to appeal to the public over the heads of their leaders. He spoke of the need to sacrifice self-interest now to the right of the world to peace and to such settlements of interest as shall make peace secure. His appeal was refused and demonstrated the lack of truth behind his belief that he represented the silent belief of the people. The issue was never resolved, and it is believed that Wilsons illness accounted for a good deal of his actions at this time. In an entirely different manner, Wilson dealt with the demands of the Japanese.

They wanted both racial equality and confirmation of their economic interests, although in the end they consented to solely the confirmation of interests. In a total turnaround from his policy during the incident with Italy, Wilson seemed to support the Japanese desire for self- determination. He used the same plea for both countries, however, by trying to appeal directly to the conscience of the people. He stated that the world would Blake 8 never achieve peace if nations were always thinking more of their rights than of their duties. Once an agreement had been reached as to the demands of the Japanese, the major issues of the negotiations were settled.

On May 7, the Germans received their first look at the treaty. More disagreements arose from the possibility that the Germans would not sign and the question of what the Allies would do in response. Fortunately, this question answered itself, when the German government fell and was replaced by one that would cooperate. On June 27th, German representatives arrived at Versailles Hall of Mirrors to sign the treaty. The crowds gathered outside the palace were so euphoric at the idea of peace that few stopped to consider the ability of the treaty to endure, or the effects that its existence would produce.

Although aspects of the Treaty of Versailles were positive, the treaty as a whole was a failure. Many factors contributed to the overall regard of the treaty as such. After years of war, each country felt it was entitled to great compensation, and thus Wilsons vision that each country should sacrifice its own desires for the good of the whole was never realized. His faith in the common man was shattered when his direct appeals resulted in backlash and no positive results. Every country demonstrated extreme national self-interest, and this led to severe differences of opinion at the Conference, and concurrently, in the provisions of the treaty itself.

Blake 9 Uncertainty of purpose undoubtedly contributed to the failure of the Treaty of Versailles. Wilsons vague description of his 14 Points terminology to his American representatives resulted in unclear principles. With the goals of the Conference so unclear, it is no surprise that they were never attained. How, after all, can one strive for a goal that he is unclear on? Democracy, Viability, and Self- Determination were tossed about with such casualty that a suspicion arose as to the lack of principle that Wilson maintained. This dealt a lasting blow to Wilsons regard, from which he never entirely recovered. Wilson never made pretenses as to his desire for a League of Nations.

He wanted one, very badly, and he allowed all other countries to know it. With this as a key bargaining tool, European countries used it to their full advantage. They would agree to include the League of Nations in the treaty if Wilson would understand and support the individual problems that each country faced. With several countries using this against him, it was impossible for Wilson to truly back each of their beliefs, as, more often than not, they conflicted with each other. Several other factors contributed to the failure of the Conference.

Wilson did irreversible damage to the outcome of the treaty by his insistence on excessive time being spent on the League of Nations concept. This loss of time caused delays in the proceedings and prevented a swift restoration of peace. Wilsons demand that a complete and detailed plan for the League, as well as for the Covenant, be drawn up in Paris left no possibility for a preliminary treaty to be signed. His own perseverance of the League of Nations eventually led to the inability of the League to be of any effectiveness. Wilson Blake 10 had, in a sense, murdered his own plan, and had thus also ridded the Conference of any ability to prevent a Second World War. The Treaty of Versailles was, inarguably, not a success for the United States. We had won the war, certainly, but would not ratify the treaty that we ourselves had contributed to making.

Wilsons ultimate goal, it has been said, was to get the treaty ratified, and in this he failed. He instead gave orders to have the treaty killed in the Senate, and that was where it died. The treaty was filled with American doubt from the start, and this led the Senate to simply repudiate Wilsons work. While World War One was, in itself, a success for democracy and thus for the United States, the Conference that ensued was clearly a failure from the start. History Essays.