The Versailles Diktat was not a Peace Treaty, the terms of it forced onto Germany, and that even though Germany had not surrendered unconditionally, but had agreed to an armistice, based on the Wilson 14 point program.
The Germany of Wilhelm II did not want war, that much is clear. The Kaiser, as well as the rest of the heads of the government and army, were on holidays, ammunition’s on hand would last only for a few month and production of same in jeopardy because of lack of supplies.
But, das perfide Albion – for decades working diligently on a plan to destroy Germany, as well as Austria-Hungary, Edward VII successfully encircling Germany – was able to get Germany to fire the first shot, the (foolish) Treaty obligation to Austria the pitfall.
In the fall of 1914, the start of the trench warfare, the German leadership considered it possible that peace talks will be initiated, because of exhaustion and without a clear winner. Bethmann Hollweg (BH), the German Chancellor, never considered this to be a “Siegfrieden”, a peace following victory, but to try and prevent the reestablishment of the England-France-Russia coalition. Including:
“…den Versuch zu machen, endlich die Jahrhunderte alten Streitigkeiten zwischen Frankreich und uns zu beseitigen“
(to make an effort to come to terms with France, to remove the centuries old disputes)
On December 9, after Italy had entered the war on the side of the Entente, BH, at the Reichstag, exposed the war aims of the enemies and stated that they were driven by hatred. He concluded that a peace offer under those circumstances would be foolish, but declared that Germany would consider any reasonable offer:
“Es soll nicht heißen, wir wollten den Krieg auch nur um einen Tag verlängern, weil wir noch dieses oder jenes Faustpfand erobern wollen.”
(Nobody should say that we are intending to prolong the war by even one day, because of some security concerns)
Germany, as well as Austria, were still speaking from a position of strength, their armies doing well. On December 12, 1916, the Central Powers – following the successful Romania campaign – forwarded suggestions for a peace to the Entente Powers, via neutral states. They proposed to:
“„alsbald in Friedensverhandlungen einzutreten und dem Kampf ein Ende zu machen“. Sie würden dabei Vorschläge unterbreiten, die ihrer Überzeugung nach „eine geeignete Grundlage für die Herstellung eines dauerhaften Friedens” bildeten.“
(enter into peace negotiations as soon as possible to end the fighting. They are convinced that their proposals could be the basis for a lasting peace)
This was publicized by the four Central Powers, BH also addressed it at the Reichstag, but added that the Central Powers would continue to fight, should the war:
“trotz dieses Anerbietens zu Frieden und Versöhnung” fortdauern“
(continue in spite of this offer of peace and reconciliation)
At the beginning of January 1917, the answer arrived, the note dated December 30, 1916. The offer was rudely rejected, stating that the claim the Central Powers had resorted to force as a defensive measure is bogus, Germany and Austria-Hungary were responsible for the war (and that following the encirclement of Germany at England’s behest). Wilson, who had been contacted by the Central Powers to serve as an arbitrator, was also rejected (Hand Fenske, Der Anfang vom Ende des alten Europa, Olzog Verlag München, 2013, pp.39ff).
Fenske goes into more detail, but it becomes clear that even though Germany had skidded into this war, it did not want it and tried to end it as soon as possible. No indication at all of world conquest by Germany, quite the contrary in fact.
After the defeat of Russia, it was perhaps more the case of the Russian troops going home, especially after the October revolution (Solzhenitsyn, August Vierzehn), German troops were transferred from the Russian front to the west. But these troops, after being exposed to communist propaganda, turned out to be more of a liability than an asset, soldiers ‘Soviets’ (councils) formed (Richard M. Watt, The Kings Depart…, Simon And Schuster, New York, 1968, pp.142/43). The communist propaganda also affecting the production of war materials at home. And no doubt most importantly, the US had entered the war and was able to insert new troops and material. But, Germany had not been defeated.
In January 1918, President Wilson outlined his 14 point program to the congress. After some talks between the Americans and Germans, on the 5th of October Max von Baden send the following note to Wilson:
“The Germans government request that the President of the United States of America takes matters concerning the establishment of a peace into his hands, that he informs all the belligerents of this request and to invite them to send emissaries to start negotiations. It (the German government)accepts as the basis for the peace negotiations the program as proclaimed by the President of the United States of America in his speech to the congress of 8 January 1918, as well as in other declarations, namely that of 27 September. To avoid further bloodshed, the German government asks that an armistice be declared immediately, to stop the fighting on land, water and in the air”(my translation from: Wilhelm Ziegler, Versailles, die Geschichte eines mißglückten Friedens, Hanseatische Verlagsanstaly, 1933, p.10 [Versailles, the history of a failed peace]).
Lansing, then Secretary of State, replied on October 8, asking if the note is to be understood as the Germans accepting the “Wilson Points” (Ziegler places that in quotation marks) and that only the ‘practical details of their implication’ (Ziegler original) need to be discussed. The Germans confirmed this and having initiated these proceedings in an effort to avoid further bloodshed, rightly assumed that they would be part of the negotiations, they found out differently, after they had disarmed.
As for the withdrawal of German troops, we have this:
“The field-army troops were sullen, hungry and totally exhausted. Yet only hours after the armistice went into effect the two million German soldiers on the western front began to
move. Every road heading east was suddenly filled with unending gray-clad columns trudging back toward the Rhine. Simultaneously the Supreme Command itself moved from Spa in Belgium to an old hotel in the Hessian city of Kassel, firing out orders as it retreated to its new position.
The field army was no disorganized mob. The troops marched in strict order, perfectly under the control of their officers. The lefthand side of each road was filled with troops and trucks; the righthand side was reserved for streams of French and Belgian civilians who had been brought to Germany and now had to be repatriated. The German columns did not even stop at night. There were billets assigned for every regiment, and while they were resting other regiments were marching. Even the field army’s officers were astounded at the precision of the staff work. “For each of these troops the time is computed, the place is designated where he rests, where he eats, where he sleeps. . . . Never has a human clockwork functioned so ingeniously, so precisely.” As the marching troops reached the railheads, some of the regiments were shunted aside to board whatever trains could be scraped together. With a thrill of pride the company-grade officers saw how everything fitted precisely into place. The marching columns swelled as they were joined by rear-echelon troops, then marked time as they waited to funnel across the Rhine bridges, but still everything remained in perfect order. When each marching regiment, after toiling up the last hills before the Rhine, topped the rise and saw the ancient cathedrals of
the cities on the eastern bank, the troops gave out hoarse cheers.
Such Allied officers as were able to witness their evacuation were frankly impressed. To the senior American member of the Armistice Control Commission the German field army did not look like a defeated force; the regiments which passed him were in good order, singing, their bands playing. The German retreat was so rapid that Allied advance parties frequently could not make contact with their enemy to accept the various weapons which were to be surrendered
under the armistice provisions. When this happened, the Germans simply left the equipment piled in neat stacks along the road.” (Watt, p.204)
Would the Germans have just retreated to then dig in on the border, much more blood would have been shed, for defending the country is different from fighting on foreign soil.
This Diktat was signed with a gun pointed at the heads of the Germans, literally. Foch, the supreme commander of the French troops told General Bliss that he would like nothing better then for the Germans to refuse to sign. He could then march into Germany to conquer it (Ziegler, p.144). Also, the murderous blockade was finally lifted on July 12, 1919, two weeks after the treaty had been signed, between 700,000 and 800,000 additional Germans, woman and children mostly, starved after Germany had agreed to the armistice. The ‘good fight’ indeed.
It is only now, one-hundred years later, that an effort is made to set the record straight and the lies told about Germany’s lone war guilt exposed. One can only hope that it will not take another hundred years before the official stories told about the start of WWII are also dismissed as lies.
Archived by k0nsl from RODOH.
Author: Wilf (neugierig)
Dated: Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:31 am