USA and the Versailles Settlement

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  • The Versailles Settlement
    • American attitudes to the war
      • Administration hired advertising and public relations professionals to 'rally the nation behind his crusade for a new and finer world order'
      • Committee on Public Information (CPI) responsible for government propaganda, giving out information, and increasing support for war effort
        • Targeted immigrants because they were worried they weren't loyal to America
        • More vigorous supporters of the war turned on immigrants of German origin and many acts of violence committed against them
      • Paul Boyer believed teachers, historians, editors, intellectuals, and Progressives supported the war
        • Believing it was a fight between the civilised and democratic values of the Allies and the brutality of the Germans
        • Hoped the war would produce reform at home and the spread of democracy abroad
        • Wilson saw it as a fight for democracy - a chance to make the world a freer and better place
      • German-Americans, Quakers, Socialists, and pacifist groups opposed the war - accused of being disloyal/traitors
        • It was a capitalist war, immoral, and would lead to intolerance rather than reform
      • 1,500 arrested under the sedition laws
    • Wilson's fourteen points
      • Aims of the war used to help increase support
      • Prevention of alliance system
      • Freedom of the seas
      • Free trade among all nations
      • Reduction of armaments to the lowest point consistent with domestic policy
      • Self-determination
      • The League of Nations
        • Last and most important point
        • If all nations joined, then no need to form alliances - all nations work together to keep the peace
        • Disputes could be discussed to resolve them
        • Balance of power to be replaced with collective security
          • If one country threatened or attacked another then all members would help - would prevent war
    • The Treaty of Versailles
      • January 1919 - Allied leaders met at Versailles to discuss the peace treaty (Germany not invited but told signed the treaty or they would be invaded
        • Britain (David Lloyd George), France (Georges Clemenceau), Italy (Vittorio Orlando), America (Woodrow Wilson
      • Wilson arrived in Europe declaring the US came 'asking nothing for ourselves'
      • Britain and France wanted Germany to pay for the war and extend their power - unlike America
      • Wilson wanted to make the world democratic
        • Wanted nations to work together and be governed by international laws
          • Chaired the discussions himself to make sure these values were implemented
        • Wilson not a good negotiator and didn't understand the Allies position - British and French were often unhappy
      • Wilson didn't include any Republicans
        • Open to criticism and now an easy target
        • Hard to get support in the Senate when it came to ratifying the Treaties
      • Spent 4 months in Europe and neglected the 1918 mid-terms
        • Republicans won control of the Congress
      • Fear of the spread of Communism - Russian revolution
      • Britain and France had debts so repay so needed Germany to pay reparations
        • $33 billion USD
      • Germany lost vast amounts of territory - thousand of Germans now under foreign rule
      • Germany not allowed to unite with Austria
      • 'War guilt cause' - Germany had to accept blame for starting the war
      • Germany's arms force reduced
        • No air force, tanks, or submarines, only 6 battleships, army reduced to 100,000 men, Rhineland de-militarised
    • Rejection of the treaty
      • March 1919 - 39 Senators signed the 'Round Robin Resolution'
        • Not likely to ratify the Treaty - went against the Monroe Doctrine
      • Irreconcilables  (Senator William Borah)
        • Didn't want US to give up its freedom and didn't want to be tied up in the policies of other nations
        • Felt the League was too idealistic and weakened the Monroe Doctrine
      • Reservationists (Henry Cabot Lodge )
        • More open to debate but were against collective security
          • Believed only the US should decide when troops go to war, not the League
      • Failed to get the 2/3 votes it need in March 1920
        • Republicans won the 1920 election
  • Collective security = the guarantee to help all members when they are under threat

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