Transcript: Margaret MacMillan on Paris 1919 | Sep 28, 2003

An aerial view shows an old building with a tower.

Margaret MacMillan stands behind a lectern in a large room addressing an audience. She’s in her sixties with short light brown hair and bangs. She’s wearing a turquoise patterned jacket over a black dress

Margaret says THANK YOU
SO MUCH FOR INVITING ME TO SPEAK
HERE TONIGHT.
I'M VERY MUCH HONOURED AND
ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED TO BE HERE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Margaret MacMillan. University of Toronto. Making Peace is Harder than Waging War."

She continues WHEN I CHOSE THE TITLE, GERRY
AND I TALKED ABOUT WHAT TITLE WE
SHOULD HAVE FOR THIS TALK, AND
WHEN I CHOSE THE TITLE, IT'S A
QUOTATION FROM GEORGES
CLEMENCEAU, THE FRENCH PRIME
MINISTER, BY THE WAY, WHO SAID
IT WITH HIS USUAL CYNICISM, BUT,
AS SO OFTEN HAD I THINK A VERY
IMPORTANT KERNEL OF TRUTH IN IT.

The caption changes to "Making Peace is Harder than Waging War. June 12, 2003. Rideau Club, Ottawa."

She continues I'M NOT SURE THAT I REALISED
QUITE HOW APPOSITE IT WOULD BE,
BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE'RE
LIVING AT THIS MOMENT, IN A TIME
WHEN MAKING PEACE SEEMS TO BE
INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT AFTER A
MUCH EASIER WAR.
SO PERHAPS THERE IS SOMETHING IN
THE EXPERIENCE OF THE PARIS
PEACE CONFERENCE, WHICH MAY BE
HELPFUL, OR WOULD BE HELPFUL IF,
AS I SUSPECT HAS NOT HAPPENED,
THE PRESENT PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES ACTUALLY READ ANY
HISTORY.

[laughter]

Margaret pauses and continues BUT I'M NOT SAYING THIS IN ANY
CRITICAL SPIRIT, I THINK THERE
IS A FEELING, ESPECIALLY IN SOME
CIRCLES, THAT HISTORY ISN'T
TERRIBLY IMPORTANT FOR
UNDERSTANDING THE PRESENT WORLD.
I THINK IT IS, NOT JUST BECAUSE
I'M AN HISTORIAN, BUT BECAUSE IT
SEEMS TO ME THAT, JUST AS WE ARE
ALL PRODUCTS OF OUR OWN
HISTORIES, SO, TOO, ARE NATIONS
AND PEOPLES.
AND UNLESS YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT
THEIR MEMORIES ARE, AND WHAT HAS
MADE THEM WHO THEY ARE, WHO THEY
LIKE AND WHO THEY DISLIKE, YOU
WILL HAVE LESS OPPORTUNITY AND
LESS CHANCE OF UNDERSTANDING
WHAT THEY'RE LIKE IN THE PRESENT
OR WHAT THEY ARE LIKELY TO DO.
I THINK HISTORY IS ALSO HELPFUL
BECAUSE IT CAN GIVE YOU WARNINGS
AND SIGNPOSTS.
I'VE BEEN TALKING RECENTLY ABOUT
THE LESSONS OF HISTORY, AND I'M
ALWAYS RATHER UNCOMFORTABLE WHEN
I DO IT, BECAUSE I'M NOT SURE
THAT HISTORY OFFERS US ANY VERY
CLEAR LESSONS.
IT OFFERS US MANY LESSONS AND
YOU CAN TAKE FROM IT WHAT YOU
WILL, AND SOMETIMES YOU CAN TAKE
VERY CONTRADICTORY LESSONS, BUT
I THINK WHAT HISTORY DOES DO IS
GIVE US SOME SENSE OF WHEN WE'RE
LIKELY TO GET INTO TROUBLE, WHAT
WE MIGHT WATCH OUT FOR.
IT HELPS US TO AS QUESTIONS OF
THE PRESENT, WE REMEMBER THAT
SOMETHING HAPPENED IN A SIMILAR
SITUATION IN THE PAST, AND SO IT
HELPS US TO FORMULATE QUESTIONS
WHICH MAY BE HELPFUL TODAY.
THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE, FOR
A LONG TIME I THINK, WAS THE
SUBJECT THAT INTERESTED ME, BUT
NOT MANY OTHER PEOPLE,
PARTICULARLY DURING THE COLD
WAR, WHEN IT SEEMED VERY REMOTE.
IT REALLY DIDN'T SEEM THAT
IMPORTANT DURING THE COLD WAR,
TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HAD HAPPENED
BEFORE 1945, AND CERTAINLY TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER
THE FIRST WORLD WAR.
WHEN I FINALLY FINISHED WRITING
MY BOOK, OF COURSE THE COLD WAR
WAS OVER, AND SOME OF THE
ISSUES, WHICH WERE BEGINNING TO
BUBBLE TO THE SURFACE AGAIN,
WERE ISSUES WHICH HAD BUBBLED TO
THE SURFACE IN 1919.
AND SO, IN I THINK, A WAY, WHICH
I WOULD PREFER NOT TO HAVE
HAPPENED, BUT I THINK BOTH MY
PUBLISHER AND I WERE RATHER
PLEASED WITH THE RESULTS, MY
BOOK SUDDENLY BECAME RATHER
TIMELY, AND SOME OF THE ISSUES
THAT WERE RAISED THERE, SUDDENLY
SEEMED TO HAVE RESONANCE IN THE
WORLD OF TODAY.

People sit in fancy round laid tables. Cream drapes and chandeliers decorate the room.

She continues THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE, IT
SEEMS TO ME, IS A FASCINATING
SUBJECT IN ITS OWN RIGHT, BUT IT
IS ALSO A VERY IMPORTANT MOMENT
IN MODERN HISTORY, A VERY
IMPORTANT MOMENT IN THE HISTORY
WHICH HAS SHAPED OUR WORLD.
IT REPRESENTED A TIME OF
CONSIDERABLE CHANGE.
IN SOME WAYS, IT LOOKED LIKE
EARLIER PEACE CONFERENCES, WHEN
THE POWERS ASSEMBLED IN PARIS IN
1919, THEY USED TO PLAN THEIR
PEACE CONFERENCE, THE
PRECEDENTS.
AND THE PRECEDENT WHICH THEY
LOOKED BACK TO, MAINLY, WAS THE
CONGRESS OF VIENNA OF 1814-1815,
WHICH ENDED THE LONG WARS OF THE
FRENCH REVOLUTION, AND THE
NAPOLEONIC WARS.
IN FACT A BOOK WAS WRITTEN BY AN
ENGLISH PROFESSOR, SIR CHARLES
WEBSTER, ON THE CONGRESS OF
VIENNA, AND IT WAS WRITTEN FOR
THE EDIFICATION OF THE BRITISH
DELEGATES GOING TO PARIS IN
1919.
AND IN SOME WAYS THE FORMS OF
THE PEACE CONFERENCE LOOKED VERY
MUCH THE SAME AS THEY HAD IN
1814-1815.
THE DELEGATES WERE ALL GIVEN A
GREAT MANY VISITING CARDS WHEN
THEY ARRIVED IN PARIS, IN
JANUARY 1919, AND THEY WERE TOLD
TO GO AROUND AND LEAVE THEM ON
ALL THE OTHER DELEGATES.
THIS PROVED TO BE SO TIME
CONSUMING AND SO FRUSTRATING,
BECAUSE THERE WERE A GREAT MANY
MORE DELEGATES IN PARIS THAN
THERE HAD BEEN IN 19--
1815, THAT GEORGES CLEMENCEAU,
AS PRIME MINISTER OF THE HOST
COUNTRY AND THEREFORE PRESIDENT
OF THE CONFERENCE, FINALLY PUT A
STOP TO IT.
BUT THE FORMS, AT LEAST FOR A
WHILE, WERE MAINTAINED, AND
PEOPLE STILL WORE FORMAL
CLOTHES, AND PRESIDENT WILSON,
WHEN HE ARRIVED IN PARIS TO TAKE
PART IN THE PEACE CONFERENCE,
SAT IN A CHAIR THAT WAS 2 INCHES
HIGHER THAN ANYONE ELSE'S CHAIR,
BECAUSE HE WAS A HEAD OF STATE,
AND EVERYONE ELSE WAS JUST A
PRIME MINISTER.

Laughing, she continues
AND SO YOU DID HAVE A CERTAIN
AMOUNT OF RESONANCE FROM THE
PAST.
THE BRITISH AND OTHERS ALSO
DECIDED THAT, IN 1919, NO WIVES
WOULD COME TO PARIS, BECAUSE IT
WAS ARGUED THAT IN 1814-1815, AT
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA, WHEN
WIVES HAD COME, THERE HAD BEEN
FAR TOO MUCH SPILLING OF
SECRETS.

[laughter]

She continues IN FACT, THE WAY THAT--
WELL, THIS IS MAINLY BECAUSE THE
FRENCH, WHO WERE THERE
NEGOTIATING IN 1814-1815 SEEMED
TO HAVE A VERY GOOD IDEA OF WHAT
WAS GOING ON.
IN FACT, THE REAL REASON FOR
THAT WAS, PRINCE TALYRAND, THE
FRENCH PRIME MINIST--
THE FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER,
GAVE INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS SPIES
TO EMPTY THE WASTE PAPER BASKETS
OF ALL THE OTHER DELEGATIONS,
WHICH THEY DULY DID, SO THE
WOMEN, I THINK, WERE VERY
UNFAIRLY BLAMED.
THE WIVES, THEREFORE, BY AND
LARGE, DID NOT COME TO PARIS,
ALTHOUGH CERTAINLY EXCEPTIONS
WERE MADE, AND CERTAINLY A
NUMBER OF THOSE WHO WERE NOT
WIVES, CAME IN VARIOUS
CAPACITIES, INCLUDING DAVID
LLOYD GEORGE'S, THE PRIME
MINISTER OF BRITAIN'S SECRETARY
AND MISTRESS, FRANCES STEVENSON.
BUT ALTHOUGH THE OUTWARD FORMS,
IN SOME WAY WERE VERY
REMINISCENT OF WHAT HAD HAPPENED
100 YEARS AGO, THE CONTENT WAS,
OF COURSE VERY DIFFERENT.
THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE, OF
COURSE MARKED THE END OF THE
FIRST WORLD WAR, BUT IT ALSO
REFLECTED CHANGES THAT HAD BEEN
TAKING PLACE IN EUROPEAN SOCIETY
AND IN THE WORLD LONG BEFORE THE
FIRST WORLD WAR HAD HAPPENED.
IT SHOWED, FOR EXAMPLE, AND I'LL
GIVE YOU SEVERAL EXAMPLES, BUT
IT SHOWED, FOR EXAMPLE, THE
INFLUENCE OF PUBLIC OPINION ON
THE MAKING OF FOREIGN POLICY AND
ON THE MAKING OF DECISIONS, AND
THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS
CERTAINLY THERE IN PARIS.
I MEAN THERE WERE SOMETHING LIKE
700 JOURNALISTS CAME TO PARIS,
AND THE ALLIED PUBLICS AND THE
PUBLICS IN THE DEFEATED
COUNTRIES TOOK AN INTENSE
INTEREST IN WHAT WAS GOING ON.
AND OF COURSE, THANKS TO THE
TELEGRAPH, THEY WERE ABLE TO
LEARN ALMOST INSTANTANEOUSLY
WHAT WAS BEING DISCUSSED IN
PARIS.
BUT THIS WAS NOT ENTIRELY NEW.

The caption changes to "Margaret MacMillan. Author Paris 1919."

She continues PUBIC OPINION, AS COUNTRIES
BECAME, BY AND LARGE MORE
DEMOCRATIC, AS IT BECAME MORE
AND MORE IMPORTANT TO TAKE
PUBLIC OPINION INTO ACCOUNT, AS
THE MASS MEDIA, PARTICULARLY IN
THE SHAPE OF NEWSPAPERS, HAD
SPREAD BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD
WAR, PUBIC OPINION HAD BECOME A
VERY REAL FORCE IN INTERNATIONAL
RELATIONS.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I WAS
VERY CONSCIOUS OF, AND I THINK
ANYONE WHO LOOKS AT THIS PERIOD
WILL SEE, IS HOW IMPORTANT
LOOKING BACK OVER THEIR
SHOULDERS AT PUBLIC OPINIONS WAS
TO THOSE WHO MET IN PARIS.
I MEAN THEY WERE VERY CONSCIOUS
OF HAVING TO DEAL WITH THEIR OWN
PUBLIC OPINION.
AND IN SOME WAYS OF COURSE, IT
CONSTRAINED THEM.
ONE OF THE DIFFICULTIES THAT
LLOYD GEORGE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE
PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN FACED
IN PARIS IN 1919, WAS THAT HIS
COALITION, A COALITION WHICH IN
FACT, ALTHOUGH LLOYD GEORGE WAS
A LIBERAL, WAS LARGELY MADE UP
OF CONSERVATIVES, WITH SOME
LIBERALS ADMIXTURED, HAD FOUGHT
AN ELECTION IN DECEMBER 1918,
WHICH HAD ENDED UP, ALTHOUGH
THIS WASN'T THE INTENTION IN THE
BEGINNING, BUT HAD ENDED UP VERY
MUCH BEING A CAMPAIGN OF
PUNISHING GERMANY.
IN THE FAMOUS, OR INFAMOUS WORDS
OF ONE OF THE CABINET MINISTERS
WHO WAS RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION
IN 1918, "WE WILL SQUEEZE THE
HUNS UNTIL THE PIPS SQUEAK."
AND LLOYD GEORGE FOUND HIMSELF
CAUGHT BY THE SORTS OF PEOPLE
WHO GOT ELECTED IN 1918.
THE PARLIAMENT THAT HE HAD TO
DEAL WITH HAD A GREAT MANY NEW
MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT, A GREAT
MANY PEOPLE WHO HAD NOT BEEN IN
POLITICS BEFORE, MANY OF WHOM
HAD RUN, SIMPLY ON THE PLATFORM
OF MAKING A HARSH PEACE WITH
GERMANY, AND THAT WAS SOMETHING
HE HAD TO DEAL WITH.
HE HAD TO DEAL ALSO WITH THE
PRESS IN ENGLAND, LARGE SECTIONS
OF WHICH, PARTICULARLY THE
NORTHCLIFFE PAPERS, WERE VERY,
VERY HOSTILE TO GERMANY, AND
WERE DEMANDING VERY, VERY HARSH
PEACE.
AND SO PUBLIC OPINION WAS ONE OF
THE FACTORS THAT MADE THE PARIS
PEACE CONFERENCE OF 1919 VERY
DIFFERENT.
WE HAD ALREADY SEEN--
THE WORLD HAD ALREADY SEEN THE
IMPACT OF PUBLIC OPINION BEFORE
1914-1918, OF COURSE, IN SUCH
THINGS AS THE SPANISH AMERICAN
WAR, THE BOER WAR, EVEN THE
EARLIER UM--
THE EARLIER GORDON EXPEDITION TO
KHARTOUM.
I MEAN ALL THESE, THE PUBLIC HAD
TAKEN AN INTENSE INTEREST IN,
AND HAD PUSHED GOVERNMENTS INTO
DOING THINGS THAT THEY MIGHT NOT
OTHERWISE HAVE DONE.
WHAT WAS ALSO HAPPENING BEFORE
THE 1914-1918 WAR, IS, THERE WAS
A VERY STRONG MOVEMENT IN EUROPE
AND IN NORTH AMERICA TO TRY AND
ORGANISE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
AND RUN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
ON A DIFFERENT BASIS.
THERE HAD BEEN A GREAT MANY
CONFERENCES, A GREAT DEAL OF
DISCUSSION, A GREAT MANY
SOCIETIES, A GREAT MANY
MOVEMENTS TRYING TO MAKE WAR
MORE CIVILISED.
THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS, OF
COURSE, WAS BORN IN THE PERIOD
BEFORE THE FIRST WORLD WAR, IN
FACT, BORN OUT OF A WAR IN 1866.
THE VARIOUS PEACE DISCUSSIONS OR
CONFERENCES AT THE HAGUE, HAD
TRIED TO SET RULES FOR WARFARE,
AGAIN IN AN ATTEMPT TO TRY TO
CONTROL WAR.
YOU HAD PEOPLE LIKE ALFRED NOBEL
WHO HAD FELT A SLIGHT SENSE OF
GUILT AT WHAT HIS EXPLOSIVES
COULD DO, AND SO HAD LEFT HIS
VERY CONSIDERABLE FORTUNE TO THE
CAUSE OF PEACE.
THERE WERE A GREAT MANY
DISCUSSIONS, BOTH ON THE LEFT,
AMONG THE INTERNATIONAL LEFT
MOVEMENT ABOUT HOW TO PREVENT
WAR.
THE IDEA WAS, BEFORE 1914, THAT
THEY WOULD HAVE A GENERAL
STRIKE, AND WARS WOULD THEREFORE
BE IMPOSSIBLE.
IN FACT, AS WE KNOW, THAT DIDN'T
HAPPEN.
THE LEFT JOINED AS
ENTHUSIASTICALLY IN THE OUTBREAK
OF WAR, VOTED AS
ENTHUSIASTICALLY FOR WAR
CREDITS, AS ANYONE ELSE DID, AT
LEAST IN THOSE FIRST DAYS OF THE
WAR, IN AUGUST 1914.
AND SO WHAT YOU HAD IN 1919 WAS
NOT A SUDDEN BREAK WITH WHAT HAD
BEEN HAPPENING.
IN MANY CASES, THE CONCERNS AND
THE ATTEMPTS MADE IN 1919 TO
BUILD A BETTER WORLD, TO DEAL
WITH THE NEW FORCES IN THE
WORLD, SUCH AS PUBLIC OPINION,
WITH THINGS THAT HAD BEEN BEFORE
1914-1918.
HAVING SAID THAT, YOU ALSO HAVE,
OF COURSE, A VERY DIFFERENT
SITUATION IN 1919.
VERY DIFFERENT BECAUSE THE WAR
ITSELF WAS THERE AS A PRESENCE,
AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT
PEOPLE IN PARIS OF COURSE COULD
NOT BUT BE AWARE OF.
ALL THE DELEGATES WHO CAME TO
PARIS, IN THEIR MEMOIRS AND IN
THEIR LETTERS HOME, WERE STRUCK
BY HOW PARIS LOOKED.
THEY NOTICED THE TREES THAT HAD
BEEN CUT DOWN FOR FUEL, THEY
NOTICED THE CAPTURED GERMAN GUNS
IN THE PLACE DE LA CONCORDE.
THEY LINED THE PLACE DE LA
CONCORDE.
THEY NOTICED THAT VIRTUALLY
EVERY WOMAN THEY SAW IN PARIS
WAS WEARING EITHER BLACK OR WAS
WEARING A BLACK ARMBAND, AND SO
WERE A GREAT MANY OF THE MEN.
FRANCE, AND PERHAPS WE TEND TO
FORGET THIS SOMETIMES -- FRANCE
TOOK THE GREATEST PROPORTION OF
LOSSES OF ITS MEN OF FIGHTING
AGE OF ANY COUNTRY IN THE FIRST
WORLD WAR, OUT OF PROPORTION TO
IT'S POPULATION, HIGHER EVEN
THAN GERMANY.
I WAS LOOKING AT SOME FIGURES
TODAY, AND IN THE FRENCH
INFANTRY, AND THE INFANTRY OF
COURSE DID THE BULK OF THE
FIGHTING.
ONE OUT OF THREE OFFICERS WAS
KILLED DURING THE WAR, AND ONE
OUT OF FOUR MEN, A GREAT MANY
MORE WOUNDED.
AND SO IF YOU CAME TO PARIS IN
1919, YOU CAME WITH THE
KNOWLEDGE OF THIS DREADFUL WAR.
IT WAS A WAR WHICH HAD CONSUMED
EUROPE'S RESOURCES, CONSUMED
EUROPE'S YOUNG MEN, WHICH HAD
LEFT WHAT PEOPLE FELT WERE
LASTING AND PERMANENT DAMAGE ON
EUROPEAN SOCIETY AND ON EUROPEAN
PEOPLE.
A VERY COMMON EXPRESSION YOU GET
IN 1919 IS THAT SOMETHING IS
BROKEN, THAT SOME DAMAGE HAS
BEEN DONE, AND WE'RE NOT SURE
IT'S EVERY GOING TO BE REPAIRED.
AND THERE WAS THE SENSE THAT
SOMETHING TRULY CATASTROPHIC
TAKEN PLACE, AND I THINK WHEN WE
LOOK AT THE PARIS PEACE
CONFERENCE, AND PARTICULARLY
WHEN WE LOOK AT ITS
CONSEQUENCES, WE TEND TO FORGET
THIS DREADFUL CONTEXT WITHIN
WHICH IT WAS OPERATING.
THIS TREMENDOUS SENSE OF LOSS,
THIS TREMENDOUS SENSE OF
APPREHENSION.
AND BECAUSE THE WAR HAD BEEN SO
DREADFUL, AND HAD CAUSED SO MUCH
DAMAGE, I THINK WHAT THEY WERE
ALSO DEALING WITH IN PARIS,
THOSE PEOPLE WHO CAME THERE TO
TRY TO MAKE PEACE, THEY WERE
DEALING WITH TREMENDOUSLY
COMPLEX PUBLIC EXPECTATIONS OF
WHAT ANY PEACEMAKING WOULD DO IN
PARIS.
AND THOSE EXPECTATIONS RAN
REALLY ACROSS A WIDE RANGE OF
POSSIBILITIES.
THE WAR ITSELF HAD DRAWN IN THE
PEOPLES OF EUROPE, WITH ALMOST
NO EXCEPTIONS, AND SEVERAL
COUNTRIES REMAINED OUT, AND WERE
NOT EFFECTED IN THE SAME WAY,
BUT IN VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER
CASE, THE COUNTRIES THAT CAME
INTO THE WAR, CAME IN WITH
POPULATIONS THAT SUPPORTED THE
WAR, WHICH SAW THE WAR AS NOT
JUST SOMETHING THAT HAD TO
HAPPEN, BUT IN FACT, SAW THE WAR
THAT WAS A MATTER OF, IF NOT--
NOT MERELY NATIONAL SURVIVAL,
BUT OFTEN THE SURVIVAL OF
CIVILISATION ITSELF.
AND I THINK THIS WAS NOT JUST
RHETORIC, I MEAN I THINK WE'VE
TENDED TO ASSUME THAT THIS WAS
JUST THE PROPAGANDA THAT WAS
MADE DURING THE WAY, BUT MORE
AND MORE, AS HISTORIANS LOOK AT
IT, THE PROPAGANDA, IN A SENSE,
WHICH WAS STILL NOT YET THE
SOPHISTICATED PROPAGANDA THAT WE
CAME TO KNOW IN LATER YEARS.
THE PROPAGANDA REALLY WAS
REFLECTING WHAT PEOPLE REALLY
THOUGHT.
THERE WAS TREMENDOUS POPULAR
SUPPORT FOR THE FIRST WORLD WAR
ON BOTH SIDES, ON BOTH THE
ALLIED SIDE AND ON THE SIDE OF
THE CENTRAL POWERS.
AND THIS, THE DEPTH, I THINK, OF
THE SUPPORT IS SHOWN BY THE WAY
IN WHICH PEOPLE KEPT FIGHTING
FOR FOUR YEARS.
I MEAN THIS WAS NOT SOMETHING
THAT PEOPLE GAVE UP ON EASILY.
THIS WAS NOT SOMETHING THAT
PEOPLE SAID, YOU KNOW, WE MADE A
MISTAKE.
AND PEOPLE SOMETIMES, HISTORIANS
HAVE SOMETIMES POINTED TO SUCH
THINGS AS THE MUTINIES IN THE
FRENCH ARMIES OF 1917,

Smiling, she continues BUT I WAS
SAYING AT SUPPER THAT I ACTUALLY
ONCE, AND I CAN'T REMEMBER WHY.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN IN DESPERATION
FOR SOME HISTORY ESSAY.
BUT I ONCE READ THE OFFICIAL
FRENCH GOVERNMENT REPORTS OF
THOSE MUTINIES IN 1917, AND THEY
MADE VERY INTERESTING READING,
BECAUSE THE WAY THE MUTINIES ARE
OFTEN PORTRAYED, IS, WELL, THE
FRENCH SOLDIERS SIMPLY DID NOT
WANT TO FIGHT, THEY HAD BECOME
PACIFISTS, THEY THOUGHT THE WAR
WAS FUTILE.
THAT'S NOT WHAT THE FRENCH
SOLDIERS THEMSELVES SAID AT THE
TIME IN THE--
AND THIS IS IN THE RECORD.
THEY PUT TOGETHER WHAT ARE HEART
RENDING PETITIONS SAYING, WE ARE
WILLING TO DIE FOR FRANCE, BUT
PLEASE, MAKE OUR DEATHS
WORTHWHILE, DON'T WASTE US IN
FUTILE ATTACKS.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO DIE, BUT WE
WOULD LIKE TO THINK THAT WE ARE
DYING FOR FRANCE IN A USEFUL
WAY.
AND I THINK THAT WAS A VERY DEEP
SEATED FEELING.
I MEAN WHEN YOU THINK OF THE
DEMANDS OF THE WAR, AND THE WAY
IN WHICH MEN WENT OFF, AND YOU
THINK OF REALLY HOW MANY MEN
VOLUNTEERED TO GO OFF AND FIGHT,
I THINK YOU HAVE A SENSE OF THE
TREMENDOUS PUBLIC EMOTION THAT
SUPPORTED THE WAR.
THE WAR WAS SEEN BY THOSE TAKING
PART IN IT, AS A WAR, NOT JUST
DEFENDING THEIR OWN COUNTRIES,
AND THAT CERTAINLY WAS THERE.
I MEAN THE GERMANS WERE
CONVINCED THAT THEY WERE
FIGHTING A DEFENSIVE WAR.
I MEAN IN THE YEARS BEFORE 1914,
THERE HAD BEEN TREMENDOUS PUBLIC
CONCERN IN GERMANY ABOUT THE
SLAVIC MENACE, THE MENACE OF
RUSSIA FROM THE EAST, CONCERN
THAT THE RUSSIANS WERE MORE
NUMEROUS THAN THE GERMANS, WHICH
WAS TRUE, THAT THE RUSSIANS WERE
BUILDING RAILWAYS VERY RAPIDLY,
WHICH WAS TRUE, WERE
INDUSTRIALISING VERY RAPIDLY,
AND THIS WAS REALLY A VERY DEEP
SEATED FEAR IN GERMANY, THAT
HERE IS THIS GREAT POWER, THEY
ARE NOT LIKE US, THEIR PEOPLE
ARE NOT LIKE US, AND THEY BEGAN
TO, AS PEOPLE WILL DO, THEY
HEARKENED BACK TO MUCH OLDER
STEREOTYPES, THE MONGOL HORDES
COMING FROM THE EAST, THE THREAT
TO CIVILISATION FROM THE EAST,
AND SO THE GERMAN PEOPLE, RIGHT
UP UNTIL THE END OF THE WAR WERE
CONVINCED THAT THEY WERE
FIGHTING A WAR FOR THE SURVIVAL
OF THE GERMAN NATION, THAT THEY
WERE FIGHTING A DEFENSIVE WAR,
THAT THEY WERE FIGHTING A WAR
ALSO FOR THE DEFENSE OF
CIVILISATION.
THE TROUBLE WAS, IN A WAY, THAT
ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE THOUGHT THE
SAME THING.
THE FRENCH SAW THEIR WAR AS A
DEFENSE OF CIVILISATION, AND IN
THEIR TURN, AS THE GERMANS WERE
STEREOTYPING THE RUSSIANS AS A
MENACE TO CIVILISATION, THE
FRENCH WERE DOING EXACTLY THE
SAME THINGS TO THE GERMANS.
I WAS READING A BOOK ON THE
TRAIN COMING UP ABOUT THIS, AND
A VERY LEARNED FRENCH PROFESSOR
WHICH I THINK SHOWS YOU SHOULD
NEVER TRUST WHAT PROFESSORS HAVE
TO SAY...
A VERY LEARNED FRENCH PROFESSOR
WROTE A BOOK ON HOW THE GERMANS
DON'T SMELL LIKE ANYONE ELSE.

[laughter]

Margaret continues BECAUSE THERE IS SOMETHING
RATHER PRIMITIVE ABOUT THEM.
AND HE CONCLUDED, IN FACT, THAT
THE GERMAN URINARY SYSTEM WORKS
DIFFERENTLY, AND THEY URINATE
THROUGH THEIR FEET.

The audience burst into laughter.

She continues THIS LEARNED PROFESSOR FROM THE
SORBONNE WROTE THIS IN 1916,
WROTE THIS TO EXPLAIN WHY ALL
THE FRENCH NATION SHOULD RALLY
AGAINST THE GERMANS.
YOU GOT THE SAME THING IN
BRITAIN.
I MEAN, SOME OF YOU--
I GREW UP READING THE BOOKS THAT
MY GRANDFATHER WHO FOUGHT IN THE
FIRST WORLD WAR HAD COLLECTED,
OR READING THE BOOKS THAT MY
FATHER READ AS A CHILD, AND YOU
GOT THE SAME THING IN BRITAIN.
YOU KNOW, THAT THE HUNS ARE
BEASTLY, AND THAT WE ARE
DEFENDING SOMETHING VERY, VERY
IMPORTANT.
SO WHAT YOU HAD IN THE FIRST
WORLD WAR WAS A TREMENDOUS
STRUGGLE, ABOUT CIVILISATION,
ABOUT THE MEANING OF
CIVILISATION AND OF COURSE,
ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD.
I MEAN THIS WAS MORE THAN MERE
NATIONALISM.
I MEAN I THINK WHAT WAS INVOLVED
HERE WERE VERY IMPORTANT AND
VERY DEEPLY HELD VIEWS OF THE
WORLD.
WHAT THAT MEANT, I THINK, WHEN
IT CAME TO THE MAKING OF PEACE,
WAS THAT ON BOTH THE ALLIED AND
THE CENTRAL POWER SIDE, ON BOTH
THE SIDES OF THOSE WHO HAD WON,
AND THE SIDES OF THOSE WHO HAD
LOST, THERE WERE EQUALLY LARGE
EXPECTATIONS OF WHAT THE WORLD
WAS GOING TO LOOK LIKE NOW.

People listen carefully.

She continues WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN A
TITANIC STRUGGLE LIKE THIS, WHEN
YOU HAVE EXPENDED SO MUCH OF
YOUR NATION'S WEALTH AND BLOOD,
AND THIS IS SOMETHING, BY THE
WAY, WHICH COMES UP AGAIN AND
AGAIN IN PARIS, THIS LANGUAGE OF
THE BLOOD.
PEOPLE SAY WHEN WE HAVE POURED
OUT OUR BLOOD, WE MUST HAVE
SOMETHING.
WE MUST HAVE SOMETHING FOR
OURSELVES, WE MUST HAVE A BETTER
WORLD.
WE HAVE PAID A PRICE IN BLOOD.
THIS IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT
NOTION, THAT WE HAVE PAID THIS
TERRIBLE PRICE, WE HAVE SUFFERED
THIS DREADFUL WAR, WE HAVE
SUFFERED THIS DREADFUL
CATASTROPHE, SOMETHING BETTER
MUST COME OUT OF IT.
SO WHAT YOU GOT WAS BOTH THE
WINNERS AND THE LOSERS GOING
INTO THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE
WITH TREMENDOUS EXPECTATIONS.
ADDED TO THAT WERE OTHER SORTS
OF EXPECTATIONS.
AGAIN, WHICH HAD BEEN THERE
BEFORE 1914, BUT WHICH WERE
ARTICULATED AND EXPRESSED WITH
PARTICULAR FERVOUR AND
PARTICULAR CLARITY DURING THE
WAR, EXPECTATIONS THAT THIS WAR
WAS GOING TO PRODUCE A BETTER
WORLD.
AND THIS AGAIN GOES BEYOND THE
MERE NATIONAL INTEREST.
THE TWO GREAT PROPONENT PERHAPS,
OF THESE EXPECTATIONS FOR A
BETTER WORLD, BUT THEY WERE
REFLECTING WIDELY HELD VIEWS,
WERE OVER IN THE EAST, LENIN,
AND OVER IN THE WEST, WOODROW
WILSON.
IN RUSSIA IN 1917, LENIN AND HIS
BOLSHEVIKS HAD SEIZED PEACE--
I'M SORRY, HAD SEIZED POWER IN
WHAT WAS A COUP D'ETAT.
AT THE TIME, IN NOVEMBER 1917, A
LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT THEY
WOULDN'T LAST FOR VERY LONG.
THEY WERE VERY SMALL, AND TO
MANY PEOPLE AN UNKNOWN POLITICAL
FACTION AND WHEN THEY SEIZED
POWER IN PETROGRAD, NOW, SAINT
PETERSBURG, AND AGAIN IN MOSCOW,
IN THE FALL OF 1917, MANY PEOPLE
BOTH IN RUSSIA AND OUTSIDE
THOUGHT THEY WOULDN'T LAST FOR
VERY LONG.
AS YOU KNOW THEY DID, AND SO
WHAT THEY FELT ABOUT THE RUNNING
OF THE WORLD BECAME VERY
IMPORTANT.
NOW LENIN HAD VIOLENTLY AND
VOCIFEROUSLY OPPOSED THE FIRST
WORLD WAR FROM THE VERY
BEGINNING, AND HAD BEEN DEEPLY
CRITICAL OF THOSE ON THE
EUROPEAN LEFT WHO HAD SUPPORTED
THEIR OWN COUNTRIES'
PARTICIPATION IN THE WAR.
HE HAD, IN FACT SET UP WHAT WAS
EVENTUALLY GOING TO BECOME THE
COMINTERN, THE COMMUNIST
INTERNATIONAL, HE HAD SET UP AN
ALTERNATIVE ORGANISATION, WHICH,
RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING, HE OF
COURSE HIMSELF WAS IN EXILE IN
SWITZERLAND.
HE HAD TALKED HIMSELF ABOUT
OPPOSING THE WAR, HAD DECRIED
THE WAR AS SOMETHING THAT WAS
SIMPLY BEING MANUFACTURED BY THE
CAPITALISTS, BY THOSE IN POWER,
TO DIVIDE THE WORKING CLASSES OF
THE WORLD, HAD CALLED UPON
PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD, ON THE
LEFT, IN THE WORKING CLASSES, TO
RISE UP AGAINST THEIR OWN
GOVERNMENTS, AND THE VISION
WHICH HE HELD OUT, IF THEY DID
RISE UP AGAINST THEIR OWN
GOVERNMENTS, WAS OF A CLASSLESS
BORDERLESS WORLD.
A WORLD IN WHICH THE REVOLUTION
WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED, IN WHICH
THE OLD RULING STRUCTURES WOULD
BE SWEPT AWAY, AND IN WHICH
NATIONALISM WOULD ALSO BE SWEPT
AWAY.
BECAUSE LENIN, LIKE MANY OF THE
BOLSHEVIKS AND MANY OF HIS
MARXIST PREDECESSORS REGARDED
NATIONALISM AS SIMPLY ONE OF THE
OTHER TOOLS WHICH THE
CAPITALISTS USED TO DIVIDE UP
THE WORLD'S WORKING CLASS.
AND SO THE VISION THAT LENIN WAS
HOLDING OUT, OUT THERE IN THE
EAST, AND HE WAS DOING HIS BEST
TO MAKE SURE THAT THE WORLD
HEARD ABOUT IT.
THEY WERE BROADCASTING, THEY
WERE SENDING LEAFLETS WHEN THEY
COULD, THEY WERE SENDING
MESSAGES WHEN THEY COULD, WAS OF
A CLASSLESS, BORDERLESS WORLD IN
WHICH ALL PEOPLES WOULD LIVE IN
HARMONY, IN WHICH YOU WOULD HAVE
NO MORE DISTINCTIONS EITHER
AMONG CLASSES OR AMONG NATIONS.
AND THIS WAS AN ENORMOUSLY
COMPELLING VISION.
LENIN AND HIS COMMISSAR FOR
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, LEON TROTSKY,
DIDN'T IN FACT BELIEVE THAT ANY
FOREIGN AFFAIRS WERE GOING TO BE
NEEDED IN THE FUTURE.
YOU WOULD NOT NEED DIPLOMATS
ONCE THE REVOLUTION HAD BEEN
ACCOMPLISHED.

Smiling, she says IN FACT TROTSKY WENT INTO THE
TSARIST ARCHIVES OF THE FOREIGN
MINISTRY, HAD A RATHER NICE TIME
OPENING UP THE SECRET FILES AND
DISCOVERING ALL SORTS OF SECRET
AGREEMENTS, INCLUDING THE SYKES
PICOT AGREEMENT TO DIVIDE UP THE
MIDDLE EAST BETWEEN THE BRITISH,
FRENCH, AND AT THE TIME, THE
RUSSIAN TSARIST GOVERNMENT,
PUBLISHED THEM, MUCH TO THE
EMBARRASSMENT OF CERTAIN PARTIES
IN THE WEST, AND THEN SAID, WE
WILL SHUT UP SHOP.
WE WON'T NEED DIPLOMACY ANY
MORE, WE WON'T NEED DIPLOMATS
ANY MORE, THE REVOLUTION IS
GOING TO SWEEP THROUGH THE
WORLD, AND THE WORLD WILL LOOK
VERY DIFFERENT.
THAT WAS ONE VISION OF WHAT
ANOTHER WORLD MIGHT LOOK LIKE,
AND AS YOU CAN BELIEVE AND
UNDERSTAND, IT WAS ENORMOUSLY
COMPELLING TO PEOPLE WHO HAD
COME THROUGH THE WAR.
THE OTHER VISION WAS THE ONE
BEING PUT FORWARD BY WOODROW
WILSON.
AND AGAIN, THIS WAS NOT
SOMETHING THAT WOODROW WILSON
INVENTED, ALTHOUGH SOME OF THIS
BIOGRAPHERS LATER ON CLAIMED
THAT HE HAD.
I MEAN THERE IS A PREVAILING
MYTH, I THINK, WHICH IS
PARTICULARLY STRONG IN NORTH
AMERICA, THAT WOODROW WILSON, ON
HIS OWN, CAME UP WITH THE IDEA
OF A NEW DIPLOMACY AND A WORLD
IN WHICH THINGS WERE DONE MUCH
MORE OPENLY AND A WORLD IN WHICH
PEOPLE WERE CONSULTED AND A
WORLD IN WHICH YOU DIDN'T HAVE
THESE SECRET AGREEMENTS, AND
THAT LIKE A SORT OF SIR GALLAHAD
GOT ON HIS STEAMER AND STEAMED
ACROSS THE ATLANTIC BEARING THIS
MISSION, BEARING THIS GRAIL TO
THE EUROPEANS, AND WAS GREETED
ON THE EUROPEAN SHORES BY PEOPLE
SMILING ON THE SURFACE, WITH
HEARTS AS BLACK AS NIGHT, WHO
DIDN'T SHARE IN THIS VISION AND
WHO DID THEIR BEST TO DESTROY
IT.
AND THIS OF COURSE IS ABSOLUTE
RUBBISH.
I MEAN THERE WERE A GREAT MANY
EUROPEANS WHO SHARED IN THIS
VISION AS WELL.
WOODROW WILSON TALKED ABOUT
DIPLOMACY BEING CONDUCTED MORE
OPENLY, ALTHOUGH HE BEGAN TO
HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS ONCE HE
ARRIVED IN PARIS AND DID
ACTUALLY TRY TO CONDUCT IT
OPENLY.
HE THEN DECIDED THAT QUIETER
MEETINGS MIGHT BE A GOOD THING,
AND THE PRESS, MUCH TO THEIR
FURY, WERE BARRED FROM THE
INTERNAL WORKINGS OF THE PEACE
CONFERENCE.
HE TALKED A LOT ABOUT A WORLD IN
WHICH YOU ELIMINATED BARRIERS OF
TRADE.
HE BELIEVED AS MANY LIBERALS
DID, AND STILL BELIEVE, THE MORE
NATIONS TRADE WITH EACH OTHER,
THE LESS LIKELY THEY ARE TO GO
TO WAR.
HE BELIEVED IN TRYING TO SPREAD
PROSPERITY AND JUSTICE AROUND
THE WORLD.
HE BELIEVED IN SETTING UP SOME
SORT OF COLLECTIVE ENFORCEMENT
OF THE PEACE, THE LEAGUE OF
NATIONS WAS THE FORM IT FINALLY
TOOK, AND HE BELIEVED IN WHAT
TURNED OUT TO BE A VERY FUZZY
AND RATHER COMPLICATED IDEA, THE
IDEA OF NATIONAL SELF-
DETERMINATION.
HE LATER ON SAID TO CONGRESS
THAT IF HE'D REALISED QUITE HOW
MANY COUNTRIES OR WOULD BE
NATIONS THAT WERE IN THE WORLD,
HE MIGHT NOT HAVE SAID IT IN
QUITE THE SAME WAY.
I THINK AT LAST COUNT, SOMEONE
WAS TELLING ME, THERE ARE 10,000
POTENTIAL NATIONS IN THE WORLD,
IF YOU COUNT AS NATIONS PEOPLE
WHO HAVE AN IDENTITY, A
COLLECTIVE IDENTITY WHO SEE
THEMSELVES AS A DISTINCT PEOPLE
FROM THEIR NEIGHBOURS.
WOODROW WILSON BELIEVED THAT
PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CHOOSE
THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS.
HE DOES NOT SEEM TO HAVE BEEN
CLEAR ABOUT WHETHER THAT MEANT
THAT PEOPLE SHOULD ACTUALLY HAVE
THEIR OWN STATES.
THERE'S A VERY INTERESTING
EXCHANGE THAT HE HAD WITH IRISH
NATIONALISTS WHO CAME TO SEE HIM
TO ASK FOR HIS SUPPORT IN
GETTING THEIR FREEDOM FROM GREAT
BRITAIN, AND HE SENT THEM AWAY.
HE SAID, BRITAIN IS A DEMOCRACY,
HE SAID, DEAL WITH IT THROUGH
DEMOCRATIC MEANS.
AND SO HE SEEMS NOT TO HAVE
THOUGHT THAT EVERY NATION, EVERY
GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO FELT
THEMSELVES TO BE A NATION SHOULD
NECESSARILY HAVE THEIR OWN
STATES.
BUT WHETHER OR NOT HE BELIEVED
THIS, THAT IS CERTAINLY HOW MANY
PEOPLE TOOK IT.
THE IDEA OF NATIONAL SELF-
DETERMINATION REALLY HIT
EUROPEANS AND HIT THE FAR EAST
AS CONFIRMATION, AT LEAST FOR
THOSE PEOPLES WHO WANTED THEIR
OWN STATES, THAT THEY NOW HAD
APPROVAL FROM A VERY IMPORTANT
PERSON INDEED.
THERE IS A STORY, WHICH I THINK
IS TRUE, THAT WHEN LAWRENCE OF
ARABIA AND HIS ARAB COLLEAGUES
IN THE DESERT, THEY WERE
FIGHTING OF COURSE AGAINST THE
TURKISH EMPIRE, THE OTTOMAN
TURKISH EMPIRE IN THE DESERT,
HEARD ABOUT WOODROW WILSON'S 14
POINTS AND HIS TALK OF NATIONAL
SELF-DETERMINATION, THEY SAT
AROUND THE CAMPFIRE AND TALKED
ABOUT HOW WONDERFUL THIS WOULD
BE FOR THE ARABS.
AND SO IT WAS SOMETHING THAT
GAVE A TREMENDOUS IMPETUS TO
WHAT WAS ALREADY THERE.
AND SO WHAT YOU HAD, AS THE
PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE OPENED,
IS, YOU HAD DIFFERENT VISIONS OF
WHAT THE WORLD MIGHT LOOK LIKE,
AND YOU HAD THIS TREMENDOUS
PUBLIC HUNGER, I THINK ON ALL
SIDES, THAT THE WORLD SHOULD
INDEED BE DIFFERENT.
NOW WHETHER THE WORLD SHOULD
TAKE THE FORM BEING PROPOSED BY
LENIN OVER THERE IN THE EAST, OR
WHETHER IT SHOULD TAKE THE FORM
BEING PROPOSED IN THE WEST BY
WOODROW WILSON WAS NOT YET CLEAR
TO PEOPLE, AND I THINK WAS NEVER
ENTIRELY GOING TO BECOME CLEAR.
I THINK FOR SOME PEOPLE, THERE
SIMPLY WAS THIS LONGING FOR SOME
SORT OF BETTER WORLD, AND SOME
SENSE THAT IF THEY DIDN'T, AND
THE WORLD DIDN'T BEGIN TO TRY
AND BUILD STRUCTURES, THEY WERE
GOING TO BE IN A VERY GREAT DEAL
OF TROUBLE.
BECAUSE THE WORLD OF 1919 WAS A
VERY TROUBLED WORLD.
IT WAS A WORLD WHICH WAS STILL
REELING FROM THE SHOCK OF THE
WAR, INSTITUTIONS HAD COLLAPSED
IN MANY PARTS OF EUROPE, AND
WERE IN THE PROCESS OF
COLLAPSING IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
RUSSIA WAS STILL IN THE THROES
OF CIVIL WAR.
IT WAS NOT YET CLEAR IF THE
BOLSHEVIKS WOULD BE ABLE TO HOLD
ON, AND AS THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR
WENT ON, A NUMBER OF THE SUBJECT
PEOPLES OF THE OLD TSARIST
EMPIRE, AROUND THE EDGES,
UKRAINIANS FOR EXAMPLE,
LATVIANS, LITHUANIANS,
ESTONIANS, AND FURTHER SOUTH,
GEORGIANS, ARMENIANS,
AZERBAIJANIS, TRIED TO SEIZE
THEIR INDEPENDENCE.
THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN EMPIRE IN
THE CENTRE OF EUROPE HAD
COLLAPSED, AND AGAIN, YOU HAD
PEOPLE BEGINNING TO TRY AND
STAKE OUT THEIR CLAIMS.
ONE OF THE PROBLEMS OF COURSE,
IN EUROPE AND ELSEWHERE, WAS
THAT, AS PEOPLE SAW AN
OPPORTUNITY TO STAKE OUT THEIR
CLAIMS, IT BECAME VERY
COMPLICATED TO TRY AND JUDGE
AMONG THOSE DIFFERENT CLAIMS,
BECAUSE IN MANY CASES, THEY WERE
CLAIMING PRECISELY THE SAME
PIECES OF TERRITORY.
HISTORY, AS YOU ALL KNOW, CAN BE
A VERY DANGEROUS SUBJECT, AND
WHEN PEOPLES IN THE CENTRE OF
EUROPE, THE POLES BEGAN TO
RECONSTITUTE THEMSELVES, THE
CZECHS BEGAN TO BUILD A STATE
WITH THE SLOVAKS, THE ROMANIANS
BEGAN TO THINK OF A GREATER
ROMANIA, SERBIA JOINED TOGETHER
WITH CROATIA AND SLOVENIA TO
FORM YUGOSLAVIA, AS THEY TRIED
TO DETERMINE WHAT SHAPE THEIR
BORDERS SHOULD TAKE, BECAUSE ALL
BORDERS IN THE CENTRE OF EUROPE
ARE BASICALLY UP FOR GRABS, THEY
WENT BOTH TO THE ETHNIC FIGURES,
MANY OF WHICH WERE VERY DUBIOUS.
I MEAN, YOU'VE GOT WONDERFUL
STATEMENTS BEING MADE AT THE
PEACE CONFERENCE, THAT, YES, IT
IS TRUE THAT THESE PEOPLE SPEAK
CROATIAN, BUT THEY'RE REALLY
AUSTRIAN AT HEART, THEY JUST
DON'T REALISE IT.
OR YES, THESE PEOPLE ARE TRULY
POLES, EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVEN'T
SPOKEN POLISH FOR CENTURIES, BUT
IF YOU LOOK AT THEM YOU CAN
TELL.
I MEAN THE FRENCH TRIED THIS
WITH THE RHINELAND, THAT PART OF
GERMANY WEST OF THE RHINE RIVER,
AND THEY SAID, LOOK, IF YOU LOOK
AT THE RHINELANDERS, OF COURSE
THEY SPEAK GERMAN, BUT LOOK AT
THEIR APPRECIATION FOR WINE,
LOOK AT THEIR JOIE DE VIVRE,
THEY ARE CLEARLY FRENCH, THEY
JUST HAVEN'T HAD AN OPPORTUNITY
TO EXPRESS IT FOR SOME TIME.

[laughter]

She continues PEOPLE COMPILED WHAT WERE OFTEN
VERY DUBIOUS ETHNIC STATISTICS,
BUT THEY ALSO WENT BACK TO THE
HISTORY.
AND OF COURSE, HUMAN NATURE
BEING WHAT IT IS, IF YOU ARE
GREECE, AND YOU GO BACK TO THE
HISTORY, DO YOU GO BACK TO THE
SMALL LITTLE GREECE OF 1830, NO,
YOU GO BACK MANY CENTURIES
BEFORE THAT, YOU GO BACK TO THE
GREECE OF THE GOLDEN AGES.
IF YOU ARE BULGARIAN--
THE BULGARIANS LOST, THEY WERE
ON THE LOSING SIDE, BUT THE
BULGARIANS HAD A VERY OPTIMISTIC
ATTITUDE TOWARD THE PEACE.
THEY FELT THEY'D ACTUALLY GET
BIGGER.
THEY FELT THAT WOODROW WILSON
UNDERSTOOD THEM AND SYMPATHISED
WITH THEM, AND SO THEY SENT IN A
VERY INTERESTING SET OF DEMANDS.
THE BULGARIANS WENT BACK TO THE
13th CENTURY, WHEN BULGARIA HAD
BRIEFLY BEEN RATHER LARGE.
AND SO YOU'VE GOT THIS HAPPENING
ALL OVER EUROPE, BECAUSE THERE
WAS THIS TREMENDOUS SENSE OF
FLUIDITY, AND THIS WAS THE TIME
TO STAKE OUT YOUR CLAIMS.
AND SO PEOPLES CAME AND
INDIVIDUALS CAME TO THE PARIS
PEACE CONFERENCE WITH TREMENDOUS
EXPECTATIONS, NOT ALL OF WHICH,
OF COURSE, MESHED VERY NEATLY
TOGETHER.
AND THAT WAS GOING TO BE ONE OF
THE PROBLEMS.
I MEAN YOU HAD THESE DESIRES FOR
A BETTER WORLD, NOT YET PERHAPS
TAKING VERY CLEAR FORM, OR SOME
TILTING TO THE LEFT AND SOME
TILTING TO THE RIGHT.
YOU ALSO HAD NATIONAL INTERESTS.
YOU ALSO, OF COURSE, HAD A
DESIRE FOR REVENGE, BECAUSE
THERE WAS A VERY NATURAL
FEELING, RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY, AT
THE TIME OF THE PARIS PEACE
CONFERENCE, THAT SOMEONE SHOULD
PAY FOR THIS.
THE PROSPECT THAT THE FIRST
WORLD WAR HAD STARTED THROUGH A
SERIES OF MISTAKES, WHICH IS NOW
I THINK INCREASINGLY WHAT
HISTORIANS HAVE COME TO
CONCLUDE.
THERE'S STILL HUGE DEBATE ABOUT
WHAT CAUSED THE FIRST WORLD WAR.
AT LAST COUNT I THINK THERE WERE
ABOUT 27,000 BOOKS IN ENGLISH ON
THE CAUSES OF THE FIRST WORLD
WAR.
THERE ARE FAR FEWER ON THE
CAUSES OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR,
WE'VE ALL MORE OR LESS COME TO
AGREEMENT ABOUT WHAT CAUSED THE
SECOND WORLD WAR IN BOTH EUROPE
AND IN ASIA.
BUT THE DEBATE OVER THE FIRST
WORLD WAR HADN'T YET REALLY
BEGUN, OR WHAT CAUSED IT, AND AT
LEAST ON THE WINNING SIDE,
PEOPLE WERE VERY CLEAR THAT IT
WAS THE FAULT OF THE LOSERS.
IT WAS THE FAULT, IN PARTICULAR
OF GERMANY, AND GERMANY SHOULD
PAY.
AND IT WAS HARD, I THINK, TO
ARGUE AGAINST THIS, IF YOU WERE
FRENCH OR BELGIAN.
YOUR COUNTRIES WERE THE ONES WHO
HAD BEEN FOUGHT OVER.
BELGIUM, MOST OF BELGIUM HAD
BEEN OCCUPIED DURING THE FIRST
WORLD WAR, EXCEPT FOR A VERY
SMALL SLICE.
IT HAD BEEN PLUNDERED, IT HAD
BEEN LOOTED, A NUMBER OF
BELGIANS HAD BEEN SENT OFF TO DO
FORCED LABOUR IN GERMANY.
THE WHOLE OF THE NORTH OF FRANCE
HAD BEEN FOUGHT OVER.
IT ALSO HAD BEEN PLUNDERED,
PARTS OF FRANCE HAD BEEN
OCCUPIED.
AND WHAT BOTH THE BELGIANS AND
THE FRENCH POINTED OUT, AT THE
PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE WAS THAT
THEY HADN'T STARTED IT.
THEY HAD NOT DECLARED WAR ON
GERMANY.
GERMANY, AS YOU ALL KNOW, HAD
INVADED BELGIUM, A NEUTRAL
COUNTRY, WHOSE NEUTRALITY, BY
THE WAY, GERMANY HAD SIGNED ON
TO GUARANTEE, ALONG WITH OTHER
EUROPEAN POWERS.
FRANCE HAD NOT DECLARED WAR ON
GERMANY.
THE FRENCH HAD HAD GERMANY
DECLARE WAR ON THEM.
AND SO AMONG THE FRENCH AND
BELGIAN PUBLICS THERE WAS, WHAT
LATER ON, PEOPLE CAME TO CALL
VINDICTIVE, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME A
PERFECTLY REASONABLE POINT OF
VIEW, THAT WE DIDN'T START THE
WAR, WE DIDN'T CAUSE IT.
IT WAS FOUGHT ON OUR SOIL, WE'VE
SUFFERED TREMENDOUS DAMAGE FOR
IT.
WHO'S GOING TO PAY TO MAKE IT
RIGHT.
AS ONE FRENCH NEWSPAPER SAID,
WHY SHOULD THE FRENCH TAXPAYER
PAY?
WE DIDN'T DO IT.
AND SO ON THE ALLIED SIDE, YOU
HAD, YES, ON THE ONE HAND THIS
DESIRE FOR A BETTER WORLD THAT
WAS NOT PERHAPS FULLY
ARTICULATED, OR TOOK VARIOUS
FORMS, BUT YOU ALSO HAD A SENSE
THAT SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE SHOULD
PAY FOR THIS.
MORE THAN THAT, I THINK THERE
WAS A SENSE THAT SOMEONE SHOULD
BE PUNISHED.
THERE WAS VERY STRONG FEELING
THAT THE GERMANS IN PARTICULAR,
AND IT WAS EASIER TO SINGLE OUT
THE GERMANS AS THOSE WHO SHOULD
BE PUNISHED, BECAUSE AUSTRIA-
HUNGARY DISAPPEARED.
AND SO YOU REALLY COULDN'T TALK
OF PUNISHING AUSTRIA-HUNGARY.
THERE WASN'T ANYTHING LEFT TO
PUNISH.
AND THERE WAS SOME TALK OF
PUNISHING THE HUNGARIANS, BUT
THE AUSTRIANS EVERYONE FELT
RATHER SORRY FOR.
BUT GERMANY WAS STILL THERE,
RELATIVELY INTACT, VERY LITTLE
OF THE WAR HAD EVER BEEN FOUGHT
ON GERMAN SOIL, THE GERMAN
INFRASTRUCTURE WAS RELATIVELY
INTACT, THE GERMAN PEOPLE HAD,
YES, SUFFERED, BUT HAD THEY
SUFFERED IN THE SAME WAY AS THE
BELGIANS AND THE FRENCH?
THE BELGIANS AND THE FRENCH
THOUGHT NOT.
YES, THEY HAD HAD ECONOMIC
DEPRIVATION, BUT THAT IT SEEMED
TO BOTH BELGIANS AND TO FRENCH
PEOPLE, WAS NOT THE SAME AS
ACTUALLY HAVING YOUR COUNTRY
FOUGHT OVER, HAVING YOUR
CHURCHES SHELLED, HAVING YOUR
LIBRARIES DESTROYED, HAVING YOUR
PEOPLE, CIVILIANS AND SOLDIERS
KILLED.
AND SO THERE WAS A FEELING THAT
SOMEONE SHOULD BE MADE TO PAY.
THERE WAS CONSIDERABLE
ENTHUSIASM IN ALLIED COUNTRIES
FOR DOING SOMETHING TO THE
KAISER, KAISER WILHELM II, WHO,
BY HIS OWN BOMBAST, I THINK, AND
HIS PROPENSITY TO SEIZE THE
LIMELIGHT HAD MADE HIMSELF A
VERY VISIBLE TARGET.
HE HAD SO THOROUGHLY IDENTIFIED
HIMSELF WITH THE GERMAN PEOPLE
AND WITH GERMAN IMPERIAL
AMBITIONS, THAT HE WAS A NATURAL
CHOICE FOR SOMEONE TO BE
PUNISHED.
AND THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF
TALK ON THE ALLIED SIDE ABOUT
HOW YOU ACTUALLY PUNISH THE
KAISER.
LLOYD GEORGE WAS RATHER FOR
SENDING HIM OFF TO THE FALKLAND
ISLANDS AND LEAVING HIM THERE,

Smiling, she continues WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN AN
INTERESTING DEVELOPMENT IN
HISTORY IF WE'D SUDDENLY FOUND
ARGENTINA INVADING A SERIES OF
ISLANDS RULED OVER BY THE
DESCENDANTS OF THE KAISER, A
SORT OF SAINT HELENA OF THE KAISER.
THERE WAS SOME TALK OF HANGING
HIM.
IN THE END, NONE OF THIS
MATERIALISED BECAUSE THE KAISER
HAD TAKEN REFUGE IN THE
NETHERLANDS, WHICH HAD REMAINED
NEUTRAL DURING THE WAR, AND WAS
SITTING THERE IN A RATHER LEAKY
AND DRAFTY CASTLE, AND THE
NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT REFUSED
TO HAND HIM OVER.
SO IN THE END, HE SIMPLY LIVED
OUT HIS DAYS, AND DIED THERE IN
1941.
THERE WERE ALSO EXPECTATIONS ON
THE SIDE OF THE LOSERS, AND
THESE EXPECTATIONS MAY NOT HAVE
BEEN REASONABLE, BUT THEY WERE
NEVERTHELESS VERY, VERY STRONG.
I MEAN THE EXPECTATIONS ON THE
PART OF THE BULGARIANS WAS THAT
WOODROW WILSON HAD PROMISED A
NEW WORLD.
THERE WERE AMERICAN MISSIONARIES
WORKING IN BULGARIA, WHO WERE
RATHER PRO-BULGARIAN, AND THE
BULGARIANS FELT THAT THEY HAD A
SYMPATHETIC EAR IN THE UNITED
STATES AND THAT THEY WOULD GET
FAIR TREATMENT.
THEY ACTUALLY THOUGHT THAT THEY
WOULD BE ABLE TO GET SOME
TERRITORY FROM ROMANIA, WHICH
THEY HAD ALWAYS WANTED, AND
POSSIBLE FROM A COUPLE OF OTHER
OF THEIR NEIGHBOURS.
THE AUSTRIANS ARGUED THAT THEY
WERE NO LONGER AUSTRIA-HUNGARY,
THEY WERE THE REMNANTS OF WHAT
HAD ONCE BEEN A GREAT EMPIRE,
BUT THEY WERE DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
THEY HAD HAD A REVOLUTION, THEIR
KAISER, THEIR UNCLE HAD GONE,
THEY WERE NOW A REPUBLIC.
HOW COULD THEY BE PUNISHED FOR
WHAT THE OLD REGIME HAD DONE,
AND HOW COULD THEY BEAR THE
BURDEN OF ALL THE RESPONSIBILITY
OF THE OLD AUSTRIA-HUNGARY WHEN
THEY WERE NOW A COUNTRY OF 7
MILLION PEOPLE?
I MEAN THEY WERE NO LONGER THE
CENTRE OF AN EMPIRE OF 150
MILLION PEOPLE, THEY WERE LITTLE
AND VERY POOR AND IN FACT
STARVING COUNTRY OF ABOUT 7
MILLION PEOPLE.
AND SO THE AUSTRIANS ARGUED THAT
WE ARE NOW A DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
THE GERMANS OF COURSE CAME IN
WITH THEIR OWN SET OF
EXPECTATIONS, AND THIS WAS GOING
TO LEAD TO A LOT OF TROUBLE
LATER ON.
THE GERMANS BELIEVED THAT THEY
HAD SURRENDERED ON THE BASIS OF
WOODROW WILSON'S PROMISE OF A
NEW SORT OF DIPLOMACY.
AND THEY HAD SOME REASON TO
BELIEVE THIS, BECAUSE THE
ARMISTICE HAD BEEN ARRANGED IN
NOVEMBER 1918, WITH A VERY
PUBLIC SERIES OF NOTES BEING
SENT BETWEEN WOODROW WILSON, THE
AMERICAN PRESIDENT, AND THE
GERMAN GOVERNMENT, AND WOODROW
WILSON HAD SAID THAT IF THE
GERMANS ACCEPTED THE 14 POINTS
AND HIS PROMISE OF DOING THINGS
IN A NEW WAY, AND HIS NEW WORLD
ORDER, THAT HE WOULD ARRANGE AN
ARMISTICE ON THAT BASIS WITH THE
ALLIES.
THIS INFURIATED BOTH THE BRITISH
AND THE FRENCH, WHO SAID HE HAD
NO BUSINESS DOING IT, WHICH HE
PROBABLY DIDN'T, BUT OF COURSE,
ONCE DONE, IT COULDN'T BE
UNDONE, AND THE ALLIED PUBLICS
THEMSELVES SEIZED ON THE
PROSPECT OF THE WAR ENDING WITH
TREMENDOUS ENTHUSIASM.
AND SO WHEN THE ARMISTICE WAS
MADE, THERE WAS A FEELING IN
GERMANY THAT THEY HAD
SURRENDERED, OR THEY HAD MADE AN
ARMISTICE ON THE BASIS OF
WOODROW WILSON'S VISION OF A NEW
DIPLOMACY, WHICH SEEMED TO THEM,
MEANT THAT THEY WOULD BE TREATED
VERY FAIRLY.
IN FACT, I USED THE WORD
SURRENDER JUST NOW, THE GERMANS
DID NOT REALLY EVER THINK THAT
THEY HAD SURRENDERED.
THEY FELT THAT THEY HAD ASKED
FOR AN END TO THE WAR.
SEEING THAT IT WAS NO LONGER
GOOD FOR EUROPE AND NO LONGER
GOOD FOR CIVILISATION, THEY HAD
DONE A VERY RATIONAL THING HERE,
BUT IT WAS A SURRENDER.
AND THIS WAS TO BE ANOTHER OF
THE VERY IMPORTANT ASSUMPTIONS
THAT THE GERMANS BROUGHT TO THE
WHOLE PEACE SETTLEMENT.
MY OWN VIEW ON THIS IS VERY
CLEAR.
GERMANY LOST THE WAR.
GERMAN ARMIES WERE DEFEATED ON
THE BATTLEFIELD IN THE SUMMER OF
1918.
THE GERMAN HIGH COMMAND,
GENERALS VON HINDENBERG AND VON
LUDENDORF, WHO HAD REALLY RUN A
MILITARY DICTATORSHIP IN GERMANY
AND REALLY REFUSED TO GIVE THE
CIVILIAN, A RATHER WEAK CIVILIAN
GOVERNMENT ANY INFORMATION
WHATSOEVER ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING
ON, HAD TOLD THEM THE WAR WAS
BEING RUN BY THE GENERALS, AND
THE CIVILIANS SHOULD MIND THEIR
OWN BUSINESS.
SUDDENLY, IN SEPTEMBER 1918, AS
THE GERMAN LINES WERE REALLY
SMASHED AND SMASHED BEYOND
REPAIR, AS GERMANY'S CAPACITY TO
WAGE THE WAR HAD REALLY RUN OUT.
I MEAN GERMAN GENERALS ON THE
FRONT WERE SENDING DESPERATE
PLEAS BACK TO HEADQUARTERS
SAYING, WE DON'T HAVE RIFLES, WE
DON'T HAVE AMMUNITION, WE DON'T
HAVE THE FUEL TO MOVE OUR
TRANSPORTATION.
WE HAVE GOT TO GET SOME SORT OF
CEASEFIRE.
THE GERMAN HIGH COMMAND WENT TO
THE CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT AND
SAID, WE HAVEN'T MENTIONED THIS
BEFORE, BUT WE'VE LOST.

[laughter]

She continues ... MORE OR LESS.
GET AN ARMISTICE, IT'S YOUR JOB.
AND THE CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT
SUDDENLY FOUND THEMSELVES LANDED
WITH THIS, WITHOUT ANY WARNING
WHATSOEVER.
LUDENDORF, THE GREAT, BOLD
GENERAL, WAS SO SHAKEN BY THIS
THAT HE ACTUALLY FLED TO SWEDEN,
A NEUTRAL COUNTRY.
HE WAS SEEN AT THE RAILWAY
STATION IN STOCKHOLM, WEARING
CIVILIAN CLOTHES, DARK GLASSES
AND A VERY UNCONVINCING PAIR OF
FALSE WHISKERS.

[laughter]

She continues SO GERMANY LOST ON THE
BATTLEFIELDS, BUT THAT
REALISATION, AT LEAST IN
MILITARY CIRCLES, AND IN RIGHT
WING CIRCLES IN GERMANY, NEVER
REALLY SANK IN, PARTLY, I THINK,
BECAUSE OF THE WAY IN WHICH THE
ARMISTICE WAS MADE.
SO MANY OF THEM WERE ABLE TO
CONVINCE THEMSELVES THAT THEY
HAD ASKED FOR AN END TO THE
HOSTILITIES, FOR EVERYONE'S
BENEFIT, NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE
LOSING.
ALSO BECAUSE THE HIGH COMMAND
AND THEIR ALLIES ON THE RIGHT,
CAME TO PROMULGATE VERY SOON
AFTER THE WAR, WHAT CAME TO BE
KNOWN AS THE STAB IN THE BACK
THEORY, WHICH I'M SURE YOU HAVE
PROBABLY HEARD ABOUT, THAT
GERMANY WAS NEVER DEFEATED, THE
NOBLE GERMAN SOLDIERS WERE NEVER
DEFEATED ON THE BATTLEFIELD.
IF GERMANY HAD HAD TO STOP
FIGHTING, IT WAS FOR THE SAKE OF
HUMANITY IN GENERAL, AND ALSO
BECAUSE VARIOUS TRAITORS AT HOME
HAD MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR
GERMANY TO FIGHT ON, AND THOSE
TRAITORS WERE THE LEFT, THE
UNIONS, THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS,
THE JEWS, ANYONE THAT THE RIGHT
DIDN'T PARTICULARLY LIKE.
AND SO WHAT YOU GOT IN GERMANY
WAS A SENSE THAT GERMANY HADN'T
LOST, THAT IT WAS BEING PROMISED
A CERTAIN SORT OF PEACE.
ADDED TO THAT, WAS, I THINK A
VERY IMPORTANT FEELING IN
GERMANY, AND IT WAS THE SAME
THING THAT THE AUSTRIANS HAD,
AND IT WAS THAT THEY HAD WIPED
THE SLATE CLEAN.
THEY HAD GOT RID OF THEIR
KAISER, THEY HAD GOT RID OF THE
MONARCHY, GERMANY HAD BECOME A
REPUBLIC IN NOVEMBER 1918, AND
SO THEY WERE NO LONGER THE SAME
GERMANY.
AND WAS IT FAIR, AND IN A WAY,
IT'S AN UNDERSTANDABLE ARGUMENT,
WAS IT FAIR THAT GERMANY SHOULD
HAVE TO PAY FOR THE SINS OF ITS
PREDECESSORS.
AND SO THE GERMAN APPROACH TO
THE PEACE CONFERENCE AND TO THE
WHOLE PROCESS OF PEACE MAKING,
WAS A VERY OPTIMISTIC ONE, A
SENSE THAT THEY SHOULD BE FAIRLY
TREATED.
I MEAN THERE WERE THOSE IN
GERMANY WHO THOUGHT GERMANY
WOULD COME OUT RATHER WELL,
BECAUSE IF WOODROW WILSON MEANT
WHAT HE SAID ABOUT NATIONAL
SELF-DETERMINATION, THEN THERE
WERE LOTS OF PARTS OF EUROPE
THAT WERE GERMAN SPEAKING, WHICH
WERE NOT YET INCORPORATED INTO
GERMANY, AND SO THAT GERMANY
MIGHT ACTUALLY GROW
CONSIDERABLY.
IT MIGHT INCORPORATE AUSTRIA, IT
MIGHT INCORPORATE THE GERMAN
SPEAKING PARTS OF THE CZECH
LANDS, IT MIGHT INCORPORATE THE
SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF GERMANS
LIVING UNDER POLISH RULE.
THE GERMANS, AS YOU KNOW, DID
NOT COME TO THE PEACE CONFERENCE
AS FULL PARTICIPANTS, AND THIS
WAS SOMETHING ELSE.
IT WAS INADVERTENT, IT WAS A
MISTAKE IN RETROSPECT, BUT IT
WAS SOMETHING ELSE THAT ADDED TO
THE GERMAN SENSE THAT THEY HAD
BEEN PROMISED ONE SORT OF PEACE,
AND THEY DIDN'T GET IT.
ORIGINALLY, WHAT WAS MEANT TO
HAPPEN AT THE PEACE CONFERENCE
WAS THAT IT WAS MEANT TO BE A
FULL SCALE PEACE CONFERENCE JUST
AS THERE HAD BEEN IN VIENNA IN
1814-1815, AND A NUMBER OF
FACTORS CONSPIRED TO CHANGE
THAT.
THE ALLIED POWERS MET IN PARIS
IN JANUARY 1919 TO HAMMER OUT A
COMMON ALLIED PLATFORM.
THEY THOUGHT THIS WOULD TAKE
ABOUT TWO WEEKS.
IN FACT IT TOOK THEM TILL
VIRTUALLY THE END OF MAY, 1919.
BY THE TIME THEY HAD ACTUALLY
WORKED IT OUT, THEY COULDN'T
BEAR THE THOUGHT OF INVITING THE
DEFEATED NATIONS, AND OPENING IT
ALL UP AGAIN.
IT WAS SO DIFFICULT TO GET ANY
COMMON AGREED ALLIED TERMS THAT
THE PROSPECT OF TRYING TO OPEN
THE WHOLE THING UP AGAIN FOR
NEGOTIATIONS AGAIN, SIMPLY WAS
NOT FEASIBLE.
THE OTHER THING THAT MADE THE
SITUATION VERY DIFFERENT FROM
1814-1815, WAS THAT THEY WERE
WORKING UNDER TREMENDOUS
PRESSURE.
IN 1814-1815, EUROPE HAD HAD
ENOUGH OF WAR.
THE FIRES OF THE FRENCH
REVOLUTION, THAT REVOLUTIONARY
FERVOUR WHICH HAD CARRIED FRENCH
SOLDIERS TO CONQUER A GREAT DEAL
OF EUROPE, WHICH HAD CARRIED
NAPOLEON IN HIS TURN, TO
DOMINATE EUROPE, HAD BURNT DOWN.
EUROPE WAS NO LONGER IN A
REVOLUTIONARY FRAME OF MIND.
REVOLUTION DID NOT HAVE THAT
MUCH APPEAL.
THERE HAD BEEN ENOUGH OF THAT
SINCE 1789, AND WAR DID NOT HAVE
THAT MUCH APPEAL.
AND EUROPE, BOTH WINNERS AND
LOSERS, WAS READY FOR PEACE IN
1914-1815.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 1919 WAS A VERY
DIFFERENT SITUATION.
EUROPE WASN'T READY FOR PEACE.
IN FACT THERE WERE A GREAT MANY
WARS, SOMETHING LIKE 20 WARS IN
THE 2 YEARS AFTER THE END OF THE
FIRST WORLD WAR -- SMALLER WARS,
BUT STILL WARS.
WARS BETWEEN POLAND AND RUSSIA,
WARS BETWEEN ROMANIA AND
HUNGARY, FOR EXAMPLE.
WARS BREAKING OUT, FLARING UP
ALL OVER EUROPE, AND BEGINNING
TO FLARE UP OVER THE MIDDLE EAST
AS WELL.
AND SO THERE WAS A VERY REAL
SENSE THAT THE PEACEMAKERS HAD
IN PARIS, THAT THEY WERE WORKING
UNDER THE GUN, THEY WERE WORKING
IN A VERY SHORT SPACE--
THEY HAD A VERY SHORT SPACE
OF
TIME IN WHICH TO WORK.
IF THEY DIDN'T GET A PEACE
SETTLEMENT HAMMERED OUT, TWO
THINGS MIGHT HAPPEN.
FIRST OF ALL, THEY MIGHT NOT BE
ABLE TO IMPOSE ANY TERMS ON
GERMANY WHATSOEVER, BECAUSE
THEIR OWN POWER WAS SHRINKING
DAY BY DAY.
THEIR ARMIES WERE BEING
DEMOBILISED, THE SOLDIERS WANTED
TO GO HOME, THE TAXPAYERS NO
LONGER WANTED TO GO ON PAYING
THE COST OF THOSE VERY LARGE
ARMIES.
AND SO THEIR CAPACITY TO
INFLUENCE EVENTS WAS DIMINISHING
DAY BY DAY.
AT THE END OF MAY, 1919, WHEN
THEY HAD FINALLY WORKED OUT THE
TERMS AND PRESENTED THEM TO THE
GERMANS, AND BEFORE THEY WERE
SURE THAT THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT
WOULD AGREE TO SIGN -- IN FACT
THERE WAS A VERY REAL POLITICAL
CRISIS IN GERMANY ABOUT THIS.
IT WASN'T AT ALL CLEAR THE
GERMANS WOULD SIGN, THE ALLIED
LEADERS CALLED MARSHAL FOCHE,
THE FRENCH GENERAL WHO WAS THE
SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER IN AND
SAID, ARE YOU READY TO MARCH
YOUR ARMY INTO GERMANY AND
IMPOSE PEACE TERMS?
AND HE SAID, WELL I AM, BUT I
DON'T THINK IT'S GOING TO BE
EASY.
I'LL SEND ONE SET OF ARMIES IN
THROUGH THE RHINELAND OVER THE
BRIDGES WHICH WE CONTROL, AND
THEY'LL GO IN THAT WAY, AND
WE'LL SEND ANOTHER SET OF ARMIES
IN THROUGH BAVARIA.
BUT HE SAID, I SUSPECT WE SHALL
TAKE DREADFUL CASUALTIES, IT
WILL BE HOUSE TO HOUSE FIGHTING,
THE GERMAN PEOPLE WILL RESIST
WITH SORT OF SCORCHED EARTH AND
EVERYTHING THEY CAN THROW AT US,
AND I AM NOT AT ALL SANGUINE
THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO FIGHT
OUR WAY TO BERLIN.
AND SO THEY HAD THAT SENSE THAT
IF THEY DRAGGED IT OUT ANY
LONGER, THEY MIGHT NOT ACTUALLY
HAVE THE CAPACITY TO IMPOSE
TERMS ON GERMANY, AND THEY WERE
ALSO OF COURSE, WORKING UNDER
THAT SENSE THAT IF THEY DIDN'T
GET SOMETHING SETTLED SOON, EVEN
MORE OF EUROPE WOULD GO UP IN
FLAMES THAN HAD ALREADY GONE UP.
AND WHAT THEY FEARED WERE NOT
JUST THE FLAMES OF ETHNIC
NATIONALISM THAT WERE CAUSING SO
MUCH TROUBLE, PARTICULARLY IN
THE CENTRE OF EUROPE, WHAT THEY
ALSO FEARED WAS THE SPREAD OF
REVOLUTION.
THEY WERE VERY, VERY CONCERNED
THAT THE EXAMPLE THAT HAD
OCCURRED IN RUSSIA, WHICH HAD
OCCURRED BRIEFLY IN BAVARIA OF A
COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT, WHICH HAD
OCCURRED IN HUNGARY IN APRIL
1919, THE VIOLENT STRIKES AND
DEMONSTRATIONS, MANY OF WHICH
WERE AIMED AT OVERTHROWING
EXISTING SOCIETY, NOT JUST
PROMOTING MORE RIGHTS FOR
WORKERS -- THAT THIS WOULD
SPREAD.
I MEAN THERE WAS VERY, VERY REAL
CONCERN ABOUT THIS.
AND SOMETIMES IT WAS USED AS A
THREAT.
QUEEN MARIE OF ROMANIA, WHO CAME
TO PARIS, PARTLY TO BUY SOME
CLOTHES -- SHE SAID SHE WAS
DOING THIS FOR ROMANIA, SHE SAID
IF I DO NOT GET WHAT I HAVE COME
TO ASK FOR MY COUNTRY BECAUSE I
DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT HAT, OR I
DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT DRESS, I
SHALL BE ASHAMED OF MYSELF, AND
SO SHE WENT OFF TO THE
COUTURIERS.
SHE HORRIFIED WOODROW WILSON,
WHO WAS RATHER STRAIGHT-LACED,
BY SHOWING HIM HER NEW PINK
CHEMISE.

[laughter]

She continues HE DID NOT APPROVE OF THIS, AND
IN FACT IT PROBABLY DIDN'T HELP
HER CAUSE AT ALL, BUT SHE CAME
TO PARIS TO ASK FOR A GOOD DEAL
OF HUNGARY, WHICH IN FACT
ROMANIA GOT.
ROMANIA GOT TRANSYLVANIA, WHICH
IT STILL HAS TODAY, AND SHE USED
THE THREAT OF REVOLUTION.
SHE SAID, IF WE DON'T GET IT,
WE'LL PROBABLY HAVE A BOLSHEVIK
REVOLUTION, AND THEY YOU'LL HAVE
BOLSHEVISM IN ROMANIA, IT WILL
SPREAD TO HUNGARY AND THEN IT
WILL BE RIGHT THERE, RIGHT NEXT
TO AUSTRIA AND THEN THERE WILL
GO EUROPE.
OTHER PEOPLE -- I'M SORRY, I'M
GOING TO REPEAT A STORY WHICH
I'VE TOLD SOME OF YOU, BUT SINCE
I'M IN OTTAWA, AND THIS WAS A
DISTINGUISHED OTTAWA GENTLEMAN,
OLIVER MOWATT BIGGAR WHO HAD A
DISTINGUISHED CAREER AS A JURIST
IN THIS COUNTRY, WHO WAS IN
PARIS AS THE LEGAL ADVISORY TO
THE CANADIAN DELEGATION.
OLIVER MOWATT BIGGAR WAS
WORKING, OF COURSE VERY HARD, HE
AND SIR ROBERT BORDEN, HOWEVER,
THE CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER, HAD
SOME TIME IN THE EVENING,
HOWEVER, SO THEY WOULD GO OFF TO
THE THEATRE.
AND HE SENT BACK THE MOST
ENCHANTING LETTERS TO HIS WIFE.
THEY'RE IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
HERE.
HIS WIFE WAS SPENDING THE WINTER
IN OTTAWA, WHICH WASN'T AS MUCH
FUN AS PARIS, AND HE WOULD SEND
BACK LETTERS SAYING, WELL THE
THEATRES ARE REOPENING, AND WE
WENT OUT THE OTHER NIGHT, "AND I
WAS STRUCK," HE SAID TO HIS WIFE
IN ONE LETTER, "BY HOW FRENCH
WOMEN WEAR FAR FEWER CLOTHES IN
THE EVENING THAN CANADIAN WOMEN
DO WHEN THEY GO OUT TO THE
THEATRE."
HE SAID, "SIR ROBERT AND I
DISCUSSED THIS, AND WE ALSO
DISCUSSED WHETHER FRENCH WOMEN'S
ANKLES ARE BETTER THAN CANADIAN
WOMEN'S ANKLES AND WE CONCLUDED
THAT, ON THE WHOLE, THEY WERE."
AND MISTRESS BIGGAR, AT THIS POINT,
SENT A LETTER BACK, SAYING, "I'M
COMING TO JOIN YOU IN PARIS."

[laughter]

She continues AND HE THEN SENT AN ABSOLUTELY
CLASSIC LETTER BACK, SAYING,
"THIS IS WONDERFUL, BUT YOU DO
REALISE THAT REVOLUTION IS
PROBABLY GOING TO BREAK OUT HERE
AS WELL AS ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE,
AND YOU MAY HAVE TO WALK BACK TO
THE CHANNEL PORTS, BECAUSE THE
TRAINS WON'T RUN, AND I WOULD
SUGGEST THAT YOU PUT A FEW EXTRA
TINS OF FOOD IN YOUR LUGGAGE,
BECAUSE IT WILL PROBABLY BE
IMPOSSIBLE TO GET ANYTHING TO
EAT.
BUT," HE SAID, "OF COURSE IT
WILL BE WONDERFUL TO HAVE YOU
HERE WITH ME."

[laughter]

Margaret continues AND MISTRESS BIGGAR OF COURSE, DID
NOT COME.
SO REVOLUTION COULD HAVE ITS
USES, BUT IT WAS SOMETHING THAT
PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY TERRIFIED
OF.
AND SO WHAT YOU HAD IN PARIS WAS
THIS TREMENDOUS PRESSURE TO TRY
AND GET A PEACE TOGETHER.
THE GERMANS, IN THE END, WERE
SUMMONED TO PARIS.
THEY WERE BROUGHT BY TRAIN FROM
GERMANY, AND THE TRAIN, AS IT
WENT THROUGH THE BATTLEFIELDS IN
THE NORTH OF FRANCE, RAN VERY,
VERY SLOWLY.
AND THE GERMANS FELT, I THINK
RIGHTLY, THAT THIS WAS DONE
DELIBERATELY SO THEY SHOULD SEE
THE DAMAGE THAT THEIR GUNS AND
THEIR TROOPS HAD CAUSED.
WHEN THEY ARRIVED IN PARIS, THEY
WERE TAKEN OFF THE TRAIN IN A
VERY SMALL SUBURBAN STATION,
IT'S STILL THERE, ACTUALLY, AND
THEY WERE TAKEN BY BUS AND LORRY
TO A RATHER NASTY HOTEL.
NOW THE HOTEL IS STILL THERE,
ACTUALLY, I FOUND IT THE OTHER
DAY.
IT'S ON THE MAIN STREET OF
VERSAILLES, IT'S NOW A FRENCH
GOVERNMENT OFFICE, BUT YOU CAN
SEE WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE,
IT WAS NOT A GRAND HOTEL.
AND THE FRENCH PUT THEM IN THIS
REALLY THIRD CLASS HOTEL, THEY
PUT A STOCKADE AROUND IT, IT WAS
SAID TO PROTECT THE GERMANS FROM
THE RIGHTEOUS ANGER OF THE
FRENCH CITIZENRY, MOST OF WHOM
JUST CAME AND PEERED THROUGH THE
STOCKADE AT THEM.
THE GERMANS COMPLAINED THAT THEY
WERE LIKE AN AFRICAN VILLAGE AT
THE WORLD'S FAIR BEFORE THE WAR.
THE GERMANS WERE MADE, VERY MUCH
TO FEEL THEIR POSITION.
THERE WAS THIS FAMOUS MOMENT AT
THE TRIANON PALACE HOTEL, WHERE
THEY WERE CALLED IN TO RECEIVE
THEIR PEACE TERMS, CLEMENCEAU
SAID, "HERE ARE YOUR PEACE
TERMS, TAKE THEM OR LEAVE THEM.
THERE WILL BE NO NEGOTIATION.
IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMENTS TO
MAKE, YOU HAVE 2 WEEKS TO GIVE
THEM TO US IN WRITING, BUT WE
ARE NOT NEGOTIATING WITH YOU."
OF COURSE, A TREMENDOUS INSULT,
AS THE GERMANS SAW IT.
BUT WHAT YOU HAD, I THINK IN
PARIS IN 1919, AND I THINK THIS
IS WHY THE PEACE SETTLEMENTS
HAVE REMAINED SO CONTROVERSIAL
EVER SINCE, IS YOU HAD AN ALMOST
IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION IN WHICH TO
MAKE PEACE.
YOU HAD DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS
ON THE SIDES OF THE WINNERS AND
THE LOSERS.
THE GERMANS WERE SHOCKED WHEN
THEY SAW THEIR PEACE TERMS.
MY OWN VIEW IS THOSE TERMS
WEREN'T AS AWFUL AS ALL THAT,
BUT THE GERMANS WERE DEEPLY
SHOCKED, BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT
EXPECTED REALLY--
GERMAN PUBLIC OPINION HAD NOT
REALLY EXPECTED THAT GERMANY
WOULD PAY MUCH PENALTY FOR THE
END OF THE WAR, ESPECIALLY SINCE
THEY WERE INCREASINGLY COMING TO
THINK THAT THEY HAD NOT LOST THE
WAR.
NOW THE GERMANS WOULD NOT HAVE
LIKE ANY PEACE TERMS THEY GOT.
THOSE WHO LOSE NEVER LIKE THEIR
PEACE TERMS.
IT'S LIKE THOSE WHO LOST THEIR
COURT CASES.
THEY NEVER SAY, "WHAT A FAIR
DECISION THE JUDGE WAS
ABSOLUTELY RIGHT."
AND THE GERMANS FELT EXACTLY THE
SAME WAY.
BUT YOU HAD A SITUATION IN WHICH
THE EXPECTATIONS WERE SO GREAT,
BOTH ON THE SIDES OF THE LOSERS
AND ON THE SIDES OF THE WINNERS,
THE EXPECTATIONS WERE SO
CONTRADICTORY, THAT I DON'T
THINK ANY PEACE SETTLEMENT WOULD
HAVE SATISFIED PEOPLE.
WHAT YOU ALSO HAD, OR WHAT I CAN
ONLY CALL THE OBJECTIVE
CONDITIONS, WHICH MADE PEACE
ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.
HOW DID YOU MAKE PEACE WHEN THE
WORLD WAS STILL IN TURMOIL?
HOW DID YOU MAKE PEACE WHEN YOU
HAD THESE REVOLUTIONARY FIRES,
WHETHER OF BOLSHEVISM OR
ANARCHISM OR ETHNIC NATIONALISM
BURNING?
HOW DID YOU DRAW BOUNDARIES IN
THE CENTRE OF EUROPE WHEN YOU
HAD SUCH A MIX OF ETHNIC
PEOPLES, AND YET PEOPLE WERE
DEMANDING ETHNICALLY BASED
STATES?
THEY TRIED VERY HARD IN PARIS,
BUT WHEN THEY DREW THE
BOUNDARIES IN THE CENTRE OF
EUROPE, A THIRD OF ALL THE
PEOPLE LIVING IN THE CENTRE OF
EUROPE BETWEEN THE WARS WERE
ETHNIC MINORITIES IN THE COUNTRY
IN WHICH THEY LIVED.
THEY COULDN'T HAVE DONE ANYTHING
ELSE, SHORT OF ACTUALLY
EXPELLING OR EXTERMINATING THOSE
ETHNIC MINORITIES TO MAKE
ETHNICALLY HOMOGENEOUS STATES IN
THE CENTRE OF EUROPE.
AND SO WHEN I LOOK BACK AT THE
PEACE SETTLEMENTS, MY
CONCLUSION, WHICH IS NOT A VERY
OPTIMISTIC ONE, AND I DON'T
THINK A PARTICULARLY HELPFUL
ONE, IS THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES
IN 1919, THIS COMBINATION OF THE
TREMENDOUS DEVASTATION OF THE
FIRST WORLD WAR, THE EQUALLY
TREMENDOUS EXPECTATIONS RAISED
BY THAT WAR, WHETHER FOR REVENGE
OR WHETHER FOR A BETTER WORLD,
OR FOR SOME SORT OF MIXTURE OF
THE TWO, THE TURMOIL AND THE
PASSIONS IN THE CENTRE OF EUROPE
IN PARTICULAR, SIMPLE DID NOT
ALLOW THEM TO MAKE PEACE.
I DON'T THINK ANYONE HUMANLY
COULD HAVE DONE IT.
AND THIS IS, IN THE END, WHAT I
CONCLUDED, BECAUSE I WROTE MY
BOOK, I STARTED OUT WITH ONE
VIEW, AND ENDED UP, AS ONE OFTEN
DOES, WITH ANOTHER VIEW.
I STARTED OUT WITH THE VIEW OF
JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES, THAT THE
WHOLE THING WAS A DISASTER AND
THE PEOPLE IN PARIS WERE SHORT
SIGHTED, VINDICTIVE OR STUPID OR
WORSE, AND I CAME TO THE
CONCLUSION, AND I HAD TO KEEP
ASKING MYSELF, ALL RIGHT, IF YOU
THINK THAT, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE
DONE DIFFERENTLY?
AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE
ALWAYS HAVE TO ASK OURSELVES
ABOUT THE PAST.
MY OWN VIEW IS THAT IT PROBABLY
WASN'T POSSIBLE TO DO ANYTHING
DIFFERENTLY, AND MY OWN VERY
PESSIMISTIC CONCLUSION IS THAT
THE HISTORIANS WHO ARE NOW
TALKING ABOUT EUROPE'S 30 YEARS
WAR, FROM 1914 TO 1945, IN A
HORRIBLE WAY ARE PROBABLY RIGHT,
THAT THE FIRST WORLD WAR LEFT A
LOT OF UNFINISHED BUSINESS, IT
LEFT A LOT OF EXPECTATIONS WHICH
COULD NOT BE FULFILLED.
THOSE WHO MET IN PARIS AND TRIED
TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, DID
THEIR BEST, I THINK IN EUROPE.
I'M NOT SURE THEY ALWAYS DID
THEIR BEST IN THE MIDDLE EAST, I
THINK THEY OFTEN DID THEIR WORST
THERE, BUT I THINK IN EUROPE
THEY DID THEIR BEST, BUT THEY
WERE DEALING WITH CIRCUMSTANCES,
CONDITIONS, WHICH WERE BEYOND
ANY HUMAN CAPACITY TO DEAL WITH.

Smiling, she concludes I'M SORRY, A PESSIMISTIC
CONCLUSION, BUT I'LL LEAVE YOU
WITH THAT.

[audience applauding]

Watch: Margaret MacMillan on Paris 1919