Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source5
Extracts from a report published in July 1919 on US public opinion towards the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations
(Catalogue ref: CAB 1/28)
  • British minister Lord Curzon sent this document to his colleagues in the British government in July 1919. It is based on reports Curzon received about public opinion in the USA before the treaty was announced at the end of June 1919.
  • The document makes several references to President Wilson. Wilson's ideas for peace were set out in his Fourteen Points in January 1918.
  • In Wilson's opinion, the Fourteen Points set out the basis of a better world in which future wars could be avoided. Historians have sometimes claimed that Wilson was in favour of a lenient peace, which would not harm Germany and cause further resentment. This is only partly true. Wilson certainly wanted a fair peace. He was worried that an unjust peace treaty would cause resentment in Germany and possibly even lead to a future war. He also believed that it was pointless to cripple Germany and then get the Germans to pay reparations (compensation) for the damage caused in the war. However, he insisted that the treaty punish Germany because he felt that Germany was responsible for the war.
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