Learning Curve, The Great War
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Transcript: Source3
Extracts from a Foreign Office report describing reactions to the Treaty in French newspapers, June - August 1919
(Catalogue ref: FO 608/125)

Source 3a

My Lord,

With the knowledge that the Peace Treaty has at last actually been signed the populace of Paris has naturally given itself up to a renewal of the gay scenes of merry-making witnessed at the time of the conclusion of the Armistice, and the press to the utterance of all the sentiments appropriate to the occasion. I have already given Your Lordship an indication of public opinion as expressed by the newspapers and I do not propose here to repeat all the obvious remarks and views which are published to-day, ranging from the paeans of triumph and satisfaction over the defeat of the hated enemy and the consummation of the "revanche" – mingled with the warnings that the snake, though scotched, must still be carefully watched and if necessary firmly handled …

Source 3b

The "Temps" this evening devotes a leading article to a criticism of the statement made by General Smuts as to his attitude of mind in signing the Treaty. …

General Smuts considers that the Germans have already changed radically and irrevocably, and "vaunts their new pacific temperament", and he wishes to grant them mitigations: revision of certain territorial clauses, abandonment of certain guarantees, suppression of certain punishments, reduction of certain indemnities. The "Temps" thinks that the General commits "an error in psychology and an error in method": that he is mistaken not only in the mentality of the Germans but in their needs: …

Source 3c

I have the honour to transmit to Your Lordship herewith an extract from the "Temps" of this evening's issue, giving the principal passages of this report, the complete text of which will doubtless be published later. It lays stress on the great advantages which accrue to France from the Treaty, while criticising its inevitable imperfections from the purely French point of view.

Monsieur Barthou describes the re-annexation of Alsace-Lorraine as the great asset which the Treaty has brought to France. According to him, its imperfections lie in its failure to destroy the unity of Germany, the lack of guarantees indispensable for the continued existence of the Society of Nations, and the inadequacy of the representation of France therein, the insufficiency of the measures to ensure the full reparation of war losses, …

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