Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source1
Extracts from the French proposals for a peace treaty with Germany, 1 December 1918
(Catalogue ref: CAB 1/27)
  • At the time this source was written, the Great War had just ended. However, it was only an armistice – a temporary end to the fighting. In theory, the Allies and the Germans could carry on fighting if they could not agree terms to end the war.
  • This document is a translation of the French views on what kind of peace treaty would be offered to Germany.
  • In this document, "'cession" means giving up a piece of land. "Recognition" means accepting that there is a legal right to something. "Abrogation" means doing away with.
  • It talks of dealing "a final blow to Prussian hegemony". Prussia was part of Germany and there was much hostility between Prussia and France. Hegemony means the domination of one region or group over another.
  • This document reflects French fears of Germany becoming powerful and threatening France again.
  • Not surprisingly, this document also reflects the French view that they had suffered very severely in the war.
  • At the end of the war, French political and military leaders were prepared to cross the Rhine, invade Germany and break the country up. However, France did not have the resources to do this. Only the British and Americans did and they did not believe that this was a good policy.
  • On the other hand, the British and French did agree that Germany should be punished.
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