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elsewhere. But the district itself was to be placed under the League of Nations and a plebiscite at the end of fifteen years was to determine its final destiny. The territory on the left bank of the Rhine was left to Germany, but it was to be demilitarized entirely, a condition which also applied to a zone fifty kilometers broad to the east of the Rhine. The bridgeheads on the Rhine, as well as the German districts to the west of the river, were to be occupied for periods extending from five to fifteen years, in order to ensure the execution of the treaty by the Germans. The French press contended that Clemenceau had made over-great concessions, protesting that the League would be utterly unable to protect France against sudden attack, especially since the Covenant had not provided for a general military force. In return for these concessions by Clemenceau, Wilson gave an extraordinary quid pro quo. He who had declaimed vigorously against all special alliances now agreed that until the League was capable of offering to France the protection she asked, there should be a separate treaty between France, Great Britain, and the United States, according to which the two latter powers should promise to come to the defense of France in case of sudden and unprovoked attack by Germany. The treaty did not, according to Wilson, constitute a definite alliance but merely an "undertaking,” but it laid him open to the charge of serious inconsistency.
Thus was passed, by means of compromise, the most serious crisis of the Conference. In France Wilson never recovered the popularity which he then lost by his opposition to French demands. In many quarters of Great Britain and the United States, on the other hand, he was attacked by liberals for having surrendered to the forces of reaction. In the Conference, however, he had maintained his prestige, and most moderates who understood the situation felt that he had done as well as or better than could be expected. He had by no means had his way in the matter of reparations or frontiers, but he had gone far towards a vindication of his principles by avoiding a defeat under circumstances where the odds were against him. More he probably could not have obtained and no other American at that time could have secured so much. The sole alternative would have been for the American delegates to withdraw from the Conference. Such a step might have had the most disastrous consequences. It was true, or Europe believed it to be true, that the Conference represented for the moment the single rallying-point of the elements of social order on the Continent. The withdrawal of the Americans would have shattered its waning prestige, discouraged liberals in every country, and perhaps have led to its dissolution. Nearly every one in Paris was convinced that the break-up of the Conference would be the signal for widespread communistic revolt throughout central Europe. By his broad concessions President Wilson had sacrificed some of his principles, but he had held the Conference together, the supreme importance of which seemed at the time difficult to over-emphasize. Having weathered this crisis the Conference could now meet the storms that were to arise from the demands of the Italians and the Japanese.
Wilson himself was to be encouraged in the midst of those difficulties by the triumph accorded him on the 28th of April. On that day the plenary session of the Conference adopted without a word of dissent the revised Covenant of the League of Nations, including the amendment that formally recognized the validity of the Monroe Doctrine.
PRESIDENT WILSON's success in securing approval for the League as the basis of the Peace Treaty was his greatest triumph at Paris; and it was accentuated by the acceptance of certain of the amendments that were demanded in America, while those which the French and Japanese insisted upon were discarded or postponed. In comparison with this success, he doubtless regarded his concessions in the matter of reparations and the special FrancoBritish-American alliance as mere details. His task, however, was by no means completed, since Italian and Japanese claims threatened to bring on crises of almost equal danger.
From the early days of the Conference there had been interested speculation in the corridors of the Quai d'Orsay as to whether the promises made to Italy by the Entente Powers in 1915, which were incorporated in the secret Treaty of London, would
be carried into effect by the final peace settlement. That treaty had been conceived in the spirit of oldtime diplomacy and had assigned to Italy districts which disinterested experts declared could not be hers except upon the principle of the spoils to the strong. Much of the territories promised in the Tyrol, along the Julian Alps, and on the Adriatic coast was inhabited entirely by non-Italians, whose political and economic fortunes were bound up with states other than Italy; justice and wisdom alike seemed to dictate a refusal of Italian claims. The annexation of such districts by Italy, the experts agreed, would contravene directly the right of self-determination and might lead to serious difficulties in the future. Would the President sanction the application of treaties consummated without the knowledge of the United States and in defiance of the principles upon which he had declared that peace must be made? The application of the Treaty of London, furthermore, would be at the expense, chiefly, of the Jugoslavs, that is, a small nation. The Allies, as well as Wilson, had declared that the war had been waged and that the peace must be drafted in defense of the rights of smaller nationalities. Justice for the weak as for the strong was the basis of the new