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and bereft of material resources, was cut off from the sea and refused the possibility of joining with Germany. The nationalistic ambitions of the Rumanians, of the Jugoslavs, of the Czechoslovaks, and of the Poles were aroused to such an extent that conflicts could hardly be avoided. Hungary, deprived of the rim of subject nationalities, looked forward to the first opportunity of reclaiming her sovereignty over them. The Ruthenians complained of Polish domination. Further to the east lay the great unsettled problem of Russia.
But the most obvious flaws in the treaty are to be found in the economic clauses. It was a mistake to compel Germany to sign a blank check in the matter of reparations. Germany and the world needed to know the exact amount that was to be paid, in order that international commerce might be set upon a stable basis. The extent of control granted to the Allies over German economic life was unwise and unfair. ***Complete justice certainly was not achieved by President Wilson at Paris, and it may be questioned whether all the decisions can be regarded even as expedient. The spirit of the Fourteen Points, as commonly interpreted, had not governed the minds of those who sat at the council table. The methods adopted by the Council of Ten and the Council of Four were by no means those to which the world looked forward when it hailed the ideal expressed in the phrase, “Open covenants openly arrived at.” The “freedom of the seas,” if it meant the disappearance of the peculiar position held by Great Britain on the seas, was never seriously debated, and Wilson himself, in an interview given to the London Times, sanctioned “Britain's peculiar position as an island empire." Adequate guarantees for the reduction of armaments were certainly not taken at Paris; all that was definitely stipulated was the disarmament of the enemy, a step by no means in consonance with the President's earlier policy which aimed at universal disarmament. An "absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims” was hardly carried out by granting the German colonies to the great powers, even as mandatories of the League of Nations.
Nevertheless the future historian will probably hold that the Peace Conference, with all its selfish interests and mistakes, carried into effect an amazingly large part of President Wilson's programme, when all the difficulties of his position are duly weighed. The territorial settlements, on the whole, translated into fact the demands laid down by the
more special of Wilson's Fourteen Points. France, Belgium, and the other invaded countries were, of course, evacuated and their restoration promised; Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France and the wrong of 1871 thus righted; an independent Poland was recognized and given the assured access to the sea that Wilson had insisted upon; the subject nationalities of Austria-Hungary received not merely autonomy but independence. Even as regards the larger principles enunciated in the Fourteen Points, it may at least be argued that President Wilson secured more than he lost. Open diplomacy in the sense of conducting international negotiations in an open forum was not the method of the Peace Conference; and it may not be possible or even desirable. The article in the Covenant, however, which insists upon the public registration of all treaties before their validity is recognized, goes far towards a fulfillment of the President's pledge of open covenants, particularly if his original meaning is liberally interpreted. Similarly the Covenant makes provision for the reduction of armaments. If the treaty did not go far in assuring the “removal of economic barriers," at all events the Conference did much to provide for an international control of traffic which would ensure to
all European countries, so far as possible, equal facilities for forwarding their goods.
Apart from the Fourteen Points Wilson had emphasized two other principles as necessary to a just and permanent peace. The first of these was that the enemy should be treated with a fairness equal to that accorded to the Allies; the second was the principle that peoples should have the right to choose the government by which they were to be ruled — the principle of self-determination. Neither of these principles received full recognition in the peace settlement. Yet their spirit was infused more completely throughout the settlement than would have been the case had not Wilson been at Paris, and to that extent the just and lasting qualities of the peace were enhanced. In the matter of German reparations the question of justice was not the point at issue; the damage committed by Germany surpassed in value anything that the Allies could exact from her. As to frontiers, the unbiased student will probably admit that full justice was done Germany when the aspirations of France for annexation of the Saar district and the provinces on the left bank of the Rhine were disappointed; it was the barest justice to France, on the other hand, that she should receive the coal mines
of the former district and that the latter should be demilitarized. In the question of Danzig, and the Polish corridor to the sea, it was only fair to Poland that she receive the adequate outlet which was necessary to her economic life and which had been promised her, even if it meant the annexation of large German populations, many of which had been artificially brought in as colonists by the Berlin Government; and in setting up a free city of Danzig, the Conference broke with the practices of old style diplomacy and paid a tribute to the rights of peoples as against expediency. The same may be said of the decision to provide for plebiscites in East Prussia and in upper Silesia. On the other hand, the refusal to permit the incorporation of the new, lesser Austria within Germany was at once unjust and unwise — a concession to the most shortsighted of old-style diplomatic principles.
In the reorganization of the former Hapsburg territories, Wilsonian principles were always in the minds of the delegates, although in a few cases they were honored more in the breach than in the observance. Wilson himself surrendered to Italy extensive territories in the Tyrol south of the Brenner which, if he had followed his own professions, would have been left to Austria. A large Jugoslav