Compare and contrast the views expressed about the Versailles Conference in Sources A and B.
Europe Since Napoleon, David Thomson, London, Penguin, 1976 p.624.
Clemenceau, urged by Foch, at first demanded indefinite control over the Rhine bridgeheads as a military guarantee of French security. Wilson and Lloyd George refused to agree to the indefinite separation of the Rhineland from Germany, for fear of creating a new Alsace - Lorraine in reverse. Instead. they offered the French a joint Anglo - American guarantee to support France immediately if she were attacked by Germany. Reluctantly, Clemenceau accepted this diplomatic guarantee as a bad substitute for the security of actual occupation. That he was right in his reluctance soon became apparent. The guarantee lapsed on the American side with the Senate's refusal to ratify the treaty, and Britain claimed that this also invalidated her part of the bargain.
AJP Taylor The Origins of The Second World War, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1961, p.51.
One other territorial provision was strictly of a strategic nature in origin. This was the occupation of the Rhineland by Allied forces. The British and Americans proposed it as a temporary measure of security, and laid down that it should last only fifteen years. The French wanted it to be permanent ; and since they failed to get this by the peace treaty, hoped to achieve the same result by tying evacuation to a satisfactory payment of reparations by the Germans.
1 Answer | Add Yours
Source A is a more nuanced description of the reasons behind the Allied occupation of the Rhineland. Interestingly, though, it does not ever mention that the Rhineland was occupied. What Source A does well is to look at the motivations of the French on the one hand and the US and Britain on the other. It nicely shows why each side was in some way justified in wanting what it did.
Source B is clearer about what happened--the fact that the Rhineland was occupied by Allied troops. However, it is less clear about why each side wanted what it did. Why did the British and Americans want a temporary measure? Why did the French want it to be permanent? Source B does not explain this as well as Source A does.
We’ve answered 318,983 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question