Versailles #84: Big Four, Exit Stage
Vittorio Orlando, George Clemenceau, David Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson. Four men, who over the last eight months, had been more central to the development of the peace, and thus the development of the 20th century, than any other figures. In this episode, we remember each man and his story during this eight month period. What struggles did each face, what triumphs did they enjoy, and what has history come to say about each of them? Can any one of them truly claim to have succeeded? If all had some qualms with the Treaty, was that Treaty even worth anything? A century later, how do explain the behaviour of these men, and what does it tell us about the Treaty which emerged afterwards?
Was there a good guy and a bad guy? Not quite, and just like in 1914, there was no smoking gun. The big four were four men in a sea of others, who tried their best to change the narrative, and to make something new. Each man differed as to exactly what he wanted, but all were united on one thing - a desire to avoid at all costs, a repeat of the Great War. Unfortunately, it is impossible now to avoid the conclusion that they failed, but as we've also learned, not a single one of them went down without a fight. In fact, for a few, the struggle which followed the Treaty truly was a matter of life and death.
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