Versailles 70: What Will Germany Say?

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By the last week of May 1919, the focus in the allied camp had switched from Italy to Germany...for the most part. It was known that the Germans would have to send a reply to the allied peace treaty soon - they had just 15 days from the moment it was handed to them to give an answer. Thus, while in the interim the big three mostly did their own thing, by the tailend of that deadline, they were beginning to seriously worry about what the Germans would actually say. What they could agree on, at least, was that this was THE peace treaty, and like it or not, Germany would have to sign. At least, that was how it seemed.


It is up to me to explain then, if this resolute insistence on accepting the terms of the treaty was so dominant, why were the Germans allowed to procrastinate, and why were they even allowed to communicate counterproposals to the allies, making their own suggestions, and continuing their loud protest at the terms already agreed to. It was quite a sight – after four months of negotiation, the treaty reached by the allies was meant to be final. Yet, within two weeks of handing that treaty to the Germans, it was evident that they were not willing to accept it in its full form. What was more, as we will learn, some of the allies, and even some of the big three, had begun to get cold feet as to the nature of some of the terms.

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