CENTER FOR THE TEACHING OF AMERICAN HISTORY
PEER REVIEW CONFERENCE


Documents: (See step 5, 6, &7 for what to do with these)

A) "Peace in our Time" Speech given in Defense of the Munich Agreement, 1938 by Neville Chamberlain (British Prime Minister)
All the elements were present on the spot for the outbreak of a conflict which might have precipitated the catastrophe. We had populations inflamed to a high degree; we had extremists on both sides ready to work up and provoke incidents; we had considerable quantities of arms which were by no means confined to regularly organized forces. Therefore, it was essential that we should quickly reach a conclusion . . . It is no longer an ultimatum, but is a method which is carried out largely under the supervision of an international body. Ever since I assumed my present office my main purpose has been to work for the pacification of Europe, for the removal of those suspicions and those animosities which have so long poisoned the air. The path which leads to appeasement is long and bristles with obstacles. The question of Czechoslovakia is the latest and perhaps the most dangerous. Now that we have got past it, I feel that it may be possible to make further progress along the road to sanity.
B) Excerpt from Article 231 of Treaty of Versailles
The Allied and Associate Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage...
C) May 7, 1919 Statement by German delegate Count Brockdorff-Rantzau at Versailles Peace Conference:
It is demanded of us that we shall confess ourselves to be alone guilty of the war.... Such a confession from my lips would be a lie. We are far from declining all responsibility for the fact that this great World War took place or that it was fought in the way that it was. But we energetically deny that Germany and its people, who were convinced that they fought a war of defense, were alone guilty. No one would want to assert that the disaster began only at that disastrous moment when the successor of Austria-Hungary fell a victim to murderous hands. In the last fifty years, the imperialism of all European states has chronically poisoned internal relations. Policies of retaliation, policies of expansion, and disregard for the rights of peoples to determine their own destiny, have contributed to the European malady which came to a crisis in World War I.
D) League of Nations cartoon from Punch magazine

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, July 28th, 1920, by Various Artists http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16619
E)"We Are Going to Poland to Thrash the Jews.", 1939
Germany's invasion of Poland marked the beginning of World War II. Here a Nazi unit is en route to Poland at the end of September 1939. Handwritten on the side of the train car is, "We are going to Poland to thrash the Jews."

Photo credit: Meczenstwo Walka, Zaglada Zydów Polsce 1939-1945. Poland. No. 26.
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~shaked/Holocaust/lectures/lec10a1.gif
F) Taking Sides: Clashing Views in World History, Vol.2, ed. J Mitchell & H. Buss Mitchell, 2006
Traditionally, it was easy to speak ill of the Treaty of Versailles,but is it the treaty that was at fault, or was it the actions and inactions of a generation of Europeans who were not up to the task of enforcing the treaty's provisions? It created a League of Nations for such actions, but the League proved incapable of using it for that avowed purpose. Sometimes institutions fail; sometimes individuals fail; often times both are responsible for the failures that occur.

G) John Maynard Keynes (member of British delegation at Paris), quoted in the The Economic Consequence of the Peace, 1995
The Treaty includes no provisions for the economic rehabilitation of Europe, nothing to make the defeated Central Empires into good neighbors, nothing to stabilize the new states of Europe, nothing to reclaim Russia; nor does it promote in any way a compact of economic solidarity amongst Allies themselves, no arrangement was reached in Paris for restricted disordered finances of France and Italy, or to adjust the systems of the Old World and New.














H)"Peace and Future Canon Fodder"
In this 1919 cartoon, artist Will Dyson predicts the consequences of the harsh terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty. The quote allegedly belongs to "The Tiger" French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau (front figure). The text above the child reads "1940 class". Note the "Peace Treaty" at the child's feet.

http://www.austhistmuseum.mq.edu.au/hsp_gal/images/cartoon.gif


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