Saturday, June 22, 2019

Versailles of Relief

The world commemorates November 11 as the day in 1918 when the fighting stopped in World War I, but today's Surrenderback Saturday marks an equally important centennial coming up next week. On June 28, 1919, the German government finally officially accepted the Entente's terms and signed the Paris peace accord.

Remembering Paul von Hindenburg's reply, to reports of food shortages in Berlin, that he would be in Paris by April 1, 1918, the St. Louis Republic's Sidney Chapin produced this gem:
"Sire, Your Paris Dinner Is Served" by Sid Chapin in St. Louis Republic, June, 1919
The punishment imposed on Germany was harsh, and intentionally so. The industrial Alsace-Lorraine region was given to France, and East Prussia was separated from the rest of Germany by the recreation of Poland. England, France and Italy demanded reparations from Germany as further punishment.
"Das Festmahl" by Johannes Bahr in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, June 15, 1919
Johannes Bahr's cartoon portrays Michel (Germany's Uncle Sam/John Bull/Marianne) having to sacrifice his own cow and to do all the hard work of butchering and roasting it all for the benefit of others. The final panel is labeled "This is called 'League of Nations.'"
"The Next Patient" by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, ca. June, 1919
The German Empire's territorial losses paled next to those imposed on Austria, which lost Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Galicia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Bukavina, Transylvania, and parts of what are now Serbia and Italy. Given these losses, the Entente powers recognized that what was left of Austria was in no position to pay the huge reparations expected of Germany.

The victors helped themselves to portions of the junior Central Powers of the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria as well, while granting Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia freedom from Russia as punishment for the Bolsheviks quitting the war in 1917. And for being commies.
"Der Schwertertanz" by Hans Gabriel Jentzsch in Wahre Jakob, Stuttgart, June 20, 1919
The humiliation of the Central Powers was not received particularly well in Germany; cartoons of the victorious Entente, and President Wilson in particular, drip with sarcasm. In Hans Jentsch's cartoon, Wilson's sheet music is "Wilson's 14 Points."
"Höher Geht's Nimmer" by Willi Steinert in Wahre Jakob, Stuttgart, March 14, 1919
Nor were the Germans alone in ridiculing the American president.
"O Ovo de Colombo" by José Carlos de Brito e Cunha in La Careta, Rio de Janeiro, May 24, 1919
Some of the sharpest barbs came from our allies. Gabriele Galanta depicts Wilson's 14 Points as a bunch of toy rubber clowns.
"14 Articoli Americani di Gomma Elastica de Vendere" by Gabriele "Rata Langa" Galanta in l'Asino, May 18, 1919
As we've discussed before, part of Wilson's problem stemmed from the competing appetites the erstwhile allies of the Entente had for the territory of their vanquished foes. Italy thought the Italian majority of residents of the city of Fiume (Rijeka) entitled it to more of the Croatian coast than Wilson thought appropriate, and Japan wasn't about to return German-leased territory on the Shandong peninsula to China.
"At the Peace Table" by Cy Hungerford in Pittsburgh Sun, May/June, 1919
Australian cartoonist David Low enjoyed embarrassing the American president over Mr. Wilson's opposition to Japanese demands to include language guaranteeing that the League's members "equal and just treatment" of aliens within their borders from other member states.
"Washington's New Found Brother" by David Low in Sydney Bulletin, 1919
The European powers opposed that provision, too. Donald Trump would have been so pleased that the Just Treatment of Aliens clause didn't make it into the charter.
"Say, John, There's Some Dirt on Your Face" by Alfred Lewis in The World, London, 1919
American senators pushed to have consideration for Irish independence included in the Paris peace negotiations. British cartoonist Alfred Lewis, noting the renewed raids of Pancho Villa off our southwestern border, would have none of it.
"The Embarrassment of Arranging a Match..." by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, June 13, 1919
The Irish question would prove to be hardly the limit of senatorial second guessing of the peace treaty.

No comments:

Post a Comment