ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

ESIL Interest Group History of International Law

maandag 8 juli 2019

JOURNAL: Diplomacy and Statecraft XXX (2019), Issue 2 [Of War and Peace: Aspects of British Policy and the Treaty of Versailles]

(image source: idrottsforum)

Michael Dockrill: Historian of the Versailles Treaty: 7 November 1936-17 August 2018 (Brian Holden Reid)
Abstract:
The Treaty of Versailles is one of the twentieth century’s most controversial international agreements; and British policy towards the settlement with defeated Germany equally so. British policy at the Peace Conference stemmed from war aims developed after 1914 – desultory because of unexpected total war. In this process after December 1916, Prime Minister David Lloyd George controlled policy-making and, by late 1918, had general aims involving German territorial losses, disarmament, and paying for the war. Despite distrusting Foreign Office professionals, Lloyd George and his Downing Street advisors at Paris relied on non-professional experts through informal networks below them. One was James Headlam-Morley about the future of Danzig; and several pre-war historians also contributed in a profound way, their experiences stimulating the establishment of diplomatic history as a field of academic research and the emergence of the nascent discipline of international relations. On bigger issues, like Anglo-American naval rivalry that emerged at the Conference, Lloyd George sparred with President Woodrow Wilson. And as only Lloyd George of the Big Four survived politically after the Conference, development of his ideas and policies during the war and after played a major role in post-war international politics. Some issues at Paris have not received needed attention like the restitution of cultural objects in German possession: the Koran of Caliph Othman and the Skull of Sultan Mkwawa. Finally, after the war, the Treaty’s impact on both Britain’s enemy, Germany, and its ally, France profoundly affected the European balance of power.
Introduction: Of War and Peace: Aspects of British Policy and the Treaty of Versailles (B.J.C. McKercher & Erik Goldstein)
Abstract:
 The Treaty of Versailles is one of the twentieth century’s most controversial international agreements; and British policy towards the settlement with defeated Germany equally so. British policy at the Peace Conference stemmed from war aims developed after 1914 – desultory because of unexpected total war. In this process after December 1916, Prime Minister David Lloyd George controlled policy-making and, by late 1918, had general aims involving German territorial losses, disarmament, and paying for the war. Despite distrusting Foreign Office professionals, Lloyd George and his Downing Street advisors at Paris relied on non-professional experts through informal networks below them. One was James Headlam-Morley about the future of Danzig; and several pre-war historians also contributed in a profound way, their experiences stimulating the establishment of diplomatic history as a field of academic research and the emergence of the nascent discipline of international relations. On bigger issues, like Anglo-American naval rivalry that emerged at the Conference, Lloyd George sparred with President Woodrow Wilson. And as only Lloyd George of the Big Four survived politically after the Conference, development of his ideas and policies during the war and after played a major role in post-war international politics. Some issues at Paris have not received needed attention like the restitution of cultural objects in German possession: the Koran of Caliph Othman and the Skull of Sultan Mkwawa. Finally, after the war, the Treaty’s impact on both Britain’s enemy, Germany, and its ally, France profoundly affected the European balance of power.
The Quest for Stability: British War Aims and Germany, 1914–1918 (B.J.C. McKercher)
Abstract:
British war aims concerning Germany developed haphazardly during the Great War of 1914–1918. The vicissitudes of unexpectedly conducting total war–one lasting more than four years–periodically deflected their consideration. Inter-Allied diplomacy and pressures from non-governmental lobbyists from Central–Eastern Europe seeking independent states to succeed the Habsburg, Romanov, and Wilhelmine empires forced reconsideration at crucial moments, for instance, after the advent of the nascent Bolshevik regime in Russia in late 1917 to early 1918. So, too, did British public opinion. Nonetheless, the British government had a clear general strategy: return stability on the European continent. In this context, the prime minister after December 1916, David Lloyd George, became central. Beyond the general aim, however, he wanted to avoid firm commitments over a range of issues touching Germany to give him flexibility in negotiating with the other Allied leaders at the eventual Peace Conference. Thus, less concerned with the minutiae of transforming war aims involving German territorial losses, disarmament, and paying for the war, he looked to make deals that might lack strategic purpose.
“A House of Cards Which Would Not Stand”: James Headlam-Morley, the Role of Experts, and the Danzig Question at the Paris Peace Conference (D.B. Kaufman)
Abstract:
Recent years have witnessed increasing interest amongst international historians on the influence by experts on foreign policy decision making. Most work thus far has concentrated on American foreign policy since 1945, but this analysis broadens the focus to consider the impact of experts on British decision makers through the use of informal networks below the level of Cabinet ministers whilst debating the future of the city of Danzig at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. It shows that despite a tendency by the protagonists to interpret their actions as subverting the official role and function of the Foreign Office, sufficient evidence can be found to suggest that through the use of back-channels to David Lloyd George, the prime minister, via Philip Kerr, his private secretary, some officials, such as James Headlam-Morley, within the Office managed to influence high-level decision making at Paris.
“The Light of History”: Scholarship and Officialdom in the Era of the First World War (T.G. Otte)
Abstract:
This analysis examines the interplay between academia and officialdom during the First World War and its immediate aftermath. The role of more especially historians prior to and during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the degree to which they succeeded—or failed—to affect decision making have been examined in some considerable detail by recent scholarship. Far less attention has been paid to the impact of individual historians’ experience of employment in war-time government agencies on their post-war scholarly pursuits. The effect of the war on historical scholarship, in fact, was profound. Not the least, it stimulated the establishment of diplomatic history as a distinct field of academic research and the emergence of the nascent discipline of international relations led by scholars who had served in wartime intelligence. 

Lloyd George and the American Naval Challenge: “The Naval Battle of Paris” (John H. Maurer)
Abstract:
In the immediate aftermath of the First World War, naval competition loomed between Great Britain and the United States. This American naval challenge frustrated Britain’s leaders, who were determined to hold onto their country’s hard-won standing as the world’s leading sea Power. Britain’s Prime Minister David Lloyd George chose the setting of the negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to force a showdown with American leaders in an attempt to curtail their naval shipbuilding. Much to Lloyd George’s chagrin, the Americans proved obdurate in negotiations. President Woodrow Wilson and his naval advisors refused to stop the American buildup of large and powerful capital ships that called into question Britain’s naval mastery. The deadlocked talks between American and British naval leaders threatened to wreck the peace negotiations and the establishment of the League of Nations. To prevent a breakdown in Anglo-American relations at Paris, Sir Robert Cecil and Colonel Edward House negotiated an agreement that pledged both countries to work towards a settlement of their naval competition. This analysis examines Lloyd George’s motivations and actions in provoking this confrontation to defeat America’s naval challenge in what would later become known as the naval battle of Paris. 
From Caxton Hall to Genoa via Fontainebleau and Cannes: David Lloyd George’s Vision of Post-War Europe (Alan Sharp)
Abstract:
Only David Lloyd George of the Big Four survived to play a major role in early post-war diplomacy, remaining as British premier until October 1922. This analysis assesses the development of his ideas and policies with particular reference to his war aims speech of 5 January 1918, his Peace Conference Fontainebleau Memorandum of 25 March 1919, and the paper handed to the French premier, Aristide Briand, at Cannes on 4 January 1922. John Maynard Keynes accused Lloyd George of being “rooted in nothing,” but Edward House’s grudging acknowledgement that “With all his faults, he is by birth, instinct and upbringing, a liberal” seems a fairer assessment. He attempted to put his ideas, based on self-determination, trade, disarmament, and a broad sense of what was just, into practice in his ambitious attempt to re-engage Germany and the Soviet Union into the mainstream of international politics at the 1922 Genoa Conference. By then his credibility with his French counterparts and Tories at home was much depleted. Furthermore, he neglected laying the tedious but necessary foundations on which to build his vision and the constraints of international and domestic politics thwarted his proposed panacea to post-war problems. 
Cultural Heritage, British Diplomacy, and the German Peace Settlement of 1919 (Erik Goldstein)
Abstract:
Restitution of cultural objects was one of the topics covered in the Treaty of Versailles and the related peace treaties. Britain made specific claims in Article 246 relating to the Koran of Caliph Othman and the Skull of Sultan Mkwawa, whilst the Foreign Office considered other claims. Britain’s policy on cultural restitution influenced growing international norms, but it should also be seen in the context of Britain’s wider diplomatic concerns, stretching from the time of Castlereagh into the post-Second World War era. 
Great Britain in French Policy Conceptions at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 (Peter Jackson)
Abstract:
During the First World War, France and Britain forged the most intimate and comprehensive political, economic, and military alliance in history. The contributions of Britain and its Empire had been vital to France’s survival as a Great Power. A continuation of the wartime Entente was therefore pivotal to a wider strategy of embedding French security in a trans-Atlantic community of democratic Powers including the United States. But neither Britain nor the United States were ready to commit to using force to uphold the European order established at Paris. British political and policy elites reverted to pre-war cultural reflexes that prioritised Imperial considerations and assumed that France posed the chief threat to British interests 
Germany, Versailles, and the Limits of Nationhood (Conan Fischer)
Abstract:
As a defeated Great Power, Germany faced exceptional challenges after the First World War. These ranged from domestic revolution to grudging compliance with a peace treaty whose terms Germans almost universally regarded as unjust and unworkable. Franco-German relations quickly assumed particular significance in this regard as each country sought to secure its vital interests at the other’s expense; a confrontation that culminated in the Ruhr Crisis. However, there had been intermittent attempts to address security concerns through collaboration rather than confrontation and, after the Ruhr Crisis beginning in January 1923, these efforts rapidly gained momentum. The German and French foreign ministers, Gustav Stresemann and Aristide Briand, developed a trusting relationship as they strove to locate Franco-German rapprochement within the wider context of European integration. Stresemann’s death in 1929 did not stop this process that, under severe pressure from the Great Depression, finally imploded in early 1932. 
 (source: Taylor & Francis)