Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Stupidest Peace Treaty Ever?

Today is Veterans Day in the United States, formerly known as Armistice Day. That was the day World War 1 ended, November 11, 1918. Germany asked for an armistice from the allied powers; the terms were acceptable; and they signed it in a railroad car in Sedan, France. Eventually World War 2 eclipsed WW1 in terms of destruction, carnage, loss of life, length of fighting, and historical emphasis. WW1 slipped to minor emphasis in our history textbooks.

I've thought a lot about that war over the last ten years or so. Every now and then I pick up a book that has something in it about that war; or I brainstorm something I could write myself. At the moment I'm reading Mr. Baruch, and as coincidence would have it just last night I finished reading about his industrial board duties during WW1 and began reading about the Paris peace conference and his role in that.

The Paris peace conference. This is something I need to read more about, much more about. But I have in my ideas file a book to write about it. I might title the book The Stupidest Peace Treaty Ever. My reading on it so far is limited. I base my statements on the aftermath of the treaty. It is now close to 90 years old, and yet we still are picking up the pieces of the mistakes made.

Just look at how the map of the world changed, and how later wars were fought--and may yet be fought--over the idiotic borders. Yugoslavia was shear idiocy; the Iraq and Iran borders were madness; and the failure to provide an independent Kurdistan a major mistake. The draconian terms forced on Germany may well have led to the rise of Hitler. Historians disagree on this, of course, but I don't think it can be eliminated as a contributing cause, whether or not it was the main cause. The war in Yugoslavia and eventual breakup of that nation was one aftermath, about 70 years after. The Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988 may have been a result of this. The Nato action in Kosovo in the 1990s might have been related.

As I say, I have much research to do. This book may be pie-in-the-sky stuff, something an historian should do, not an amateur writer. But it's fun to think about. Something to research in bits and pieces through the years, and to plan for retirement, which is only 7 years, 1 month, and 19 days away. No, wait, what was that news story over the last couple of days? The retirement age may go to 68? Better re-calculate.


Gary said...

Did I tell you my grandfather was in WWI and near (a couple of kilometers) the eastern France battlefront as the final months wore down to Nov 11th? He kept a diary and I've verified his travels against a history of his 42nd Balloon Company written after the War.

David A. Todd said...

Interesting, Gary. As my family were all fairly late immigrants, none of them seemed to be in WW1. Lynda had several great-uncles who had WW1 draft cards, but I haven't confirmed that they actually served, or where if they did. Too many other things to track. Her grandfather was just a little too young for that war and too old for the next one.