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This volume begins coverage of that period of the Paris Peace Conference usually neglected by historians of the subject. It sees the lively interchange between the German government and the Council of Four over all aspects of the preliminary treaty of peace, but particularly over the Saar Basin, responsibility for the war, the fate of former German territory awarded to Poland, German membership in the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization, and reparations.
The question of Italian acquisitions in the Adriatic area, still unresolved, further embitters relations between Wilson, Clemenceau, and Lloyd George, on the one side, and Orlando and Sonnino on the other. Other issues in which Wilson is deeply involved are the terms of the postwar occupation of the Rhineland, the protection of Jews and other minorities in the successor states, self-determination for Ireland, and growing opposition at home to American membership in the League of Nations. As this volume ends, a new crisis — over softening the terms of the peace treaty — is developing.