The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, Volume 56
March 17-April 4, 1919
Edited by Arthur S. Link
As this volume opens, the Supreme War Council holds a long session that results in an agreement on the military, naval, and aerial terms to be imposed on Germany. The harmony of this meeting is in stark contrast to the discord of the four heads of government recorded in the balance of the volume. In the weeks covered by these documents, controversy erupts over the disposition of the Rhineland and demands by France to annex the Saar Basin. The fight over reparations reaches a crescendo and is far from resolved as the volume ends.
Wilson, Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Orlando agree to meet secretly, away from the distractions of the Council of Ten, but they are at another impasse by early April. Meanwhile Wilson reconvenes the Commission on the League of Nations in order to obtain amendments to the Covenant necessary for Senate approval of a treaty that includes the Covenant. The statesmen in Paris struggle with a host of difficulties, including the takeover of the Hungarian government by the communist Bela Kun, and Wilson is faced with problems in achieving de facto recognition of the Soviet regime. In addition, he must deal with domestic controversy between the Industrial Board and the Director General of Railroads.
Arthur S. Link is Professor of American History, Princeton University.