The Truth About The Treaty

The Truth About The Treaty

Bibliographic Details

Book Review

“France has taken the Treaty of Peace seriously, just as she took the war. If others have done otherwise, is France to blame?” (Page 431). “If France is not to doubt England, she must feel that England does not attach less importance to the enforcement of the peace than she herself.” (Page

452.) Casual phrases often reveal an author's real preoccupations more clearly than formal and deliberate argument. M. Tardieu is apprehensive as to the durability of the fabric woven by the Parcce of Versailles. He seems to feel that in the United States the emphasis on nonparticipation in European affairs may, after all, have been something more than a reaction from the strain of the war; while Great Britain, he fears, is slipping back to her tradition of favoring the second rate, and distrusting the first rate European Powers. The “Anglo-Saxons, ” therefore, have to be spoken to frankly and resolutely. M. Tardieu has, consequently set himself the task of counteracting these tendencies in the United States and Great Britain


He has prepared a detailed analysis of the treaty, not so much from the juridical point of view, as from that of the circumstances surrounding the adoption of its chief provisions. After stating the origin of each principle upon which the treaty was drawn, he traces its fate throughout the Conference. His narrative is interesting and at times absorbing. There are many picturesque personal details. A number of documents are published, and the existence of even more valuable ones revealed. Much statistical matter is presented, not often, however, with adequate bibliographical appear, while in some instances statements, and even whole tables, fail to indicate clearly which of the various statistical values is intended to be understood,-cost, intrinsic or replacement

Thesis Statement

M. Tardieu vigorously repels the enemies of the treaty in France. He is, however, more coneerned with the state of opinion in the English-speaking countries. He appeals for their political, financial and moral unity with France in enforcing the treaty. Each of them,-France, the British Empire and the United States,-was an indispensable factor in winning the war, he contends; each is equally indispensable in enforcing the peace

Context of The Truth about the Treaty

Each sacrificed life and property and happiness to an incredible extent to preserve law and order, the sanctity of treaties, and the rights of small nations. Neither the British Channel nor the Atlantic Ocean, but the Rhine is the “frontier of freedom.” Neither England nor the United States can be secure unless France is secure; and France cannot be secure unless Germany is compelled to repair the damage she has done-as far as it can be repaired. Enforcement of the treaty, then, is the paramount task of the three democratic Powers for their own safety. But it is also their solemn duty, because of the moral obligations of each to the others arising from the trusteeship for the law and peace of the world, which they were forced to assume

Analysis of the Text

Why, then, in the face of both duty and interest, do the United States and England fail to give evidence of the political, economic and moral unity which is M. Tardieu's ideal? Is it because they interpret their duty and interest differently? Is it because both, perhaps one particularly, of them regard their interests as not preeminently European, but Asiatic, American, African,-anything else first, and then European? Can it be that the persistence of the policy analyzed more than a generation ago by Sir John Seeley with such refreshing frankness is based on a settled con- viction on the part of the British Government as to what is really the British interest on the continent of Europe? M. Tardien shows himself a most discerning and astute student of politics. He applies with equal dexterity the methods and approaches of the journalist, the lawyer, the financier, the diplomatist. He must, therefore, have long since perceived that nations are actuated by convictions as to their interests, no matter in what formulhe those convictions are expressed, if expressed at all, and no matter how mistaken their comprehension of the real nature of their interests

More about The Truth about the Treaty

Whatever may be the extent to which M. Tardieu perceives this funda- mental principle at work in determining the policy of England toward the enforcement of the treaty, he will certainly realize its force in the case of the United States, especially if his own book is given any widespread circulation. The chief effect of his volume will be precisely to reinforce the attitude of non-participation in European affairs, which he correctly believes to have been greatly strengthened. It will not be because his argument lacks force, sincerity or eloquence, but because it leaves a very vivid impression of the hopeless and ever more bitter economic and political involvement of Europe. While his appropriate and gracious appeal to sentiment may stir sympathy and gratitude, his picture of the financial situation of Europe will terrify our people and defeat any hope of enlisting their determined support of a policy of participation in the “guarantees” of treaty enforcement. Just as M. Tardieu remarks that France is not to blame for having been fifteen centuries exposed to the invasion of the lawless millions of Germany, and having now to enforce peace in Europe, so will the people of the United States be likely to declare that they are not to blame for having been happily isolated from Europe, and not having now to underwrite the financial fulfillment of the Treaty of 1919. The conviction that non-participation is the correct policy admittedly is strong; it will be strengthened rather than diminished by M. Tardieu's brief

Book Review

This legal book review was published in The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Jul., 1921), pp. 626-628

For Legal Meanings:

References to the legal books also in the Legal Definitions, click here

Leave a Comment