“It is worse than a crime – it is a blunder!” This is how Antoine Boulay, count de la Meurthe – a prominent French politician (he presided over commissions that wrote the French Constitution and the Napoleonic Civil Code) reacted to the execution (on Napoleon’s orders) of Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien. It was a colossal blunder indeed, because it turned just about all European royalty against Napoleon which ultimately led to his defeat and exile.
The same conclusion applies (one hundred percent) to another event that took place on French territory a century later – the infamous and ultimately disastrous Treaty of Versailles.
The Treaty was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which directly led to World War I and formally ended the Great War.
It was a monumental blunder indeed. Instead of preventing the global war from ever happening again (which was the original intent), in just twenty years it ignited the Second World War – far more murderous and disastrous than the first one.
And essentially brought Nazis to power in Germany which resulted in commission of massive and horrible war crimes against humanity (not just Holocaust). True, the Nazis bear the primary responsibility for these horrendous crimes, but the nations that forced Germany at gunpoint (literally) to sign this essentially criminal treaty (it was the armed robbery and extortion of gigantic proportions) share this responsibility with the Third Reich (and personally with Adolf Hitler).
These are the nations, whose leaders are guilty of this monumental blunder and thus of bringing Adolf Hitler to power and igniting the Second Great War: Great Britain, France, the United States and (believe it or not) Japan (the latter fought on the side of Allied Powers during World War I).
Like the (in)famous Nuremberg trial three decades later, the Treaty of Versailles was a noble idea thoroughly corrupted and perverted by politics. Mostly stupid and shortsighted politics driven by greed, pride and fear – the deadly sins. Which very soon became deadly in a very literal sense.
Obviously, the peace treaty to end the Great War should have been signed – no doubt about that. However, to achieve its fundamental objective – prevent the next Great War – the whole thing should have been done very differently.
The cold hard historical fact was that although in every major European country there were enough hotheads who wanted the Great War to happen, the actual outbreak of war was a joint venture between Serbia, Russia and France (roughly in that order). With a tacit support of Great Britain.
Obviously, the public recognition of this uncomfortable fact was politically impossible and, consequently, was out of the question. It was, however, possible to tacitly put the blame squarely on just one nation – Russian Empire (now the newly-minted Soviet Russia).
The victorious Allies (Great Britain, France, Italy and the United States) should have identified and recognized the real threat that could (and would) ignite the Second World War – the Bolshevist regime in Russia obsessed with the idea of conquering the whole world and transforming it into a global Communist state. The real existential threat to the whole Western civilization (in fact, to the whole human civilization).
Consequently, the Treaty of Versailles should have not only formally put an end to the Great War, but also created a Holy Alliance – to save Europe and the whole European civilization from being invaded, conquered, destroyed and replaced with the global Bolshevist civilization.
And thus should have been signed not only by Germany, Austria, Hungary and the abovementioned four nations, but also by Poland, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Baltic nations, etc. thus making it an expanded version of the North Atlantic Treaty signed three decades later.
True, the actual treaty created something of that nature – the League of Nations (which consisted of the Council of the great powers and an Assembly of all the member countries), but it did not have any real political (let alone military) power and thus was unable to prevent World War II.
Obviously, Germany would have had to cede Alsace-Lorraine to France (otherwise France would have never have signed the treaty) and the Treaty would have had to recognize the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (including the newly-created Czechoslovakia and Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which ten years later will become Yugoslavia).
And that’s it. No reparations, no transfer of German territories to other states, no restrictions on German sovereign rights. And, last but not the least, the blockade of Germany should have been ended for good the very next day after the Armistice.
Faced with the united front of all European powers backed by the United States, Canada, Japan and vast British and French colonial empires, Bolsheviks would have had no choice but to abandon their dreams of conquering the world. Which – due to their complete and utter inability to even feed their citizens properly – would have led to their quick and possibly even bloodless demise.
Unfortunately, it did not happen that way. The real Treaty of Versailles was something entirely different. Instead of becoming a noble event that would have put an end to global wars for good, it turned out to be a crime of genuinely global proportions. A brutal robbery at gunpoint and a ruthless, even sadistic extortion.
Which was incredibly, unbelievably, enormously stupid thing to do.
It was simply not possible to see the big picture from the trenches (or from the hospital bed, for that matter). Consequently, Gefreiter Adolf Hitler had no idea how devastating this picture was in late October – early November 1918 for Germany and other Central Powers.
True, the latter won the war on the Eastern Front by forcing the government of now-Soviet Russia to sign the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty. The Treaty meant that Russia has switched sides and became de-facto a German ally and thus one of the Central powers.
Now Russia was actively helping Germany win the war by freeing up a million German soldiers for the Western Front. And its immense food and fuel supplies, industrial base and transportation network was now serving the Central Powers. To a significant extent negating the devastating effect of British naval blockade.
Unfortunately for Germany and its allies, this victory did not help them much on the Western front. Which – with Bulgaria signing a separate Armistice with the Allies – already started to fall apart like a proverbial house of cards.
Entry of the USA into the war, provoked by the infamous Zimmerman Telegram (a monumental and ultimately suicidal blunder by German leadership) broke the stalemate on the Western Front and decisively tipped the scales in favor of the Allies.
On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated, signing the Armistice of Mudros. On 3 November, after its army essentially ceased to exist as an effective fighting force and the Dual Monarchy started to disintegrate (that’s exactly it did not need the war in the first place) Austria-Hungary signed the Armistice of Villa Giusti. Actually, Austria and Hungary signed separate armistices, following the overthrow of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy.
With all its allies gone and the Central Powers reduced to just Germany, the latter had no choice but to plea for armistice as well. It was signed on November 11th, at 5:00 am, in a now famous railroad carriage at Compiègne. At 11 am on 11 November 1918—”the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”—a ceasefire came into effect. The Great War was over.
But the ceasefire was signed not by the Imperial Germany. The Second Reich was gone. The sailors’ revolt which took place during the night of 29 to 30 October 1918 in the naval port of Wilhelmshaven spread across the whole country like a wildfire and led to the proclamation of a republic on 9 November 1918 and to the announcement of the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II. On November 9th, Max von Baden handed over the office of Chancellor to Friedrich Ebert, a Social Democrat.
Adolf Hitler was utterly devastated. Being conditioned by the militaristic propaganda, he simply could not believe that the mighty German Army and its supremely competent High Command lost the Great War.
No, it had to be definitely the “stab-in-the-back”. The invincible German Army did not lose World War I on the battlefield. It was betrayed on the home front by the “November Criminals” – the republicans who overthrew the monarchy and signed the Armistice with the enemy.
The republicans who were obviously manipulated by the Jews, one of which (Hugo Preuß) was the author of the Constitution of the Weimar Republic that replaced the Second Reich.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they made this myth an integral part of their official history of the 1920s, portraying the Weimar Republic as the work of the “November criminals” who seized power and betrayed the nation.