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was fired I leaned forward to look out. Other shots followed rapidly, one after another, and I felt a sharp pain low down the back of my neck. The pain was so intense that I could not help crying out. I realized perfectly that I had been hit. What followed passed with lightning rapidity. The orderly seated beside the chauffeur on the front of the automobile had at the first shot pulled his revolver out of his pocket. The chauffeur at the same time put on speed and got us out of range. My adversaries are really poor shots. They are exceedingly clumsy. Am I not a good prophet? Do I not arrange things
ahead? I had arranged to have no meeting of the conference to-day so that I could get a little rest. Well, I've got it.”
Discussion in the Supreme Council, or Council of Ten, which included two representatives from Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States, turned to the form of the future government of territory freed from enemy rule. The Conference accepted a plan of mandataries for colonies and backward nations. On March 26, Mr. Wilson having returned to Paris, the Council of Ten, in order to speed up the work, was broken up into two bodies, a Council of Four and a Council of Foreign Ministers. The Council of Four
was composed of Premiers Orlando, Clémenceau and Lloyd George, and President Wilson. On April 14 the reparation demands to be made on Gremany were announced, and on April 16 the Germans were invited to send delegates to receive the treaty.
With the German treaty near completion the question of Italy's claims in the Adriatic came to the front. On April 23 President Wilson issued a statement that Fiume should not belong to Italy. The Italian delegation, keenly dissatisfied, announced their intention of leaving Paris, and on April 24, Premier Orlando started for Rome. Hardly had he departed when the vanguard of the German delegation reached Versailles, on April 25, to be followed on April 30 by the principal delegates. Previously the Germans had exprest an intention of sending “messengers” to receive the treaty, but finally were compelled to send delegates with full powers to act. In the absence of the Italian delegates the Conference on April 28 adopted the revised covenant of the League of Nations. Geneva was selected as the seat of the League, and Sir Eric Drummond, of Great Britain, was made first Secretary-General. On April 30 the Council of Three (Clémenceau, Lloyd George and Wilson) reached an agreement on the question of Shantung which gave territory to the Japanese who were to turn it over later to the Chinese. Premier Orlando was then absent in Italy, but he and the other Italian delegates returned to Paris in time to be present at the handing of the peace treaty to the Germans, apparently in a more satisfied frame of mind.3
: Principal Sources: The Times, The World, The Evening Post (New York), The Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia), American Press and United Press dispatches.
THE PEACE TERMS DELIVERED TO THE GERMAN
DELEGATES AT VERSAILLES
April 25, 1919-May 7, 1919
HEN the Peace Conference was near the end of its labors in
Paris the terms in general became known and public interest turned to the meeting now to be held in Versailles. There the plenipotentiaries of Germany would for the first time meet the representatives of the Entente Nations and of the United States and the treaty would be presented to them for their signatures.
It was a symbol of the blending of an old order with a new that the same day should have witnessed the arrival of the German delegates at Versailles, and the ratification, in plenary conference in Paris, of the covenant of the League. Helpless Germany preparing to accept a peace of just punishment in the same stage-setting as that which had seen the apotheosis of German power forty-eight years before, was one of the scenes from which the ancient world derived its belief in Nemesis and in which the world at all times has discerned the giddy spin of the wheel of fortune. The conqueror conquered, the mighty ones humbled—in that there was nothing new. What was new was that the idea of ultimate reconciliation should have run parallel with the idea of retribution.
If one were to compile a list of seven historic spots in the world, as a companion set to the Seven Wonders of antiquity, the Palace of Versailles would have a place among them. There Great Britain first recognized the independence of the United States; there the Third Estate, called into life again after sleeping for a century or more, formed a national assembly and gave birth to the French Revolution; there Bismarck had William I crowned the German Emperor, while Paris was still under siege, and there representatives of the civilized world had now come not only to make peace with “the madman of Europe," but to sign a document that might rank in history with the Magna Charta or the Declaration of Independence.
Nor was this mammoth palace, which once could cover 10,000 persons, merely a historic shrine of epochal ceremonies. It seemed still to vibrate with echoes of human dramas more vivid and enthralling than any stage piece that Molière had shown there to dis
tract the blasé Louis XIV and his dazzling court. There the unhappy Vallière, the vainglorious Montespan and the austere Maintenon successively had loved, infatuated and exploited, the magnificent Louis; there, too, the brilliant Pompadour and the seductive du Barry had shone among a galaxy of mistresses, and there some 10,000 half-drunken men and women from Paris had broken through the gates and sent the weakling, Louis XVI, in flight to the Tuileries.
Louis XIV planned his residence on so grandiose a scale that the leveling of the land, the building of a road to Paris and the construction of an aqueduct had engaged 30,000 men for years. That Gallery of Mirrors, literally the "galerie des glaces," what scenes had they not reflected! They had housed the Louis who proclaimed himself “the state," with his diamond-embroidered coat and redheeled slippers four inches high; had sheltered his bloated successor whose most satisfying exercise was to fry pancakes for his mistress's breakfast; had looked on the irresolute Louis XVI, fated for disaster, and the tragic figure of Marie Antoinette, she who “could bow to ten persons with one movement, giving, with her head and eyes, the recognition due to each one,” and finally bowed to the headsman's blade in the Place de la Concorde.
German official couriers, in advance of the German delegation, arrived at Versailles on April 25, having traveled by special train from Creil, near Compiègne, and were received by Colonel Henri and other French officials, and by them taken to the Hôtel des Réservoirs. It was remarked sarcastically in Paris that the German delegation, according to the time schedule current in Berlin when the German armies started their swing through Belgium toward Paris, in 1914, had arrived "seventeen hundred days late.” At Versailles the couriers were inclosed in a sort of huge gilded cage, not only for the purpose of keeping them in, but to keep the press and the public out. Once the German delegates reached the quarters reserved for them in the same hotel on May 1, they also found themselves restrained from passing beyond the barriers set up until the day when the final signature of the treaty should have taken place in the Gallery of Mirrors of the great Versailles Palace. In an annex of the hotel, formerly the residence of the Marquise de Pompadour, the delegates were housed. Use of this building had been determined by its situation, which was only a few hundred yards below the great palace. Behind trees on the further side of a lake was visible the roof of the Trianon Palace Hotel—formerly a Capuchin Monastery—where the first meeting between the Germans and the Entente statesmen would take place.
A trellis-work barrier eight feet high had been run from the junction of the Réservoir annex with the hotel proper, straight across the park to the rear of the Trianon Palace Hotel, thus forming, with the right-hand boundary of the park, a big "cage” about 100 yards wide and 300 long, within whose limits the Germans could walk about at liberty and obviate the humiliating conditions implied in a military escort. The only soldiers in evidence throughout this barrier were sentries at the locked gate of the park, at the Trianon Palace Hotel, and in passages connecting the annex with the main hotel. No one was allowed to pass them, no matter what his rank, unless he was the bearer of a special permit signed by the officer in charge. Passage otherwise was confined to hotel servants conveying food from the central kitchen.
The first official meeting with the Germans took place on May 1, when credentials were exchanged. A week later, in the spacious dininghall of the Hôtel Trianon, the Peace Conference was installed at three long tables, arranged in horseshoe form and covered with the traditional green cloth of diplomacy. At one end of the room at a table about thirty-five feet long, sat representatives of the Great Powers, with President Poincaré and Premier Clémenceau in the center. Marshal Foch was the only man at a table who was not a plenipotentiary. Another who found himself a center of attention