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N June 28 Germany and the Allied and Associated Powers
signed at Versailles the Peace Treaty. This event took place in the same hall—the Hall of Mirrors—in which the Germans had humbled the French forty-nine years before, and was the formal ending of a state of war lasting only thirty-seven days short of five years. The day was the fifth anniversary of the murder of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand at Serajevo, which had been the occasion for the brutal ultimatum to Serbia, as delivered by Austria, backed by Germany, and which precipitated the war.
Many persons have been familiar with a sort of official painting of the Versailles ceremony of December, 1870, when William I was proclaimed German Emperor, in which the central figure was not the old King and newly made Emperor, but the big and burly Bismarck, in the white uniform of a Prussian Cuirassier, holding a polished steel helmet and wearing a clanking saber at his side, his legs in great jackboots reaching half way up his thighs, standing forward near the front of the dais and reading the document which announced to the world that the King of Prussia had taken to himself the title of German Emperor. It was the great moment in Bismarck's life, marking as it did with pomp and circumstance, the triumph of his policy of blood and iron and the accomplished fact of the unity of Germany, which had been his goal. Bismarck had planned and precipitated three wars to bring that unity about, and in the third of them, France, the hereditary enemy of Germany, had now been crusht. Meanwhile, the old jealousies of the German States had disappeared in the pride which the common victory aroused in all of them, and the supremacy of Prussia became established beyond further question.
It was strange to think of that assemblage as taking place in the midst of war, within four miles of German front-line trenches at St. Cloud, and within five miles of the guns of Mount Valerien, where France had her heaviest artillery, for the war was still going
Colors and standards from German regiments then besieging
Paris had been brought in to give to the scene a background of gold and silk, that was reproduced again and again as the reflection in one mirror was repeated in another across the hall. In front of the colors were grouped on the dais the princes of the German States, headed by the Crown Prince Frederick—“Unser Fritz.” In the center stood the old King, and on the floor in front of him were Bismarck, Moltke, and Roon, the triumvirate who had brought to pass the event which was being consummated. Flanking the dais on either side were two gigantic troopers, living monuments of the Prussian ideal. In the body of the great hall was a mass of officers representing the armies of the German States. Bismarck left the Hall of Mirrors that day a proud and satisfied man, little dreaming that his intoxicating draught of victory and empire would go to the heads of his Prussians, and by making them drunk with power and lust of territory would bring them back forty-nine years afterward to the same room, in an overwhelming defeat.
The ceremony of June 28, 1919, was a very different affair. There were more black coats than there were uniforms; there were few ribbons and stars, and there were no gigantic troopers. The artist who should paint the second picture for we might assume that the great and historic scene would be duly recorded on canvas—would not have so easy a task as his German predecessor had had. Neither Lloyd George, President Wilson, nor M. Clémenceau had cut a figure to rival, or even suggest, Bismarck in his jackboots. Foch, however, in horizon blue, might perhaps have challenged comparison with Moltke.? By noon that day, eleven regiments of French cavalry and infantry had taken positions along the approaches to the palace, while within the court on either side solid lines of infantry in horizon blue had been drawn up at attention. Hours before the time set for the ceremony an endless stream of automobiles had begun to move out of Paris, up the cannon-lined hill of the Champs Élysées, past the Arc de Triomphe, and out through the Bois de Boulogne, carrying plenipotentiaries, officials, and guests, the thoroughfares having been kept clean by pickets, dragoons, and mounted gendarmes. Thousands of Parisians meanwhile were packing regular and special trains upon lines leading to Versailles and contending with residents of the town itself for places in the park where the playing fountains would mark the end of the ceremony.
Long before the ceremony began a line of gendarmes had been thrown across the approaches, the Court of Honor had been cleared of captured guns and three regiments of infantry and five of cavalry had gone on duty. Republican Guards, in gala uniform and
'London dispatch from Gen. Sir Frederick Maurice to The Times (New York).
forming the guard of honor, were stationed on the grand staircase, by which the plenipotentiaries were to enter the hall. The Place d'Armes was a lake of white faces, dappled everywhere by the bright colors of flags and fringed with the horizon blue of troops whose bayonets shone like flames as the sun peeped at moments from behind heavy clouds. Above were airplanes-a dozen or morewhich wheeled and curvetted. There could have been found no nobler setting for the great ceremony.
Up the triumphal passage, between the two wings of the palace, the representatives of the victorious nations passed in flag-decked limousines—a hundred or two hundred cars, one after another, without intermission and taking fifty minutes to pass. Midway down the courtyard was seen the big bronze statue of Louis XIV on horseback, and along its sides the statues of the Princes and Marshals, Admirals and Generals who had made Louis the Grande Monarque of France. Just inside the gates was General Bricker, commander of the Sixth Cavalry Division, sitting on a splendid chestnut, hardly less immobile than the bronze Sun King, save when he flashed his sword to salute some guest especially distinguished.8 It was impossible to say what the day meant to the people of Versailles. To them, more than to the rest of France, it was the wiping out of an ancient stain, which they had felt more deeply than any other French community. At the entrance to the crowded dining-hall of the Hôtel des Réservoirs was seen an old aunt of the proprietor standing and looking about with eager eyes, reminiscent of the event of forty-nine years before. “I saw them dine here,” she said, “and now this—thank God I have lived to see it !"
The delegates after traversing the Bois de Boulogne and the park of St. Cloud, where once had stood the favorite residence of Napoleon, entered Versailles by the Avenue de Paris, a boulevard almost 100 yards wide leading directly to the main entrance of the château. Beyond the enclosure reserved for the general public they passed between stands erected for members of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and then reached the doorway through which the Paris mob of 1789, a momentous day in the French Revolution, broke into the château, massacred the Swiss guards and compelled Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette to return to Paris. To reach the Hall of Mirrors they traversed the state apartments once occupied by the monarch and his queen.
One of the earliest to arrive was Marshal Foch, amid a torrent of cheering which broke out even louder a few minutes later when Premier Clémenceau—for once with a smile on the Tiger's faceseen through the windows of a French military car. To both, as
8 Versailles dispatch from Walter Duranty to The Times (New York).
was C INTERNATIONAL FILM SERVICE, N. Y.
OUR PEACE DELEGATES AT VERSAILLES From left to right: Col. E. M. House, Secretary Lansing, President Wilson, Henry White, Gen. Tasker H. Bliss
to the other chiefs, including President Wilson, General Pershing, and Lloyd George, troops paid the honor of presenting arms from every point around the courtyard. After them came other diplomats and soldiers, including Princes of India in gorgeous turbans, Japanese in immaculate Western dress, Admirals, Arabs, and a thousand and one picturesque uniforms of the French, British and Colonial armies. Amid terrific enthusiasm a whole wagon-load of doughboys, themselves yelling “their heads off," drove up the sacred Area of Victory, swung around the Louis XIV statue, and went out by a side gateway, where other automobiles had gone after depositing their passengers. Ten minutes later a camion laden with British Tommies arrived and they, too, had a most cordial reception.
All the diplomats who attended the ceremony wore conventional civilian clothes. There was marked lack of gold lace and pageantry, with few uniforms suggesting the Middle Ages, or any later monarchical age, whose traditions and practises had been so sternly condemned in the great, seal-covered documents now to be signed. Only selected members of the Guard were there, resplendent in red-plumed silver helmets and red, white and blue uniforms. Notable among the persons who attended were, five Senators who had participated in the campaign of 1870. Marshal Pétain came accompanied by six French generals. A group of Allied generals, including Pershing, wore the scarlet sash of the Legion of Honor. The ceremony had been planned to be austere, as befitting the purposes and sufferings of nearly five years. The lack of impressiveness and picturesqueness of color, of which many spectators, who had expected a magnificent State pageant, complained, had been a matter of pure design.
When the program for the ceremony was shown to the German delegation, Herr von Haimhausen, of the delegation, went to Colonel Henri, the French liaison officer, and said:
“We can not admit that the German delegates should enter the hall by a different door from Entente delegates; nor that military honors should be withheld. Had we known before that there would be such arrangements, delegates would not have come.
After a conference with the French Foreign Ministry, it was decided, as a compromise, to render military honors to the Germans as they left the building—but not as they entered it. Otherwise the program as originally arranged was not changed. The Germans had a separate route of entry through the park, and reached the marble stairway through the ground floor. Dr. Müller, German Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Bell, Colonial Secretary, when shown into the hall, quietly took their seats. The Entente delegates did not rise. The Germans manifested none of the uneasiness which Count