The Versailles Treaty:

The War Guilt Clause

by Webster Tarpley

Printed in the American Almanac, March, 1995


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The entire international public order of the post-1919 era, including the League of Nations and, by extension, the United Nations, has been based on the absurd lie that Germany was solely responsible for the outbreak of World War I. This finding was officially reported to the Paris Peace Conference at the close of the war by a ``Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War,'' which was chaired by American Secretary of State Robert Lansing. Lansing refused to allow any Germans to take part in his deliberations, and the commission ignored a new ``German White Book'' compiled in 1919 by Hans Delbrûck, Professor Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Count Montgelas, and Max Weber, which contained enough evidence to show that the thesis of exclusive German war guilt was untenable. The kernel of Lansing's conclusions was as follows:

``The War was premeditated by the Central Powers together with their allies, Turkey and Bulgaria, and was the result of acts deliberately committed in order to make it unavoidable. Germany, in agreement with Austria-Hungary, deliberately worked to defeat all the many conciliatory proposals made by the Entente Powers.''
This false verdict was then incorporated into the infamous Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles, which alleges:
``The Allied and Associated Governments affirm, and Germany accepts, the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.''
The German delegates were coerced into signing the Versailles Treaty by threats of renewed war and by the economic blockade still imposed on Germany after the armistice by the fleets of the Entente. The thesis of exclusive German war guilt was required by the Entente as a premise for the Carthaginian peace imposed on the Central Powers, which included the demand for more than $32 billion in war reparations, especially to France, plus interest for servicing this debt over decades into the future.

In the years after the war, documentary evidence was published which further undermined the Big Lie of Versailles. This included Karl Kautsky's Outbreak of the World War, (New York, 1924), the Soviet Materials for the History of Franco-Russian Relations from 1910 to 1914, (Moscow, 1922), the Austrian Red Book of 1919, and the diary of Baron Schilling of the Russian Foreign Ministry (London, 1925).

The false verdict of Versailles had already become a scandal in America during the 1920s, when historians like H.E. Barnes demanded the revision of the war guilt clause. Typical is this conclusion from the academic historian Sidney B. Fay of Harvard in 1930:

``The verdict of the Versailles Treaty that Germany and her allies were responsible for the War, in view of the evidence now available, is historically unsound. It should therefore be revised. However, because of the popular feeling widespread in some of the Entente countries, it is doubtful whether a formal and legal revision is as yet practicable. There must first come a further revision by historical scholars, and through them of public opinion.''
Now, after fascism, a second world conflict, the Cold War, and the fall of the communist regimes in Europe, the time has come to reopen the Versailles Treaty. The treaty must be revised to specify the war guilt of an international conspiracy masterminded first by King Edward VII of England, and after him by Sir Edward Grey, in which figures like Izvolski, Sazonov, and Clemenceau were participants. The center of war guilt must be fixed in London.{--Webster G. Tarpley


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The preceding article is a rough version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.


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