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EFFECT OF BOLSHEVIK IDEAS

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Thought. Between the two groups of anti-Bolsheviks, but not opposed in concert by both, were the Bolsheviks. Their revolutionary propaganda had penetrated far and wide-most notably in Germany. The Brest treaties had ushered in a so-called peace, and diplomatic relations had been resumed shortly afterwards. As a result Mirbach was sent to Moscowto be murdered-and Joffe to Berlin, to work for the outbreak of the German revolution. This was indeed achieved, but in very different circumstances from those for which the Bolsheviks had hoped. They had not expected either group of belligerents to be victorious; now they suddenly found themselves liberated from one alliance of Imperialists, but in danger from the other alliance and unable to reverse at a blow the consequences of the Eastern treaties. Again the policy of a breathing space' was put forward, but it was combined with a frenzied reduplication of efforts to bring about a general European revolution.

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Thus, by the close of the year, it was evident that the demand for evacuation and the right of self-determination meant for the Bolsheviks nothing but the right of 'bolshevizing', and the appeal of their peace formulae at Brest had long since lost its original force. Yet, in their arguments with the Germans, they had applied self-determination in a bold and far-reaching way, that remained not without influence in many quarters; Ireland and Bosnia, Egypt, India, and Persia appeared along with Posen and Alsace-Lorraine and Armenia. The Russian catchword of peace without annexations or indemnities', which the Bolsheviks had taken over and amplified, had made a deep, if indefinite, impression. The demand for no economic boycotts figured among the war-aims of many anti-Bolshevik bodies of opinion, and the precedent of the attempt to realize 'no secret diplomacy' was not forgotten. The effect of these ideas was conflicting and to a large extent impalpable, and they had become, in the main, divested of any specifically Bolshevik setting, but, in conjunction with President Wilson's enunciation of principles, they coloured the minds and imaginations of such numbers that they exercised an immediate and profound influence upon the Peace Conference.

PART III:

CONFERENCE PRELIMINARIES:

ORGANIZATION AND EXECUTIVE
WORKING

CHAPTER VII

THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CONFERENCE

PART I: PREPARATIONS AND PERSONNEL

1. The Conference a Dynamic and not a Static Body. So great a piece of machinery as the Conference of Paris was not, and could not have been, created in a day. It was constructed largely out of the experimental organizations which in the course of the War the Allied and Associated Powers had erected to direct their policy and co-ordinate their strategy. There had also been in all countries more or less specific preparation for the work of peace, which had produced organizations for the purpose. When the expected moment at last arrived, these vast pieces of machinery were brought together at a common centre, and an attempt was made to fashion them into a common instrument. Such a task was in itself a stupendous undertaking, and involved the interests and passions of a host of officials both professional and amateur. It is not surprising, therefore, that the task was never really completed. Much of the machinery elaborately organized during the War was never fitted into the Conference engine, and substitutes had to be improvised for the needs of the moment. Only experience could show how the machine would work, and experience is a ruthless taskmaster. The Conference was dominated by personalities whom the events of the War had made the directing minds of organizations far greater than any that had ever previously existed. They were none of them men who could be fettered by a system; they used and scrapped' their materials ruthlessly, and thus continually changed the Conference machine to suit the needs of

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PREVIOUS PREPARATIONS

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the moment and of the situation. It is impossible to describe the Conference as a static body. It should rather be regarded as a living organism whose cells were constantly changing, and at times it assumed confessedly strange and distorted forms at the imperious will of masters, who in their turn were in the grip of the great forces of public opinion.

2. Previous Preparations made by Subordinates and not concerted. All the States at war knew that a moment must come when diplomacy must re-state the facts as they had been established by arms. But none knew how or when the moment would come, until the final struggle was almost over. Such preparations as were made in the several States before the Conference were thus necessarily of a very general character, and their exact value at the critical moment could not be foreseen. The nature of the peace would be governed by the military situation when the War ceased. On this great fact would depend all else, and no one scheme could therefore be drawn up which could be put into force when peace came. Two other considerations also militated against the value of such preliminary work. The heads of the Governments and their most responsible advisers had not yet the leisure themselves to direct it, yet without their supervision much of it must be useless since it could only have value if used by them or those in close touch with them. Moreover, schemes of organization for the Conference needed to be drawn up by the Allies in concert, for only the close co-operation of the several Governments could have elaborated any scheme which would have stood the test of practice. But such co-operation was impossible under the conditions of the World War. The InterAllied machine that had been so slowly and so painfully constructed had been a machine for war. The principal statesmen had no leisure to work out the organization of a Conference of Peace, and, if they had had leisure, they would have shrunk from raising problems which might have divided them in the face of a still unbeaten enemy.

3. Nature and Value of these Preparations. The preparations for the Conference then were made for the most part by subordinate departments, without the direction of the heads of States, without Inter-Allied consultation and co-operation, and with only a vague idea of how the schemes would be applied in practice. Their influence on the Conference must not, however, be under-estimated. Their labours had produced an enormous

amount of material for the use of the men of action, and, though much of this work was wasted, much proved to be of the greatest value. The elaborate plans that were drawn up by the officials of France, the United States, and Great Britain were not without influence at a later date even on the details of organization, and ideas appeared at the Conference which could be traced back to laborious pens working at a time when the Germans seemed almost invincible, and when few could foresee that the disjecta membra of four Empires would provide the materials on which the statesmen of the Allied Powers were to work.

In all countries during the War the value of specialized knowledge had in time been fully recognized. Even in History, Geography, and Political Science, subjects on which statesmen often claim that they are adequately equipped, the value of expert knowledge was eventually universally admitted, and the diplomatic, military, and economic organizations gradually obtained the services of men who, with more or less truth, could claim to be specially fitted to advise those who had to grapple with the great problems of the reconstruction of the world.

4. French Preparations. It was only natural that in France the services of academic knowledge and technical skill should be recognized at an early date, and a Committee of Historians and Publicists was set up to survey the problems of settlement. Each Government Department was also in touch with experts who placed their knowledge at the disposal of the departmental chiefs, and in some cases became departmental chiefs themselves. Adequate co-ordination and co-operation was, however, lacking. Each Department made its plans on its own initiative. There was no general scheme. The Quai d'Orsai was not in close touch with the Ministry of Commerce, or with the French General Staff on this subject, and the group of men who surrounded the Premier-who in the long run would alone count, if a peace by victory were attained-were not themselves sufficiently in command of a joint organization which could express the ideals and interests of France. The result was that there was no fully matured plan ready when the Armistice came. The military conditions of the Armistice were laid down by the Commander-in-Chief; its political basis was, as is narrated elsewhere, supplied by the President of the United States; but nothing was signed or sealed as to the conditions and organization of the Conference. A plan had

FRENCH PREPARATIONS

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to be improvised in great haste, and improvised it was with all that scientific skill and the supreme mastery of historical and diplomatic facts for which Frenchmen are distinguished. But it bore the marks of its origin. Each Department had set forth its demands in detail, and the total result was rather overwhelming, while the scheme of organization prepared by the officials of the Quai d'Orsai, though ingenious and scientific, lacked reality, since it had not been made in consultation with the men who would have to work it, had not attempted to use the existing organizations, and had not been discussed with, and adapted to, the need of France's Allies. This fact was unfortunate, since Paris was the seat of the Conference, and the French had the greatest opportunity of devising a scheme for Conference organization. Fortunately for France, she possessed among her principal statesmen several who were specially endowed with both the skill and knowledge to conduct the affairs of a Conference. Alone of those representing the Great Powers, her Plenipotentiaries had themselves sufficient knowledge of principles and facts to conduct discussions without relying too greatly upon 'experts' and hasty coaching. The French Plenipotentiaries were in that sense less dependent on their subordinates than those of any other Great Power.

5. The Preparations of the United States. In the United States an elaborate organization had long been in existence, whose sole function was to prepare for the coming Peace Settlement. Dating from before America's entry into the War, it rapidly increased in size and importance after she became a belligerent. Under the general control of Colonel House it enlisted the services of many of the most distinguished academic figures in the United States, as well as of brilliant journalists, lawyers, and business men. Elaborate researches were made into the Geography, Ethnography, and Economic conditions of Europe and the Middle East. Elaborate maps were prepared showing the result of these researches, and the whole mass of evidence was continually overhauled and restated in the light of new facts. Specialists from different parts of the United States were employed to draw up memoranda, and to supply statistics on subjects which would probably come before the Peace Conference.1 The worth of all such preparatory

1 In addition there was a committee of historical, economic, and ethnological experts, which was under the control of Professor Coolidge at Vienna,

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