World War I

2500 The Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919, was the result of a negotiation of the “Big Four” – Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Premier Georges Clemenceau and Vittorio Orlando of Italy. The Treaty faced opposition from the United States’ Senate, since they saw that it would only aid another European conflict, after the horrors of the I World War. Henry Cabot Lodge, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was the leader of those who had particular opposition to the League of Nations, which was an integral element of the Treaty. Article 10 of the League Covenant required a pledge that all the Nations in the League come to help one another in case of an attack against any of them. The lack of a clause that such action could only be materialized through a unanimous vote of the council infuriated the Senate. Clearly the only solution was to stay away from any European conspiracy and conclude a separate peace with Germany. While Wilson’s Fourteen Points forced Germany to sign a blank check as an account for the damages of the War, they had to go through an inevitable bout of isolationism, which could have resulted in the rise of Hitler and the II World War. Moreover the major European nations like Britain, France and Italy felt that Wilson’s view of the League of Nations may affect their national interests – thus impeding his vision of a World Parliament. The Senate’s opposition was based mostly on its fear that the situation will lead to other major European conflicts, which was not at all unfounded. Moreover, America as a nation had an isolationist stance at that time, never wanting to get involved in international political turmoil. The Senate wanted to be left alone and not be dragged into the new world order. They were strongly against the Versailles Treaty and refused to ratify it.