Lloyd George's War Cabinet met at least daily, sometime twice or three times in a day to focus solely on war issues. When other inputs were required then individuals like Arthur Balfour, Foreign Secretary would attend.

Lloyd George knew all about the deteriorating situation in Germany from War Cabinet meetings he had chaired throughout February 1919. [1] Hoover’s outburst [2], even if it was true, was not news to the British prime minister, but dislodging the French from their obstinate position proved difficult. On 8 March, at a joint meeting of the Allied leaders, discussions were heading towards the accustomed stalemate when, with a theatrical flourish which suggested a stage-managed prearrangement, [3] a sealed message was delivered to the British prime minister from the afore-mentioned General Plumer. In fact the telegram had been sent at the prime minister’s request. [4] Lloyd George read it aloud; despair had plummeted to such depths in Germany that ‘people feel that an end by bullets is preferable to death by starvation … I request that a definite date be fixed for the arrival of the first supplies …’ [5] The French finance minister, Klotz, attempted to ignore the message, but Lloyd George turned on him with unrestrained venom, pouring contempt on his miserly attitude while women and children were starving. [6] The dam broke. The French conceded that Germany’s gold could be used for food, but relief was not instant. Some further headway was made on 14 March when an agreement was reached in Brussels allowing Germany to import 370,000 tons of food and 70,000 tons of fat per month. In April all blockade restrictions were removed on European neutrals, which was expected to facilitate an increased flow of food into Germany. [7] In theory that should have happened, but in practice, every nation affected by the blockade had endured great hardship and either consumed the produce themselves or offered them for export at exorbitant prices which Germany could no longer pay. [8]

But the cruelty did not end there. For the remainder of the Armistice period the bickering between the Americans, led by Hoover, and the Allied decision-makers, continued to thwart the lifting of the entire blockade on Germany. Even when it was perfectly clear that the Weimar government would sign the Versailles treaty, the die-hards refused to move. And though the Allies agreed to lift the remainder of the blockade on European neutrals on 25 June, they remained stubbornly obtuse until they had proof that the Germans had fully ratified the Versailles Treaty on 12 July 1919. [9] It was as miserable as it was petty.

Though formal proceedings took place in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, other important meetings took place in other Paris venues and hotels.

The formal process of agreeing a peace treaty, predicated on the bitter Armistice, began in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles on 18 January 1919. From January to June, 1919, Paris was the capital of the world. [10] Complex discussions on how to punish the defeated nations involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities, but behind the scenes the true manipulators of power influenced the key decisions which determined a chain of events which go well beyond our time-scale.

History records the major outcomes from Versailles as the creation of the League of Nations; the five peace treaties with the defeated states, [11] the awarding of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as ‘mandates’, chiefly to Britain and France; reparations imposed on Germany, and the drawing of new national boundaries. Critically, section 231 of the Versailles Treaty, stated that the first world War had been caused ‘by the aggression of Germany and her allies.’ [12] Blaming Germany and Austria was a political necessity; an absolute requirement for the Secret Elite and the establishment in Britain and America in particular. If the blame had not be squarely laid at the door of the Kaiser and his associates, the populous would have quickly turned on the politicians close to home who had lied so vehemently, had insisted that the war would save civilisation, had repeated the lie that the inhuman sacrifice was both worthy and necessary. Evidence had to be manufactured.

A Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of War was tasked with the official investigation on behalf of the victors and its conclusions were exactly as required by the allied governments. [13] Essentially its findings declared that war had been premeditated by the Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, and their allies, Turkey and Bulgaria, and was the result of actions deliberately committed to make war unavoidable. There is now a large body of evidence to the contrary, championed firstly by Harry Elmer Barnes, the renowned Professor of Historical Sociology at Smith College and teacher of history at Columbia University from 1918-29. The Commission of course, ignored the multitude of false claims and dates made by French President, Poincare, of complete misrepresentations made to the British parliament by foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey and the lies reported to Czar Nicholas by his equivalent counsellor, Sazonov. But why should you be surprised. Did you imagine that false news is a twenty-first century phenomenon?

The American Delegation at Versailles. Lansing sits second from left beside President Wilson.

Perhaps the most disgraceful falsification was made by the American duo who nominally headed the Commission, Secretary of State, Robert Lansing and U.S. Lawyer J.B. Scott. Secretary Lansing’s impartiality ought to have been absolute, but he and J.B. Scott stand accused of concocting a claim that the Austrians knew of Serbia’s ‘utter innocence’ of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in July 1914. They chose to focus on an early brief telegram to the Austrian foreign minister which was quickly corrected by its author, the Austrian investigator, Dr. von Wiesner as more evidence became available. As Professor Barnes put it, the brief passage from the Wiesner report ‘was torn from the context by James Brown Scott and Robert Lansing and gives the impression that Wiesner believed Serbia utterly innocent in 1914.’ [14] It was an atrocious lie. We know this now, but it was used to great effect to damn Germany and Austria, by the very people who ought to have been the guardians of truth and impartiality.

Some historians and commentators have simply accepted that Germany caused the war, and the proof was self-evident. The German government accepted Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty. Think hard. What else could Germany have done under the circumstances? Barnes famously described it in the following terms:

Germany occupied the situation of a prisoner at the bar, where the prosecuting attorney was given full leeway as to the time and presentation of evidence, while the defendant was denied counsel or the opportunity to produce either evidence or witnesses. Germany was confronted with the alternative of signing the confession at once or having her territory invaded and occupied, with every probability that such an admission would ultimately be extorted in any event. [15]

By the time they imposed Article 231, Germany was no longer in any position to resist. Her weapons and navy had been surrendered as per the Peace Treaty conditions. Do not forget that the blockade continued until the Germans signed the document which blamed them for causing the world war. Starve or sign a false testament. That was a the option Germany faced. It was a travesty of truth; a cancerous lie which would reap an awful vengeance within twenty years.

The Big Four at Versailles: From left to right, Lloyd George (Britain), Vittorio Emanuele Orlando (Italy), Georges Clemenceau (France) and Woodrow Wilson (United States).

The ‘Big Four’ politicians who strutted this stage were the Georges Clemenceau, prime minister of France; David Lloyd George, the British prime minister; the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, and the prime minister of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. They met together informally 145 times, fought for their own agendas and agreed all the major decisions which Germany had to accept in 1919. Paris became the corporate headquarters of international decision-makers, the wheelers and dealers who acted as judge and jury in a kangaroo court through which new countries were created and a new order established.

The British economist John Maynard Keynes, himself present at the Versailles Peace Conference, watched the malevolent manipulators with angry contempt. The blame-shapers who knew that both the neutral countries and the German people had been shamefully damaged, pointed damning accusations at the French, at Marshal Foch for his hard-line armistice conditions, at President Clemenceau for demanding unmanageable German reparations, at finance minister Klotz for his insistence that German gold reserves could not be used to buy food, at their delaying tactics, their constant referrals to dubious committees and their unwillingness to end the hunger. Keynes was not fooled. He moved in circles whose prime motivation was to crush Germany; crush the German economy; restore British predominance in trade and industry and promote the Rhodes/Milner ideals. Unaware of the depth of their complicity, he personally blamed the intransigence of the admiralty in Whitehall, sarcastically implying that since they had just perfected the blockade system which had taken four years to create, they did not want to dismantle it. [16] Keynes called the British admiralty representative, Admiral Browning, ‘an ignorant sea-dog … with no idea in his head but the extirpation and further humiliation of a despised and defeated enemy.’ [17]

John Maynard Keynes, the economist, attended Versailles as part of the British delegation.

Keynes had considerable sympathy for the Germans. His intimate friendship during the peace talks [18] with the German financial advisor, Carl Melchior, helped find solutions to the many obstacles which blocked food for Germany. Melchior had since 1900, been senior counsel to, and later a partner in, the Warburg Bank in Hamburg. He became Germany’s representative on the Reparations Committee as was described as the country’s financial director. [19] Carl Melchior was the only non-Parliamentary member of the main German Peace Delegation. His role in the Bank of International Settlements and his later chairmanship of the Financial Committee on the League of Nations is highly significant. [20] Keynes dined with Melchior and Paul Warburg, whom he described as ‘a German-American Jew, but one of the leading financiers of the United States, and formerly chief spirit of the Federal Reserve Board.’ [21] Given the bond between Melchior, the Warburgs and the Kuhn Loeb bank in New York, we need hardly ask why he was in Paris. Indeed, why were so many important bankers from the United States who were intimately linked to the Rothschilds and the Secret Elite, hovering like vultures above a stricken Europe?

1. http://filestore.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pdfs/large/cab-23-9.pdf
2. See previous blog
3. C. Paul Vincent, Politics of Hunger, p. 122, note 121.
4. John Maynard Keynes, Dr. Melchior, Two Memoirs, p. 59.
5. Bane and Lutz, Blockade of Germany After the Armistice, p. 214.
6. Keynes, Dr. Melchior, Two Memoirs, pp. 60-61.
7. Eric W. Osborne, Britain’s Economic Blockade of Germany, 1914-1919, p.188.
8. Bane and Lutz, The Blockade of Germany after the Armistice, pp. 549-50.
9. Ibid., pp. 558-9.
10. Margaret Macmillan, Peacemakers, Six Months That Changed The World, p. 1
11. These were:  the Treaty of Versailles, 28 June 1919 with Germany; the Treaty of Saint-Germain, 10 September 1919 with Austria; the Treaty of Neuilly, 27 November 1919 with Bulgaria; the Treaty of Trianon, 4 June 1920 with Hungary; the Treaty of Sèvres, 10 August 1920, later revised by the Treaty of Lausanne, 24 July 1923 with Turkey.
12. http://net.lib.byu.edu/~rdh7/wwi/versa/versa7.html
13. Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties Source: The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 14, No. 1/2 (Jan. – Apr., 1920), pp. 95-154.
14. Current History, July 1928, p. 622. Article by Harry Elmer Barnes. 15. Harry Elmer Barnes, The Genesis of the World War, pp. 34-35.
16. Keynes, Dr. Melchior, p. 24.
17. Ibid., p. 13.
18. Ibid., pp. 49-50.
19. A.N. Field, The Truth About the Slump, p.35.
20. Ibid., p. 57.
21. Keynes, Dr. Melchior, p. 70.