Since August 2014 THE TIMES has been reprinting articles from one hundred years ago.
They demonstrate a hard-line militarism, contemptuous of conscientious objectors and early attempts at international negotiations, support for the internment of naturalized British subjects of German origin and stripping them of their rights as British subjects, harsh punishment of the Germans, delight at the massive boost in recruitment on the execution of the British spy Edith Cavell, who was dishonestly portrayed as innocent of the charge of spying. It is a sad litany.
On Saturday 18 January 1919 the victors of the Great War met in Paris in what was fraudulently described as a Peace Conference. I have been a reader of THE TIMES for over 45 years, and have never before seen the words “League of Nations” in it.
Anyhow here is the reprint published Saturday 19 January 2019-
“THE CONFERENCE OPENED
There is no parallel in history to the Conference which held its opening session in Paris on Saturday.In the number of the peoples whose representatives have gathered together, in the population, the armed power, the accumulated wealth, the natural resources, the developed civilization, the ripe political experience of the chief among them, it transcends all former assemblies of the kind. There have been many Conferences and Congresses in the past between the leading powers of Europe. To this Conference there come with equal rights delegates from Asia and Africa as well. Most striking and momentous of all – the New World sends its statesmen and diplomatists to sit in council with those of the Old.
But a difference yet deeper exists between this august assembly and all that have gone by. It is animated by a spirit they did not know. The longing for perpetual peace has haunted the world for centuries. It found expression at more than one great conference, and probably some of those who guided the proceedings sincerely desired to promote it. But their faith was weak. They were not blind to the moral grandeur of the ideal, but they looked upon it as a fair vision, too noble and pure for a hard workaday world. As they doubted, and not unjustly in the then state of the world, whether such a peace was possible, they themselves made it impossible by devoting their attention to preparations for the next war.
The Conference of Paris meets with other thoughts and other aims. A League of Nations, which will prevent or punish war as effectively as individual States punish murder, fills the first place in the minds of the peoples who have sent theirspokesmen to it, and stands first in its official programme. The Conference is not itself such a League, but it is the one germ from which it is possible to hope such a League may spring.
The great distinctive feature of the Conference which places it between it and all its predecessors is that, for the first time, the peoples have commissioned their representatives to put the ideal in forefront of their programme and to spare no efforts to attain it.”
Please see my BLOG “The League of Nations – Why it Failed” 9th January 2019.