Tag Archives: War Guilt

The Frontiers of Humanity

Here is yet another chapter that was left out when THE WAR GUILT CLAUSE was published. Max is beginning to wonder what he was thinking when he agreed to eliminate these chapters. At the time they were written, Max saw them as important to move the flow of the narrative in a direction that would give the reader a feeling about what was going on in Paris in 1919 when the nations of the world were trying to gather themselves and continue to live in the 20th century.

Max is thinking of pulling all these absent chapters together and publishing them under the title – THE AUTHOR GUILT CLAUSE




France’s anxiety was at fever heat – the Peace Conference had been convened for four months, but the deliberations of the Supreme Council had been clothed in mystery; there had been no word on the most important issue of all: the fate of the despicable Hun; and now at last a memorandum from the British Prime Minister that called for mild treatment of the hated Saxons.


When nations are exhausted by wars which leave them tired, bleeding and broken, it is not difficult to patch up a peace that might last for 30 years. What is difficult is to draw up a peace which will not provoke a fresh struggle. Injustice and arrogance displayed in the hour of triumph will never be forgotten or forgiven. Therefore, I strongly advise against transferring German rule to some other nation.

The whole of Europe is filled with the spirit of revolution; there is a deep sense of discontent, anger, and revolt; the whole existing order in its political, social, and economic aspects is questioned by the masses of the population from one end of Europe to the other. We peacemakers must be conscious of the danger that if we fail we could throw the population throughout Europe into the arms of the extremists. The greatest danger I see in the present situation is that Germany may throw in her lot with Bolshevism whose dream is to conquer the world by force of arms.

If we are wise, we shall offer to Germany a peace which will be preferable for all sensible men to the alternative of Bolshevism, and in the forefront that once she accepts our terms, especially reparation, we will open to her the raw materials and markets of the world on equal terms with ourselves. We can not both cripple her and expect her to pay.

We must make the League of Nations into something which will be both a safeguard to those nations who are prepared for fair dealings with their neighbors, and a menace to those who would trespass on the rights of their neighbors.

Finally, I believe that until the authority and effectiveness of the League of Nations has been demonstrated, the British Empire and the United   States ought to give France a guarantee against the possibility of a new German aggression.


Summary of Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s Fontainebleau memorandum  – March 25, 1919


Woodrow Wilson loved it. Lord Northcliffe, baron of the British Press, and blood enemy of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, was all over it like a fire department at a blazing building; he enlisted 370 members of the British Parliament to send a telegram of screaming protest to the embattled Lloyd George. Clemenceau was outraged – Germany, the savage aggressor, saved by imprudent pity? Never!

French newspapers battled rivals for the honor of posting the most angry headline.

the Journal des Debats roared:

The Frontiers of Humanity Must Be Made Inviolable


Easter (April 20) will be here before the Armistice is completed and instead of a full resurrection, the World will have a new Calvary to climb, for the League of Nations is not, and never will be, an adequate guarantor of French security.We French have the right to reparations, both material and moral. Material reparation means payment by Germany of not only pensions and damages, but also war costs. Any other solution would be the most monstrous injustice in the history of the human race. Shall a people who has been invaded and martyred be made to pay? It would be like the victim paying the assassin under the pretext that the latters’ resources must be safeguarded.

Moral reparation is simply protection against future aggression, for did not President Wilson himself  say, “French frontiers are the frontiers of humanity.”

French Chamber of Deputies Senator Cheron expressing the voice of general alarm:


Peggy Schooner and Ed Frederick soaked up the April-in-Paris sunshine on a park bench in the Jardin des Tuilleries while reading from a stack of French newspapers.

Peggy held up Le Figaro for Ed’s inspection –“What do you think of their motto?” She asked, then read it in French and translated to English “Without the freedom to criticize, there is no true praise.”

Ed smiled in response, “Freedom of the press – the hallmark of Democracy; my paper’s motto is “All the news that’s fit to print.”

“Chicago casts all modesty aside,” said Peggy, “the Tribune calls itself ‘the World’s Greatest Newspaper.”

Ed smiled again and recalled, “my favorite newspaper motto comes from Nevada – the Mason Valley News – ‘The Only Newspaper that gives a damn about Yerington.’”

Peggy laughed loudly and gave Ed an appreciative whack on the back. The two allowed themselves the luxury of a light-hearted interlude, but they knew that what they had to do was anything but funny. Their job was to report the news of what the Peace Conference was or was not accomplishing, and after seemingly endless delays and diversions the conference was at last coming to the primary task – what to do about Germany.

“The Fontainebleu Memorandum has broken the dam,” said Ed. “Lloyd George and Wilson have come out for moderate terms.”

“Yes,” Peggy agreed, “but I don’t think they were prepared for the avalanche of opposition to moderation that crashed down upon them.”

“This is true,” Ed agreed, “but President Wilson is immune to such opposition – he is permanently and irrevocably locked into his positions – the fourteen points and the League of Nations; nothing can change his mind.”

“I’m sorry to say this, Edward, but our President is a fool. In a world that cries for diplomacy, he is an uncompomising wall of granite.”

Ed hesitated to criticize a man he thought of as a friend, but Peggy’s barbs were beginning to connect. “House, Lansing, and Baker have counselled compromise,” he said.

“I think he only accepts advice from God,” Peggy said, then added, “which apparently he receives on a regular basis.”

“And then there is the Fiume – Shantung contradiction,” said Ed. “He awards Fiume to the Yugoslavs on the basis of his point five – colonial claims must be based on the interests of the populations concerned – then ignores the point in awarding a large piece of Chinese territory to Japan.”

Peggy was quick to pick up on Ed’s thought. “It was all about his sacred League of Nations,” she said, “Japan threatened to quit the League and form a triple alliance with Germany and Russia to oppose the League – Wilson caved in to Japanese demands. And becaue of the Fiume decision, the Italians have gone home to Rome in a fit of anger.”

“Orlando and Sonnino have been received in Rome as National heroes,” Ed said, “imagine if they had succeeded.”

Peggy nodded, “I can imagine that Wilson, Lloyd George, and Clemenceau are happy to be without the Italians – a big three is easier to manage than a big four.”

“Speaking of the Italians,” said Ed, “I have news from my New York colleagues on this Fiume issue, and for Wilson it’s not good – his number one antagonist in the U.S. congress, Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, believes that Italy should have military and naval control of the Adriatic and so supports Italy’s claim to the port of Fiume.”

“Why isn’t Lodge here in Paris as part of the U.S. delegation?” Peggy asked. “Doesn’t Wilson understand that nothing he agrees to at the conference will be anything but fantasy if he can’t get support from his legislature?”

Ed was not ready to give up on Wilson. “And yet,” he said, “for all his difficulties, backsliding, mistakes, misunderstandings, and contradictions, I believe it is right and proper that he should be here.”

Peggy was not so sure. “No,” she exclaimed, “your precious Wilson should have remained in Washington, his presence here is a distraction; historians will not treat him kindly. And let us not fail to note that the peace treaty is being written by anonymous technicians whose labors will be touted as the work of statesmen.”

While Ed pondered that observation, and searched for an appropriate response, Peggy abruptly changed the subject to a train of thought she had been considering ever since they had returned from Munich.

“Ida Tarbell was too hard on Rockefeller,” she said.

Ed blinked; where did that come from? Ed was startled at the abrupt change of subject. “Rockefeller?”

“He founded the University of Chicago, you know.”

Ed shook his head; he did not know.

“The eternal conundrum,” mused Peggy, “if great wealth is accumulated by unfair means and used for charitable purposes, is it morally justified?”

“The allied powers in charge here would certainly think so,” said Ed, “It makes me wonder: is that the ultimate purpose of this conference? To ensure that the Rockefellers of the world are safe from the “poisonous” claims of any system of government designed to share the wealth of nations with the population of nations?”

“You may be onto something there, Edward,” said Peggy. “Most certainly the  United States, Great Britain, and France are dedicated to that purpose. And what about Germany? As we have seen in Munich, thousands of Germans are prepared to fight for a people’s government where the poor are elevated in society to a level, if not equal to the rich, at least high enough to escape the degradation of grinding poverty. The Allies call this hope, “poisonous”. The great irony of the Great War is that the contending forces  agreed on this issue; the post-war story is yet to be written, it may involve civil war in Germany. Pity the common folk.”

Caught up in thoughts of irony and poison, Ed was startled when Peggy once again seemed to change the subject.

“He’s here, you know,” she said, then added, “Junior is here.”

“Junior?” Ed questioned.

“John D. Rockefeller, Junior; he’s here in Paris; I saw him at one of Baker’s press conferences.”

“Do you know him?” Ed asked.

“I know him by sight,” Peggy answered, “he was the commencement speaker when I graduated from the University of Chicago. At the press conference he was sitting next to Ida Tarbell.”

“That’s odd,” said Ed, “I thought she didn’t like him.”

Ed was thinking of Ida Tarbell’s famous book, The History of the Standard Oil Company, published 15 years earlier; a highly detailed exposè of  John D. Rockefeller’s unethical business practices that had damaged many small companies, including that of her father, in the nascent oil business of Western Pennsylvania. Junior Rockefeller’s father, the founder of the Standard Oil Company, had called her “that poisonous woman.”

“President Wilson likes her,” said Peggy, “two years ago he appointed her to the Women’s Commission of the Council on National Defense and recently as a delegate to his Industrial Conference.”

“So why is she sitting with Rockefeller?”

“This is not the same Rockefeller,” Peggy answered. “This is the son of the founder, he’s a different animal – he doesn’t have to worry about making money, his job is figuring out the best way to spend it. Rockefeller Senior was not only a shrewd, if unethical, businessman, he also understood the capitalistic system as well as anyone alive – the bottom line is you invest your money well and live off the interest. The British aristocracy could not exist without this system; Rockefeller took note and formed the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institute for Medical Research, the General Education Board, and probably a few others nobody knows about.

Ida Tarbell exposed Senior’s shady methods, but she also took note of his impeccable organizational skills, and she clearly doesn’t blame Junior for the sins of his father.”


April in Munich 1919

As the Paris Peace Conference ground on through the early months of 1919, the situation in Germany was unsettled, chaotic, and dangerous, and not just in Germany but all over Europe, the Middle East, Asia, in short, all over the World. The issue was the role of government in controlling the lives of the citizens – the never ending clash between capitalism and socialism.

Below is yet another chapter that did not survive the cut in the original version of The War Guilt Clause


As the Supreme Council shuffled to gain its footing in Paris, the mood in Munich was somber, confused, and anxious about what the so-called peacemakers had in store for their defeated nation. The city was spared physical damage, to be sure, but, when 700 years of monarchial rule ended with the declaration of a free state of Bavaria on November 8, 1918, two days before Kaiser Wilhelm headed for exile in Holland, the citizens of Munich were faced with the new challenge of how to live in a system where the lines of authority were yet to be firmly established. It was rumored that they would be asked to vote.


The words thundered across the cobblestoned Munich square where a large crowd had gathered to listen to a man of all-too-obvious authority in the uniform of a German army officer, peaked cap firmly in place. Few knew he wore the tabs and markings of a general, and only a handful knew it was Erich Ludendorff, former commanding general of all German forces on the Western Front; he stood on a raised platform and used a megaphone to deliver his message. Ludendorff seethed with rage, an emotion that had consumed him from the moment on the fields of France when he realized that his armies had been defeated by the forces of international pacifism.

Hermann Grossman, the former Obergefreiter Grossman, of the third Royal Bavarian Division, had survived the war, and was beginning to wonder if he could survive the peace. Grossman stood near the center of the square, pressed on one side by a frenzied group straining to hear Ludendorff, and on the other by an equally agitated crowd trying to hear what Kurt Eisner, President and Prime Minister of the Free Republic of Bavaria, was saying. Eisner and Ludendorff on opposite sides of the square, and on opposite sides of the political spectrum, pounded their messages with the crusading zeal of one who believed that failure to follow their lead would result in death, destruction, and dishonor of the German Fatherland. Ludendorff and Eisner were miles apart on method, but in total agreement on outcome.

Grossman was in Munich to purchase a bundle of leather for his father’s shoemaker shop in Dachau, a medieval village some 20 miles north of Munich. The city and the land may have been in revolutionary uproar, but shoes were needed regardless of political preferences.


War, for the individual being, as well as the state, will remain a natural phenomenon, grounded in the divine order of the world.

The voice of General Ludendorff reached Grossman’s right ear.


We are not communists! We are the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany, and we believe in property rights for individuals.

And into his left ear, from the unruly hair-surrounded mouth of  Kurt Eisner.


All very well, but in the overheated atmosphere of a staggering Germany, trying to pick itself up off the mat, Eisner had committed an unforgivable sin: he had admitted Germany’s responsibility for the Great War in a speech before the International Labor and Socialist Congress in Basle, Switzerland.

Less than an hour later, Eisner was assassinated by a descendant of the House of Hohenzollern – the royal family that had ruled Bavaria for more than 700 years; a right-wing radical named Count Anton Arco-Valley pulled the trigger.


Paris Le Temps

February 23, 1919


State of Siege in Munich; Reds Seek to Avenge Eisner


Peggy Schooner read the headline in the Paris Times, shook her head in disgust, and handed the paper to Ed Frederick.

“I’m going to Munich,” she said.

“Why?” asked Ed. “Is it more important than what’s happening here in Paris?”

“What’s happening here will be determined by what happens there – don’t you see?” Peggy displayed a touch of impatience when Ed was slow to grasp a point.

Colonel House saw it very well and quickly dispatched two deputies, William Bullitt and Lincoln Steffens to Moscow (they had to travel through Sweden), their mission: meet with the Bolshevik leaders and determine what it would take for them to make peace with the allies. Bullitt and Steffens went with the erroneous impression that they had a mandate to negotiate conditions with the Bolsheviks. House was apparently under the erroneous impression that the left-wing uprisings in Germany, and more specifically in Bavaria, were controlled by the Bolsheviks.

Ed may have been slow to connect Munich with Paris in terms of the peace conference, but he was quick to see the opportunity to connect the two cities by means of the newly minted industry of civilian air travel.

“Ted will take us there,” he proclaimed.

Peggy speared him with a puzzled look; she had no idea who Ted was, and she was surprised when Ed used the word us.

“Who is Ted, and what do you mean, us?”

“My brother Ted is a pilot,” said Ed, “and he is in the business of transporting people by air; he works for a French company that has a regular schedule of flying people back and forth between London and Paris,” he paused, “Ted can fly us to Munich; I’m going with you,” he pronounced.


In Munich, chaos reigned; with the death of the moderate Eisner and some of his ministers, a power vacuum ensued. Johannes Hoffmann, Minister of Education under Eisner tried to carry on, but he was soon overwhelmed by a true communist movement headed by Eugen Levine.


Peggy Schooner and Ed Frederick, with his pigeon German, were there, and they were dodging bullets; if it wasn’t a civil war it was the next thing to it; it was the Reds against the Whites and it was ugly; people were getting killed, sometimes by execution.



Copyright 1919 by the New York Times Company

Special wireless and cable dispatches to the New York Times

by Edward Frederick

April  in Munich

May 3, 1919

In the month of April, 1919, the independent state of Bavaria and its capital, Munich, were ruled by the Communist party, headed by a man named Eugen Levine. Backed by an army of 20,000 men, part of the more than three million nation-wide unemployed German workers, Levine wasted no time in implementing reforms reflecting hard-core communist philosophy: wealth must be shared. Luxurious apartments were expropriated and given to the homeless; factories were placed under the ownership and control of their workers.

Counter revolutionaries were arrested, suspected right-wing spies were executed including some princes, counts, and countesses.

It could not last, and Eugen Levine must have known it; when “the white guards of capitalism” came, 30,000 strong with their Freikorps, to confront him, he battled to the bitter end which for him was the hangman’s noose. The demise of German Communism, settled on the streets of Munich in the first week of May, 1919 must be seen as the triumph of Erich Ludendorff and all he stands for.

Attention Paris Peace Conference: Germany may be down, but she is snarling in her reduced circumstances, and far from out.

                        CITIZEN GROSSMAN SPEAKS

Special to the Chicago Herald-Examiner

by Peggy Schooner

in Dachau, Germany

May 3, 1919

Herr Grossman hammers the final nail into the sturdy leather shoe sole he is working on, and ponders an answer to the question I have posed: what is to become of post-war Germany?

He answers: “Much will be made of the verdict handed down by the Paris Peace Conference, but from my perspective it will not matter – no matter how harsh, no matter how lenient, the Germany of the conservative right is not defeated and when the next leader comes forth, men will follow him again into the jaws of war. Have you not heard General Ludendorff?”

Grossman has more to say about Ludendorff. He opens a drawer, takes out a newspaper and says, “Ludendorff  may be that leader, listen to what he has written:

The renewal of the German Nation’s strength and spirit requires it to be unyielding and unified in deep Christian faith, glowing with love of the Fatherland and readiness to sacrifice for it. The un-German in and around us speaks lies; first and foremost in the lack of race feeling; in the elevation of intellectual training over manual skills; in internationalist, pacifist, and defeatist thinking; and finally in the strong intrusion of the Eastern European jewish people inside our borders.

Grossman now becomes animated as he thinks and speaks about Ludendorff. “What is this man thinking? He did not question my Jewishness when he sent me to attack Amiens. He calls me un-German? Preposterous.”

And so the shoemakers in Dachau, the farmers in their fields, the workers in the factories, the millions of unemployed men all over Germany, the hausfraus and their kinder, the students in their schools, the soldiers on their drill fields, hear the defiant words of the Generals in Munich and Berlin, and await their fate. The Peace Conference in Paris is convened; the German people wait