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New book about Versailles peace treaty

February 20, 2008 5:55 PM

A book about the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles, "A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today" (published by Wiley in October 2007) by David A Andelman has recently come to the attention of the Society by way of an article published today on Bloomberg.com - under the catchpenny headline "How Treaty of Versailles Made Hitler Happy, Kosovo Possible."

The article takes the form of an interview between Pulitzer prize winning journalist and writer Manuela Hoelterhoff and the book's author. The tone of the interview is distinctly hostile from the outset to the Peace Conference and Treaty. The assumption is (as can be guessed from the headline) that the Treaty was unfair and vengeful towards Germany, that it gave Hitler the ammunition he needed to paint Germany as the victim and that the territorial settlements agreed at the Conference bequeathed us our modern world - notably the Balkans and Iraq.

Andelman at least has some kind words for Lloyd George. Asked if any contemporary figures expressed reservations about what they were doing, "Hoelterhoff: Did any of the major players involved in the treaty voice regrets?" Andelman responds "David Lloyd George, especially about the reparations. He wrote a very interesting small book that has almost disappeared in which he basically apologized for a lot of the actions that took place there." This book is presumably LG's "The Truth About Reparations and War Debts" published in 1932 but it has not disappeared, there are plenty of reasonably priced copies left in circulation for sale on Amazon and other used book sites.

Hoelterhoff is a straight talker and does not hide her opinions when it comes to questions. She asks at one point: "What will emerge from Bush's murderous mishandling of Iraq? You foresee millions will die there." Andelman's replies are more nuanced.

From 1968-1980, Mr. Andelman was a domestic and foreign correspondent for The New York Times, serving in various posts in New York and Washington, and as Southeast Asia bureau chief, based in Bangkok, then East European bureau chief, based in Belgrade. He then spent seven years as Paris Correspondent for CBS News, traveling through, and reporting from, 52 countries. He served for two years as CNBC Washington Correspondent. He now writes for Forbes.com the business arm of the American publishing and media company.

You can read the article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=ax1TvNCaT1h8&refer=germany