Sunday, June 23, 2019

Today -100: June 23, 1919: The time for discussion is past

The German National Assembly votes 237 to 138 to sign the peace treaty. However, the government plans to reject the war guilt part of the treaty and the try-the-kaiser provision and say that since the reparations exceed its ability to pay, Germany won’t accept responsibility for fulfilling them. The Allies respond: “the time for discussion is past” and no qualifications are acceptable.

Marshal Ferdinand Foch is preparing for a possible invasion of Germany in case it refuses to sign. He’s drawn up a proclamation telling Germans not to resist the occupation and hand over weapons, warning that any house from which civilians shoot at Allied troops will be burned down, as was the custom. The NYT correspondent points out a problem if it comes down to a shootin’ war on German territory: will US soldiers be able to identify German soldiers, when pretty much everyone in Germany wears uniforms, from cops and telephone operators to messengers and street-car conductors?

Romania grants citizenship to Jews born in Romania. Or if they served in the military during the Balkan Wars or WW1.

Admiral Ludwig von Reuter says he scuttled the interned ships because he thought the armistice had been terminated, and the kaiser’s wartime orders were for no German ship to be surrendered. The NYT calls the scuttling “a characteristic piece of German treachery”.

British troops in Surrey have been refusing to salute or obey orders, and are especially displeased at orders to go to France. Troops with, yes, machine guns, are sent in to subdue them.

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