Germany's representative at Versailles, Johannes Bell, signs the document that his countrymen later found humiliating. (Sir William Orpen, oil on canvas, The Signing of the Peace Treaty in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919)Corbis

The map of Europe has not simply been scorched by the consuming heat of our time: it has been, in large measure, destroyed. Only a few remains are left …

From the Atlantic Ocean to the Urals, from Archangel to Salonica, modifications are demanded, modifications are in process, which will introduce, if not a new heaven, at least a new Earth. In only a few instances, and those relatively unimportant, will the nation frontiers of the future resemble those of the past. Spain and Portugal may emerge unaltered from the Conference of Paris, as they did, for that matter, from the Congress of Vienna a century ago. Norway may remain the same, and so perhaps may Sweden and Switzerland.

But where is there another European state which will issue from the impending readjustment unchanged? The boundaries of the British empire, of France, of Germany, of Austria-Hungary, of Italy and Russia, of Serbia and Greece and Roumania and Bulgaria, of Albania and the Turkish empire, all these are to be sketched anew by the consulting draftsmen in Congress assembled upon the banks of the river Seine. For the dividing lines of the past have joined the snows of yesterday. The boundaries of Belgium and Holland and Luxemburg and Denmark will probably undergo rectifications.

And we must become familiar, not only with a new Europe, but also with a new Africa and a new Asia and a new Pacific Ocean …

Whatever amputations may be made in Germany herself, in Alsace-Lorraine, Schleswig, the Polish provinces, the one ineluctable fact that will remain will be this: Germany, with approximately 70 million inhabitants, will have as neighbors on the east and south numerous small states, several of them new and of uncertain viability. Formerly she had two great states as neighbors—Russia and Austria-Hungary. Both of these states have been broken into fragments. Germany has not been. Her potential role in Eastern and Central Europe has been improved as a result of the war …

The defeat Germany has sustained may abate somewhat her contempt of other nations. It is not likely to diminish her hatred of them. It is far more likely to intensify that hatred. Men do not love their enemies any the more because their enemies have compelled them to bite the dust. What we know about the Germans does not lead us to believe, either that they have changed in essentials, or that they are changing, or that they are likely to change and to give the world the spectacle of the miracle of a new psychology …

And this further fact should be faced. The overwhelming mass of Germans will resent any mutilation of the fatherland, whether the fatherland be monarchial or republican; and mutilated it will be, since Alsace-Lorraine is going back to France and Poland is to be restored. It is far safer and more sensible to assume that Germany will permanently resent these changes, than to suppose that she will admit their justice and accept the altered situation in good faith. The world should make its plans accordingly.

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