Was the Treaty of Versailles a Carthaginian Peace?

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1. The Versailles settlement quickly gained a reputation as ‘a Carthaginian peace’. What was meant by this, and was it a fair and accurate assessment.

The Versailles Peace Treaty was signed in June 1919 after the First World War by the victorious Allies and defeated Germany and was intended to punish Germany for what was seen as her war guilt and to prevent her from becoming powerful enough again to disturb European peace. It was called a Carthaginian peace in the first instance by Jan Smuts (a member of the British Delegation at the Peace Conference in Paris) in a letter to Lloyd George dated 16th March 1919[1] and in 1920 by John Maynard Keynes (also a member of the British Delegation) in his book The Economic Consequences of
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Keynes, a liberal economist, who had been present at the peace conference in Paris thought Wilson’s principles were ‘wrongly conceived ....... and too little regard had been given to the economic realities’[5] but he looked on them more favourably than the eventual conditions in the Treaty of Versailles. Alan Sharp suggests that Keynes was torn between ‘fascination at the speed with which Lloyd George could absorb both atmosphere and complex briefs and disgust at his lack of fixed principles.[6] The British delegation containing on the one hand Jan Smuts, who took a more liberal stance on the Treaty and Billy Hughes, the Australian Prime-minister, who became the ‘most vocal exponent of a Carthaginian peace among the British delegation in Paris’[7] shows the divisions amongst the British delegation and possibly reflects the indecision in Lloyd George’s mind. He felt Germany needed to be left with enough room to recover and take her place in Europe but was anxious in the aftermath of the carnage of war that Germany should be seen to be punished. Italy’s Prime Minister, Vittorio Orlando, was not vociferous at the Conference but was asking for Fiume to be assigned to Italy but it had already been assigned to Yugoslavia. Wilson resisted Orlando’s request and he and the Italian delegation eventually gave up and removed
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