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10.6.6 The Versailles Treaty June 28, 1919, Part I

Principal Allied and Associated Powers

Principal Allied and Associated Powers. "The Versailles Treaty June 28, 1919, Part I. The Covenant of the League of Nations. Article 22." The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy. Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, 2008.

At the Paris Peace Conference, the Allied Powers — Great Britain, France, the United States, and Italy — created new independent nations in Eastern Europe from the territories of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. Creation of these nations followed the principle of self-determination proposed by US President Woodrow Wilson: the idea that the people who lived in a territory should decide on their own government. However, the same principle was not applied to the territories in Southwest Asia, Africa, or the Pacific. Following imperialist ideas that people of color were not able to govern themselves, Britain and France wrote Article 22, which created nations but gave control over them to a Mandatory (either Britain or France, in the case of the Middle East) until the new nations were “ready” for independence. Map 3 in Student Handout 10.6B shows the areas that were made into mandates. The names and borders of the new nations are in black. How does this map compare to map 2? What reasons did Britain and France have for wanting the new nations as mandates under their control? Vocabulary: strenuous: difficult tutelage: tutoring (often used to speak of guardianship over children) Mandatories: imperialist powers given control over territories called mandates under the supervision of the League of Nations the Turkish Empire: the Ottoman Empire provisionally: conditionally, on probation rendering: giving  
Article 22 created a new form of colony, the mandate supervised by the League of Nations. Students should realize that this was a cynical imperialist grab by Britain and France, justified by racist assumptions about the hierarchy of peoples. The language is quite difficult, but students should grasp the key phrases “peoples not yet able to stand by themselves” and “until such time as they are able to stand alone.” Point out that the article uses words relating to education and care-taking (tutelage, advice, and assistance), which come from the justification of the “civilizing mission,” or the “white man’s burden.”  

"To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world… the tutelage of such peoples should be entrusted to advanced nations … as Mandatories on behalf of the League. The character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of the development of the people… Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory. "