Quotations – Post-war treaties

These World War I quotations about post-war treaties have been compiled by Alpha History authors. They feature statements from contemporary figures, political leaders, military commanders, service personnel, anti-war campaigners and historians of World War I. We will update this page with new quotes from time to time. If you would like to suggest a quotation, please contact Alpha History.

“Neutrality is a negative word. It does not express what America ought to feel. We are not trying to keep out of trouble; we are trying to preserve the foundations on which peace may be rebuilt.”
Woodrow Wilson, US president

“Fourteen Points? The good Lord himself had only ten.”
Georges Clemenceau, French prime minister

“The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.”
Woodrow Wilson, US president, 1917

“We were preparing not only peace, but eternal peace. There was about us the halo of some divine mission. We were bent on doing great, permanent noble things.”
Harold Nicolson, British delegate to the Paris peace conference

“The question upon which the whole future peace and policy of the world depends is this: Is the present war a struggle for a just and secure peace, or only for a new balance of power? If it is only a struggle for a new balance of power, who will guarantee, who can guarantee, the stable equilibrium of the new arrangement? Only a tranquil Europe can be a stable Europe. There must be, not a balance of power, but a community of power. Not organised rivalries but an organised common peace.”
Woodrow Wilson, US president, January 1917

“[Any post-war peace] must be a peace without victory. Victory would mean a peace forced upon the loser, a victor’s terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand. Only a peace between equals can last.”
Woodrow Wilson, US president, January 1917

“This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.”
Ferdinand Foch, French marshal, on the 1919 treaty


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