January 09, 2015
Obviously war is a terrible enterprise, and the aftermath and repercussions after war are sometimes just as worse. After World War I, in June of 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed by the Allied forces who fought against the Central powers. The demands of the treaty were nearly impossible and would reduced Germany to utter ruin, severe poverty and starvation, and bring her reeling society to the brink of civil war. Even among the signers of the treaty there were contentions: Japan felt completely alienated, and promises made to Italy went unfulfilled.
In the end, the Paris Peace Conferences would inspire bitterness and deep resentment from both Japan and Italy (both of whom made terrible sacrifices to the Allied cause), and would fuel the shame and ultimately the anger of a nation, namely Germany, that would come back with a vengeance that the world has never witnessed: Hitler and World War II.
The poem isn't as much about the Treaty of Versailles as it is about the arrogance, the racism, and the harshness of those who were behind it. Indeed, there's little doubt that those countries who would eventually become the Axis Powers in World War II remembered with deep and great contempt the Allied notion of peace when that treaty was being signed.
With regard to the last few lines of the poem, I find it interesting that, historically, those who were affected negatively by the Treaty of Versailles (Germany, Japan, and Italy) joined their forces to wage yet another war on those Western Powers who were responsible for it.
From the Halls of Versailles
In Paris we will make no plea
Nor talk of peace as Wilson would
But crush our ailing enemy
And break their iron will for good
We'll deem the East inferior
Whose Asian blood with ours was lent
And feign ourselves superior
To Rome where lives were also spent
We'll draft and sign a cruel decree
And seek our reparations dear
Ignore the needs of Italy
And slight Japan without a care
And should Berlin reach deep despair
Remind them of their lavish sin
That they chose war, and that warfare
Will never touch our land again