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Margaret MacMillan
Margaret MacMillan
Paris 1919:  Six Months That Changed the World
ISBN: 0375508260
Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
—from the publisher's website

Between January and July 1919, after the war to end all wars, men and women from around the world converged on Paris to shape the peace. Center stage, for the first time in history, was an American president, Woodrow Wilson, who with his Fourteen Points seemed to promise to so many people the fulfillment of their dreams. Stern, intransigent, impatient when it came to security concerns and wildly idealistic in his dream of a League of Nations that would resolve all future conflict peacefully, Wilson is only one of the larger-than-life characters who fill the pages of this extraordinary book. David Lloyd George, the gregarious and wily British prime minister, brought Winston Churchill and John Maynard Keynes. Lawrence of Arabia joined the Arab delegation. Ho Chi Minh, a kitchen assistant at the Ritz, submitted a petition for an independent Vietnam.

For six months, Paris was effectively the center of the world as the peacemakers carved up bankrupt empires and created new countries. This book brings to life the personalities, ideals, and prejudices of the men who shaped the settlement. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China, and dismissed the Arabs. They struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews.

The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; above all they failed to prevent another war. Margaret MacMillan argues that they have unfairly been made the scapegoats for the mistakes of those who came later. She refutes received ideas about the path from Versailles to World War II and debunks the widely accepted notion that reparations imposed on the Germans were in large part responsible for the Second World War.

A landmark work of narrative history, Paris 1919 is the first full-scale treatment of the Peace Conference in more than twenty-five years. It offers a scintillating view of those dramatic and fateful days when much of the modern world was sketched out, when countries were created Iraq, Yugoslavia, Israel whose troubles haunt us still.

Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
Program Air Date: December 29, 2002

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Margaret MacMillan, what has it meant to you in your life that you`re the great granddaughter of David Lloyd George?
MARGARET MACMILLAN:(Author, "Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World"): Well, it`s been nice in a way, I guess, to know that I have a famous ancestor. I never met him. On the other hand, it actually sort of inhibited me from doing this book because I thought I don`t want to write a book that people will say oh, she`s just doing it because of her great grandfather and it`s sort of an act of filial piety. So, I`ve had some mixed ambivalent feelings about it really.
LAMB: What role has it played in your life?
MACMILLAN: Not much in Canada and North America but more in England where people still know about him. I mean I used to go to England when I was young and my grandmother was his daughter. My great aunt, who I was very fond of, was another daughter and so I did hear a lot about him and occasionally people would say to me, you know things about my great grandfather, sometimes rude. He was a controversial figure, but in North America it`s meant very little. Most people don`t remember him today.
LAMB: Which one is he on the cover of this book?
MACMILLAN: He`s the one on the left-hand side as I look at it. He`s the one with the top hat and the cane walking along. The man in the middle is Clemenceau and then, of course, the man on the other end is Woodrow Wilson, the American president.
LAMB: Where was this picture taken?
MACMILLAN: This was taken in Paris during the peace conference. It looks to me like it`s in one of the grand boulevards. There seem to be some trees behind. I don`t think we know anything more than that.
LAMB: When did you think that this would make a good book, "Paris 1919?"
MACMILLAN: Years ago. I`ve been thinking about it for years and then it took me a while to get around to it. I think what made me think it would be a good book were all the people who were there. When I realized that Lawrence of Arabia was there, Queen Marie of Romania was there, Ho Chi Minh was there, an obscure chef at the Ritz, and I thought this is just such a wonderful collection of people and I think historians are gossips. You know we love the gossip and I thought this is just such a wonderful subject.

And then I realized no one else had really done it which, if you`re a writer, is an interesting thought and you think good. And so, I think two things drew me to it and then to be serious perhaps a little bit more, I realized that so many of the great issues were discussed there and so many of the things we`re still dealing with were discussed back then in 1919.
LAMB: And why was this book called "Peacemakers" when it was first published in Great Britain?
MACMILLAN: That was my choice and I wanted a really short snappy title. I think I was influenced by Simon Schama`s book on the French Revolution called "Citizens." And so, "Peacemakers" was what I chose. When the Americans bought it, they weren`t that keen on it. They thought it seemed a bit bland and my editor said any way, she said anything with Paris in the title sells really well in North America, so that`s what we went with and actually I have to admit I think it`s a good title and I love the cover.
LAMB: What`s the time frame for this book?
MACMILLAN: Time frame, it covers really six months in 1919. It has a bit of what happened before and it has a lot of what happened afterwards, but what I really look at is the intense period of the Paris Peace Conference, which technically lasted for over a year. But the really intense period was when all the world leaders were there and that was from January to June, 1919.
LAMB: Now, did you go to Paris and go to the hotels and the different places where meetings were held into Versailles?
MACMILLAN: I did. I went to Paris actually to do research, which is not a bad place to go and do research and I did see something of the sights where the conference was held and then I`ve just been in Paris very recently. The BBC are making a documentary on the peace conference and they rang up and said would you mind coming to Paris for a few days to be a historical consultant?

And, I said well I think I can fit it in, and it was wonderful because the BBC got access to all sorts of places I would never have been able to see. We went to the Crillon Hotel, which is an enormously posh hotel in the middle of Paris where the American delegation stayed, and we actually went to the Presidential Suite where Wilson`s great advisor Colonel House had stayed. It was really fascinating to see all these places.
LAMB: Where else?
MACMILLAN: We went to the Trianon Palace Hotel, which is now a very posh spa and there`s a room there with actually a plaque on the wall which was put up at the time which is where the Germans got their peace terms. We went to Lloyd George`s flat in a little street just opposite the house where Woodrow Wilson stayed.

We couldn`t get into Woodrow Wilson`s house because it`s owned by some mysterious businessman who nobody knew much about and he wouldn`t let us in, but we went to Lloyd George`s old flat which is now an office and the French people in the office were absolutely thrilled. They were so nice and they said we didn`t know the history that happened here and let us come in and film and brought us cups of coffee every five minutes and it was wonderful.

We didn`t go to Versailles because the Hall of Mirrors where the treaty was signed with Germany was being redone but we went around Versailles. We went to a number of other places. I`m trying to think. Oh, we went to the French Foreign Ministry which was fabulous and some of the rooms where they actually met.
LAMB: What was the circumstance that brought them all to Paris in 1919? What was the first date that they came there and how many people were in that town you know revolving around the conference?
MACMILLAN: Revolving around the conference, I tried to count. I mean there was something like I think, I forget how many official delegates. Each country was allowed five or three, so there would be about 160 of those. But then every delegation brought a huge number of advisors, so I suspect there were well over 10,000 people when you add up all the people who were there as technical advisors, all the press who came, all the petitioners who came.

Something like 31 countries were represented and so you had a lot of people. They were there, well they were there initially to settle the First World War and that was a huge amount to settle because it covered not just Europe but it affected Africa. It affected the Middle East. It affected the Far East.

But because so many powerful people came to Paris, it was really like the sort of magnet attracting everyone else. So, anyone who had a petition, suffragettes for example, or African-Americans came to Paris because that`s where the power was.
LAMB: In Chapter 27, it`s Arab independence, I just wanted to ask you and we`re jumping right in the middle of this, but ask you to put this in context. "Well" said Clemenceau, "what are we to discuss?" Lloyd George replied, "Mesopotamia and Palestine." Clemenceau: "Tell me what you want." Lloyd George: "I want Mosul." Clemenceau: "Ye shall have it, anything else?" Lloyd George: "Yes, I want Jerusalem too." Clemenceau: "Ye shall have it but…" - is it Pichon?
MACMILLAN: Pichon, yes.
LAMB: "…will make difficulties about Mosul." Mosul was about to become important because of oil. What is all that? Did they really trade things like that?
MACMILLAN: Yes, they did. That conversation has always been very much disputed because there`s no direct record of it but the French said it happened. The British said it didn`t. But what looks like what happened is that Lloyd George got what he wanted in the Middle East, and in return he promised the French that he would support their claims in Europe.

Lloyd George later on denied this but what that conversation was about was really dividing up the Arab territories of the old Ottoman Empire and the British and the French had already done a quiet deal during the First World War to do this. They certainly didn`t want the Arabs getting independence.

The only bit, funnily enough, that they didn`t bother to divide up between them was the Saudi Peninsula, the Saudi Arabian Peninsula because they didn`t think there was anything worth their worrying about.

But what they did is they divided it up so that the British were going to get what became Palestine and then France Jordan. The French were going to get Syria and Lebanon, and initially the French were going to have Mosul which was in the north of what is today Iraq, and the British wanted it because they suspected there was a great deal of oil there.

And so, Clemenceau much to the fury of his own people, including Pichon, his foreign minister, agreed but we suspect that in return he got a promise from Lloyd George to get them back in Europe. But it was really old-fashioned imperialism. I mean the British and the French didn`t think the Arabs were ready for independence. They didn`t think their wishes should be taken into consideration and so they carved up the Arab Middle East really to suit themselves.
LAMB: By the way before we go on, where do you live now and what do you do?
MACMILLAN: I live in Toronto in Canada and I`m a professor of history at the University of Toronto and I`ve just become head of a college there. I`m called a provost and so I guess it`s like a principal and I`m half administrator and half teacher.
LAMB: Where were you born?
LAMB: How did your family get to Toronto?
MACMILLAN: Well, my father was there for a couple of generations. My mother, who was Lloyd George`s granddaughter, came to Canada in the summer of 1939 as a schoolgirl. It was sort of a present from her parents for leaving school and she was going to go back and go to Cambridge University and study medicine, and she was in Canada in 1939 and the war broke out and she quite literally couldn`t get home. And so, she stayed in Canada. She went to medical school in Toronto and she met my father and never went back to England.
LAMB: On the cover these three men, tell us about each one of them. Start with your great-grandfather Lloyd George there on the left.
MACMILLAN: Lloyd George is a very controversial figure indeed. He was from a very non-traditional background in those days for British prime ministers. He wasn`t an upper class aristocrat. He came from fairly humble origins in Wales and he really was a self-made man.

He was enormously energetic, enormously capable, and enormously charming. He could really charm the birds out of the trees, I think. Even people who didn`t have any reason to like him would go into meetings with him and come out eating out of his hand.

He was a great liberal and he`d never been much interested in foreign policy. That was one of the curious things that he ended up having to do a lot of foreign policy. What he was interested in was domestic issues. He was interested in social welfare. He introduced the first old-age pension.

He was a controversial figure. There were a number of scandals around him including a lot of scandals of women but I think, I`ve come to think that he really was a very great figure and, although he didn`t have much experience in foreign relations, proved to be very adept at that.

The man in the middle, George Clemenceau, the French prime minister at the time, was an old radical as well, rather like Lloyd George, although he came from a different background. He came from a rather more aristocratic background. He was someone who had seen France defeated, first by Prussia in 1870. He`d been in Paris when the Prussians had encircled Paris.

It was said that when he died he wanted to be buried facing Germany because Germany, which Prussia became the heart of, was a great enemy of the French. He`s often portrayed as vindictive and I don`t think that`s true. I think he recognized that France would have to deal with Germany if Europe were to be a safe and stable place, but he was worried about German power.

He was deeply cynical in some ways. He said about the League of Nations, which Woodrow Wilson of course was promoting, that "I like it but I don`t believe in it."
LAMB: How old was he at the peace conference?
MACMILLAN: Clemenceau would have been in his mid-70s. He was the oldest of the three big powers.
LAMB: How old was Lloyd George?
MACMILLAN: Lloyd George was about 58, 59.
LAMB: And, you say that Lloyd George had a mistress with him the entire time at the conference?
MACMILLAN: Yes. Lloyd George had had a number of mistresses. I mean he remained married to his first wife and, in some ways, I think they had a very good relationship. I mean he went to see her every year. They spent a lot of time together but he always had other women.

And, Frances Stephenson, a young woman who came initially to teach, I think it was to teach French to one of his daughters, ended up by becoming his secretary and his mistress, and really in a way became a second wife, and she came to Paris with him as his secretary but clearly also was very much involved with him.

We know this because she left a diary, and she was going to become the second Mrs. Lloyd George when his first wife died in the course of the Second World War. She was a very good thing for an historian because Lloyd George was notoriously badly organized. He never wrote letters. He threw letters away. His papers were a mess. And, when she came on the scene in about 1916, she began tidying things up and so the record gets a lot better after that.
LAMB: How old was he?
MACMILLAN: Lloyd George was late 50s and she probably would have been in her early 20s.
LAMB: And how long was Lloyd George the prime minister?
MACMILLAN: Lloyd George was prime minister from the end of 1916 to 1922, and so six years very, very dominant figure. Eventually, he was head of a coalition government. He himself was a liberal but during the war when things were going very badly, a section of the conservatives recognized that they needed a new prime minister and so did the liberals, and so he was put into office by a coalition and, in fact, most of his support came from the conservatives.
LAMB: The story of Clemenceau, this is right in the middle. It`s just a tangential story, although you say that he changed, never was the same again. He got shot.
MACMILLAN: Yes, he got shot by a man who was I think deranged. He was an anarchist but he had sort of very confused ideas and Clemenceau was coming out of his house one day, and I think it was in February, 1919, and this man was sort of hiding behind a pillar and rushed out and fired at him several shots, and several of them struck Clemenceau. One ball, in fact remained inside of him for the rest of his life.

Clemenceau was amazingly tough. I mean he was physically very brave and people who went around to see him found him sitting up the next day saying, you know, a Frenchman who can`t even aim, shoot straight. I`m ashamed of him, but people afterwards said, although he seemed to have made an amazing recovery that he was more tired after that. He never had quite the same powers of concentration.
LAMB: Was he married?
MACMILLAN: Clemenceau had been married. I think technically he no longer was. He married an American woman. Clemenceau actually perhaps rarely among French politicians at the time had spent a lot of time in the United States. He went to the states in the early 1870s, and actually taught at a girls` school somewhere up in the Hudson Valley, and learned English quite well, had a great admiration for the United States.

And, while he was in the United States, married this by all accounts very pretty young woman, but I don`t think she had an easy time of it in France. She never learned to speak French properly. She was left for long periods of time with Clemenceau`s maiden aunts in a sort of gloomy chateau down in the Vendée where it rained the whole time, and the marriage eventually broke up and Clemenceau kept the children.
LAMB: How long was he in office?
MACMILLAN: Clemenceau was in office from 1916 until the end of 1919. He`d been briefly prime minister before the war and then he became prime minister again in the middle of the First World War.
LAMB: Woodrow Wilson is the other man on this cover.
MACMILLAN: Yes, well Woodrow Wilson is the one I find the most puzzling. I mean he was in many ways an extraordinary figure, a great idealist, a man of great vision. He was in some ways a great leader of the United States. I think he had a tremendous powerful oratory and he had an ability to inspire people but he had these failings.

He failed to understand that people could oppose him and not be wicked. I mean he tended to think if you disagreed with him there was something wrong with you and it made him not very good at the usual cut and thrust and compromise of politics, and I think that in the end was part of his tragedy. He refused at the very end to compromise with the Republicans on his treaty and it cost him very, very dear.
LAMB: Now, the one man that`s not on this cover, and it was a council of four as you point out, was Orlando.
LAMB: Who was Orlando?
MACMILLAN: Orlando was the prime minister of Italy and he was considered one of the big four and the main, the body which made so many of the decisions.
LAMB: Where is he in this picture?
MACMILLAN: I just have to lean forward here. Orlando`s at the very end on the left-hand side, the man with white hair, but he was an Italian politician. He`d survived in Italian politics, which were very complicated and he was very good at making what the Italians call combinazione and deals.

The Italians were not a major power. I mean it was really by courtesy they were considered one of the big four but they were not as powerful as Britain, France, and the United States, and they tended only to talk when it was matters that concerned them. And so, they came with a very clear agenda and they tended not to worry about anything much else.
LAMB: What happened to them before the conference was over?
MACMILLAN: Well, they got into a tremendous rout. They had claims. Italy had come into the war late and it basically came in looking for the best deal for itself. It thought of joining either side. In the end, it joined the allies because the allies could promise it more.

And what the Italians wanted was that great swath of the east coast of the Adriatic, what is today Croatia and Slovenia/Croatia and Bosnia as you go from north to south, and the Italians wanted to claim a lot of that on the grounds that it had once been Italian. There were still Italian communities living there.

Why they really wanted it was because they didn`t want any power across the Adriatic that could be a menace to them, and the country that wanted it was the new country of Yugoslavia that had just emerged. The Italians had been promised a certain amount of that territory during the war by the British and the French but they wanted even more.

And so, the real trouble, one of the real problems and there were many problems at the peace conference, but one of the ones that really blew up was when the Italian claims were rejected by Woodrow Wilson, who said look, I`m not giving you territory which doesn`t have Italians in it. I don`t care what promises were made during the war by the British and the French.

That is not what I stand for. I stand for a different sort of diplomacy where people aren`t given away against their will to people to be ruled over by people of another ethnicity or nationality. And so, the Italians in a fury said all right, we`re walking out, and it was a very crucial time of the peace conference. It was just around Easter, 1919, as the German terms were being got ready.

So, the Italians walk out, which leaves a real problem and are there going to be enough nations there to enforce their will on Germany. And so, there`s a huge sort of rout. Woodrow Wilson is furious and decides to make an appeal directly to the Italian people. He believes that if he could speak directly to the Italian people, the Italians would see reason.

And so, he issued an open letter and unfortunately the Italian populous by that point was in no mood to see reason. There was a huge nationalist fervor in Italy.

At any rate, eventually what happened is the allies made preparations Britain, France, and the United States, to simply go on and try and make the treaty with Germany anyway, and the Italians came back rather reluctantly but relations remained very, very bad.
LAMB: Thirty-one nations you say attended this.
LAMB: Who determined who was a delegate?
MACMILLAN: Well, it was any nation that had been an ally or an associate during the First World War. The nations who came included all the various parts of the British empire, Italy, Belgium, Portugal was there, a number of Latin American countries, Brazil for example which had been on the American side, Japan, China. All these nations had fought in the First World War on the side of the allies.

The nations who didn`t come and this was later on to be an enormous point of controversy, were the ones who were defeated. The defeated nations expected that they would have the usual sort of peace conference that they had up to this point where they`re defeated and the victor sat down and hammered something out and this never happened.
LAMB: Who were the defeated?
MACMILLAN: The defeated were Germany, first of all. It had been the main lynchpin in what were called the central powers, and then you had what had been Austria/Hungary, which by this point had broken up, and so you had a separate little Austria and a separate Hungary. They both were among the defeated.

Then you had Bulgaria, which had fought with Germany and Austria/Hungary, and the final defeated nation was the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Turks who controlled what is today Turkey and again most of the Arab Middle East.
LAMB: And none of those countries were invited to participate in the actual discussion?
MACMILLAN: No. They were not invited. What happened, and this was really a mistake on the part of the allies, the allies assumed that they would need a preliminary sort of meeting to hammer out a common position. It took them so long to hammer out a common position that by the time they got it done, and it really wasn`t done until the end of April, 1919, that they really didn`t dare sit down with the defeated nations because they thought, you know, if we try and open the whole thing again, we`ll never get a peace.

And so, they called the Germans. The Germans were the first to be called, called them to Paris, and basically said here are your terms, take it or leave it. You have two weeks to send us in writing any comments you may have but we may not pay any attention to them and the Germans, of course, resented that bitterly.
LAMB: World War I was fought for how many years?
MACMILLAN: It started in the late summer of 1914. It ended on November 11, 1918, so it was fought for four years, and most people thought it would go into a fifth year.
LAMB: And who was fighting against, which countries were fighting against each other and who started it?
MACMILLAN: Oh well, who was fighting against each other is easier than who started it. The main alliance was on the one hand Britain, France, Russia, and then later on joined by the United States in 1917, but Britain of course included the British empire, so you had Canadians fighting, Australians fighting, South Africans, New Zealanders, Newfoundlanders fighting.
LAMB: Indians?
MACMILLAN: Indians, yes large numbers of Indian troops came to France and then as the war dragged on various other countries joined. Belgium, of course, was involved right from the beginning because it was the invasion of Belgium that started the whole thing.

Rumania joined on the allied side. Greece joined on the allied side. Japan which was a British ally in those days joined on the allied side, and China of course, so you had a whole coalition. Serbia also was on the allied side. Again, it was attacked right at the beginning. On the other side you had Germany, Austria/Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire.

Now, who started it is a much more complicated question. Historians still argue about it. I tell my students go to the library and see how many books you have on the origins of the First World War and see how many there are on the origins of the Second World War. The First World War ones go on forever. At the latest count, I think there was something like 21,000 books in English on who started the First World War and that`s because it`s not clear.

I think what historians, the consensus now is that Germany didn`t perhaps technically start it but Germany had created the atmosphere in which it became likely that German policies before 1914 had been so reckless that they had helped to create an alliance against Germany and they had helped to create an atmosphere in Europe where really any single incident would set it off, and what set it off was the assassination of the arch duke at Sarajevo in the summer of 1914.
LAMB: Why would that set it off?
MACMILLAN: The arch duke was the heir to the Austrian throne and Austria/Hungary was enraged by what they saw as Serbian nationalism, and Serbia by this point was an independent country and the Serbs, or at least some Serbs, were calling on the large number of Serbs and Croats, in fact, who lived within Austria/Hungary in a sense to join them.

They were appealing to the Serbs inside Austria/Hungary and so what Serbian nationalism was to Austria/Hungary was a threat to its very existence. If they gave way in the south and allowed the Serbian areas, and that included parts of Bosnia which was under Austrian control, to join with Serbia, then they would face similar demands and they already were facing them from the Poles in the north, from the Czechs, from the Slovaks.

And so, for Austria/Hungary, Serbia was not just a menace and a nuisance down in the south. It was threat to the very existence of that great multinational empire. And so, when their heir was assassinated in Sarajevo, the capitol of Bosnia in 1914, the Austrians saw an opportunity to stamp on Serbia once and for all.

And, they didn`t care about their arch duke. He was very unpopular and he was given a miserable little sort of low-grade funeral back in Vienna, but what they wanted and they`d been talking about it for some time was an opportunity to polish Serbia off.
LAMB: In 1914, what shape were countries like Great Britain in and the United States and, of course, France? How did they fit in the world?
MACMILLAN: Well, Britain was the leading world power. It had the biggest navy. It had the biggest empire and it was still the leading world economic power. The United States was beginning to rival it in economic terms, but in 1914 the United States was still not a military power.

It did not - it was building its navy but it still wasn`t a major naval power and its army was tiny. I mean I think its army was smaller than that of Italy`s. It was not yet translating its enormous economic potential into military potential and the Americans saw no need to do this.

France was a world power but it was a world power with real problems and the French had a big empire and the French were very conscious of themselves as a world power but I think they were also very conscious that they were not the power they had once been.

One of the things that really worried them was their economy, which was more or less stagnant. If you look at the figures, their output wasn`t going up where as that of Germany was going up dramatically and that of Britain and the United States was going up.

The other thing that really worried them was that year after year there were more Germans and Frenchmen, more German infants were being born every year than French infants, and so the potential for soldiers was that much bigger in Germany. And so, the French were very conscious that they were slipping.
LAMB: You tell me where I`m wrong but reading your book you get the impression that Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson and Clemenceau and others didn`t like each other at all. I mean there was constant carping back and forth.
MACMILLAN: They had a funny relationship and yet they didn`t like each other I think. I mean Lloyd George got on with most people. He was one of these people who would have furious routs and then not bear a grudge. Wilson was much more prickly and tended once he conceived a dislike for someone never really to get over it.

Clemenceau didn`t much like Lloyd George. He felt he was not a gentleman and for Clemenceau this was important and felt he was not very well educated. Clemenceau didn`t much like Woodrow Wilson either. I mean what was his great joke? He said at one point in Paris, he said, "I feel as if I`m sitting between Napoleon on the one side and Jesus Christ on the other" and he didn`t mean either of those as a compliment.

But you know they did have fights. I mean there was a point at which Woodrow Wilson went white with anger and said to Clemenceau, "I`ve never been so insulted." Clemenceau had accused him of being pro-German and marched out of the room.

There was a point at which Lloyd George and Clemenceau got into a fight. I think it was over who got what in the Middle East, and Clemenceau it is said challenged Lloyd George to a duel, which luckily Lloyd George didn`t fight because he would have been hopeless and Clemenceau had fought duels in his time.

But you know they developed a sort of fellowship because they met day in, day out, and they talked and we do have a very complete record of their conversations and there are quite touching moments where they sit around and they just hashed out some enormous problems and they talked to each and they`d say, I have trouble sleeping. "Yes" says Clemenceau, "I do too." I`m worrying about this and that and they compare notes.

And you know in a way they understand each other because nobody else has those pressures and nobody else has to make those decisions, and nobody else has that lonely sense of being right, you know, the one person in your country who`s making those decisions.
LAMB: Most Americans think that they won World War I, that if it wasn`t for America that war wouldn`t have ended like it did. Is that true?
MACMILLAN: It`s a hard one. I mean I think the war in a way was already being won. The British blockade of Germany was really biting deep by this point and Germany`s capacity to wage war was being hit very, very hard, and the Germans I think were closer to the end of their terror than we realized.

I think where the Americans made a huge difference is that they came in. They were fresh and it was clear that there were more and more of them coming. Not that many Americans compared to the Second World War actually fought. I mean a lot fought but their fighting was largely at the end. American casualties were about the same as those of Australia`s in the First World War.

But I think, I don`t know, the Europeans have always resented the Americans thinking they won the First World War. I think the Americans tipped the balance and they tipped it in a very decisive way.
LAMB: This picture here of Woodrow Wilson arriving in Paris, was this crowd there to greet him or was it to greet all the people coming for the conference?
MACMILLAN: No, it was to greet Wilson.
LAMB: Was he popular?
MACMILLAN: Wilson was enormously popular and he arrived in Europe in 1918, December, 1918, and it was a Europe that was shattered by this war. I mean I think in a funny way the First World War affects the Europeans even more than the Second World War.

I mean it was they had a sense that their civilization had inflicted irreparable damage on itself. They`d lost these millions of young men and then not just young men but men of military age. It`s hard to imagine, I mean the French lost, either killed or wounded, half their men of military age.

Civilizations people thought were collapsing. Austria/Hungary had gone. Germany had had a revolution. There had been a Russian revolution and so Wilson comes and I think people see him as the hope and a lot of people in Europe really believed in his ideas. They thought the League of Nations was a very good idea.

Now, it`s often been portrayed in some of the histories as if there`s this great gulf between Europe and the United States. The United States has this view of a better world and the Europeans will have none of it, and I just don`t think it`s true.

Wilson was greeted as a savior, huge crowds. His boat landed at Brest, the French port, and people who were there said virtually every living being in Brest came out to welcome him, and as his train went to Paris that night, his doctor woke up in the night about three in the morning, looked out and there were people, French people standing along the railway tracks just watching the train go by.

You know there was tremendous hope and the stories in Italian peasant houses, they have pictures of Wilson and they would cross themselves in front of the picture. I mean this man carried tremendous hopes and expectations when it came to Europe and the crowds that greeted him were tremendously enthusiastic.
LAMB: How much of this did you know before you got into writing this book in your own training?
MACMILLAN: I knew some of it. I mean I knew the outlines and I tended to take the rather, what then was the rather standard view that it was a bad peace and people, the Paris Peace Conference was full of cynics who didn`t really have any ideals.

And, as I read and more, I began to change my ideas, so some stuff I didn`t know. I don`t think I`d realized the tremendous pull that Woodrow Wilson had for the imaginations of Europeans. I don`t think I understood that properly at all.
LAMB: League of Nations, Fourteen Points.
LAMB: How did they fit into all of this and what were they?
MACMILLAN: Well, the Fourteen Points were among the various statements that Woodrow Wilson had made during the war after the United States entered about what the United States and its allies were fighting for.
LAMB: Did he make those all at once or did he make them at different times?
MACMILLAN: He made them at different times. I mean there were the Fourteen Points which he made in January, 1918, and then there were the Four Principles which he made slightly later. There were a number of speeches, great speeches he made in the course of 1917 and 1918, but I think it`s the Fourteen Points that really caught people`s imagination the most and in those Fourteen Points, don`t ask me to remember them all, although I probably could.
LAMB: You got them in your book?
MACMILLAN: I`ve got them somewhere, but the Fourteen Points are about a new way of running the world, about a new world order really. That`s what they`re about, about a peace without annexations of territories, without retribution, about a just peace, about people`s right to choose their own rulers.

And that`s often called national self determination, which gets us into a whole other sort of difficult area, about a league of nations, an association of nations which will find other ways of settling disputes than going to war, and about an open diplomacy, about things being done more openly, no more secret deals, no more secret promises which Woodrow Wilson and many people felt had got Europe into this mess.
LAMB: League of Nations, what happened to that?
MACMILLAN: Well, it was a noble idea. A lot of people now look at it as a failure and I don`t think we should because it was the first time anything had been tried like this. What happened to the League of Nations was it was set up and I think it made - what it was set up to do was provide collective security.

The idea was that it would be like joining a club. Everyone would join and then if anyone attacked a member of the club, everyone else in the club would come to that member`s defense. The two mistakes, I think, it made and it`s easy to say this with hindsight, of course, was that they didn`t invite the defeated nations in immediately.

And so, Germany which had been told, you know, a new world order, things are going to be different, wasn`t allowed to join the League of Nations, although it had to sign a treaty. The Treaty of Versailles which Germany signed incorporated the League of Nations. The very first part of the treaty was actually the covenant of the League of Nations and that was one problem.

And so, the defeated nations although they eventually joined never really trusted the League. They saw it as a league of victors. And, the second problem was the United States didn`t join. That was a tragedy, I think.
LAMB: You tell a story about Woodrow Wilson going back to the United States in the middle of this and speaking in Boston.
LAMB: The home of Henry Cabot Lodge.
LAMB: The Senator who objected to the League of Nations and led the Republicans against it. Why did you mention that speech?
MACMILLAN: Well, it was an important point. I think it revealed something about Woodrow Wilson`s way of dealing with his opponents. It was a stupid thing to do. Henry Cabot Lodge didn`t oppose the idea of a league. He wanted a different sort of league and he would have, I think, been prepared to talk about it and there were a lot of people in the United States who wanted a league of some sort.

But, Woodrow Wilson had made it quite clear that it was going to be his league and he went to Boston, which was Henry Cabot Lodge`s home town. Cabot Lodge was the Senator from Massachusetts, and he made a speech there about the league. In a sense he`s sort of throwing down the gauntlet on Cabot Lodge`s own home turf.

He`d also told the Senate that he would reveal the league to them first. He negotiated this in Paris. He`d come back for a very short trip to the United States, but instead of telling the Senate about it, he basically makes a public speech in Boston, and I just think it was a stupid move. It alienated people unnecessarily.
LAMB: You start out by talking about the fact that you`re the great granddaughter of David Lloyd George. In your lifetime growing up, when was the first time that you knew that that mattered?
MACMILLAN: I think it was the first time I went to England when I was ten, and it had never mattered to me before because most people in Canada didn`t know who David Lloyd George was and I didn`t know much about him.

But, I went to England when I was ten and I went to stay with my grandmother, and in Wales they have these big cultural festivals, called eisteddfods where people sing and they have poetry contests and the Welsh are very keen on poetry, and I went with my grandmother and my great aunt.

And I suddenly realized and watched people coming up and talking to them and saying how nice to meet you and is this his great granddaughter. I didn`t look like them at all so they couldn`t say that. And I suddenly thought, you know, this man must be somebody. I think that`s when I first realized it.
LAMB: Did you read a book about him at any point?
MACMILLAN: Funny enough I sort of resisted reading books about him, I think because I heard so much about him from my family and you know as one does as a child you think I really don`t want to know about this man. I`m tired of hearing about him and so I didn`t read about him until later.

I read a scurrilous memoir written by my great uncle which was pretty awful actually, and then I did start reading about him. There`s a very great English historian who alas died just last year called John Grigg, who wrote a wonderful multi-volume of Lloyd George. He never finished it, which is the tragedy but I read all of those as they came out and it gave me a greater, I think, interest in him.
LAMB: Now, why did your great uncle write a scurrilous book about, what was it his brother?
MACMILLAN: His father. I think often Lloyd George`s elder son had a very unhappy and difficult life and I think it is difficult sometimes being the son of a great man and I think he was persuaded to write this book and I think he later came to regret it. I mean scurrilous, well he wrote about the affairs and I think most people in the family knew about them but we felt it shouldn`t be discussed publicly.
LAMB: I remember in Westminster, there`s a big statue of him or a small statue because he wasn`t that big. How tall was he?
MACMILLAN: I think he was about 5`6". That`s what my mother remembers. He was quite small and apparently had very neat little hands and neat little feet.
LAMB: And why would there be a statue there? I mean not every prime minister of Great Britain has a statue there. How do people in Great Britain, where do they put him on the list of important people in their history?
MACMILLAN: Well, probably not that far up today but certainly after the First World War they would have done. There was a list recently of 100 Great Britons and I don`t think he was on it but there are always historians, AJP Taylor, the great British historian always said that in his opinion Lloyd George was the greatest prime minister of the 20th Century and so, I think he`s a sort of minority taste.
LAMB: You mentioned two things when we started, Ho Chi Minh at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
LAMB: What was he doing there?
MACMILLAN: Ho Chi Minh was a young, obscure Vietnamese nationalist at this point and Vietnam was part of French Indochina and he`d got involved in nationalist politics, which had made the French authorities take an interest in him and he`d had to leave. And so, he knocked about the world. He`d been a sailor. He`d been this and that. I mean some of his early days are a bit obscure but he`d ended up in Paris as an assistant cook at the Ritz.

And so, during the peace conference he drew up a little petition and tried to present it to the peace conference asking for greater independence for his little country of Vietnam. As far as we know it was never seen by any of the big three. Ho Chi Minh was not a name to be reckoned with in those days.
LAMB: You also mentioned Lawrence of Arabia.
MACMILLAN: Lawrence, yes, and it`s one of the reasons I got so interested in all this. Lawrence of Arabia was there. He was there in a rather curious position. He was there as an advisor to the Arab delegation, led by Faisal who was the son of the Sharif of Mecca.
LAMB: And where is he in this photograph?
MACMILLAN: Well, Faisal`s right in the middle and Lawrence of Arabia is standing just to his right.
LAMB: Over there?
MACMILLAN: Yes, right there. That`s Lawrence.
LAMB: Faisal is right there.
MACMILLAN: Yes, Faisal`s right there. Faisal was later on going to be the king of Iraq interestingly enough and Lawrence of Arabia was his advisor but Lawrence was also being paid by the British. And so, what he really was was a British agent trying to push the Arabs in a direction that Britain wanted.
LAMB: Why do we know so much about Lawrence of Arabia?
MACMILLAN: Oh, I think he fascinates people partly because he was so mysterious. Lowell Thomas, the great American journalist, said Lawrence has an absolute talent for backing into the limelight. You know Lawrence always said I don`t want to be in the center of attention but he often was, and a lot of people have written biographies of him, and I think he`s perennially fascinating.

You know he was mysterious, all these attempts to enlist in the RAF, the Royal Air Force and the army under assumed names. He was a brilliant scholar. I mean he`s just one of those people who fascinate you.
LAMB: You mentioned all the characters. I want to show some of the pictures and just have you give us a brief sketch of who they are.
MACMILLAN: Well, the man at the top is Paderewski with all the hair and he was a great pianist. He was one of the great pianists of his age. He was also a Polish patriot and when Poland - Poland didn`t exist from the end of the 18th Century until the end of the First World War, and when the war broke out Paderewski said, "I will devote all my energies to trying to bring about the rebirth of Poland. I won`t play the piano again until that has happened" and he became the first prime minister of the reconstituted Poland.
LAMB: Who is this fellow right here?
MACMILLAN: I`m trying to see myself.
LAMB: From Greece.
MACMILLAN: Oh, sorry. Yes Venizelos. Venizelos if I pronounce it correctly. He was the Greek prime minister, an enormously appealing character and he charmed people in Paris. He used to sit there and tell them stories about how he`d fought for Greek independence with a rifle across his knees but he would sit there and read classical Greek at the same time or he`d read the "Times of London" and Lloyd George really fell under his spell.
LAMB: Ataturk.
MACMILLAN: Ataturk was an extraordinary man. Turkey, everybody thought Ottoman Turkey was down and out at the end of the First World War. It had lost its Arab territories. Turkey itself was due to be pretty well carved up among the powers and Ataturk said nothing doing and he went into the interior of Turkey and he summoned, he put together an army.

Various Turkish nationalists joined him. He basically defeated the powers and they had to tear up the original peace treaty they made with Turkey and they signed another one in Lausanne which basically left Turkey as we see it today.
LAMB: Who`s this gentleman?
MACMILLAN: That`s Curzon, George Curzon who was the epitome in many ways, and you can see it from the photograph of a British aristocrat. He came from a very upper class family. He had a huge estate. He`d gone to Oxford. He`d won all sorts of prizes and he became British foreign minister.

He probably knew more about the world than anyone else in the British government, extraordinary figure. His great weakness was that he had no sense of proportion, and so he`d worry about trifles as much as he worried about the big issues.
LAMB: Who would you like to meet of all these people that you wrote about today if you could?
MACMILLAN: Oh, that`s a very difficult question. I guess I`d like to meet Venizelos. I mean he was apparently absolutely fascinating. Lawrence of Arabia, I don`t know. He was a very difficult person to meet and could be very prickly, so I`m not sure I`d want to meet him.

Clemenceau I would love to have met. He could be absolutely charming. I think as a woman, well I`m old enough now to be quite safe, but if I were a younger woman you`d have to be careful because Clemenceau was a great lady`s man. My grandmother actually once got a lift from him.

She was in Paris visiting her father and Clemenceau was there and he said, "Can I give you a lift to wherever you`re going?" And she said how nice of you and they got into his chauffeur driven car and they were chatting away and my grandmother spoke - well, he spoke English and she spoke quite good French. I don`t know what language they were speaking in.

He said, "Do you like art?" And my grandmother who was about 23 said, "Oh, I love art" and so he pulled out these series of postcards, I think just filthy postcards and my grandmother said, really, she said I didn`t know where to look. She said they were quite extraordinary and he was a big of an old rogue I think.
LAMB: How much in this book comes from just you knowing stuff because of your family?
MACMILLAN: Very little. I mean that`s one of the few things I knew and I guess I got a slight flavor. My grandmother was there a bit and unfortunately I never talked to my great aunt about it who sadly died in the 1960s. She was there much longer.

My grandmother really wasn`t all that interested in high policy, so she could give me a flavor of people. I mean she met Lawrence of Arabia and I said well, what was he like? What did he say? She said, I don`t remember much but he had a funny handshake, so you get a flavor but no more. I mean really pretty well everything I got was just from reading.
LAMB: Back to World War I, how many people were killed?
MACMILLAN: Well, the death toll it`s disputed, probably 20 million if you add in all the Russians who died in the First World War and in the subsequent civil war. It`s very, very high. I mean France lost 1.4 million men. Germany lost about 1.2 million. Britain lost 800,000. I mean these figures are so big it`s hard to almost believe in them.
LAMB: Where was most of the fighting done?
MACMILLAN: Most of the fighting was done on the western - well, there was a western front and an eastern front. There was a lot of fighting over in the eastern front between Germany and Austria/Hungary on the one hand and Russia, but the fighting that we all know about was the western front, the trenches that ran literally from the channel down to the Swiss border through Belgium and then down through France.

And that was where the real horrors that we remember of the war, these terrible, terrible battles like Passchendaele and the Battle of the Somme, which literally hundreds of thousands of men would die and the front would move maybe 300 yards, 400 yards. It was a dreadful, dreadful battlefield.
LAMB: You conclude, tell me if I`m wrong, that the Treaty of Versailles was not what caused World War II in spite of what a lot of people think today.
MACMILLAN: I did and I certainly didn`t believe this when I started out. I thought it was a bad treaty like a lot of people did but you know I kept on thinking they did the best job they could have done. I kept on asking myself all right, if you`re going to criticize them what would you have done differently?

Would you have driven Germany down into the ground and occupied Germany? And, there wasn`t the will to do that in 1918. I mean they`d already lost so many soldiers. The idea of going in and fighting door-to-door in Germany was not something that appealed. So, if you don`t drive Germany down into the ground, you leave a very strong Germany at the heart of Europe. How do you deal with it?

And, it was a problem but I`m not sure that anyone knew how to deal with it, including the Germans themselves, and it seemed to me also to say that something that happened in 1919 is responsible for something that happens 20 years later. Well, what about all the people in between and their decisions and their failures? I mean you have to look at that as well.
LAMB: I thought I wrote the figures down but the reparations issues throughout your book too, whether or not Germany was going to have to pay a lot of these countries back.
LAMB: Do you remember what the total figure would have been?
MACMILLAN: The total figure that was asked from Germany in the end was something like $32 billion.
LAMB: How much did they actually pay before it was over?
MACMILLAN: $4.5 billion.
LAMB: Why didn`t they pay the rest?
MACMILLAN: Well, the problem with the reparations was that Germany never thought it should pay anything, so you had an absolute, I would say virtually unanimous sense in Germany that we shouldn`t be paying any of this and so there was no will on the part of the German government to pay.

And, the way the reparations were structured, it`s slightly technical but they were structured in three sort of slices. The first slice which Germany had to pay right away was I think about, I`m trying to remember how much it was. I think it was about $2 billion and they did pay that.

The second slice was a little bit larger and they paid these, the second and third slices they paid by issuing bonds. They didn`t have to pay the second slice until they paid the first slice and they didn`t have to pay the third slice, which was by far the biggest, until they paid the first two and so they really had very little incentive to pay up because they knew that the more they paid up, the more they`d have to pay. And so, the German government simply defaulted. They said they couldn`t pay. They said that they simply couldn`t do it and that was something that was widely popular in Germany.
LAMB: Did the United States want countries out of this?
MACMILLAN: No. The United States came into the peace conference with really no gains for itself in mind.
LAMB: None.
MACMILLAN: None. At one point they were asked and they considered taking over a mandate for Armenia. That was discussed. There was another discussion that perhaps they`d take over a mandate, a sort of authority to run Armenia under the League of Nations for the area around Istanbul, the famous straits but there was no political support in the United States for that whatsoever and so the United States really didn`t have any territorial claims.

What it did have was, of course, a sense that America was now in a very strong position and perhaps it was a good time to get into markets and perhaps it was a good time to push American exports, but that was understandable because, in fact, it was.
LAMB: What did Great Britain want and what did they get?
MACMILLAN: Well, Great Britain came into the peace conference. It had two very clear goals. It wanted to destroy German naval power because that`s what had menaced Britain before the First World War. In fact, that`s a very large part of what led to the First World War and the British had a navy.

They`d always wanted their navy to be the equivalent of any two other navies in the world because for Britain the navy was its lifeline. It was its protection and its lifeline to all its vast empire and to protect its trade and they wanted to destroy the German navy and they did.

Basically, that had been done by the time the peace conference opened. Germany had surrendered its submarines and its surface fleet and had surrendered them to the British and so the German submarine fleet went to the south of Britain and the German surface fleet went up to Scapa Flow in the Orkneys in Scotland and so, the British had done that.

The second thing the British wanted was more territory and that`s where Lloyd George, the old liberal, suddenly becomes a real land grabber and what they grabbed were big bits of the Middle East. They also wanted to make sure that German colonies didn`t go back to Germany. The British on the whole, with a few exceptions, didn`t want the colonies themselves.
LAMB: What were the colonies for Germany?
MACMILLAN: The colonies, the German colonies there was Tanzania in Africa, German East Africa which did become part of the British Empire. There were the Cameroons and Togo, which were divided between Britain and France, and then further south there was German Southwest Africa, Namibia today and that South Africa took over.

You got some of the components of the British Empire now building their own little empires and then there were some islands in the South Pacific which Australia and New Zealand took over.
LAMB: What did France want?
MACMILLAN: France wanted, well France was interested a bit in some of Germany`s colonies and so they got bits of German colonies in Africa and, of course, they got bits of the Middle East, but Clemenceau`s main interest was in protection against Germany. You know he was deeply apprehensive of Germany. He recognized it was stronger than France and so what he wanted was some form of protection.

What some of his generals wanted and what some of his conservatives in his government wanted was actual territory. In fact, some of them even went so far as to talk about breaking Germany up into its component parts. Germany was a very new country. It had only really come into existence in 1871 and so some people in France said well, why not have a Bavaria again and why not have a Prussia again and why not have some smaller states? And, that was not -- I mean Woodrow Wilson and Lloyd George wouldn`t have gone for it.

And, there was some talk of taking the East Bank, I`m sorry the West Bank of the Rhine River, which was German territory but the Rhine makes a wonderful natural barrier and so some people in France said why don`t we take the West Bank of the Rhine, make it part of France or perhaps make it into an independent state and Woodrow Wilson and Lloyd George wouldn`t go for that.

They said look the West Bank of the Rhine is German. If you take it away, you will create problems with German nationalism. It will just cause disruptions endlessly in Europe until Germany is reunited.

And so what Clemenceau settled for was control of German coal mines in an area for 15 years because France`s coal mines had been destroyed by Germany, and a guarantee from the British and the French that if Germany attacked France, Britain and France would come to France`s - Britain and the United States would come to France`s defense. This was known as the Anglo-American guarantee and for Clemenceau he felt that offered him enough security.
LAMB: By the way on the League of Nations, the Americans never approved that and you say in your book that it effectively ended in 1939 but didn`t really go out of business until `46.
LAMB: But where was it at the time? How many people did belong to the League of Nations?
MACMILLAN: I think it was about 26 countries in all because various countries joined. I mean Germany eventually joined as time went on and the Soviet Union eventually joined.
LAMB: Who wanted the League army?
MACMILLAN: That was France. The French said the league should have its own army. They thought it could be used, I think mainly against Germany if Germany got out of line and the Americans would not have that and neither would the British. They didn`t want a permanent standing League army.
LAMB: Go back to what we had in 1919, this Paris Peace Conference, the Versailles Treaty that was signed. What today in this world that we`re dealing with is a result of what happened there?
MACMILLAN: Well, what`s today a result is, well Yugoslavia in a way was a result but that no longer is with us and Czechoslovakia is no longer with us. A lot of the boundaries in the center of Europe are a result of that. What is probably the one that we notice most today is Iraq. Iraq was a product of the peace conference in 1919.
LAMB: What about Jerusalem and I mean Palestine?
MACMILLAN: Palestine as well. The Jewish homeland which then became the state of Israel is…
LAMB: Tell the story about how Palestine became the Jewish homeland back in those years.
MACMILLAN: Okay, well during the First World War there was a lot of talk about a Jewish homeland. By this point there was a world Zionist movement and Zionists mainly in Europe, there wasn`t much support for Zionism among American Jews at this point, argued they had to have their own homeland, that without their own homeland they would never be safe living as a minority.

And so, there was a lot of talk about this and gradually the British came around to supporting this idea. Now they did so partly for reasons of sentiment. Lloyd George had grown up on the Bible and so had Balfour who was then his foreign secretary and so they felt that this whole idea of the Jews going back to their ancient homeland was something that appealed enormously to them.

But I think much more important was they felt it would help them during the war. They felt that world jury as they called it in those days was quite a powerful force, that if they could win it over to their side it would make a difference in Germany where a lot of Jews lived. It might hamper the German war effort.

It would also make a difference in North America among the Jewish communities in North America. And so, I think really for reasons of the war, much more than sentiment, although the sentiment was there, they decided to support the Jewish homeland.

They very carefully, and this was the Balfour Declaration, which was written by Balfour, the British foreign secretary to Lord Rothschild, they very carefully did not mention a Jewish state or nation. They simply said a homeland for the Jews in Palestine.

And, like the Zionists themselves, they didn`t really think the Arabs living in Palestine would mind. I mean they simply thought they were a negligible force who didn`t have any particular nationalism or any particular views on things.
LAMB: You say there were 700,000 Arabs there in Palestine at the time.
LAMB: And how many Jews lived there back in those years?
MACMILLAN: Oh, 50,000 or 60,000. The Jews were less than ten percent or about ten percent of the population. Now some of them were the descendants of Jewish communities that had been there right from the Diaspora, the original Diaspora after the fall of the temple in the 1st Century A.D. but some were European Jews who had moved back to Palestine before the First World War in these hopes of recreating a Jewish homeland.

But the Jews were very much in a minority in 1918, 1919 when the war ended. The Arabs, it is true, were not particularly organized. I mean a lot of them were farmers and didn`t really have a strong sense. But even in 1919, you can see signs that not all Arabs are going to be happy about this.
LAMB: Another part of what you talk about in areas we deal with today is Lebanon, Syria, the Bekaa Valley where they train a lot of terrorists or all that.
LAMB: How did that all come about and today the Syrians I guess we feel they control Lebanon in one way or the other.
MACMILLAN: Well, the Syrians - the French got Lebanon and Syria and they broke away a bit of what the Syrians - the Syrians basically considered and still do I think that Lebanon is part of what should be a greater Syria.

The French created Lebanon partly to protect their own interests and partly to protect the Christian communities in Lebanon who they felt would otherwise be submerged in a much larger Muslim population. The Syrians really never forgot this and have always felt a sense of bitterness about it, which I think helps to explain Syria`s ambitions today.

The Syrians, of course, also look southwards and consider that Palestine is properly Syrian as well, and so you have a Syria which really has never got over what happened at the end of the First World War.
LAMB: And Iraq you mentioned as being a result of this 1919 treaty.
MACMILLAN: Iraq, yes. Iraq was not really, it had never been a country, I mean unless you go back to Nebuchadnezzar, I mean which is a long, long way back. I mean Iraq was a series of provinces of the Ottoman Empire. There was Mosul in the north where the British suspected with good reason there was a lot of oil and then in the middle you had the whole area around Baghdad, the valleys of the Tigress and Euphrates, and then in the south you had a whole province around Basra.

The province to the south had always been heavily influenced by Shia Islam and had lots of connections with the Persians in Iran or Persia, as it was known in those days. The area around Baghdad tended to be fairly Arab, but when you got up to the north you had a lot of Syrians who were Christians, and you also had of course the Kurdish majority.

And so, what the British did for their own purposes was throw together three provinces which had very little in common simply because they wanted a sort of block in that part of the Middle East to control the oil, to protect their routes to India overland, and also to keep the French or anyone else from getting it.

But what they did was create a country which really had very little of the bases of what we think make a country. There was no national sentiment to speak of in Iraq.
LAMB: Thirty chapters, 570 pages. You dedicate this to two people named MacMillan, who are they?
MACMILLAN: My parents, Robert and Eluned which is a Welsh name. They were absolutely heroic during it as a lot of my family and friends read it but my parents read every single word. They were absolutely wonderful. In fact, they probably read every single word a couple of times and so I think they deserve the dedication.
LAMB: What do they do?
MACMILLAN: My father is a retired doctor and my mother is a very energetic woman who is a great gardener, great conservationist, always busy organizing to save something or other. I don`t mean this frivolously because I think she does a fantastic job.
LAMB: So, why would they spend all that time reading your book?
MACMILLAN: Well, they`re the most loyal parents. I mean they have five children. They think we are all terrific. They back us in everything we do. I mean if one of us writes a book, then they will read every word. They`re absolutely terrific.
LAMB: Where did you get your education?
MACMILLAN: In Canada mainly but I went to high school in England for a couple of years, which was really interesting, and then I went to the University of Toronto where they had and still have a wonderful history program, and then I went to Oxford and did my graduate work there so I`ve been very lucky.
LAMB: And what are you teaching now and where?
MACMILLAN: I`m teaching at the University of Toronto. I teach international relations. I teach a course in the history of the Cold War.
LAMB: How did it come about that Richard Holbrooke, former UN ambassador to the United States wrote the forward for your book?
MACMILLAN: That was so nice of him. My editor at Random House is also editing a book that he`s doing and he heard about my book, I think, from her and said he`d like to see it even before it was published because it dealt with some of the stuff he was planning to deal with, and so she sent him along a copy and he liked it. And she said, well if you like it, would you mind writing an introduction and he said sure, which I think was the most generous thing to do and he has written a very, very nice introduction.
LAMB: How`s the reaction been as you travel around, do the book stores, talk to people? Are you surprised about any reaction you`re getting on this book?
MACMILLAN: A little. No, most of the questions are what I would expect and people ask really good questions. You know they do want to know how we got to here. But I`ve had two questions recently which are rather similar and it I think says something about what`s happening today and they are, why do the French hate us Americans so much, which I find interesting. I mean it`s not really the subject of my book but maybe some of what happened then explains it.

But, I suspect you know that this reflects what`s been happening recently, the debate over the UN resolutions on Saddam Hussein and so on. That surprised me a little bit.
LAMB: We are out of time. There`s so much more to talk about. Margaret MacMillan has been our guest. This is what the book looks like. It`s "Paris 1919: The Treaty of Versailles." Thank you very much for joining us.
MACMILLAN: Thank you.

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