I, along with three other classmates, have to debate against four other classmates about the Treaty of Versailles. Our side has to argue the idea, "The Treaty of Versailles should be ratified as it is." (Meaning, without President Wilson's Fourteen Points Plan.)
I feel like this is a difficult side to argue for. One, I don't agree with the position I've been assigned to. Two, the other side has two really good debaters, and our side is...so-so. Three, I feel like there really aren't any good reasons why Germany should have been punished as harshly as proposed. (We are pretending we are U.S. Senators in the time period shortly after the Great War/WWI.) I mean, Austria-Hungary also played a huge part in causing WWI, so why is Germany stuck with all the blame?
But, anyways, I just need a few ideas on what my team should focus as far as reasons why this treaty should be ratified in the United States in 1919. The debate is this Tuesday, so anything posted after that...well...sorry, but it won't help me.
Playing the part of American Senators in American History class arguing as an American, against Americans, for an American audience, but taking a decidely European stance? Sorry miss, but your best chance here is to call in a mob hit on the opposing faction.
Idealistically, your greatest accomplishment would be allowing as little discussion of the future of Europe as possible. Any point your opponents are allowed to make about the possible repricussions on Germany's future will be a major blow, because, while stricktly speaking they should carry only a speculative weight, they will be made dramitaclly more effective by our current frame of reference. Discrediting these points will be impossible.
Therefore, when these suggestions invariably arrise, attempt to down play their relevance. America, at this point, still had many Isolationist tendencies (though again these will be off set by your modern values). Point out that this was not your war in the first place; Europe has never been an American interest. Pass the buck to Britian and Germany and go on home to your Apple Pie..... mmmmm pie....
It would be wise to make the "We know about World War II" angle work for you as much as you can. You can use basic early/mid 20th century sterotypes of the the German people to demonize the nation and thereby hopefully counter the idea that Germany wasn't solely responsible. I wouldn't attempt to draw sympathy for France and there need for vengeance, that's an emotional argument that will have little to no impact on your audience.
What else?... *sigh* In all honesty, I would have debated against the assignment itslef before tackling the 14 points. Good Luck!
Thank you so very much. I will pass these ideas along to my other group members and see if they spark any further ideas for tackling the other team's weak points (also as far as personality weaknesses, i.e., one team member always speaks for all the others and doesn't allow them to speak, therefore, we could use that to our advantage and direct certain questions to the weaker debaters).
But thank you very much for your ideas!
EDIT: The debate just ended ten minutes ago. We basically had our butts handed to ourselves. I mean, we did fine, I guess, but it was just like, "You're wrong. You lose." in much longer, bigger, fancier words that honestly I feel were absolutely pointless. But whatever, we did our best, and that's all you really can do. Again, thank you for your suggestions.
:/ Bahh, I do wish I had noticed this topic earlier, because I *hate* Wilson's 14 points.
Basically, it's an obvious plan to divide the nations of the world into ethnic states. For example, how can one define an "indisputably Polish populations" or "recognizable Italian ethnic borders" except by simple stereotypes based upon their appearance and language? In each area, there can be large multi-generaltional populations, and the 14 points basically gives any country the permission to toss them out.
... All of the 14 points are *absurdly* vague. Wilson mentions nothing about a person's or country's self-determination, because under his system it can't possibly exist. When all countries are forced to be open to free trade and forced to do everything publicly, a country essentially loses all of its own sovereignty. Almost no country has free trade - if they did, they'd be bankrupt right now. Tariffs exist for a reason, and that's to protect the interests of each individual country and make sure their economies are self-sufficient and stable. For example, if America decided to open its borders people could ship in as much grain as they wanted for whatever price they wanted. Let's assume that, due to some sort of cheap labor in other countries, they can make their grain and ship it for about 20 cents less a pound... Then Americans are forced to either lower their prices to compensate (and lose money on the sale), or else they can simply forever stop producing grain... Which, unfortunately, won't work because a lot of the land in the middle of the country is best suited for growing grain and nothing more. So, you either grow grain or you do, essentially do nothing with it... Guess what that leads to? A lack of economic production and an eventual major *depression*.
Europe only adopted 4 of the 14 points in full, and check out the awesome depression that every country except for Italy managed to become a part of! <3 And guess what major minority government force came to power after it campaigned on a platform of using extreme nationalism and racial superiority to get out of a depression? :3
The 14 points are basically a very shallow attempt to remove any sense of individual country sovereignty... you probably would have been able to attack them on that fact alone. The only way it would have worked would be if *every* country was bullied into it and then every country actually agreed to follow it 100%. And at the end of that, you don't even have countries, but one huge nation that's fenced off into arbitrary ethnic divisions.
:::shudders::: God, they're so stupid... ;_;
Sorry I couldn't have been of help earlier, but better late than never, I 'spose... ^^;