…Southern Gentleness

Double click for a larger image
Double click for a larger image

If I were to ask you what what sorts of images and phrases are associated with the southern part of the United States, what would you say?  Many would say “Southern hospitality,” for the South is famous for being a hospitable place.  Those who are into drinking and/or moonshine might think of “Southern comfort,” and I guess the south is famous (or infamous) for that, too.  Southern drawls, southern cookin’, southern belles…these are all part of the rich history and tradition of the South, too.

But you know what else I have found to be very endearing about the South?  The people here tend to be very gentle and kind.  If they have something to say to you that might be perceived as offensive, they say it kindly and gently.  Today’s photo, which was taken just Saturday in Dahlonega, Georgia, illustrates the point I’m trying to make.  Now, can you imagine a sweeter way to say it than this?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1918, in Paris, France, some of the most powerful people in the world meet to begin the long, complicated negotiations that would officially mark the end of the First World War.

Leaders of the victorious Allied powers–France, Great Britain, the United States and Italy–would make most of the crucial decisions in Paris over the next six months. For most of the conference, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson struggled to support his idea of a “peace without victory” and make sure that Germany, the leader of the Central Powers and the major loser of the war, was not treated too harshly. On the other hand, Prime Ministers Georges Clemenceau of France and David Lloyd George of Britain argued that punishing Germany adequately and ensuring its weakness was the only way to justify the immense costs of the war. In the end, Wilson compromised on the treatment of Germany in order to push through the creation of his pet project, an international peacekeeping organization called the League of Nations.

Representatives from Germany were excluded from the peace conference until May, when they arrived in Paris and were presented with a draft of the Versailles Treaty. Having put great faith in Wilson’s promises, the Germans were deeply frustrated and disillusioned by the treaty, which required them to forfeit a great deal of territory and pay reparations. Even worse, the infamous Article 231 forced Germany to accept sole blame for the war. This was a bitter pill many Germans could not swallow.

The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, five years to the day after a Serbian nationalist’s bullet ended the life of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and sparked the beginning of World War I. In the decades to come, anger and resentment of the treaty and its authors festered in Germany. Extremists like Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) Party capitalized on these emotions to gain power, a process that led almost directly to the exact thing Wilson and the other negotiators in Paris in 1919 had wanted to prevent–a second, equally devastating global war.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Although yields vary from harvest to harvest, a single coffee tree usually provides only enough coffee beans in a year to fill a half-kilo (one-pound) bag of ground coffee.

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