By the early summer of 1918, fresh American troops and tanks turned the tide against Germany .
After four years of fighting, Germany was exhausted of men and materials and could no longer continue to fight.
German workers and soldiers revolted against the German imperial government. On November 9, 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II fled Germany.
A new democratic German government signed an armistice with the Allies.
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month of 1918, the guns fell silent. Today, this is celebrated as Veteran’s Day.
In January 1919, representatives of the Allied nations met in Paris to make a final settlement of the war.
The victorious Allies - the United States , Britain , and France , known as the Big Three , made most of the important decisions at the Paris Peace Conference. Germany was not included. Russia was in the midst of a civil war and could not attend. Italy was given a minor role.
The Great War was concluded by five separate treaties with the defeated nations: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
The final and most famous peace settlement was the Treaty of Versailles .
United States President Woodrow Wilson proposed a peace plan based on democracy and cooperation among nations.
The German government accepted the peace terms because it had no choice. To refuse would invoke an Allied invasion of Germany. However the treaty outraged and angered the German people, who felt the Treaty of Versailles was a harsh and unfair peace.
Though the Paris Peace Conference was supposedly guided by the principle of self-determination, the mix of peoples in eastern Europe made this very difficult and many compromises were made. Eastern Europe was greatly changed as a result of the war and the peace treaties. The A ustro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires were gone. The Russians and Germans lost much territory.
Romania , who had fought on the Allied side, received territory from Russia, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
Five new nation-states emerged from lost Russian territory:
Almost every new eastern European state included ethnic minorities. For example, there were Germans in Poland and Czechoslovakia and Hungarians in Romania . National and ethnic rivalries in the region have continued to plague eastern Europe to the present and have led to many conflicts.
The peace treaty also broke up the Ottoman Empire. In return for Arab support during the war, the Allies had promised the creation of new, independent Arab states after the war.