By March 1917 Russia was facing many internal issues. The tsar had abdicated his throne and the country was being run by a provisional government. At first Russia wanted to remain in the war, but they already suffered 5.5 million casualties. When there was another revolution and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin took power he insisted on ending the war. In March 1918 Lenin signed the treaty of Brest – Litovsk which ended the war for Russia, but also took a lot of their land. Russia Withdraws
After the Treaty of Brest – Litovsk the Germans were finally able to focus on the western front. By May 1918 German troops were within 40 miles of Paris and it seemed like they had a chance of victory, however they were considerably weakened. With the help of fresh American troops the Allies were able to hold the Germans back. July 1918 at the second battle of the Marne with 2 million more American troops the Allies were able to push Germany back. The Final Push
After the Allies pushed Germany back the Central Powers began to crumble. First Bulgarians surrendered, then the Ottoman Empire. A revolution in Austria – Hungary ended the empire and their war effort. German soldiers refused to fight, and on November 9, 1918 Kaiser Wilhelm II was forced to step down and Germany was declared a republic. A representative of the new Germany met with the Allies in Paris and signed an armistice, an agreement to end the fighting at 11:00November 11, 1918. Surrender
After the war was over the peace still needed to be worked out. Beginning January 18, 1919 a conference took place at the palace of Versailles. The conference lasted for a year, and there were often disagreements and debates. Delegates from 32 countries were present, but ultimately it was the Allies/the big four who decided what would happen to post war Europe. Treaty of Versailles
Big Four – Wilson and Clemenceau Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States. Georges Clemenceau, minister from France.
Big Four – George and Orlando David Lloyd George, minister from Great Britain. Vittorio Orlando, minister from Italy.
Going into the Treaty of Versailles the big four had various goals. Woodrow Wilson and Georges Clemenceau pushed their agendas the most. Woodrow Wilson was very idealistic (Bismarck would say he didn’t practice realpolitik) and wanted to create a lasting peace. Georges Clemenceau was much more realistic and wanted to see that Germany was punished as much as possible. He believed they were responsible for the war. Goals of the Treaty of Versailles
Open Diplomacy – no secret treaties. Freedom of Navigation – open seas in war and peace. Free trade – customs barriers and taxes/duties should be removed. Multilateral disarmament – all countries should reduce their armed forces to the lowest levels possible (limited military power). Colonies – people in European colonies should have a say in their future. Russia – should be allowed to have whatever government they want. Belgium – should be restored to how they were before the war. Wilson’s Fourteen Points
France – should get Alsace – Lorraine back and any other land taken during the war. Italy – their borders should be readjusted according to nationality. National self – determination – the nations in Europe should be given their own countries whenever possible. Romania, Montenegro & Serbia – should be restored and Serbia should get sea access. Turkey – people of Turkey should have a say in their future. Poland – should become independent and have sea access. League of Nations – a group of nations should come together to meet and solve conflicts peacefully rather than by war. Wilson’s Fourteen Points
The final treaty looked very little like Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen points. Germany was not happy with the treaty, but they had no choice but to sign it. Final Treaty
League of Nations International Peace Organization was formed. It would include 32 Allied and neutral nations. Germany and Russia were not included. When Woodrow Wilson returned home he was unable to convince Congress that the US should participate in the League of Nations. Territorial Losses Germany had to return Alsace – Lorraine to France. The French border was extended to the Rhine River. Germany had to surrender their overseas colonies in Africa and the pacific. Anschluss – Germany was not allowed to form am alliance with Austria – Hungary. Final Treaty - Terms
Military Restrictions Limited the size of Germany’s army. Germany prohibited from importing or making weapons/war material. Germany forbidden is build or buy submarines or have an airforce. War Guilt Sole responsibility for the war is placed on Germany’s shoulders. Germany must pay Allies $33 billion in reparations over 30 years. Final Treaty - Terms
The other nations in the Central Powers suffered some consequences too, but not as bad as Germany: Hungary lost land and had a limited army. They were also told they had to pay reparations, but an amount was never set. Bulgaria lost land and had a limited army. They had to pay $90 million in war reparations. Turkey lost land in Greece and the League of Nations took Turkey’s colonies. Other Defeated Nations
End Results Europe Before WWI Europe After WWI
New nations were created such as: Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Poland. Ottoman Turks were forced to give up most of their former empire, all that remained was Turkey. The Allies took their land and divided it up into mandates under British and French control. Palestine, Iraq, and Transjordan went to the British. Syria and Lebanon went to France. Russia felt alienated from the Allies and lost land to Poland, and Romania. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania used to be part of Russia and became independent countries. End Results
The Treaty of Versailles was known as the “peace built on quicksand.” The treaty set the world up for a lot of problems later down the line. Many countries felt bitter with the outcome. US didn’t accomplish its goals. Germany was stuck with the war guilt. Japan and Italy had both entered the war to gain territory and neither had truly been successful. Even though the League of Nations had been formed the US wasn’t a member and they were weak. World War I was the first total war on a global scale that made use of new technology. 8.5 million soldiers died, 21 million were wounded and many civilians died as well. The war had a devastating economic impact on Europe, and it shook European society as never before. Legacy of the War