The Controversial Peace: 1919Presentation Transcript
The Treaty of Versailles
4. Who were the "Big Four?"
Woodrow Wilson/United States
David Lloyd-George /Great Britain
The Big Four
Georges Clemenceau /France
Vittorio Orlando /Italy
The Big Four in Paris 1919
What did France want from
Clemenceau : The Tiger
Clemenceau wanted to make sure that
Germany could not invade France in the
future. He was determined that Germany
should be made to pay for the damage that
had been caused in northern France by the
invading German armies.
What did Great Britain
want from the treaty?
In public, Lloyd-George said he wanted to
punish the Germans. Germany should pay
to compensate for the damage done by the
In private, he realized that Britain needed
Germany to recover because she had been
an important trading partner.
He was also worried about the disease from
the east, Soviet communism. The Russian
government had been overthrown by a
communist revolution in 1917. A strong
Germany would be a barrier against the
spread of communism.
What did Italy want from
The weakest of the four major victorious
powers, Italy sought to ensure that it received
the territory that it had been promised by the
Treaty of London in 1915. This largely
consisted of the Trentino, Tyrol (including Istria
and Trieste), and the Dalmatian coast including
Fiume. Heavy Italian losses and a severe budget
deficit as a result of the war led to a belief that
these concessions had been earned. During the
talks in Paris, Orlando was constantly
hampered by his inability to speak English. He
left the meeting only to return to sign later.
7. Why was Italy a "problem" for the other
Allies at the Paris Peace Conference?
What did the United States
want from the treaty?
Woodrow Wilson wanted the treaty to be based
on his Fourteen Points.
He believed Germany should be punished but not
severely. He wanted a just settlement that would
not leave Germany feeling resentful.
Wilson wanted to set up an international
organization--The League of Nations --which
would settle disputes that might otherwise lead
The American public did not support him and
rejected the treaty. The USA became more
How did the United States and Japan
benefit most from their participation in
World War I?
1. What were the specific issues and overriding principles expressed in President
Wilson's Fourteen Points?
What did Germany want from
On April 29, a German delegation
was summoned to Versailles to
receive the treaty. Upon learning
of the content, the Germans
protested that they had not been
allowed to participate in the talks.
Deeming the treaty's terms a
violation of honor, they withdrew
from the proceedings.
What were the terms of the Treaty of Versailles?
I. The Military Clauses
The German army was to be reduced to 100,000 men.
The production of military aircraft, tanks, armored cars, and poison gas
The area known as the Rhineland was to be de-militarized.
The Allies were to occupy the west bank of the Rhine for fifteen years.
The German navy was reduced to no more than six battleships (not to
exceed 10,000 tons), 6 cruisers, 6 destroyers, and 12 torpedo boats.
II. Territorial Losses
Numerous changes to the map reduced Germany's size. In addition,
Germany lost all of her colonies overseas.
Territorially, Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France.
West Prussia was given to the new nation of Poland while Danzig was made
a free city to ensure Polish access to the sea.
The province of Saarland was transferred to League of Nations control for a
period of fifteen years. At the end of this period, a plebiscite was to determine
whether it returned to Germany or was made part of France.
2. Identify the new nations that emerged
after World War I from the collapse of the old
3. How did World War I and the peace
treaties change the political structure of
9. To what extent was the peace settlement a
victory for the principle of "selfdetermination?"
8. How were the conflicting interests in the
Middle East resolved after the War?
III. Reparations Clause
Germany was issued a war reparations bill totaling £6.6 billion
(later reduced to £4.49 billion in 1921).
This number was determined by the Inter-Allied Reparations
Commission. While Wilson took a more conciliatory view on
this issue, Lloyd George had worked to increase the demanded
The reparations required by the treaty included not only money,
but a variety of goods such as steel, coal, intellectual property,
and agricultural produce.
This mixed approach was an effort to prevent hyperinflation in
postwar Germany which would decrease the value of the
IV. Article 231: The War Guilt Clause
Several legal restrictions were also imposed, most notably Article 231
which laid sole responsibility for the war on Germany. A controversial
part of the treaty, its inclusion had been opposed by Wilson and it
became known as the War Guilt Clause.
The Allied and Associated Governments affirm, and Germany accepts,
the responsibility of Germany and her Allies for causing all the loss
and damage to which the Allied and Associate Governments and their
nationals have been subjected as a consequence of a war imposed
upon them by the aggression of Germany and her Allies.
6. Why was Article 231 written into the
Versailles Treaty? What objections might
legitimately be raised to it?
How did Germans React to the Treaty?
Germans thought the Treaty was a diktat: a dictated peace. They had not
been invited to the peace conference at Versailles. When the Treaty was
presented to them they were threatened with war if they did not sign it.
In Germany the treaty provoked universal outrage, particularly Article
231. Having concluded the armistice in expectation of a treaty
embodying the Fourteen Points, Germans took to the streets in protest.
How did Germans React to the Treaty?
Unwilling to sign it, the nation's first democratically-elected chancellor,
Philipp Scheidemann, resigned on June 20 forcing Gustav Bauer to form a
new coalition government.
Bauer was soon informed that army was not capable of offering meaningful
resistance. Lacking any other options, he dispatched Foreign Minister
Hermann Müller and Johannes Bell to Versailles. The treaty was signed in the
Hall of Mirrors, where the German Empire had been proclaimed in 1871 on
June 28. It was ratified by the National Assembly on July 9.
The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June 1919-- officially ending the
Great War. Many historians believe that it was a major cause of the Second
Most Germans were horrified by the harshness of the Treaty. There was anger
among all groups in Germany, no matter what their political beliefs. Some
German newspapers called for revenge for the humiliation of Versailles.
However anger was also directed against the government in Germany. Already
there was a myth growing in the country that the German army had been
stabbed in the back by politicians…the so called November Criminals. Now
these same politicians had signed the Diktat, the dictated peace. The new
democracy in Germany was now closely linked with the humiliation of
11. What were some of the major mistakes
made by the participants at the Paris Peace
12. Why was there so much disillusionment
after the Versailles Treaty was signed?