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The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

The treaty was signed on June 28th 1919 after months of argument and negotiation amongst the so-called "Big Three" as to what the treaty should contain. The "Big Three" were David Lloyd George of Britain, Clemenceau of France and Woodrow Wilson of America.

David Lloyd George

1) Germany had to pay! "Hang the Kaiser" and "Make Germany Pay" were two very common calls in the era immediately after the end of the war and Lloyd George, looking for public support, echoed these views. 2) Prevent the Spread of Communism: George was fearful of the repercussions of the Russian Revolution and believed, without German support, communism would spread across Europe. SoGermany had to be punished, but not to the extent that would leave the nation destitute, thus unable to serve as barrier to communism and protector of democracy. 3) Glory of the Empire Great Britain at the time had the largest Empire and most powerful Navy in the World. Germany, during WWI, had threatened British dominance and George wanted to make sure this didnt happen again.

George Clemenceau
George Clemenceau of France had one very simple belief: Germany should be brought to its knees so that she could never start war again. This reflected the views of the French public, but it was also what Clemenceau himself believed in. He had seen the north-east corner of France destroyed and he determined that Germany should never be allowed to do this again. The Tiger did not have to adapt his policies to suit the French Public, since the French Leader and the French public both thought alike.

Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson was an idealist and was genuinely stunned by the savagery and destruction of WWI. He felt the need to ensure that this NEVER happened again. Furthermore, the American public felt Europe should be left to its own devices and America should keep its involvement there to a minimum. As such, Wilson believed: Germany should be punished, but NOT harshly. Reconciliation should be emphasized over revenge There should be NO more secret treaties, i.e. end the alliance system End of militarism: Countries should seek to reduce their weapons and armed forces Self-determination: People of the same nationality should be allowed to govern themselves. One nationality should not have the rule another. (Ironically, Wilson did not feel this should apply to the U.S., i.e. the Philippines.) All countries should belong to a League of Nations, which would give the world an avenue to solve conflicts peacefully.

Issue #1: Blame The Allies chose option 1, blaming Germany for starting World War I.

Article 231 became known as the War Guilt Clause.

Issue #2 Costs of the War

The Allies chose option 2Germany was charged 6.6 billion in war reparations. This would be equivalent to approximately $393.6 billion dollars in 2005!


Issue #3 German MilitaryThe Allies chose option 1

Issue #4Colonies The Allies chose option 2 Germany lost ALL of her overseas colonies to Britain and France.

Issue #5The Rhineland The Allies chose option 1

The Rhineland was to be demilitarized

Issue #6 Alsace and Lorraine The Allies chose option 1

Issue #7The SaarlandThe Allies chose option 1

The Saar coalfields were given to France for fifteen years

Issue #8Poland The Allies chose option 3

Posen was given to Poland so that she would have access to the Baltic Sea. This area became known as the Polish Corridor. It meant that East Prussia was cut off from the rest of Germany.

Issue #9 DanzigThe Allies chose option 3

Issues # 10 & 11Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia & Czechoslovakia The Allies made them independent nations