The Inter-War Years

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The Inter-War Years, 1919­1939
What were the motives and aims of the Big Three at Versailles?
Clemenceau Lloyd George Woodrow Wilson
Realist Realist Idealist
Punish Germany with a A compromise between Fair peace and no war
very harsh treaty Clemenceau and Wilson
Weaken its military so its Punish Germany for justice not 14 points: self-determination,
unable to attack France revenge, otherwise Germany too end of empires, disarmament,
again would seek revenge later free seas.
Cripple and destroy For Britain to remain a great naval Better international relations
Germany power: reduce Germany's navy
Make Germany pay Expand British empire by gaining
reparations for the German territories
damage its responsible for
Not weaken it too much as Germany
was Britain's main trading partner
Why did the victors not get everything they wanted?
All the victors had different aims and motives. (see above) The treaty was a compromise,
meaning not everyone got what the wanted.
They had to take their people into account; Lloyd George said he wanted to `make Germany
pay' but in reality, he didn't want to revenge Germany, he only wanted justice.
Didn't always make their own decisions: set up a Committee of the League of Nations to put a
figure on the reparations. They might have not agreed with the committee.
They all disagreed on the severity of the punishment.
Clemenceau wanted a harsher treaty.
Lloyd George said the treaty was so harsh it would cause war in another 25 years.
Wilson believed it was too harsh as well and that he would have never signed it.
Lloyd George and Clemenceau were more self-interested and opposed some of Wilson's 14
points such as:
Self determination (both countries didn't want to lose their colonies)
Freedom of seas (Britain wanted control as it was an island)
Disarmament (too much mistrust so only defeated powers were disarmed).
Clemenceau wanted Germany to be split up into lots of different countries and to gain the
Rhineland but Lloyd George and Wilson disagreed.
To Wilson's disappointment, US senate refused to join the League of Nations or sign the Treaty
of Versailles.
What were the immediate reactions to the peace settlement?
Terms of the Treaty of Versailles
1. War guilt: Germany had to accept blame for starting the war.
2. Reparations: Germany had to pay £6,600m. The terms were changed in the Young Plan 1929
3. German territories and colonies: Alsace Lorraine to France, Malmedy to Belgium, West
Prussia and Upper Silesia to Poland, Danzig became free city, Memel to Lithuania.

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Colonies made mandates of the League of Nations to be looked after by France (Cameroons),
Britain (German East Africa), Australia (New Guinea), New Zealand (Samoa), Japan (Marshall,
Mariana and Caroline Islands), and Togoland run by both Britain and France. German South West
Africa went to South Africa.
4.…read more

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Germany was enraged as Britain and France gained Turkish and German territories in Africa and
the Middle East while its economy and pride suffered at the loss of:
10% of its land:
All of its overseas colonies
12.…read more

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This treaty was mainly about sorting out the chaotic jumble of eastern borders rather than
punishing Austria. Austria suffered severe economic problems as much of its industry went to
Czechoslovakia. Italy was unhappy with the little amount of land it got.
2. Treaty of Nueilly, 1919 ­ dealt with Bulgaria
Lost territory to Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia and access to the Mediterranean.…read more

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At the time, however, the majority outside Germany felt it was fair, if not too generous. German
complaints about the Treaty were ignored as people felt they were operating a `double standard'.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk 1918 that Germans gave to Russia was much harsher that the Treaty of
Versailles. They would have treated Britain and France harshly too if they had won, as the Kaiser
government had planned to pay war debts through reparations from defeated states since they
hadn't raised taxes.…read more

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Failures
Vilna 1920: Poland invaded Lithuania's largely polish populated capital so Lithuania appealed to
the League. The League's condemned Poland, but it didn't listen. Did nothing.
Polish-Soviet War 1920-1921: Poland invaded Russian land, as the borders were unclear, and
won at Battle of Warsaw. Russia had to sign the Treaty of Riga giving Poland enough land to
double its size. The League of Nations did nothing as all were against communist Russia and
supported Poland.…read more

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The Health Commission
Weaknesses in the structure
Set up by the unfair Treaty of Versailles (which every nation hated and heavily criticised).
Its aims were too ambitious
That Germany, Russia and the USA were not members
It had no army
Its organisation was cumbersome
Decisions had to be unanimous.
Summary of the Key Articles
Article Details
3. Set up the assembly - a meeting of all members of the 42 countries were members (rising to 58 in
League. 1934).…read more

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League of Nations. The leaders of the League were
subjective in their decisions, which reduced the League's power, respect and reputation.
Foreign Policies: Many countries were now dictatorships with very aggressive, nationalistic
foreign policies. Countries were looking to expand their empires and had little interest in
keeping up good international relations. E.g. Italy, Japan and Germany
Effects of the Depression within countries
Britain became very self interested due to its economic problems.…read more

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Feb 1933, the report was approved by 42 votes to 1 (Japan itself) in the Assembly.
27 March 1933, Japan resigned from the League and the next week invaded Jehol.
The League was powerless. It failed because:
They were too slow to take action.
Economic sanctions would be meaningless without the US.
Self-interest: Britain wanted to keep good relations with Japan.
Banning arm sales was discussed but not carried out because the council members feared
Japan would retaliate and war would escalate.…read more

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Economic sanctions were meaningless without the US, and some of them were put into
action too late e.g. oil
Self-interest: The Suez Canal was not closed down, as Britain and France wanted to keep
good relations with Italy for its support against Hitler.
No army: Britain and France would not send their military or naval forces.
The League was powerless against a strong nation.
What were the long-term consequences of the peace treaties of
1919­1923?
Reparations ruined the economy of Europe as Keynes had prophesised.…read more

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