History Treaty of Versailles & League of Nations

  • Created by: zuljupri
  • Created on: 04-04-17 14:02

Cost of war

Armistice- 11 November 1918 11AM.


  • 300,000 houses
  • 6000 factories
  • 1600km railway
  • 112 coal mines


  • Britain- 1 million
  • France- 1.4 million
  • USA- 100,000
  • Civilian- 6 million.

Wounded- 20 million

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Aims of 'Big Three'


  • He was uncompromising and wanted revenge on Germany.
  • Had seen two invasions from Germany in 1870 and 1914.
  • France had suffered damage to its industry, people and economy.
  • Wanted Germany to pay reperations to cover the cost.
  • Initially wanted to break up Germany into smaller states.
  • Settled on Germany paying reperations, taking back Alsace-Lorraine, weakening Germany.

Lloyd George/Britain:

  • Wanted to punish Germany but not as much as France wanted to.
  • In his election campaign, he used slogans such as 'Hang the Kaiser' & 'Make Germany Pay'
  • Wanted Germany to lose its navy and colonies, saw it as a threat to British Empire.
  • Did not want to punish Germany to a point where they would seek revenge and start war.
  • Recognised the threat of Communism to Germany.
  • Keen to start trading with Germany.
  • Before the war, Germany was Britain's 'second largest trading partner'
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Aims of 'Big Three'

Woodrow Wilson/ America:

  • Published his 14 point plan during the war in January 1918.
  • Germany ignored this when they signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
  • Was a reformer and wanted all future wars to be avoided.
  • Didn't want to punish Germany too harshly.
  • Wanted countries to be open and truthful to each other.
  • Wanted the boundaries of Europe to be reorganised.
  • Didn't appreciate hard feelings towards Germany from France and Britain.
  • No certainty USA would sign the treaty.
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Wilson's 14 Points

  • 1. Open Diplomacy
  • 2. Freedom of Seas
  • 3. No economic barriers.
  • 4. Reduction of Armaments.
  • 5. Adjustment of colonies.
  • 6. Conquered territories in Russia.
  • 7. Preservation of Belgian sovereignty.
  • 8. Restoration of French territory.
  • 9. Redrawing of Italian frontiers.
  • 10. Division of Austria-Hungary.
  • 11. Redrawing of Balkan boundaries.
  • 12. Limitations on Turkey.
  • 13. Establishment Of independant Poland.
  • 14. Creation of a League of Nations.
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Terms of Treaty- Loss of Land

Western Frontier:

  • Alsace-Lorraine were returned to France.
  • Provinces of Eupen and Malmendy were given to Belgium after plebisicites.
  • North Schlieswig transferred to Denmark after a plebisicite.
  • Saar Coalfield put under control of League of Nations for 15 years, and France was allowed to take coal during that time.

Eastern Frontier:

  • Poland was made independant again.
  • Danzig port was under the control of League of Nations. Mainly German population but Poland needed it for trade access.
  • Upper Silesia was divided between Germany and Poland.
  • Menzel Port put under control of League of Nations.
  • All gains Germany made from Russian defeat were given to Poland and Estonia.
  • Union of Germany and Austria-Hungary (Anshluss) was forbidden.
  • All Germany's colonies were surrendered and given to the victorious countries by League of Nations through a mandate.
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Terms of Treaty- German Losses

Germany's overseas empire was taken away.

Colonies in Africa were taken away and given to other countries.

  • Togoland - Britain
  • Cameroon- France
  • German South West Africa - South Africa
  • New Guinea - Australia
  • Samoa - New Zealand
  • Marhal, Mariana, Caroline Islands - Japan.
  • German East Africa - Britain.
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Big Three- Ops on 14 Points

Free Seas:


  • Opportunity for new trade routes to be open.
  • Didn't have many trade routes because of Britain's navy strength.
  • Believed free seas could lead to trade routes for USA.

Lloyd George

  • Had the strongest navy in the world
  • One of the reasons for Britain's superiority.
  • Felt that Britain's superiority was being threatened.
  • The empire relied on its navy.


  • Wasn't influential in the seas.
  • They used trade routes to reach their own colonies.
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Big Three- Ops on 14 Points



  • USA wasn't one of the world's elite.
  • Didn't have the strongest army or strongest weapons.
  • Wanted to 'bridge the gap' between USA and the world's elite.

Lloyd George

  • Britain wanted to disarm the losers, especially Germany.
  • Didn't want disarm after a war, wanted to rearm and become stronger.


  • France wanted to disarm Germany the most.
  • Didn't want to disarm themselves because of fear of another invasion.
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Big Three- Ops on 14 Points



  • USA didn't have any colonies whatsoever.
  • Wanted to bring America closer to the world's elite.

Lloyd George

  • Didn't want this as it threatened their empire.
  • Threatened their superiority.


  • France also had colonies and felt these colonies were threatened.
  • Also felt their empire was being threatened.
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Big Three- Ops on 14 Points

Alsace- Lorraine:


  • Thought this was an appropriate punishment for Germany.
  • Appropriate compensation for France.

Lloyd George

  • Thought it would make up some of the compensation France deserved.
  • Wanted to punish them slightly more.


  • France supported this because it was originally their land.
  • Wanted to punish them even further for compensations.
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Big Three- Ops on 14 Points

Eastern Europe:


  • Wanted the idea of independance to spread through.
  • Idea of 'self-determination' by giving them their own countries.
  • Suitable punishment for Austria-Hungary by splitting them up.

Lloyd George

  • Britain halved its fighting in Eastern Europe.
  • Thought it was a suitable punishment for Austria-Hungary.


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Big Three- Ops on 14 Points

League of Nations:


  • Wanted a body of peace.
  • Thoought the League of Nations would do that.
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German Objections to Treaty of Versailles

Military Restrictions:

  • The German Army was limited to 100,000- not enough to defend an attack.
  • Germany weren't allowed tanks, submarines or military aircraft.
  • The Navy was limited to 15,000 men and only 6 battleships.
  • The Rhineland was demilitarised.
  • No German troops were allowed in the Rhineland including west of the River Rhine.
  • The allies were allowed to keep an 'occupation army' at the river Rhine for 15 years.

Guilt Clause: 231

  • This clause forced Germany to accept full responsibility for the war
  • •"The allied governments affirm and Germany accepts responisbilty of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the allied governments and their people have been subjected as a result of the war"
  • The clause provided justification for punishing Germany.
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German Objections to Treaty of Versailles

Germany would have to pay £6,600 million in reperations over 42 years.

Germany were outraged when they were not represented at the Paris Peace Conference.         They rejected it as a Diktat.

Diktat: a dictated peace.

In Europe, Germany had lost 72,500km of land and 6-7million people, which was over 10% of its land and people. 1.5 million Germans were put under control of Poland.

Lloyd George was especially against this because he thought it would start a future war.

Because of the Treaty Germany would lose:

  • 10% of its land.
  • 100% of its overseas colonies.
  • 12.5% of its population.
  • 16% of its coalfields.
  • 50% of iron and steel industry.
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Impact of the Treaty on Germany

Public opinion: 

  • Germans were told that they were winning the war.
  • They thought that the German government had called a ceasefire.
  • They also thought they would be involved in the peace negotiations.
  • It surprised the Germans when they were told they had lost the war.


  • In 1919 Ebert's government was very fragile.
  • Once he agreed to the Treaty, Germany fell into chaos.
  • His opponents didn't like the Treaty and attempted a revolution.
  • Germany then fell behind on reperation payments.
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Strength of Treaty of Versailles


  • The Treaty brought peace to Europe.
  • It set up an international organisation, the League of Nations to preserve the peace.
  • It was a worldwide agreement to end a Wold War.
  • It had reorganised the map of the world.
  • 3 major empires collapsed: Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish.
  • Always been seen as a genuine attempt to create a better world free from war.
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Weaknesses of Treaty of Versailles


  • The Treaty was deeply unpopular.
  • It was attacked at the conference by the French General Foch, who wanted an independant Rhineland, not just a demilitarised zone.
  • It also created tension as both Japan and Italy thought the Treaty didn't award them enough.
  • The Americans disagreed with Wilson and persuaded Congress to reject it.
  • One of the most influential countries in the Treaty negotiations didn't sign it.
  • British people thought it was too harsh on Germany and Lloyd George felt it would cause another war.
  • People feared that Germany's reperations were so high they would want to seek revenge.
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Aims of the League of Nations

1. Discouraging aggression:

  • It was the job of the League to sort out border disputes.
  • This was done at the Assembly, the League's parliament.
  • Every country had a representative and permanent members had a veto.

2. Encourage cooperations:

  • Wanted countries to cooperate in business and trade.
  • Thought this would reduce tension and chance of war.
  • America loaned to Europe.
  • Industries rebuilt, jobs were made and increased international trade.

3. Disarmament:

  • League encouraged countries to disarm.
  • In 1923, a disarmament treaty was accepted by France, but rejected by Britain.
  • In 1926, plans for a disarmament conference were made but it took 5 years to organise.
  • In 1933, Germany rejected it.
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Aims of the League of Nations

4. Improving people's lives:

  • League wanted to improve living/working conditions for people.
  • Refugees were allowed to return to their homelands.
  • Poisonous white lead was banned and small children's hours were limited.
  • The Health Commitee reduced malaria and yellow fever.
  • Transport was made easier through shipping lanes and the highway code.

Members also promised not to attack each other.

Collective Security

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The League of Nations was set up in January 1920.

Initially 42 countries joined.

Countries who were defeated in WW1, notably Germany, weren't allowed to join.

The Soviet Union wasn't allowed to join because of communism.

The USA Congress voted not to join the League.

This left Britain and France to lead the League.

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Covenant of the League

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Structure of the League

The Assembly

  • This was the League's Parliament.
  • Every country had a representative.
  • It could recommend action to the Council and voted on:
  • Admitting new members to the League.
  • Appointing temporary members of the Council.
  • The budget of the League.
  • It met only once a year, and decisions had to be unaminous.

The Secretariat:

  • This was the civil service for the League.
  • Kept records of the meetings and prepared reports for agencies of the League.
  • Had specialist areas covering health, disarmament and economic matters.
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Structure of the League

The Council:

Was a smaller group which met more often, 5 times a year and in case of emergency.

  • Permanent members: in 1920 these were Britain, France, Italy and Japan.
  • Temporary members: these were elected by the Assembly for 3 year periods.

Each permanent member had a veto.

The main purpose of the Council was to solve any dispute within members of the League. If this didn't work, the council could use a range of powers.

Moral condemnation: they would condemn the aggressor's action and tell them to stop.

Economic Sanctions: members of the League could refuse to trade with the aggressor.

Military force: the armed forces of member countries could be used against an aggressor.

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Structure of the League

The Mandates Commission:

  • Former German colonies were being ruled by Britain and France on behalf of the League.
  • This was done through the use of mandates.
  • The Mandates Commission made sure these colonies were being ruled properly.

The Refugees Committee:

  • Helped refugees return to their original homes after end of WW1.

The Slavery Commission:

  • Worked to abolish slavery around the world.

The Health Committee:

  • Attempted to deal with the problem of dangerous diseases.
  • Educating people about health and sanitation.
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Structure of the League

The Permanent Court of International Justice:

  • Settles disputes between countries peacefully.
  • Based at the Hague in the Netherlands.
  • Made up of judges from member countries.
  • The Court could give a decision on border disputes between two countries.
  • It could also give legal advice to the Assembly or the Council.
  • It could NOT make sure that countries actually followed rulings.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO):

  • Brought together employers, governments and worker representatives once a year.
  • Aim was to improve the conditions of working people in the world.
  • Collected statistics and information about working conditions.
  • Tried to persuade countries to adopt its suggestions.
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Manchurian Crisis- 1931


  • In October 1929, the New York Stock exchange collapsed.
  • US Economy went into depression and world trade was affected.
  • Japan's industrial production fell by 30% between 1929 and 1931.
  • They couldn't afford to import food, and wanted to invade Manchuria


  • In September 1931, there was an explosion on the South Manchurian Railway.
  • Japan leaders claimed that this was act of sabotage by the Chinese.
  • There were no soldiers at the bridge at the time of the explosion.
  • On 19 September 1931, the Japanese invaded Manchuria, but it was seen as intervention rather than an invasion.
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Manchurian Crisis- 1931

League's Response:

  • China appealed to the League of Nations.
  • The League had to be very cautious in its response.
  • Japan was a permanent member in the Council and therefore could veto.
  • The League instructed Japan to withdraw its troops from Manchuria.
  • Instead Japan took even more firmer control.
  • The League then set up an independant inquiry.
  • The Lytton Report concluded 7 months later Japan had acted unlwafully.

Effects of the Crisis:

  • In March 1933, Japan left the League of Nations.
  • The League had failed and had done nothing.
  • Japan went on to invade China.
  • Britain didn't want trade to be affected in the Far East and so didn't give economic sanctions.
  • The League of Nations was powerless to prevent an aggressive nation invading a country.
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Abyssinian Crisis- 1935


  • Italy had left the Triple Alliance, and was disappointed with the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Benito Mussolini had come to power, and had set up as a fascist.
  • The Italian Army had tried to conquer Abysssinia in 1896 but were defeated.
  • Mussolini was keen to avenge this and gain the mineral resources and fertile land.
  • Despite a 'friendship treaty' signed in 1928, it was clear Italy wanted to invade Abyssinia.
  • The League of Nations didn't want to intervene because of the Stresa Pact, which used Mussolini acted as communicator between Britain/France and Adolf Hitler.


  • In October 1935, Italy attacked Abyssinia after a 'clash' between troops on the Oasis of Walwal.
  • The Abyssinian Army was no match for the modern Italian Army.
  • In May 1936, Italian troops entered the capital Addis Ababa in triumph.
  • The only hope for Emperor Haile Selassie was the size of the country and appealing to the League of Nations.
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Abyssinian Crisis- 1935

League's Response:

  • They decided Italy should be punished with economic sanctions.
  • The League banned the sale of arms and goods, all loans and imports from Italy.
  • It did not ban oil exports, or block the Suez Canal, the main supply route for Mussolini's army to Abyssinia.
  • The British Foriegn Secretary, Samuel Hoare, and French Foriegn Minister Laval were planning to end the fighting.
  • The 'Hoare-Laval' Pact would see Abyssinia being divided up, with the best part going to Italy.


  • Emperor Haile Selaisse had fled his country and addressed the League of Nations in 1936.
  • He protested about the League's failure to protect his country from aggression.
  • The League had failed again in the eyes of the world.
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Reasons why the League failed


  • Didn't have its own army.
  • Had to use other countries military as 'collective security'


  • Britain and France had to lead the League without USA.
  • USA, Germany, Soviet Union all were not members of the League.


  • Abysinnian Crisis where Italy took control after Hoare-Laval Pact outcry.
  • Manchurian Crisis forces permanent member of the Council, Japan to leave.

Self Interest of Nations:

  • Britain = Navy and empire.
  • France = Economy and colonies.
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