History Unit 2

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The costs of war

11th november 1918, an armistice brought The Great War to an end. In total, 8 million soldiers had been killed and 9 million civilians had died. In France and belguim alone:

  • 300,000 houses destroyed
  • 6000 factories destroyed
  • 112 coal mines destroyed

The terms of the armistice were harsh:

  • The German army had it's equipment taken
  • The navy had to surrender and all it's submarines and most of the ships
  • A neutral zone was established in the rhineland
  • Reparations were to be paid for damage done.

January 1919- Countries involved met in Paris to agree on the peace terms. This was the Paris Peace Conference and Germany was not allowed in. The USSR were not either as they were now communists and not trusted.

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The Treaty of versailles

By may the treaty was completed. Germany was to lose large areas of territory, disband most of it's armed forces, pay reperations and accept blame for the war. The treaty were outraged by the Germans. None of the allies were entriely happy with the treaty. Delegates left the conference believing it was only a matter of time before another war broke out.

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The League of Nations

  • Set up in January 1920 throught the treaty of versialles
  • It's aims were set out in it's covenent- this included all the documents that together made up the treaty of versailles
  • Woodrow Wilson came up with the idea of a League of Nations in his fourteen points
  • Wilson believed it would prevent another war but did a single organisation have the ability to achieve this aim?
  • Ordinary people hoped the USA would take a leading role in preventing another war. 
  • Although the British and French polititions had their doubts, they had no alternative
  • The League had a list of 26 laws that all members had to follow
  • These encouraged countries to work together to ease international trade and improve working and living conditions for people of the world
  • It encouraged countries to disarm and protect eachother
  • At first the league was quite successful, but in the 1930s things started to go wrong...
  • The league of nations failed in it's peacekeeping role, in 1945 it was disbanded and replaced by the United Nations
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Summary of the fourteen points

1. No secret treaties

2. Free access to the sea

3. Free trade

4. Disarmament

5. Colonies to have a say in their future

8. France to regain Alsace- Lorraine

13. Poland to become independant

14. A League of Nations to be set up

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Woodrow Wilson, USA

  • He was an idealist
  • Believed perfect solutions could be found to the world's problems
  • Wanted to put plans in place to ensure that war never broke out again
  • January 1918- Fourteen points
  • He argued to achieve peace in future, nations had to cooporate and theat nations had a right to self determination
  • Some of the fourteen points were easy to put in action, others were good in theory but difficult to implement in practice.
  • Wilson believed that Germany should be punished but not too harshly because Germay would grow resentful and want revenge in the future
  • Instead Wilson wanted all countries to join the League of Nations.
  • He believed Germany should lose some land but shouldn't pay the reperations
  • Some believed wilson was too lenient because the USA hadn't joined the war until April 1917
  • Some believed USA hadn't experienced the horrors
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Georges Clemenceau, France

  • He became PM of France in November 1917
  • He promised to win the war and ensure that Germany would never threaten France again in the future.

He had 3 main aims:

  • Alsace Lorraine must be restored to France
  • Germany must pay for the suffering inflicted on the French people- he was under great pressure from the american people who wanted payments to be made in money and land
  • Germany must lose land on the border with France in order to guarentee French security against possible future attacks

Clemenceau was known as the tiger, and had a reputation for being tough. The French People knew he would strongly argue their case

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David Lloyd George

  • An experienced politition- he understood that compromises would have to be met in the peace settlement, otherwise an aggreement would never be reached
  • He wanted Germany to be punished but not to harshly
  • He wanted to protect British naval interests and therefore disliked Wilson's  idea of free sea access. Lloyd George wanted to reduced the German navy and to extend the British empire.
  • He didn't want Germany to be too cripled because he still wanted trade to exsist between the two countries
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  • The big three clashed dramatically
  • Wilson was arrogent and irritable
  • Clemenceau wanted revenge for the suffering inflicted by Germany during the war
  • Lloyd George was in the middle
  • By march, wilson and clemenceau were at eachothers throats

The Treaty of versailles, June 1919

  • Finally concluded in May and the german's were forced to sign
  • 28th June 1919 leading politions left the Paris peace conference
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Strengths/weaknesses of Treaty


  • Initially signed by 45 countries and would be considered a world wide agreement to end a world war
  • Most of the boundries of the Treaty still exist today and it was accepted as a genuine attempt to create a world free from war


  • It was very unpopular- the French general Foch stood up at the Oaris Peace conference and attacked the treaty. He wanted the Rhineland to be an independent country not just a demilitarised zone
  • Japan and Italy were resentful- they felt they gained very little in return for their contributions
  • Many americans delegated the Treaty and went home to successfully persuade congress to reject it
  • Many British delegates hated it too
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