How did the Treaty of Versailles establish peace?

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The Paris Peace Conference - George Clemenceau

By May 1919, Clemenceau had seen Germany invade France twice in his lifetime so he wanted:

  • Revenge
  • Reperation, as most of the war was fought on French soil so land and industry was damaged
  • To strip Germany of its armed forces and weath
  • To gain security for France by making Germany weak so it could not attack
  • Regain Alsace and Lorraine
  • Germany to take full responsibility for the entire war
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The Paris Peace Conference - David Lloyd George

Lloyd George wanted peace with Germany because he knew that if the treaty was too harsh they would attack again, however in his election campaign he had promised the public he would 'hang the kaiser' and 'make Germany pay', so he had to fulfil these. His main aims were:

  • to preserve supremecy of British navy
  • to prevent a settlement so harsh Germany wouldn't accept it
  • to continue trading with Germany
  • to stop the Germans turning to communism because of the hardship the treaty would bring

He wanted Germany to be stable.

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The Paris Peace Conference - Woodrow Wilson

Wilson was an idealist who published his 14 point peace plan during the war but it was ignored. America were not involved in the war for very long so he did not have very strong feelings like Britian and France. He knew that there had to be a lasting peace, so his aims were:

  • for a just and lasting peace to be agreed
  • for a league of nations to be established
  • for his 14 points of peace to be followed

His 14 points included:

  • The end of secret treaties between countries
  • Freedom of the seas
  • Reduction in all armies and weapons
  • Independance of smaller countries like Austria-Hungary and Poland
  • Formation of League of Nations

He also introduced self-determination which gave people the right to decide which country they will be ruled by.

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Terms of the Treaty

Germany was forced to sign in June 1919. They had no say in it, like a diktat.

Blame- Germany had to accept full responsibility for the war so the allies could demand payment legally

Reparations- Germany would pay for all damage, £6.6 billion. This was also paid in rescources

Army- Army was limited to 100,000 men and conscription was banned. Tanks and airforce were banned, Navy was limited to 15,000 men with no submarines and 6 battleships.

Territory- Alsace and Lorraine were returned to France. The Rhineland was demilitarised and all colonies were lost. The Saar was given to France. Anschluss was forbidden. 10% of land was lost.

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Germany's Reaction

The Germans hated the Treaty of Versailles because they:

  •  couldn't afford reparations
  • lost land and couldn't rebuild
  • lost pride without armed forces
  • saw other countries were not disarming
  • didn't accept defeat
  • didn't accept total guilt and thought other countries played a part in war
  • most Germans lived under foreign rule in new countries
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