International Relations 1919 - 1939

Revsion material for Paper 1 OCR History - International Relations

  • Created by: Jen
  • Created on: 22-03-12 11:12

What were the aims of the Big Three at the Treaty

Clemenceau (France)

  • Wanted revenge on Germany for French suffering and make them pay for damages
  • Ensure Germany would never be able to attack France again through reduction in their armed forces, weakened industries and reduction in land.

Woodrow Wilson (America)

  • Prevent Germany from becoming agressive again
  • Base the peace treaties on his 14 points
  • Punish Germany for her aggression, but avoid forcing her to pay very heavy damages.

David Lloyd George (Britain)

  • End the German threat to the British navy and Empire
  • Make Germany a non-aggressive country without colonies.
  • Prevent Germany from turning to Communisim
  • Help secure France against Germany, but prevent France becoming too powerful
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Why did the peacemakers have to compromise?

  • Pressure of time
  • Fear of Germany turning to Communism if a decision was not made
  • The Big Three disagreed on lots of points.
  • The Armistace was only a truce, the Allies were still blocking the German ports,  until the peace treaty was signed, thousands of German civillians were dying of starvation.

To achieve a settlement, everyone had to compromise.

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What were the main terms of the Treaty of Versaill

  • Germany had to keep her troops out of the Rhineland
  • Germany lost land
  • German colonies were given to other countries to govern
  • Article 231 or the "War Guilt Clause" said that Germany and her allies were responsible for starting WW1
  • Germany had to pay reparations of £6.6.billion
  • Army reduced to 100,000 men
  • No airforce was allowed
  • Germany was not allowed any tanks
  • Forbidden to unite with Austria
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How did Germany feel about the Treaty of Versaille

In the 1920's the Germans called the Treaty of Versailles the dictated peace. They resented:

  • the loss of land - especially the splitting of East Prussia with the rest of Germany
  • the loss of resources
  • foreign occupation of the Saar and Rhineland
  • having to accept the War Guilt Clause - they argued that they were not alone in starting the war.
  • They were unhappy that they were the only country required to reduce it's weapons.
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Exam questions on Treaty of Versailles

4 Marks

  • What did Clemenceau hope to achieve from the Treaty of Versailles?
  • What were Lloyd George’s aims at Versailles?
  • What limits did the Treaty place on Germany’s armed forces?
  • What land did Germany lose in the Treaty of Versailles?
  • Explain why Clemenceau wanted the Treaty of Versailles to punish Germany severely.

6 Marks

  • Explain what Wilson hoped to achieve at the Paris Peace Conference.
  • Explain why Germany was made to pay reparations.
  • Explain why the terms of the Treaty caused so much bitterness in Germany.
  • Explain why the Allies disagreed over the punishment of Germany after the First World War.
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Background and aims of the League of Nations

  • Set up in 1920's due to the Treaty of Versailles
  • Based in Geneva, Switzerland
  • USA did not join the League
  • Russia (USSR) not allowed to join as Communist
  • Germany not allowed to join as a loser of WW1
  • Leading members were Britain and France, helped by Japan and Italy.

AIMS of the League of Nations were: (Remember them as SIDE)

  • Stop War (collective security)
  • Improve life and jobs
  • Disarmament
  • Enforce the Treaty of Versailles (encourage trade, end slavery, improve health etc)
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Success of the League of Nations - 1920s

Drugs: The League of Nations closed down four big Swiss companies which were selling drugs

Aaland Island (1921) Helped resolve the dispute between Sweeden and Finland

Bulgaria (1925) Helped resolve the dispute between Greece and Bulgaria

Slave trade: reduced the slave trade in Africa

Disease: worked hard at helping reduce malaria and leprosy

Overall the 1920's the LON was successful at improving peoples lives, therefore meeting one of its aims. There were very few disputes and those which did occur were solved. No wars broke out during the 1920's (though mainly in part due to the fact countries were still recovering from WW1) The LON did highlight social problems on a global scale.

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Why did the League of Nations fail?

Remember the phrase; because it WAS DUMB

Weak - the LON was weak from the start as it had no army & its powers virtually useless

America - the USA did not join, choosing to follow a policy of ISOLATION. Britain & France were not strong enough to pose peace on thier own.

Structure - The LON was muddled and took ages to do things.

Depression - the Wall Street Crash of 1929 meant countries were interested in own problems & dealing with them, not world peace.

Unsuccessful -The more the LON failed the less people trusted it.

Members - It's 2 big members let them down (Japan and Italy)

Big Bullies - Countries like Germany, Italy & Japan in the 30's were too strong for Britain & France.

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Exam questions on the League of Nations

Four Mark Questions

  • What were the main aims of the League of Nations?
  •  What methods did the League of Nations plan to prevent future wars?
  • What was the structure of the League of Nations?

Six Mark Questions

  •     What were the successes of the League in the 1920s?
  •      Explain why the agencies of the League of Nations were successful.
  •    Some countries were not members of the League of Nations when it was set up. Explain how this weakened the League.
  •    Explain why the League of Nations failed to deal successfully with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931.
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Why was the Weimar Republic weak?

People disliked the politicians they were seen as November Criminals (signeda rmistice 1918), and agreed to Treaty of Versailles. Bother of these treaties were deeply unpopular with the German public who found them a) unfair and b)surprising as many ahd though Germany was winning the war (Stabbed in the back theory)Germany had never been a republic before, so people were unsure of the idea, and how exactly to run the new Government

 The system was weak the Weimar Gov. was often a coalition givernment as no single party ever gained a large majority. This weakened it considerably.

The situation was terrible - reparations crippled Germany, the people were unhappy and there was lots of opposition to the new Gov in the form of the  various uprisings eg Kapp Putsch...

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What problems did the Weimar Republic face 1918 -

  • Kaiser had abdicated
  • Signed the Armistace (end of WW1)  (then seen as November Criminals)
  • Signed the Treaty of Versailles 1919 (seen as stabbing Germany in the back)
  • Threats from both the left and the right to deal with
  • Infighting within the new government
  • Democracy was a new idea in Germany and many didn't like the change
  • Huge economic problems due to Treaty of Versailles and impact of WW1
  • Hyperinflation
  • French invasion of the Ruhr

Remember the threats from the left and right!

  • Sparacist Uprising 1919 (Communists)
  • Kapp Putsch 1920 (Soldiers)
  • Munich / Beer Hall Putsch  1923 (Hitler)
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How did the Weimar Republic recover 1924 - 29?

The economy:

  • Stresemann introduced a new currency
  • Implemented the DAWES PLAN with the aid of the USA.


  • Cultural revival in Germany
  • Free expression of ideas, meaning writers, painters and poets flourished
  • German Cinema produced some of its greatest international stars


  • No attempted revolutions meant Germany was more stable
  • Foreign policy under Stresemann saw the signing of the Locarno Treaty (1925)
  • Germany entered the League of Nations in 1926
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