Aftermath of the war:
Throughout the armistice the Allies maintained the naval blockade of Germany that had begun during the war, stopping German trade. As Germany was dependent on imports many civilians had lost their lives during the war, and more died from starvation afterwards. After the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, officially ended the war.
A separate but related event was the great 1918 flu pandemic. The flu was mistaken for ‘Spanish flu’ and was spread via the American army.
Affected people who weren’t even involved in WW1
Treaty of Versailles
It was a diktat so Germany had no say in it
Who: Woodrow Wilson (USA) not too harsh
Lloyd George (UK) punish justly
George Clemenceau (Fr) cripple G
What: War guilt (article 231)
Territories and colonies to be sorted out
L of N set up
Reduction of G armed forces (6 ships, 100,00 men, no conscription, demilitarised Rhineland)
It was much too harsh on Germany and did not take enough of Wilson’s point into consideration.
Wilson's 14 points
· No secret treaties
· Free access to the seas in peacetime or wartime
· Free trade between countries
· All countries to work towards disarmament
· Colonies to have a say in their own future
· German troops to leave Russia
· Independence for Belgium
FraFrance to regain Alsace-Lorraine
· Frontier between Austria and Italy to be adjusted
· Self-determination for the people of Eastern Europe
· Serbia to have access to the sea
· Self-determination for the people in the Turkish Empire
· Poland to become an independent state with access to the sea
· League of Nations to be set up
Colonies made by the T of V
Germany’s overseas empire was taken away.
Former German colonies became mandates controlled by the league.
Alsace-Lorraine went back to France
Rhineland became demilitarised
North Schleswig went to Denmark after a plebiscite
West Prussia and Upper Silesia went to Poland
East Prussia went to Lithuania
Problems with the T of V
Army hated military restrictions, blamed gov., attempt a revolution- Kapp putsch in 1920 army didn’t help against right-wing Freikorps, Berlin workers strike prevent revolution
Reparations too high couldn’t keep up on payments
Treaty of St Germain 1919:
Dealt with Austria separating it form Hungary and dividing up some of its territories
Treaty of Neuilly 1919:
Dealt with Bulgaria giving some of its land to Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia.
Treaty of Trianon 1920:
Dealt with Hungary splitting up some of its territories and population.
Treaty of Sevres 1920:
Dealt with Turkey loosing its straits running into the Black Sea and a lot of important land.
German's reactions to the T of V
Particularly despised article 231 because they felt the blame should be share and it was humiliating for them to accept the whole blame.
Hated losing 10% of its land and its overseas colonies, it was a major blow to German pride
Disarmament terms upset the Germans.
Treatment of Germany was not in keeping with Wilson’s Fourteen points
Was the T of V justified?
+ Some say it was the best achieved in the circumstances
+ Did what the people wanted
- Death warrant for Europe
Peacemakers had a hard job because they had to take public opinion into consideration.
League of Nations
Aims were to-
o Discourage aggression
o Encourage countries to co-operate
o Encourage nations to disarm
o Improve living/working conditions
L of N
It was made up of-
o The council, which met 5 times a year and consisted of the permanent members and temporary members.
o The assembly, which was the League’s parliament. Every country had a representative there. Met once a year.
o Secretariat which was like the civil service
o International Labour Organisation which brought together employers, governments and workers’ representatives
o Permanent Court of International Justice who settles disputes between countries peacefully
L of N commissions
Mandates Commission: Made sure that the L of N acted in the interests of people in that territory when having a plebiscite and not in their own interests.
Refugees Committee: Helped to return refugees, after the end of WW1
Slavery Commission: Worked to abolish slavery around the world
Health Committee: attempted to deal with problem of dangerous diseases and educate people about health and sanitation.
Problems with the League
o Delays in decision making
o Confusing structure
o Membership (no USA, Russia or Germany)
o Leadership (run by Britain and France who had a grudge against Germany)
o Powers and weapons (trade sanctions, collective security)
It was born out of post-war chaos
Vilna: 1920 the capital of the new state Lithuania was Vilna. It had a largely Polish population so a private Polish army took it over. Lithuania appealed to the League who protested to Poland who did nothing. France didn’t want to make enemies of Poland and Britain didn’t want to send troops to the other side of Europe. Nothing happened. FAILURE.
Upper Silesia: 1921 was an industrial region on the German/Polish border who both wanted control. The League ordered a plebiscite in 1920 which showed the industrial areas wanting to go to Germany and the rural to Poland. The region was divided along these lines and both
Aaland islands: 1921 both Sweden and Finland wanted control of Aaland Islands and threatened to fight. League decided Finland got them and war was averted. SUCCESS.
Corfu: 1923 an Italian general given the job of sorting the Greek/Albanian border was killed in Greece. Mussolini was furious and on 29 august demanded Greek government to pay compensation and execute the murderers. 31 august Mussolini occupied Corfu and killed 15 people. The L of N acted quickly suggesting Greece paid compensation held by the L of N until the murdered were caught and condemned Mussolini’s actions. Officially this was accepted but behind the scenes the L of N’s ruling was changed so the Greeks had to Apologise and pay compensation straight to Italy. On 27 September Mussolini withdrew, boasting. FAILURE.
The Geneva Protocol: the Corfu incident indicated how the L of N could be undermined by it’s own members. In 1924 a protocol was written saying that countries had to ask for the League’s help in sorting disputes and that they would accept the League’s ruling. Before it could be put into place British gov. changed and the new gov. wouldn’t sign thinking they’d be made to do something not in their own interests.
Bulgaria: 1925 Greek troops invaded Bulgaria after an incident where some Greek soldiers were killed. L of N condemned Greek action ordering Greece to pull out and pay compensation. Greek obeyed not wanting the disapproval of the larger states but it seemed there was one rule for the larger states and another for the smaller ones.
Why was the L of N good?
There was equality within the assembly, the work of the Commissions; it provided a world wide perspective.