The Versailles Conference
- WW1 ends 11th November 1918, when Germany sign the Armistsice.
- Versailles Conference = January 1919.
- Germans forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles = 28th June 1919.
- Big Three = Georges Clemenceau (France), Woodrow Wilson (USA), and David Lloyd George (Britain).
- Clemenceau = revenge, punishment, 'make Germany pay' until it was too weak to attack France again (past invasions in 1871, and 1914).
- Woodrow Wilson = 14 points, world 'safe for democracy' - self determination, equal disarmament, a League of Nations.
- David Lloyd George = said he wanted to make Germany pay to keep public happy. Really wanted to protect the British Empire and trade, a lasting peace which wouldn't ruin Germany - he was a compromise.
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The Treaty of Versailles
- War Guilt - clause 231, Germany accept all blame for war, allows Allies to claim compensation.
- Military Restrictions - no submarines, tanks, aeroplanes or conscription, only 100,000 men in the army, 15,000 men in navy, 6 battleships, and Rhineland demilitarised.
- Reparations of £6.6 billion - decided in 1921 by Reparations Committee.
- Land lost - Alsace Lorraine to France, Memel to Lithuania, Eupen-Malmedy to Belgium, West Prussia and Upper Silesia to Poland. Danzig made a 'free city' under League of Nations control. Saar region under League's control and coal given to France for 15 years. German colonies became mandates, e.g. Togoland.
- League of Nations - Defeated powers can't be members until proved themselves peaceful.
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- Saint Germain - Austria 1919
- Neuilly - Bulgaria 1919
- Trianon - Hungary 1920
- Sevres - Turkey 1920, dismantles Turkish Empire.
- All countries lose land and have military restrictions.
- Nine new nations - Poland, Finland, Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.
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Reactions to the Treaty
- Furious, not consulted, dictated peace/'diktat'.
- Thought it would be based on 14 points, but based or armistice - much harsher.
- Saw as an attempt to destroy Germany.
- Kapp Putsch, March 1920 = rebellion against Treaty.
- Liked war guilt, disarmament to keep France safe, and getting Alsace Lorraine (rightfully French land).
- But thought reparations should have been harsher, and wanted Germany to be split up to make them weak.
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- Allies failed to enforce reparations
- March 1921 - French, British and Belgian troops invade the Ruhr, force Germany to agree to reparations.
- January 1923 - French and Belgian troops invade the Ruhr after Germany fail to pay repearations. Take coal and iron as payment, causes hyperinflation.
- April 1924 - Dawes Plan. USA loans, give Germany 800 million marks. Also gives Germany more time to pay reparations.
- June 1929 - Young Plan reduces reparations.
- 8th September 1926 - Germany admitted to League of Nations.
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The League of Nations
- First 26 points = Covenant, rules which every member promise to follow.
- Aims: stop war, uphold the Treaty of Versailles, organise disarmament, promote health and well-being.
- Methods: Collective security (act together), arbitration (act as referee), sanctions, e.g. stopping trade.
- Could raise an army with member's soldiers, but never did.
- Assembly - held once a year, decisions by unanimous vote.
- Council - met 4-5 times a year, 5 permanent members: Britain, France, Italy, Japan (Germany after 1936). Dealt with crises.
- Agencies - Court of International Justice, Health Committee/WHO, International Labour Organisation, Refugees Committee, Slavery Commission, and Mandates Commission.
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Successes of the League - 1920's
- 42 member countries at start, 60 by 1930's.
- Leading members were world powers.
- Aaland Islands 1921: arbitration. League said islands should belong to Finland, Sweden and Finland agree.
- Bulgaria 1925: moral condemnation. Greece invade Bulgaria, withdraw when Bulgaria appeal to the League.
- Kellogg-Briand Pact 1928: 60 countries agree to outlaw war.
- Other successes: 400,000 prisoners of war returned to homes, 1922 - League help Turkish referees. Helped stop leprosy, closed down drug companies in Switzerland, organised attacks on slave owners in Burma and Africa.
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Weaknesses of the League
- Unpopular as upholding the hated Treaty of Versailles.
- Secretariat (administration) was undermanned.
- Powers were 'moral' - powerful countries could ignore the League.
- Countries refuse to agree to sanctions as damage other countries, not just the one doing wrong.
- America and USSR (until 1934) were not members. Germany only a member 1926-33.
- Britain and France wouldn't use their armies.
- Economic depression causes unemployment - governments more concerned on own problems, not those of other countries. Some countries turn to dictators to help them out of problems, e.g. Mussolini - make work of the League difficult.
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Failures of the League (1)
- Corfu 1923 - Italian General Tellini murdered, Italy occupied Corfu. League ordered Mussolini to leave, but ignores League. League forced Greece to pay compensation to Italy.
- Disarmament 1931 - conference wrecked by Germany, who demand equality with other countries.
- Manchuria 1931 - Japan invade Manchuria. League send officials (Lytton Report, takes a year. Said that Japan ought to withdraw.) February 1933, Japan leave League. League could not agree to economic sanctions, so nothing was done.
- Abyssinia 1935 - Mussolini invades Abyssinia. League object, but are ignored. Hoare-Laval Plan, Britain and France secretly agree to give Italy Abyssinia. League impose sanctions on arms, rubber and metals but no bans on coal or oil (essential war materials). Nothing happens, Italy leave League.
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Failures of the League (2)
- 1933+ - Germany rearm.
- 1936- Hitlerreoccupies Rhineland.
- 1938 - German Anschluss with Austria.
- 1938 - Hitler given Sudetenland.
- 1939 - Hitler invades Poland.
- These failures killed the League - countries lost faith in the League, began to prepare for war instead.
- Hitler watched the League fail, knew he could get away with aggression, so the failure of the League was a cause of WW2.
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Hitler's Foreign Policy
- Foreign policy set out in Mein Kampf, 1924.
- Destroy the Treaty of Versailles.
- Defeat Communism.
- Gain Lebensraum (living space) in the East.
- Unite all ethnic Germans.
- Make Germany great again.
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How Hitler Broke the Treaty of Versailles
- Rearmament 1933+ - Built up army, navy and air force/Luftwaffe, secretly, then openly. Britain and France did nothing - Britain argued that the Treaty had been unfair.
- Rhineland 1936 - Re-militarised the Rhineland (supposed to be demilitarised under Treaty). Britain and France did nothing, said Hitler was 'marching into his own backyard.'
- Anchluss 1938 - Gets Austrian Nazis to make trouble, then invaded Austria. Gave people a plebiscite - 99% wanted to be part of Germany. Britain and France did nothing, vote showed that people were happy.
- Sudetenland 1938 - Got Sudetenland Nazis to cause trouble, threatened to invade. Chamberlain (Britain) gave Hitler Sudetenland at the Munich Conference.
- Czechoslovakia 1939 - Invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia. Britain promise to defend Poland.
- Poland 1939 - Got Danzig Nazis to cause trouble, made an alliance with USSR, agreeing to split up Poland, then invaded. Britain declare war.
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Appeasement - For
- Britain and France's policy - aim to satisfy Hitler's demands.
Arguments For Appeasement:
- Chamberlain feared another war would destroy civilisation.
- British people wanted peace, and Chamberlain listened.
- British public agreed with Hitler that the Treaty had been unfair.
- British people feared Communist Russia more than Germany.
- British people felt that events in Europe weren't Britain's business.
- Britain needed time to rearm if they wanted any change of winning a war. Munich gave them 1 year to rearm.
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Appeasement - Against
Arguments Against Appeasement:
- Made Chamberlain and Daladier look weak and spineless.
- Misjudged Hitler - thought he was a reasonable politician, but really, he was a ruthless dictator.
- Missed chances to stop Hitler - e.g. Rhineland 1936 - troops were told to retreat if faced by opposition.
- Tempted Hitler to go further and further.
- Appeasement ended the year after Munich - 1939.
- Invasion of Czech. showed Hitler could not be trusted, turned the British public against him.
- Also, attacks on Jews on Kristallnacht, Nov 1938 convinced British people that Nazis were evil. Churchill's speeches warned people about Hitler, and the need to stand up to him.
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- August 1939 - Hitler and Stalin make a pact - Hitler gave Stalin half of Poland to let him invade Poland. Gave Hitler the go-ahead.
- Stalin had originally asked Britain for an alliance against Hitler.
Didn't happen because...
- British feared Communism.
- Stalin did not trust Britain - thought he would end up fighting Hitler alone.
- Hitler moved quickly - sent Ribbentrop, a senior government minister.
- A shock as Stalin and Hitler hated each other.
- Stalin got half of Poland without fighting, and had more time to prepare for war with Germany (he knew war was inevitable, as Hitler wanted Lebensraum in the East - involved invading Russia.)
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