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  • Created on: 10-05-16 09:48

November 1918 Armistice

The German army had to surrender all equipment

The German Navy had to surrender all submarines and most ships

Establishment of a “neutral zone” on the banks of the River Rhine

Reparations would have to be paid

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November 1918 Significance

Germany had not actually lost the war, they had been forced to sign a harsh armistice because the country was in economic crisis


The Armistice made it clear that the Allies intended to weaken Germany and extract compensation from her

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The Paris Peace Conference

Originally intended to be a pre-conference meeting in January 1919

Turned into full peace talks “Paris Peace Conference”

Peace talks did not include Germany or the USSR


Germany denied any input – likely to be one-sided decisions

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Aims of the Paris Peacemakers

Woodrow Wilson the US President wanted self-determination for countries who wanted to rule themselves as one of the “Fourteen Points”, another was the development of a “League of Nations” to guarantee future peace

Wilson believed that Germany should be punished but not harshly, losing some territory but not being financially ruined

Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France, wanted to reclaim Alsace-Lorraine which had been lost to Germany in 1870, make Germany pay for French suffering in money and land and ensure French security on their border with Germany

David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of Britain, wanted to punish Germany but not so much that they would seek future revenge and wanted to protect Britain’s naval interests and trade with Germany

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Significance of the Peacemakers' Aims

The powers at Paris were unlikely to reach an agreement that satisfied them all

Both Lloyd George and Clemenceau were reacting to public pressure

Wilson’s position was easy in that the USA was not in Europe but he was making a lot of demands in his fourteen points

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The Treaty of Versailles

Signed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles where Germany had humiliated the French in a similar settlement in 1871

LAND – Germany lost land to France (Alsace-Lorraine), Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland. The Saar was to be controlled by the League of Nations for 15 years. All German colonies want to Britain and France until they could rule themselves. Germany was forbidden to unite with Austria. 10% of land, all overseas colonies, 16% of coalfields, 50% of its iron and steel industry and 12.5% of its population

ARMY – German army limited to 100,000 soldiers, conscription was banned, no tanks, submarines or military aircraft, only six battleships and the Rhineland was demilitarised on the east bank with an Allied army of occupation on the west bank for fifteen years

MONEY – the total compensation Germany had to pay was not fixed in the Treaty of Versailles but was set at £6.6 billion over 42 years in 1921

BLAME – Article 231 of the Treaty was known as The War Guilt Clause and forced Germany to accept responsibility for causing the war and for all of the damage caused through the war

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Treaty of Versailles Significance

The Treaty of Versailles stopped war from happening again immediately, was supported by 45 countries, reorganised the map in the wake of the collapse of old empires and drew up boundaries which we still recognise today

Germany were humiliated through the war guilt clause, left in real economic crisis by the loss of land and reparations, had to watch other countries rule over German speaking people and had no real security through the loss of armed forces and its lack of defences along the Rhine

Many Allied politicians viewed the terms as being overly harsh

Many Germans wanted revenge and hated the treaty

Right wing extremists in Germany, particularly Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, gained a lot of public support in the 1930s by attacking and promising to overturn the treaty

Overturning the treaty would involve aggressive military action and invasions

Italy and Japan did not feel as if they had been rewarded

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Strengths of the League of Nations

42 countries were original members and this rose to 59 in the early 1930s

Looked upon favourably when it was first set up – considered a good idea

Most of the world’s leading nations joined (Britain, France, Italy and Japan)

Defeated countries such as Germany were allowed to join in the 1920s

Every member country had signed a binding covenant or agreement

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Powers of the League of Nations

Could settle disputes by organising hearings in impartial, neutral countries; rulings by the International Court of Justice; an inquiry by the Council of the League of Nations

In the case of unresolved disputes the League could use moral persuasion from its member countries, imposing economic sanctions (refusing to trade) or using armed force by an army drawn from the member nations

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Weaknesses of the League of Nations

The structure of the League was very complicated – many branches had to involved in final decisions so the decision making process was very slow

The League relied too much on goodwill and moral persuasion (it had no permanent army) – being told off was not likely to stop a country from doing what it wanted

The USA (the world’s strongest nation) never joined, Germany and the Soviet Union only joined for a short time and Italy and Japan left

Countries continued to make treaties and deals outside of the League – the Washington Conference in 1921 and the Locarno Treaty in 1925

The Kellogg-Briand pact for world peace in 1929 was signed by 61 countries but again undermined the League as it was not involved

The League was unable to diminish wartime anger and resentment and the Disarmament Conference of 1932-34 failed because of this


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Weaknesses of the League significance

The League found solving disputes in a fair and decisive way incredibly difficult

The League had no real threat against powerful countries

If any country (not just members) decided not to punish a country then sanctions were useless (especially trade)

Britain and France were developing habits of solving issues without using the League

Britain and France were developing habits of acting in their own interests.

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Successes of the League of Nations

Solved political disputes quietly, Sweden and Finland in 1921 and Greece and Bulgaria in 1925

Closed down many slave trading operations in Africa and Burma

Closed down four big Swiss companies involved in the trade of illegal drugs

Solved economic problems in Austria and Hungary

International Labour Organisation persuaded many countries to adopt a 48 hour working week

Health Committee had success in reducing the impact of leprosy and malaria

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The Corfu Incident 1923

When an Italian general was killed in Greece while doing work for the League of Nations the fascist dictator of Italy, Mussolini, took the opportunity to invade the Greek Island of Corfu.

The Greeks asked the League for help. When the Council met it decided that the Italians should leave and that Greece should pay some money to the League.

Mussolini refused to accept the decision and the Italian army stayed in Corfu.

The League reversed its decision and told the Greeks they had to apologise to Mussolini and pay the money to Italy.

Mussolini accepted this and left Corfu


The League had still managed to solve the dispute without a war taking place

BUT the incident showed that the League was powerless to force a strong country to accept its decision and could be made to change its mind

PLUS - Mussolini now had experience of the League giving in to him...

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The Manchurian Crisis 1931-32

The stock market crash of 1929 meant Japan could not afford to import food

Japan was not a democracy and the army had a great deal of influence over the Emperor and his government

The Japanese army felt that the rest of the world looked down and Japan and tried to push it around (Washington Naval Agreement 1925)

Manchuria was a province of China that had the sort of raw materials that Japan lacked and China was a weak country in crisis caused by the warring warlords who dominated the country

Japan already had economic rights in Manchuria, had an army stationed in the south of the region to protect land gained from Russia in 1905 and owned the South Manchurian railway

When there was an explosion on the South Manchurian Railway in 1931 Japanese leaders claimed it was Chinese sabotage, took full control by defeating the Chinese Army and set up a puppet government under the previously deposed Chinese Emperor Pu Yi

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Manchurian Crisis Significance

The League was slow to respond, first instructing the Japanese to withdraw which was met with firmer Japanese control of Manchuria, then because the Lytton Report took until a full year after the original incident to be published

The Lytton report supported China and was supported by every member country of the League except Japan, who ignored the report, left the League in March 1933 and between 1933 and 1937 Japan took complete control of China

Japan leaving meant that the League no longer had the support of a world power

Japan had shown that the League could be ignored and that aggressive countries could get away with what they wanted – this not only damaged the League’s reputation but also led to other countries being encouraged to be aggressive

The incident had shown how slow an cumbersome was, the League had reached the right decision but had taken too long to do it, this made the league a laughing stock and unlikely to be taken seriously by aggressive countries in the future

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The Abyssinian Crisis 1935-36

Abyssinia (now known as Ethiopia) was one of only a few African countries not under European control, bordered by countries colonised by Italy and which had resisted an Italian invasion in 1896

The Italian Fascist Dictator, Benito Mussolini, wanted to avenge the defeat, gain access to valuable Abyssinian minerals and farm land and win prestige from a military victory

Britain and France thought that Mussolini was their best ally against an aggressive Germany and had signed a pact with Italy in 1935, this led Mussolini to hope that Britain and France, and therefore the League of Nations, would not get in his way in Abyssinia

After a confrontation on the border at Walwal between Italian and Abyssinian troops, Italy invaded and used tanks, planes and poison gas to defeat the Abyssinian army which consisted of infantry and cavalry (horseback soldiers)

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Abyssinia Part Two

The League seemed to have to act with economic sanctions, however although it banned arms sales to Italy, loans to Italy and imports from Italy, it did not ban sales of oil or coal to Italy, and the Suez Canal (owned by France and Britain) was not closed to Italy allowing Italian supplies to easily reach Abyssinia

In December 1935 the British Foreign Secretary (Samuel Hoare) and the French Prime Minister (Pierre Laval) prepared the Hoare-Laval Pact which would give Italy the best areas of Abyssinia and leave Abyssinia dry, mountainous terrain – the plan was leaked to the press and the pair were forced to resign

In May 1936 Italian troops took control of the Abyssinian capital Addis Ababa after Emperor Haile Selassie had fled to Switzerland

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Abyssinia Significance

Italy had shown other aggressive nations that they could do what they wanted and the League’s response would probably be fairly weak, this encouraged further aggression from Hitler’s Germany in the late 1930s

 The failure of Britain and France to stand up to Mussolini showed they were more worried about the threat of Hitler in Europe than worldwide collective security, as the main nations left in the League they had undermined its strength

 The incident convinced Britain and France that the League of Nations was not capable of protecting international peace and started to follow their own separate policies of international diplomacy, most notably appeasement


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