Setting up the League of Nations

  • Paris Peace conference
  • The big 3
  • The Treaty of Versailles (and it's effect on Germany)
  • Other treaties
  • Introduction to the League of nations.

Big Three

Unhappy with the treaty :( BECAUSE they were too different.


  • Nickname = Tiger
  • Harsh

Lloyd George:

  • Elected on promises to punish Germany
  • Realist


  • Pacifist
  • Wanted to Keep peace
  • 14 points
  • Ill through lots of the conference - oh dear.

Their ideals were often opposites

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14 Points

You might be asked a factual question on the 14 points - learn at least four of them.

  • Disarmament
  • Self-Determination
  • Set up the league of Nations
  • NO secret treaties.
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Paris Peace Conference

You might be asked about the aims at the Paris Peace Conference.

  • Reward the winning countries
  • Cripple Germany (so they were too weak to start another war)
  • Punish Germany (i.e. revenge)
  • Establish just and lasting peace
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Treaty of Versailles.

This was a treaty dealing with Germany.

  • Peace (1 point)
  • Disarmament (5 points)
  • Compensation (1 point)
  • Guilt (1 point)
  • Loss of Territory (7 points)

Unfortunately, you need to know the terms of the treaty, but if you divide them into sections (see above) then it's much easier than you would think.

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  • Accept full responsibility for the war.

The "war guilt clause", also known as "article 231" was very unpopular in Germany. This was because, once they had accepted responsibility then it couldn't be undone (whereas territory could be reclaimed etc..)

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  • 6, 600 million + interest. Could be payed in goods such as coal.

This is an especially important point to learn because it crops in in lots of places, Germany never fully pays the reparations.

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  • 6 small battleships, 6 cruisers, 12 destroyers. No submarines (because this was how America got involved in the war)
  • No tanks or heavy guns
  • 100 000 men only - no conscription
  • Rhineland became a demilitarised zone, occupied by allied troops for 15 years
  • Anschluss with Austria forbidden.
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  • League of Nations was set up.

Only one point for this, so that's easy! But you will need to know about the League of Nations in detail if you're studying the interwar period.

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  • German colonies take to be ruled as mandates (e.g. Togoland and Cameroon were ruled by Britain and France)
  • Danzig became a free city,
  • Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (taken by Germany in the treaty of Brest-Litovsk) became independent states
  • Alsace Lorraine returned to France
  • Polish corridor gave Poland access to the sea.
  • Eupen and Malmedy given to Belgium
  • Schleswig and Upper Silesia had a plebiscite
  • Saar land given to France. Plebiscite after 15 years.
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Germany's reactions to the treaty

  • At first the Germans Refused to sign, but they faced certain defeat.
  • Those who signed it were later labelled "the November criminals" by Hitler, and accused them of not having Germany's best interests in mind, only their own self-interest.
  • Germans particularly disliked: The 14 points, The loss of German territories (some of it was important industrial areas such as the Saar), Disarmament (to such a huge degree, especially compared to other countries), The war guilt clause and the reparations. They nicknamed the treaty "Diktat" meaning dictated peace.
  • Germans were so unhappy that the treaty was followed shortly by "Kapp-Putsch" - a 'coup d'etat' (a rebellion against the government). Added to chaos and bitterness towards the treaty
  • 1923: French invaded the German Ruhr when they were behind on the reparation to fetch the value in goods- allowed in the treaty. The government ordered a strike so there would be no goods to take, this was quite a dumb idea. It led to a drastic downturn in the economy. The government though it would print more money, another rubbish plan. It led to hyperinflation (where money is worth barely anything because there is so much of it around.
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Other Peace Treaties

Note that the treaty of Versailles dealt only with Germany. There were other treaties established after the war to deal with other countries. You need to know the names of these and try and remember a few key details about each one.

  • Treaty of St. Germain
  • Treaty of Neuilly
  • Treaty of Trianon
  • Treaty of Sèvres
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St. Germain

  • 1919
  • Army --> 30 000
  • Dealt with Austria
  • Led to severe economic problems
  • Italy wanted to receive more land
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  • 1919
  • Not very severe
  • Dealt with Bulgaria
  • Result: Many Bulgarians governed by foreign powers.
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  • 1920
  • Transfer of territories
  • Dealt with Hungary
  • To weak an economy to pay back the agreed reparations
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  • 1920
  • Dealt with Turkey
  • Controversial - the Turks were outraged
    • Large empire
    • Strategic position.

Remember,two of the peace treaties were in 1919, two were in 1920.

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Aims of the League of Nations

The league of nations had 4 main aims (ideal for a 4 mark question huh?):

  • Encourage nations to disarm
  • Encourage cooperation between countries, especially in business and trade.
  • To discourage aggression from all nations
  • To improve living and working conditions in all parts of the world.

Don't get mixed up between the encourage aims and the discourage aims.

Bear in mind these aims when evaluating how successful the league was.

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  • Initially there were 42 countries, 1930s there were 59 countries
  • Britain and France were the key countries
    • They had other priorities
    • Weakened after WWI
    • Britain more concerned with rebuilding trade and looking after the empire.
    • France were worried Germany would invade again. It didn't think Britain would help them so were prepared to bypass the league.
  • At first 2 countries were not allowed to join
    • Germany because of the treaty of Versailles.
    • USSR (Russia) because other countries didn't want to support communism.
  • Also it was Woodrow Wilson's idea, the USA never joined. Unfortunately, it was the only nation with the influence and resources to make the league a success.
    • German immigrants didn't want to be part of enforcing the treaty of Versailles that they considered too harsh.
    • USA wanted to stay out of petty disputes, risking soldiers
    • Many were anti-british or anti-french. Didn't want to be under their control or help safeguard their colonies (because they didn't believe in empires)
    • Business leaders didn't want to join because they thought they would have to pay to solve all the world's problems. They believed the USA was rich due to isolationism.
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Strengths of the league

Try to be specific as you can.

  • Organised: There were 5 different sections each with a different job, e.g. the assembly which was the league's parliament.
  • Lots of members: There were 42 members initially and this increased to 59 by the 1930s.
  • Popular and well supported: Especially collective security, because each nation had greatly suffered because of the war.
  • United the nation
  • Had experts in each area.
  • Very fair: Decisions had to be unanimous and there was the court of Justice.
  • Had aspects dedicated to achieving all of its aims.
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Weaknesses of the League

  • VETO --> meant people who were biased could overrule decisions
  • No USA
  • Many members were weak after the war
  • Didn't have their own army.
  • Didn't have much control in enforcing rules
  • Everything had to be unanimous, which meant it was slow to make decisions
  • Met fairly irregularly (Council met 5 times a year and for emergencies)
  • Weakens membership by excluding some countries.

Overall: WEAK.

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