The Aims of the 'Big Three'
After the end of the war, the allies met at the Palace of Versailles to agree the terms of the formal treaties that would end the war. The Allies made separate treaty for each defeated nation. These were agreed and signed at different dates.
The treaty of Versailles dealt with Germany and was signed in June 1919. But there was one problem, each of the winning nations had a different view on *** Germany should be dealt with.
Germany had no say in what the Terms would be. Later on, the germans were to argue that as they had no say in the terms, they were not bound to accept it, they believed it was DIKTAT.
The big three frequently disagreed, often strongly. However, they all had to make compromises to come to any agreement at all.
President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points
The Fourteen Points
In January 1918, President Wilson of the USA had proposed Fourteen Points, which he said were the key to fair peace.
The main points were :
- A ban on secret treaties and agreements
- A reduction in arms
- countries could not claim colonies without consulting other countries and the local inhabitants
- self determination (the right of nations to rule themselves) for countries which were once part of the Ottoman or Habsburg Empires. He also said an independent Poland should be created.
What did the Big Three Want?
- George Clemenceau
- France had suffered terribly during the war, as much of the fighting had taken place in France. Huge amounts of farmland had been destroyed and about 2,000,000 French soldiers had been killed or wounded. Clemenceau wanted to get revenge and to pay masses of reparations to help repair all of the damage. Wanted its land back. Wanted to break germany down. Wanted to create a buffer just in case they decided to invade again.
- David Lloyd George
- Wanted Germany punished. He had just won the General Election and did not want to loose the support of the British people that wanted revenge. He promised to 'make Germany pay'.
- But he also saw Wilson's points, and did not want to anger Germany too much, as he also needed Germany for trade.
What did the Big Three Want? (Continued)
The United States of America
- Woodrow Wilson
- Wanted to build a peaceful world, and he did not want to have to rescue Europe from war ever again. He believed Germany should be punished, but wanted to focus the treaty on improving international relations and preventing the outbreak of another war.
- His major aim was to establish the League of Nations, to work on peace and for all countries to agree to disarm.