Treaty of versailles

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THE BIG THREE

In January 1919 delegates from 32 countries met in Paris to make peace after the First World War - the peace they hoped would 'end all wars'. The conference was dominated by David Lloyd George, Georges Clemençeau and Woodrow Wilson, the leaders of Britain, France and America, often known as the 'Big Three'.

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WHAT THEY EACH WANTED

Lloyd George saved the conference. On 25 March 1919, he persuaded Clemençeau to agree to the League of Nations and a more lenient peace treaty that would not destroy Germany. Then he went to Wilson and persuaded him to agree to the War Guilt Clause.

The Germans were shown the proposed Treaty of Versailles. There was no negotiation. The Germans published a rebuttal, arguing that the treaty was unfair, but they were ignored. On 28 June 1919, the delegates met at the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, and forced two Germans to sign the treaty

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THE TREATY AND ITS POINTS

The Germans had expected that the peace treaty would be based on President Wilson's Fourteen Points. The six key principles of the Fourteen Points were:

  1. Setting up a League of Nations
  2. Disarmament
  3. Self-determination for the people of Europe - the right to rule themselves
  4. Freedom for colonies
  5. Freedom of the seas
  6. Free trade
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WHAT DID THE BIG THREE WANT?

The conference was initially planned as a pre-meeting of the big three to decide what terms they were going to ask from Germany at an official peace conference, but the pre-meeting quickly became the meeting where the decisions were made.

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WILSONS AIMS

Wilson's aims:

  • To end war by creating a League of Nations based on his Fourteen Points.
  • To ensure Germany was not destroyed.
  • Not to blame Germany for the war - he hated the Guilt Clause.
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CLEAMENCEAU'S AIMS

Clemenceau's aims:

  • Revenge and to punish Germany.
  • To return Alsace-Lorraine to France.
  • No League of Nations.
  • An independent Rhineland.
  • Huge reparations.
  • To disband the German army so that Germany would never be strong enough to attack France again.
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GEORGE'S AIMS

Lloyd George:

  • A 'just' peace that would be tough enough to please the electors who wanted to 'make Germany pay', but would leave Germany strong enough to trade.
  • Land for Britain's empire.
  • To safeguard Britain's naval supremacy.
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GEORGE'S AIMS

Lloyd George:

  • A 'just' peace that would be tough enough to please the electors who wanted to 'make Germany pay', but would leave Germany strong enough to trade.
  • Land for Britain's empire.
  • To safeguard Britain's naval supremacy.
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