Were the Peace Treaties of 1919-23 fair?

History B OCR revision. Good luck everyone!

Focus Points

Keep these questions in mind when revising this topic (and do practise questions on them if you have time!).

- What were the motives and aims of the Big Three at Versailles?

- Why did all of the victors not get everything they wanted?

- What was the immediate impact of the peace treaty on Germany up to 1923?

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Treaty of Versailles

(You need to know all the key terms sorry!)

  • Germany hated article 231 the most (known as the 'War Guilt Clause') where it had to accept full responsibility for the war.
    • They wern't the only people involved in the war
    • It was sparked by a murder in Austria.
    • It's the only term you can't undo!
  • Britain in general was pleased at the high reparations (although Lloyd George feared it would cause Germany to seek revenge). They also liked the naval restrictions due to the Naval Race between Germany and Britain.
  • France liked the high reparations and all in all the treaty was very harsh (which is what they wanted) although they still wern't satisfied it was harsh enough. They liked that the Rhineland was demilitarised because this gave France some protection and they liked that Alsace Lorraine was returned to France.
  • USA got it's way that Germany wasn't allowed any submarines (this is how USA got involved in the war in the first place). Wilson had his idea of the league of natios enforced (although Germany couldn't join) and self-determination was imposed to some extent (such as Danzig which became a free country). However, many people were still under foreign rule such as the sudetenland full of Germans but owned by Czechoslovakia.
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Treaty of St. Germain

Dealt With: Austria

Date: 1919

  • Separated from Hungary
  • Army limited to 30 000 men.
  • New countries formed: Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
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Treaty of Neuilly

Dealt With: Bulgaria

Date: 1919

  • Treated quite leniently because they didn't have much to do with the war compared to other countries.
  • Army limited to 20 000 men.
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Treaty of Trianon

Dealt With: Hungary

Date: 1920

  • Lost land to Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
  • Was supposed to pay reparations but the economy was so unstable that it never did.
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Treaty of Sevres

Dealt With: Turkey

Date: 1920

  • Turkey was an important country because of its strategic position and large empire. Therefore it was the last treaty to be signed.
  • It lost some land: Syria and Smyrna
  • Had to formally accept that countries including Egypt, tunisia and Morocco were now independant or under British and French protection.
  • Turks were outraged, and protested by expelling the greeks from Smyrna. This led to the treaty of Lausanne which returned Smyrna to Turkey.
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Woodrow Wilson

Representing: USA

  • Wanted Just and Lasting peace - therefore relatively lenient treaty.
  • Pacifist
  • Drew up the 14 points
    • Free trade
    • Free access to the sea
    • Self Determination
    • League of Nations
  • Conflict with France who wanted the opposite.
  • People in the USA however, didn't approve of Wilson's idealistic veiws. They prefered isolationism, i.e. not getting involved.
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Representing: France

  • Wanted to punish Germany harshly.
    • Most of the fighting took place on French territory
    • Seen important industry destroyed
    • Millions killed
  • French people agreed with Clemenceau
  • Hoped to keep France safe by crippling Germany so they were too weak for revenge.
  • Nicknamed "the tiger".
  • Wanted lots of compensation.
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Lloyd George

Representing: Britain

  • Elected on his promise that germany would "be squeezed until the pips squeaked"
  • British people very resentful of Germans and wanted a harsh treaty.
  • Lloyd George however leaned more towards Wilson's way of thinking. He was worried about Germany seeking revenge.
  • He also wanted to continue trade with Germany. They were a key trading partner and this would also open new jobs for Britains.
  • Middle ground.
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The aftermath

The treaty of Versailles tipped Germany into chaos.

1. In response to the treaty, opponent to Erbert (leader of Germany) started a revolution called Kapp Putsch which led to a strike and later paralysed essential services in Germany. Ebert was saved but the situation of the Economy worsened.

2. 1922 Germany fell behind on reparations.

3. Under the Treaty of Versailles, France was justified in stroming the Ruhr (A key German industrial area) and taking the reparations in the form of goods. However, France was cruel in it's invasion and killed over 100 workers.

4. In response, the German government ordered a General Strike so there would be no goods for France to take. However, without goods Germany couldn't trade and there was no money to buy things with.

5. The government tried to solve the problem by printing more money but this led to hyperinflation!

The germans blamed their problems on the Treaty and France.

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Impact of the Other Treaties

New countries were created: Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia.

Czechoslovakia: Included many unhappy Germans in the Sudetenland. It's borders and position were strong however.

Poland: Hoped it would act as a "watchdog" on Germany. Was given the "polish corridor" so it had access to the sea - however it came out of German land who were very bitter about it.

Yogoslavia: Means "Land of the south Slavs". It was a wish for the southern Slav people to become independant that sparked the world war. It shows Self-Determination in action.

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