END OF SECOND WORLD WAR (WW11 1918)
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 Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson, the leaders of Britain, France and America, often known as the 'Big Three'.
Negotiations were difficult. Each of the Big Three wanted such different things, that by March 1919 it looked as though the conference was going to break up. Lloyd George saved the conference. On 25 March 1919, he issued the Fontainebleau Memorandum, and persuaded Clemenceau 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.
EXPECTATIONS OF THE TREATY
The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was greeted with great joy. The people of Europe wanted lasting peace, and also to make Germany pay for the damage done, and revenge.
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
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
The Big Three expected to base the peace treaty on the terms of the armistice, which were much harsher:
1. German army disbanded, and Germany to give up its navy.
2. Allied troops to occupy the Rhineland.
3. Reparation for damage done and war losses
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
TERMS OF THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES
The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919 and consisted of 440 Articles setting out the terms for Germany's punishment. The treaty was greeted with shock and disbelief in Germany.
ARTICLE NUM. DESCRIPTION
26: The Covenant of the League of Nations - Germany was not allowed to join.
42: The Rhineland was demilitarised - the German army…