Treaty of Versailles

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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'.

The problem was the big three had different ideas about what the terms of the treaty should be.

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.

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.

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.

Picture ( Woodrow Wilson (USA) What did Wilson hope to achieve from the peace settlement of 1919–20?

  • Wilson did not want Germany treated harshly because he thought that if Germany was punished severely then, in the future, Germany would want revenge.
  • He wanted to strengthen democracy in the defeated nations so that its people would not let its leaders cause another war.
  • Wilson hoped that nations would co-operate to achieve world peace and in his 14th Point he proposed the setting up of an international body called the League of Nations.
  • Wilson believed in ‘self-determination’ and he wanted the different peoples of Eastern Europe to rule themselves rather than be part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Picture ( Lloyd George (Britain) What did Lloyd George want to achieve from the peace settlement of 1919–1920?

  • Lloyd George wanted to protect British interests by ending the threat to the Navy and Empire.
  • He had promised the British public to “squeeze the German lemon until the pips squeak”.
  • To ensure that France did not become too powerful.
  • Lloyd George did not want Germany treated too harshly because he wanted Germany as an important trading nation with Britain.
  • Lloyd George did not want Germany treated too harshly because it may lead to future problems domestically (communism) and internationally.

Picture ( Clemenceau (France) What did Clemenceau want to achieve from the peace settlement of 1919–20?

  • He wanted Germany to pay for the cost of the damage.
  • He wanted revenge on Germany for all the suffering.
  • He wanted revenge for the defeat in the


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