TOPIC 1-WERE THE PARIS PEACE TREATIES (1919-23) FAIR?
The big three (Woodrow Wilson-USA) (David Lloyd George-Britain) (George Clemenceau-France) arrived at the Paris Peace Conference in January to draw up a treaty for Germany.
Britain and France felt strongly that Germany was responsible of World War One and felt that they should be punished. They felt that Germany should pay for the damage and destruction; with the exception of America, the allies were exhausted, their economies were in bad state and they lost millions of their soldiers (Britain and France had lost around nine million soldiers) and villages in Belgium and France were destroyed.
A reason why the allies felt that the Germans should be punished was because of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk 1918. It had stripped huge amounts of land and 25 per cent of the Russian population. The allies saw this as proof that Germany had evil ambitions and Germany would have done that to Britain and France if they had won the war.
AIMS OF LEADERS AT PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE (T OF V)
George Clemenceau (FRANCE):
France had suffered dreadfully throughout World War One. Millions of soldiers were killed (two thirds had perished and this had affected an entire generation). Land, industry, people and even self-confidence had been damaged. Since Germany bordered with France and that they still had an army, Germany were still capable of invading. The French had seen them as burdens. As by comparison, they were more powerful and threatening.
Clemenceau had seen his country invaded by the Germans and he wanted to make sure that this would never happen again. He was a harsh and uncompromising prime minister.
Clemenceau wanted a treaty as harsh as possible to the Germans, to make sure that the problems and chaos would never happen again.
Woodrow Wilson (United States of America):
Wilson was seen as an idealist. He believed that Germany should be given a treaty and so punished. However he didn’t want them punished too harshly as he had feared that the Germans would seek revenge and regain power.
Wilson believed that Germany giving up years of The Kaiser royalty and having democracy instead would solve the problems of causing another war.
Wilson felt that countries should have their own independence rather than others and so in other words, no empires (self-determination).
Wilson believed in setting up the league of nations, to set world negotiation peaces. This was part of the 14 points:
THE FOURTEEN POINTS
1. No secret treaties
2. Free access to the seas in peacetime or war