Treaty of Versailles and League of Nations


Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations

The Big Three

America – Wilson

  • Idealist – believed the perfect solution could be found.

  • Had plans to make sure war never broke out again

  • January 1918 published 14 points

Some of his core beliefs

  • World peace à nations would have to co-operate.

  • Self-determination à  single national group had a right to rule themselves

Somewhere easy to put into action, others theory. Some of the points were

  • No secret treaties

  • Free access to sea and trade

  • Disarmament

  • League of Nations to be set up.

France – Clemenceau

  • November 1917 became president (in mid 70s)

  • Ensured that Germany would never inflict same damage

Had three main aims

  • Alsace-Lorraine returned to France

  • Germany must pay for suffering à money and land

  • Germany lose land on French border so France felt more secure.


Britain – Lloyd George

  • Experienced willy politician

  • Understood there would be comprises and peace talks


  • Wanted Germany punished but not severely like France, which went against most Brittish people.

  • Wanted to protect Naval Colonies so disagreed with free access to sea

  • Wanted to start trading with  Germany

Search for Agreement

  • Wilson à arrogant, irritable would only talk self-determination

  • Clemenceau à wanted revenge for suffering and destruction

  • Lloyd George à in the middle

March 1919 Wilson and Clemenceau at each other throats Lloyd George took control

  • Clemenceau agreed to League of Nations

  • Wilson agree War Guilt clause which led to reparations

Treaty of Versailles

Territorial Changes

Germany lost 10% of its land, 16% coalfield, 50% iron and steel industry all overseas colonies

  • Alsace-Lorraine à France

  • West Prussia, Posen & Upper Silesia à Poland

  • L of N à Saar for 15 years but France got the coalfields

  • Germany forbidden to unite with Austria


Military Restrictions

  • Army limited to 10,000 soldiers

  • Conscription was banned

  • No tanks, submarines, or aircrafts

  • 6 battleships

  • Rhineland demilitarised

  • Allies keep an army of occupation on the west bank for 15 years

War guilt and Reparations

War guilt clause 231 forced Germany to accept responsibility

  • Provided justification for Germanys punishment in peace settlement

  • 1921 reparations set 6.6 billion

  • Idea was Germany would pay certain amounts over 42 years.

League of Nations

  • Maintain international peace

  • Covenant was included beginning of treaty

  • Role was to ensure treaty was carried out


  • Signed by 45 countries

  • Recognised map of the world in which three major empires (Russia, Turkish and Austrian-Hungarian) had collapsed

  • Genuine attempt create war free world


  • Deeply unpopular French general wanted Rhineland independent country

  • Japan and Italy didn’t feel rewarded sufficiently enough

  • American delegates tried to persuade Congress to reject it

  • Britain though too harsh, damage world trade. Lloyd George predict another war.

Anger in Germany

  • Didn’t believe lost just signed armistice expected talk

  • Weren’t at Paris Peace Conference à Diktat (dictated peace)

  • 1914 Germany wasn’t a democracy – Kaiser Wilhelm II fled the country

  • Allies should support democracy (Weimer Republic)

  • ‘stabbed in the back’ by November Criminals who agreed end fighting in 1918

German view


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