You are on page 1of 3

The Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles is one of the key events in Modern history, as it


was one of the causes of the Second World War. The sole purpose of the
Conference was to prevent another war like the ‘Great War’ from
occurring, but instead it was one of the causes of another global conflict.

Who?
There were three countries present at the conference that would decide
Germany’s fate. They were all from the ‘allied powers’ and no ‘axis
powers’ were present. The countries present were Great Britain, France
and the United States of America. Each country had a representative;
Britain’s was David Lloyd George, France’s was Georges Clemenceau and
representing the U.S was Woodrow Wilson. Each
representative had different views on what
should be done but they all had to agree in the
end. David Lloyd George had two views on what
should happen to the Germans. His public view
was that the Germans should be punished
severely for their war crimes. However he also
had a private view; he believed that the threat of
communism from the east was a much bigger threat than from a defeated
Germany. He believed that Germany were in the direct firing line if the
communists tried to spread throughout Europe, so he wanted Germany to
be able to halt the communists advance should it ever occur. Clemenceau
of France had one simple belief; he thought that Germany should be
completely flattened because of the atrocities they had committed and
the damage and devastation they had done to his country. But, Woodrow
Wilson (U.S) did not want Germany to be completely destroyed as there
were many German Immigrants in the States. He also wanted to reduce
America’s input into Europe and wanted it to work on its own devices.
Therefore he wanted a peaceful ending that would not anger anyone.

What?
The whole point of the Treaty of Versailles was to try and stop this type of
conflict from ever happening again. Also it was to decide what punishment
Germany deserved after they had reduced a lot of Europe to rubble. There
were a number of territorial losses, military restrictions, financial
punishments and general terms.

German Territorial Losses:


• Alsace Lorraine given to France
• Eupen & Malmedy given to Belgium
• Northern Schleswig given to Denmark
• Hultschin given to Czechoslovakia
• West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia given
to Poland
• The Saar, Danzig and Memel were put under
the control of The League Of Nations
Military Restrictions:
• No air force
• No Tanks
• No more than 100,000 Infantry
• No submarines
• Only 6 naval ships
Financial Punishments:

The Germans had to pay a colossal amount of money for the financial
penalties that were enforced; a massive £6600 million was what the allies
wanted from the Germans.

General:

• The German’s had to accept full responsibility for the war and the
damages it had caused.
• A League of Nations was set up to try and keep world peace.

When?

The Treaty of Versailles occurred after the First World War had come to a
close; it was eventually signed on June 28th 1919. This was after months of
arguing between the three countries involved on what should happen to
the German’s.

Where?

The Treaty was signed in Versailles Palace, near Paris. This venue was
chosen simply because of its sheer size. The famous Hall of Mirrors could
accommodate hundreds of people.

Why?

The conflict of World War I had completely and utterly destroyed Europe.
The casualty count for each of the fighting countries was absolutely
colossal and had never been seen before in the history of all conflicts:
Britain – 750,000 men killed; 1,500,000 injured
France – 1,400,000 soldiers killed; 2,500,000 wounded
U.S.A – 116,000 soldiers killed

Therefore the Allied powers needed someone to blame for this unthinkable
loss of life. They chose the defeated Germans.
But it was not just the high casualty count that made the allies angry, the
country of France and Belgium; where the battles were mainly fought,
were completely devastated. The whole infrastructure of Ypres in Belgium
was shattered and the whole area could not function properly. Another
reason that the Allies were in no mood to be merciful towards the
defeated nations, was the fact that Spanish flu had jus swept through
Europe and had killed an estimated 25 million.

The treaty was designed to try and stop another conflict of this scale from
happening again, and to make the allied countries feel better about the
war by punishing the Germans.