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Paris Peace Treaties

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IGCSE History

The End of World War One

The End of World War One

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As the First World War drew to a close, Allied forces swept out Imperial German forces accross the European continent. Four years of brutal warfare had left Europe exhausted and in ruins. Battle-weary troops pushed on into Germany and by October 1918 it was clear that the Germans had lost.

The damage caused was terrible. Europe - formerly the powerhouse of intellectual thinking and economic progress - had been reduced to a ration-taking ruin. The once-mighty empires of Russia, Austria-Hungary and Turkey were now rotting corpses; the Tsar lay dead, Turkey a backwater whilst the Habsburg's would pay for their alleigance to Kaiser Wilhelm.

Economically, things were even worse. Yes, there had been real progress made in the development of weapons and machinary, but this was no consulation for the fact that an estimated 35 million people had died worldwide (either from direct war or disease).

Germany lost 15% of her adult population. 6 million Central powers soldiers had died; 4 million Allies. Meanwhile millions of refugees lay displaced accross Europe, carrying sickness and diseases with them as they went home. The Flu killed 50 million people alone.

It was a war to change life as we knew it. Britain and France's colonieis - so vital in the war effort - now began to think about independence, whilst the lack of working men had led to a boom in working women. Women now did industrial work and began pushing for the vote too. The heirarchical structure of society began to break.

Before all of this could be sorted out though, a peace solution was needed and quickly. Never mind death, disease and disorder - what should be done with Germany and her allies?

It was a war to change life as we knew it. Britain and France's colonieis - so vital in the war effort - now began to think about independence, whilst the lack of working men had led to a boom in working women. Women now did industrial work and began pushing for the vote too. The heirarchical structure of society began to break.

Before all of this could be sorted out though, a peace solution was needed and quickly. Never mind death, disease and disorder - what should be done with Germany and her allies?

 

The Big Three

IGCSE history Treaty of Versailles Photo: Susie B, @www.freedigitalphotos.net

The Big Three

The victorious nations that decided what to do with Germany and the conquered countries, met at Versailles in Paris. Initially this was Britain (under Lloyd-George), France (under Clemenceau), USA (under Wilson) and Itlay (under Vitti). However, Italy soon stormed out, leaving just three dominant members - known as 'The Big Three'. They gathered at the Palace of Versailles

 

The Aims of the Big Three and how they viewed one another

IGCSE History ClemenceauIGCSE History Lloyd GeorgeIGCSE History Woodraw Wilson

 

France:

Who is this Wil-son? What does he know about Europe?

  • He has no idea that we lost 2/3 of our agriculture! The Americans never felt the harsh reality of war.
  • His country is jealous of our empires and talks of this 'self-independence'! Pah! It is just an excuse to stick the knife in deeper
  • Both of these buffoons want Germany to be strong, I'm sure of it. So that they can control La France.

Lloyd-Georges! He is just:

  • Looking out for Britain's empire - he wants to ruin ours! We should be getting more mandates from Germany!
  • He has not felt the effects of Germany's continuous wars like us - remember 1871?! We need to totally destroy Germany
  • My Prime Minister - Poincare - claims we should divide Germany! I agree.

As for what France wants, it is simple:

  • Revenge for all previous German attacks
  • Compensation for ALL industry lost and land burnt
  • The humiliation of Germany and her inability to start another costly war
    Germany's colonies.
  • I think it is obvious why my nickname is 'Le Tigre'
USA:

Clemenceau is unbelievable. He is rude, talks over everyone and insists on his way.

  • If he gets his way then the whole world will be ruled by France.
  • He does not understand that ruin brings revenge

I can do business with L-G. He's a bit stuffy but we get on OK.

  • He agrees with me about trade - Germany should be our business partner
  • He won't agree about nations ruling themselves; I think he thinks Germany's loss is Britain's gain... for colonies

It's hard to tell Empire-based countries that self-independence and freedom of the seas is crucial to world peace. They don't listen.

  • I've come up with 14 points that all men should accept, but some call me a 'pipe dreamer'
  • My own Senate is refusing to back me which is very embarrassing, especially as I am getting weaker and a bit ill.
  • I've inveted a 'League of Nations'... that should work though
Britain:

The French: quick to anger and slow to reason

  • Clemenceau just sees us as traditional colonial rivals and thinks we're trying to steal from him!
  • Trying to reason with France is important as we do a lot of trade with her people.
  • Clemenceau is from an older generation that does not see the crucial nature of trade in bringing world peace.

Ah Wilson, such a dreamer. The problem with him is he thinks the whole world is rosy.

  • Self indepdendence?! No way. We have an empire upon which the sun never sets!
  • A league of nations could be a useful way of controlling our restless colonies though...
  • He understands the need for trade

Personally I'm having all sorts of problems: I promised the British public I would 'hang the Kaiser' and 'squeeze him til the pips squeeked' ... but I know that a successful Treaty must be based on her ability to Trade. Only then will we both get out of the economic horrors of this war. However, she should still pay... in some form.

The Treaties

The Treaty of Versailles

The Kaiser had fled. The first question the victors had to answer was: Who would represent Germany at the peace talks, scheduled for the Palace of Verailles, France (see picture to the right). Specifically it was signed in the Hall of Mirrors (see second picture below).

In the end, they chose the simple answer: No-one would represent Germany. Instead, the Big 3 (Lloyd-George, Clemenceau and Wilson) took to deciding post-war Europe pretty much single handedly. Their terms for Germany's surrendor became known as 'The Treaty of Versailles' and are outlined below. Hover over to see more.

Territory

Germany lost: Alsace-Lorraine to France, Rhineland was to be demilitarized, ‘The Polish Corridor’ (West Prussia and Posen) to Poland, the port of Danzig to the LON, Upper Silesia to Poland, North Schleswig to Denmark, forbidden Anschluss, all colonies as ‘mandates’ to the League of Nations. All in all it lost 10% of land, 12.5% of its population, 16% of coalfields and almost 50% of steel industry.

Military

Army was limited to 100 000 men, conscription was banned (soldiers had to be volunteers), Germany was not allowed any tanks, submarines or aircraft, navy was allowed 6 battleships, the Rhineland became demilitarized (no troops allowed in)

Reparations

Article 231: Germany was to accept all blame for starting the war or risk partition

Reparations: Germany had to pay £6.6billion – this was designed to be paid up until 1984! Taken in the form of valuable coal and iron ore resources.

LON

The League of Nations was established, as Point Number 14 of Wilson’s ‘14 points’. Germany was not invited until it proved itself to be peaceful. For more information on this topic see Unit 2.

The Treaty was signed by the new German government - the Weimar Republic - led by Ebert. National outrage followed in Germany but there was little they could really do. From here on, they were supposed to sit back and let the allies help themselves to German resources.

The negotiations did not go smoothly though. The Big 3 had very different ideas about what they wanted. The Treaty was anything but harmonious.

 

 

 

 

 

The Other Treaties

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IGCSE history turkeyAll flags courtesy of creativedoxfoto, @ freedigitialphotos.net

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How they felt

Hungary: Treaty of Trianon

* Lost swathes of land to Romania, Yugosloavia and Czechoslovakia
* Thousands of ethnic Hungarians lived outside their homeland as the border was redrawn with neighbouring powers
* It lost 60% of its population
* Lost all trading routes via the Med; real loss of income
* Popular phrase for the Treaty in Hungary was 'No, No, Never!
* Very humiliating considering its former size and influence
* Breaking up the Hapsburg Empire meant a loss of markets and trade restrictions
* They never could afford to pay back the reparations
* Italy felt it did not get enough land in Hungary!

Austria: Treaty of St Germain

* The Hapsburg Empire had fallen and was ordered to be dismantled
* Bohemia and Moravia were given away to newly formed Czechoslovakia
* Yugoslavia could would have Bosnia and Herzegovinia
*Humiliated by being denied union with Germany.
* Felt hard done by as they lost land to 5 countries
* Lost a lot of their economic industrial land to ally-friendly Czechoslovakia

Turkey: Treaty of Sevres

* The Ottoman Empire had fallen after hundreds of years
* All colonies were stripped and given away e.g. Syria and Palestine
*Had to totally disarm
* Lost land to its neighbour and rival, Greece.
* Split the country into civil war as they refused to sign it.
* Mustafa Kemal renegotiated the whole treaty in 1923 Treaty of Laussane!
* Reclaimed Anatolia at this meeting
* Muslim factions disdained Western occupation in the region
* Turks resented Western insistence that all financial matters go through them first!

Bulgaria: Treaty of Neuilley

* Had to toally disarm
* Ordered to pay $100m reparations
* Lost land to neighbours such as Yugoslavia, Greece and Romania
* Lost access to the seas

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