Versailles Essay

1508 words - 6 pages

The Treaty of Versailles - 28th June 1919IntroductionBy 1918 Germany was being defeated in most areas of the war. German people were hungry, war weary and demanded peace. The German government eventually asked for an armistice, and at the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, cease-fire began.The problem of peace remained. Many people hoped that a peace settlement would prevent war from happening again, President Woodrow Wilson thought that he had the answer to all Europe's problems. He stated his views in 'Fourteen Points'.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Wilson's Fourteen PointsOn January 8th, 1918, Wilson outlined his peace proposals to the American Congress. These became known as the 'Fourteen Points' and 'Four principles'.On November 5th, 1918, Wilson sent a note to the Germans. The Germans agreed to an armistice and expected a peace settlement to be based upon the Fourteen points.Of the fourteen points these were the most important:There were to be no secret treaties between powers like the treaties that had helped to cause the First World War. (Open Diplomacy)Seas should be free in peace and in war to ships of all nations (Freedom of Navigation)The barriers to trade between countries such as custom duties should be removed (free trade)All countries should reduce their armed forces to the lowest possible levels (Multilateral disarmament.)The national groups in Europe should, wherever possible, be given their independence. Wilson supported the idea of National Self-Determination, whereby a nation had the right to self-government.Russia should be allowed to operate whatever government it wanted.Territorial changes:Germany should give up Alsace-Lorraine and any lands taken away during the war.The Italian frontier should be readjusted.Belgium should be evacuated.Poland should be given an outlet to the sea.The defeated nations should not be made to pay for the war as a whole.A 'League of Nations' should be formed to protect world peace in the future.Most of the points are very general: not all of them stated specific changes. Britain and France looked upon the points as being too impractical, they thought that Wilson was hoping far too much. France and Britain had used much of their wealth on the war, and France had suffered two German invasions (1870 & 1914). France wanted to ensure that no third attack would ever take place, and wanted Germany to be reduced to a minor European State.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Paris Peace ConferenceThe terms for peace were discussed in Paris from 18th January 1919 until June.The conference was attended by thirty-two states, but the major powers dominated the conference, Japan, Italy (represented by Orlando), France (represented by Georges Clemenceau), Britain (represented by Lloyd George) and the USA (represented by Wilson) were considered to be the major powers. Major decisions were made by Britain,...

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