Paris Peace Conference National WWI Museum and Memorial

Wilson opposed Italian territorial demands, as well as previously existing arrangements regarding territory between the other Allies; instead, he wanted to create a new world order along the lines of his Fourteen Points. The other leaders saw Wilson as too naive and idealistic, and his principles were difficult to translate into policy. Lloyd George, on the other hand, saw the rebuilding of Germany as a priority in order to reestablish the nation as a strong trading partner for Great Britain. For his part, Orlando wanted to expand Italy’s influence and shape it into a major power that could hold its own alongside the other great nations. Until Wilson’s arrival in Europe in December 1918, no sitting American president had ever visited the continent.[41] Wilson’s 1918 Fourteen Points had helped win many hearts and minds as the war ended, not only in America but all over Europe, including Germany, as well as its allies in and the former subjects of the Ottoman Empire.

  1. The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, five years to the day after a Serbian nationalist’s bullet ended the life of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and sparked the beginning of World War I. In the decades to come, anger and resentment of the treaty and its authors festered in Germany.
  2. Woodrow Wilson (28 December 1856 – 3 February 1924) was elected President of the United States based on domestic issues in 1912, and re-elected in 1916.
  3. In the talks on the format of the future United Nations organisation, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a post-war council, labelled the Four Policemen, expected to guarantee world peace, comprising China, Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  4. In addition to assuring postwar peace, Great Britain, France, and Italy wanted to punish Germany for, in their view, starting the war.

As the conference’s decisions were enacted unilaterally and largely on the whims of the Big Four, Paris was effectively the center of a world government during the conference, which deliberated over and implemented the sweeping changes to the political geography of Europe. Most famously, the Treaty of Versailles itself weakened the German military and placed full blame for the war and costly reparations on Germany’s shoulders, and the later humiliation and resentment in Germany is often sometimes considered by historians to be one of the direct causes of Nazi Party’s electoral successes and one of the indirect causes of World War II. The League of Nations proved controversial in the United States since critics said it subverted the powers of the US Congress to declare war; the US Senate did not ratify any of the peace treaties and so the United States never joined the League. Instead, the 1921–1923 Harding administration concluded new treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary.

The Middle East was broken up among the British and French, who created mandates without regard to various religious sects. Britain and France were able to use the oil resources of the new territories. By coming back with concessions from Germany as well as the right to govern more areas, George and Clemenceau could return to their respective constituencies and claim that they had won the war and the war itself was a worthwhile cause. Wilson acquiesced on punishing Germany and allowing the victorious powers to grab more territory since he believed that this was the only way to get his League of Nations passed.

The conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, especially those imposed on Germany, led to increasing political and territorial conflict in the 1920s and 1930s, eventually leading to the outbreak of World War II. In order to address these territorial ambitions, Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations formed a mandate system that distributed former territories and colonies among the major powers, allowing them to oversee and essentially control the territories until they were deemed «fit» to govern themselves. Wilson opposed mandates for the US and instead wanted the League of Nations as a whole to administer former German colonies until they were ready for self-government.

The Allied Powers refused to recognize the new Bolshevik Government and thus did not invite its representatives to the Peace Conference. The Allies were angered by the Bolshevik decision to repudiate Russia’s outstanding financial debts to the Allies and to publish the texts of secret agreements between the Allies concerning the postwar period. The Allies also excluded the defeated Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria). The term Big Four Conference may refer to one of several conferences between heads of state or foreign ministers of the victorious nations after World War I (1914–18) or during and after World War II (1939–45). The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, five years to the day after a Serbian nationalist’s bullet ended the life of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and sparked the beginning of World War I. In the decades to come, anger and resentment of the treaty and its authors festered in Germany. Extremists like Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) Party capitalized on these emotions to gain power, a process that led almost directly to the exact thing Wilson and the other negotiators in Paris in 1919 had wanted to prevent—a second, equally devastating global war.

Sign up for Inside History

Clemenceau wanted to make sure that Germany would not be a threat to France in the future, and he was not persuaded by Wilson’s idealism. Lloyd George favoured creating a balance of powers but was adamant that Germany pay reparations. In the years following the Treaty of Versailles, many ordinary Germans believed they had been betrayed by the “November Criminals,” those leaders who signed the treaty and formed the post-war government. Germans were furious about the treaty, seeing it as a diktat, or dictated peace; they bitterly resented the sole blame of war being placed at their feet.

Also on This Day in History January 12

Germany and the other defeated powers—Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey—were not represented at the Paris Peace Conference. Also absent was Russia, which had fought as one of the Allied powers until 1917, when, following the Russian Revolution, the country’s new Bolshevik government concluded a separate peace with Germany and withdrew from the conflict. Key recommendations were folded into the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, which had 15 chapters and 440 clauses, as well as treaties for the other defeated nations. The meetings that began January 12 also failed to include representatives from the smaller allies or any neutral countries, though at the wishes of Britain, Japan later joined the group, which became known as the Supreme Council. The Council met daily, sometimes two or three times a day, knowing that the eyes of the world were on them.

This delay was attributable chiefly to the British prime minister, David Lloyd George, who chose to have his mandate confirmed by a general election before entering into negotiations. Succeeding Paul Painlevé as premier in November 1917, Clemenceau formed a coalition cabinet in which he was also minister of war. He renewed the dispirited morale of France, persuaded the allies to agree to a unified command, and pushed the war vigorously until the final victory.

Leading the French delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, Clemenceau insisted on Germany’s disarmament and was never satisfied with the Versailles Treaty. He was the main antagonist of Woodrow Wilson, whose ideas he viewed as «too idealistic.»[2] For nearly the big 4 paris peace conference final year of World War One, he led France and was one of the major voices behind the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference (1919) in the aftermath of the war. Clemenceau was hoping that there would be more punishment put on Germany after they lost.

These four met in early 1919 in order to create a lasting peace and to appease their respective constituents back home. The United States, under the leadership of Woodrow Wilson, sought to create a more liberalized world order through his League of Nations and plans for self-determination and general disarmament. Clemenceau and George were stronger supporters of the League of Nations than Wilson’s own government back in the United States, but the goals of self-determination and general disarmament were seen by the other powers as too idealistic.

Chinese approach

Kaiser Wilhelm II and a number of other high-ranking German officials were to be tried as war criminals. Germans would grow to resent these harsh conditions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. Treaty negotiations were also weakened by the absence of other important nations. Russia had fought as one of the Allies until December 1917, when its new Bolshevik Government withdrew from the war.

Treaty of Versailles

The nation’s burden of reparations eventually topped 132 billion gold Reichsmarks, the equivalent of some $33 billion, a sum so great that no one expected Germany to be able to pay in full; in fact, economists like John Maynard Keynes predicted the European economy would collapse if it did. Prussian victory in that conflict had resulted in Germany’s unification and its seizure of Alsace and Lorraine provinces from France. In 1919, France and its prime minister, Georges Clemenceau, had not forgotten the humiliating loss and intended to avenge it in the new peace agreement. Wilson also proposed the founding of a “general association of nations” that would mediate international disputes and foster cooperation between different nations in the hopes of preventing war on such a large scale in the future.

55 Cold War thaw

Even after the general conference began on January 18—a day chosen to rankle the Germans, as it was the anniversary of the coronation of Kaiser Wilhelm I as ruler of a new, united Germany in 1871—the smaller group continued to meet separately to hash out the crucial questions of the peace settlement. Formally opened on January 18, 1919, the Paris Peace Conference was the international meeting that established the terms of peace after World War I. Peacemaking occurred in several stages, with the Council of Four, also known as the “Big Four”—Prime Ministers Lloyd George of Great Britain, Georges Clemenceau of France, Vittorio Orlando of Italy and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson—acting as the primary decision-makers for the first six months, and their foreign ministers and ambassadors overseeing the remainder of the conference. Leaders of the victorious Allied powers—France, Great Britain, the United States and Italy—would make most of the crucial decisions in Paris over the next six months.

They also needed to consider the demands of their own countries, who, in the case of Great Britain and France specifically, sought physical and material compensation for the losses they suffered during four years of war. Woodrow Wilson, French Premier Georges Clemenceau, and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando was a delegate but was shut out from the decision making. Wilson sought to create an egalitarian system that would prevent a conflagration similar to World War I from ever occurring again.

Compartir esta entrada

Scroll al inicio
Ir arriba
Ir al contenido