International Relations The Treaty of Versailles

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Clemenceau's aims:

  • Revenge and to punish Germany.

  • To return Alsace-Lorraine to France.

  • No League of Nations.

  • An independent Rhineland.

  • Huge reparations.

  • To disband the German army so that Germany would never be strong enough to attack France again.

Lloyd George:

  • A 'just' peace that would be tough enough to please the electors who wanted to 'make Germany pay', but would leave Germany strong enough to trade.

  • Land for Britain's empire.

  • To safeguard Britain's naval supremacy.

Opinions of Versailles


The Germans hated everything about the treaty:

  1. They were angry that they had not been allowed to negotiate.

  2. 'Deutsche Zeitung', a German newspaper, vowed: "We will never stop until we win back what we deserve."

  3. Count Brockdorff-Rantzau, leader of the German delegation at Versailles said Article 231- the war-guilt clause - was: "a lie". Germany officially denied the war-guilt clause in 1927.

  4. There was a revolution (the Kapp Putsch) against the treaty in Berlin in 1920.

  5. Germany hated reparations. It had to be made to pay in 1921, defaulted in 1923 and eventually Hitler refused to pay altogether.

Britain gained some German colonies and the German navy was destroyed but:

  1. Lloyd George thought the treaty was too harsh, saying: "We shall have to fight another war again in 25 years time."

  2. The British diplomat Harold Nicolson called it: "neither just nor wise" and the people who made it: "stupid".

  3. The economist John Maynard Keynes prophesied that reparations would ruin the economy of Europe.

France got Alsace-Lorraine, German colonies, harsh reparations and a tiny German army but:

  1. Many French people wanted an independent, not a demilitarised, Rhineland.

  2. Most French people did not think the League of Nations would protect them against Germany.


Woodrow Wilson got the League of Nations, and new nation-states were set up in Eastern Europe but:

  1. Wilson thought the treaty was far too harsh.

  2. Self-determination proved impossible to implement - Yugoslavia for example did not survive as a united country, and Czechoslovakia was annexed in stages by the Nazis in 1938 and 1939.

  3. Many Americans did not want to get involved in Europe, and in 1920 the American Senate refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, or join the League of Nations.

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