HIS 1110 – Lecture 5
Peace Settlement of 1919
Treaty of Versailles
War was over, great hope for the future
A transition to a new era would be made in peace, smooth and full of hope
- Unfortunately, bitterness arose
- People were thinking in ideal terms
- They considered that they should put an end to aberrance and the spirit of
- They should give self determination to those who are oppressed
- Should organize a League of Nations
The President of the USA, Wilson, played a giant role in all of this
- He made statements to that effect
- He realized that it was Americas entry that gave the Allies the victory
- He stated that America had no selfish ends to serve, no imperial ambitions, it
had no conquests (didn’t want territory), no domination, no indemnities for
themselves (don’t want anything from the people the conquered), no
material compensation for their sacrifice, and that America would champion
the rights of mankind.
- He brought about 14 points which were the guide to others
- These 14 points should be followed
1. Opened covenants (treaties), that there should be no secret treaties. He said
that the world should have an open work. There should not be any secrets
that the nations are not aware of.
2. The absolute freedom of the sea in peace and war. (One reason why US got
into WWI) The sea belongs to no one, it is international and nations of the
world have the right to sail on the sea.
3. The removal, as far as possible, of all economic barriers (free trade) as much
as is possible.
4. A reduction of national armaments. This is in the spirit of bringing down
5. The impartial adjustment of all colonial claims. They should be divided
6. To secure Russia’s old political development. (Because the Boshlavik’s had
7. The restoration of Belgium’s neutrality
8. To free all French territories and return Alsace-Lorraine to France
9. Re-adjustment of the frontiers of Italy along lines of nationality
10.The peoples of A-H are to be accorded an opportunity of autonomous
11.Romania, Serbia and Montenegro were to be restored as independent states.
(All were occupied by the German’s at that point) 12.Portions of the Ottoman-Empire (mainly Turkey) were to be assured a secure
sovereignty, while other nationalities under Turkish rule would be allowed
13.An independent Polish state free and secure with access to the sea should be
brought back to Europe.
14.A general association of nations was to be created. (Mainly the League of
These 14 points were a guideline to the powers of the Treaty of Versailles.
There were 3 leading figures at Versailles
American President, Woodrow Wilson
French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau
British Prime Minister, David Lloyd-George
The question here was; who would come to Versailles? Who would be allowed to
come discuss these matters? Were they going to have a just peace? Would the
people of Versailles bring about a just peace? Would they define war guilt and
punish Keizer Wilhelm II and his supporters for crimes against humanity? Would we
abolish secret treaties (Sykes-Picot)? What will we do with the German colonies?
Wilson, leaving the USA by boat, went over to Paris, and made a statement that the
war of 1914-18 would be the “war to end all wars.”
A humorist commenting on this statement said, “At Versailles, we will have a peace to
The Versailles Treaty
- First meeting took place on January 19, 1919.
- It was to end June 28, 1919. (Note, the Archduke was assassinated on June
- In defiance of diplomatic usage, the 4 defeated nations (Germany, Turkey, A-
H and Bulgaria), were excluded. (Note: A-H had been split in two at this
time). The lesser Allies also didn’t play a significant role (Belgium and
- The real masters of Versailles were the Big Four: Britain, France, America,
and Italian Orlando.
- Form January-May, they worked on the treaty. The