The Treaty of Versailles

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After the fighting stopped, there was a peace conference in Paris to rebuild Europe. It began in January 1919. Britain, France and the USA dominated the conference.

The Germans assumed that a 14-point plan (see above) by President Woodrow Wilson of the USA would form the basis of the peace treaty. This plan seemed fair to people across Europe. The Germans were not invited to contribute to the negotiations and the actual treaty was dictated to them. Unfortunately for the Germans, Britain and more especially France wanted to punish Germany; this was a key aim of the treaty signed on 28 June 1919.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles (see above) dictated by the Allies, Germany had to accept responsibility for the war. This gave the Allies the right to confiscate German land, and to make huge cuts in the German army, navy and air force. The Allies also demanded large amounts of money as compensation; this was called ‘Reparations’.

Within Germany the harsh terms of the treaty caused huge unrest. The politicians who signed it were later called the ‘November criminals’. Unfortunately there was no alternative to signing the treaty. Germany had to accept the terms dictated by the victorious Allies.

  • President Woodrow Wilson's 14 point peace plan