Treaty of Versailles (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Treaty of Versailles ends World War I, but its provisions lay the foundation for another world conflict within a generation.
Summary of Event
The Treaty of Versailles was the first and most important of the several peace treaties concluded at the Peace Conference of Paris in 1919. Not only did it formally assert the defeat of Germany in World War I, but as the basis of the peace settlement the Treaty of Versailles also represented the attempt of the victorious powers to regulate the new international order which had emerged in Europe as a result of the outcome of World War I. This new international order was the product of the most far-reaching political and social changes that had taken place in modern European history. Chief among these was the disappearance or imminent collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Russian, Austrian, and German empires, and their ruling dynasties.
In Russia, Romanov rule collapsed in the Russian Revolution of 1917, followed after a brief interlude by the Bolshevik seizure of power in November and the breakup of the czarist presence in Eastern Europe. As the war drew to a close late in 1918, Austria-Hungary virtually disappeared from the map of Europe. Germany, meanwhile, faced the prospect of extensive territorial losses along its western and eastern frontiers to a victorious France and a revived Polish state, respectively. The collapse of Ottoman rule in...
(The entire section is 2471 words.)
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Treaty of Versailles (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Establishing a fragile basis for European peace, the League of Nations becomes the first global collective security organization, presaging the United Nations.
Summary of Event
While World War I had been raging in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson had begun to articulate the hopes of many people in the United States for a liberal peace. He believed that the victors could not indulge themselves in the luxury of vengeance: Only a just and merciful settlement could ensure a lasting peace. In early 1917, three months before the United States entered the conflict, Wilson called for a “peace without victory,” with no indemnities and annexations to sow the seeds of future wars. Wilson sought more than a just settlement; he wanted to create a new, rational, international order. On January 8, 1918, addressing a joint session of Congress, he outlined his famous Fourteen Points. The first five applied to all nations: open diplomacy, freedom of the seas, removal of barriers to free trade, arms reductions, and impartial adjustments of colonial claims. The next eight revolved around the principle of national self-determination, listing the French, Belgian, and Russian territory that Germany must evacuate and promising autonomy to the subject nationalities of Eastern Europe. The capstone was Wilson’s fourteenth point: the creation of an international League of Nations. Wilson envisioned, above all, the United...
(The entire section is 1539 words.)
Treaty of Versailles (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Treaty of Versailles was the agreement negotiated during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 that ended WORLD WAR I and imposed disarmament, reparations, and territorial changes on the defeated Germany. The treaty also established the LEAGUE OF NATIONS, an international organization dedicated to resolving world conflicts peacefully. The treaty has been criticized for its harsh treatment of Germany, which many historians believe contributed to the rise of Nazism and ADOLF HITLER in the 1930s.
President WOODROW WILSON played an important role in ending the hostilities and convening a peace conference. When the United States entered the war in January 1917, Wilson intended to use U.S. influence to end the long cycle of peace and war in Europe and create an international peace organization. On January 8, 1918, he delivered an address to Congress that named Fourteen Points to be used as the guide for a peace settlement. Nine of the points covered new territorial consignments, while the other five were of a general nature. In October 1918 Germany asked Wilson to arrange both a general ARMISTICE based on the Fourteen Points and a conference to begin peace negotiations. On November 11 the armistice was concluded.
The Paris Peace Conference began in January 1919. The conference was dominated by David Lloyd George of Great Britain,...
(The entire section is 795 words.)