allied and associated leaders at the Paris Peace Conference Did the allied and associated leaders at the Paris Peace Conference develop a true peace treaty, or a politically distorted document...
Did the allied and associated leaders at the Paris Peace Conference develop a true peace treaty, or a politically distorted document likely to initiate future conflict? What role did Germany have at the gathering?
The French faction headed by Clemenceau wanted Germany smashed for revenge and brought to the point of such national weakness that starting another war would be impossible. England, headed by George, wanted Germany punished but so that reconciliation might be possible and so that German people might stand against the spread of communism instead of embrace it out of disillusionment. The U.S., headed by Wilson, wanted Europe reconciled and that to the point that the U.S. could stay out of European affairs. In some senses, the Treaty was a true peace treaty but was distorted by the cry for revenge and German impotence from European and English populace and from Clemenceau. Germany was not invited to the negotiations that were carried on between Clemenceau, George, Wilson, and Orlando of Italy.
The first part of your question has been well-answered. The second part, which asks what role Germany played at the Paris Peace Conference, is really part of the issue. The German delegation played no role in the conference until the demands of the Allied nations had been spelled out. The delegation found them unacceptable, and the chancellor resigned rather than accept the terms. A new government under Gustav Bauer, seeing little choice in the face of united opposition, signed the treaty. The army leaders, especially Hindenburg, rather duplicitously distanced themselves from the decision, and the myth that the Weimar government (under Bauer) had "stabbed the Army in the back" was born.
Historians in the future will see the first half of the 20th century as One Big War with a Twenty Year Truce. Clearly the seeds of World War II were sown at the conclusion of World War I. Had not the treaty destroyed Germany economically, which then contributed to the world-wide Depression several years later, maybe the Second Chapter could have been avoided.
There is no way in which the Paris Peace Conference could actually be described as working towards peace. All it did was give the victorious countries an opportunity to rub their victory in against their defeated enemies and create the seeds of discontent and shame that would sprout into the conflict of WWII.
They definitely developed a document that was likely to (and did) initiate future conflict. I suppose that it is fair to say that it was politically distorted because they major problem in the treaty was that it punished Germany harshly so as to satisfy the needs of the French and British.
The decision to punish Germany was one of the main reasons that the conflict did not get resolved. The punitive conditions made Germany's economy suffer even more than it would have already, paving the way for Hitler to take power and leading to World War II.