How did the Treaty of Versailles reflect the different personalities and agendas of the men in power at the end of World War I?
The main powers who determined the main conditions for the treaty included; Georges Clemenceau representing France, David Lloyd George representing Britain and President Woodrow Wilson representing America.
After Germany and the Central Allies defeat, France was interested in weakening Germany because the two countries shared a territorial boundary. Clemenceau pointed to the risky nature of the border region. Through the treaty, France achieved the unconditional demilitarization of the region and was promised support by the Allied Powers in case the agreement was breached in future. France also pushed for the steep reparation by Germany as compensation for the damage caused in her Northern territories and to appease the people of France.
Woodrow Wilson sought the reestablishment of a stronger union among the European nations to facilitate trade and development. He also pushed for future peace guarantees to be enforced by the establishment of the League of Nations. He abstained from supporting harsh conditions against Germany and viewed such moves as counterproductive. His Fourteen Points established earlier in the U.S., formed the basis of his recommendations for the Treaty.
Britain supported the reparations against Germany but was concerned with economic implications of such cash flows to the British and the larger European economy. Lloyd did not want to support the crippling of Germany, since dissent among the people would have lured them to communism. He also viewed Germany as a trade partner, since the two countries had worked together before, with Germany helping to create jobs in Britain.
The resulting treaty reflected opinions and wishes of the "Big three" and where they failed to agree they compromised.