Notes on Peace Treaties after WWI

Dates to remember:

• 1870- Alsace Lorraine taken from France
• WW1- 1914-1918
• 1917- Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (Germany took advantage of treaty and took over Brest-Litovsk)
• 1917- when USA joined the war
• 1919- Treaty of Versailles, Treaty of St Germain, Treaty of Neuilly
• 1920- Treaty of Sevres, Treaty of Trianon


• Britain was the most powerful nation – many colonies, largest navy, overseas trade
• Germany threatened Britain’s position – second largest naval fleet, colonization, trade
• TRIPLE ENTENTE: Britain, Russia, France
• TRIPLE ALLIANCE: Germany, Austria/Hungary, Italy

What caused WW1?

1. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Serbia by the Slavs
2. Austria questioned Serbia and served an ultimatum
3. Russia comes to the rescue of the Slavs (common ethnicity)
4. Britain and France are bound by the Triple Entente to help Russia
5. Austria is backed by Germany and Italy

End of the War

• Armistice: laying down of arms in 1918
• The Big Three:
1. Woodrow Wilson – USA
2. Georges Clemenceau – France
3. David Lloyd George – Britain

What did they want?

Woodrow Wilson:

1. not a very harsh treaty (feared that revenge would lead to another war)
2. cooperation amongst allies to achieve world peace
3. democracy for Germany
4. set up the proposed League of Nations
5. self-determination for the people of eastern Europe


1. revenge for Alsace Lorraine
2. compensation for enormous damage suffered
3. harsh treaty
4. break up Germany into smaller states
5. cripple Germany’s military to avoid another war

Lloyd George:

1. not a very harsh treaty (feared that revenge would lead to another war)
2. reduce Germany’s naval strength
3. take away Germany’s overseas colonies
4. help German industry (biggest trade partner)

What were the compromises?

Wilson got self-determination for the countries of eastern Europe by giving in to Clemenceau’s demand for demilitarisation of the Rhineland and claim over the coalfields in the Saar

Lloyd George got access to Germany’s overseas colonies (mandates under Britain’s supervision) and reduction in Germany’s naval strength by accepting Wilson’s second point in the Fourteen Point Programme – free access to the seas

Clemenceau got reparations and Alsace-Lorraine in return by agreeing to self-determination for the countries of eastern Europe.

The Treaty of Versailles (5 main terms)

1. War Guilt clause: Germany had to take complete responsibility and blame for causing the war. HUMILIATION
2. Reparation clause: 6,600,000,000 pounds
3. Demilitarization:
a) demilitarization of the Rhineland
b) only 6 battleships allowed
c) no armored vehicles, submarines or aircraft
d) conscription banned
e) army: 100,000
4. All overseas territories and colonies taken away and kept as ‘mandates’ under the supervision of Britain and France in the League of Nations
5. The League of Nations to be created as a body of world countries coming together to solve problems.

Blow to German economy: Germany lost

• 10 % of land
• All overseas colonies
• 12.5% of its population
• 16% coal
• 48% iron and steel industries

Opposition to the democratic government:

Right Wing Opposition

• Kaiser’s Supporters
• Preferred Dictatorship/ Autocracy
• Took Pride In Military Strength
• Favoured Territorial Expansion
• Proud Of German Industry

Left Wing Opposition

– Left Wingers – Communists
– Led By Luxemburg And Liebnecht
– Inspired By Bolsheviks (Extremists)
– Against Democracy
– Believed In Setting Up Workers Councils/Soviets

Impact on Germany

• REACTION: outrage- Germany sank six of their battleships

• Kapp Putsch:
Led By Wolfgang Kapp
5000 Freikorps Went To Berlin
Army Refused To Fire On Freikorps
Situation Saved By Berlin Workers Who Went On Strike
No Transport, Water Supply Or Power
Putsch Was Failure

• Hyper-inflation:
Lack Of Production Resulted In Drop In Currency Value
Ruhr= No Goods= No Trade= Devaluation Of Currency= Governments Prints Worthless Money
Government Pays Up To 2200 Million In Reparation
Industrialists Pay Off Their Debts
More Money But Less Goods = High Prices = Worthless Money
Less Supply, More Demand

The Ruhr
• Installment Of 50 Million Paid In 1921 But Not In 1922 (Reparations)
• France Had War Debts To Clear
• France And Belgium Troops Invaded The Industrial Area- They Claimed Goods And Raw Materials
• Ebert Orders Passive Resistance (Strike)
• French Expels 100,000 Workers And Kills 100+

The Big Three back home:

• Clemenceau was voted out of his position as the French believed he hadn’t been harsh enough to Germany
• Lloyd George was given a hero’s welcome, however he thought the treaty was ‘a great pity’ and predicted that another war would arise due to it
• Woodrow Wilson was unhappy with the treaty; he said that if he were a German he wouldn’t have signed it. The American Congress disapproved of it.

Treaty of St Germain – 1919
• Separated Austria from Hungary
• Austria’s territories were divided:
-Bohemia and Moravia to Czechoslovakia
-Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia to Yugoslavia
• Austria forbidden to work with Germany (Anschluss broken)
• Restriction of armed forces: only 30,000, demilitarization
• Loss of industrial zones to Czechoslovakia

Treaty of Neuilly – 1919
• Lost land to Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia
• Lost access to the Mediterranean
• Limit armed forces to 20,000
• Pay 100 million pounds in reparations
Many Bulgarians were governed by foreign powers by 1920

Treaty of Trianon – 1920
• Transferring of territories:
Transylvania went to Romania
Slovakia, Ruthenia went to Czechoslovakia
Slovenia, Croatia went to Yugoslavia
• Lost population to other states (3million) and raw materials too
• Due to pay reparations but the economy was so weak they never did pay

Treaty of Sevres – 1920
DEALT WITH TURKEY (strategic position +size of empire)
• Transferring of territories:
Smyrna went to Greece
Syria became a mandate under French control
• Lost control of straits running into the Black Sea
• Lost control over Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco (became either independent or were under British/French control)
UNSUCCESSFUL TREATY: Mustafa Kemal led nationalists and drove Greeks out of Smyrna. Resulted in the TREATY OF LAUSANNE (1923) that returned Smyrna to Turkey

Impact of treaties on Eastern/Central Europe
• Czechoslovakia:
Weakness: Carved out of old Austrian Empire with land from Germany= scope for revenge
Weakness: Included wide range of nationalities
Strength: Industrial areas from former empires
• Yugoslavia:
Weakness: carved out of Serbia and old Austria Hungary Empire
Weakness: Balkan state with Russian interest
• Poland:
Strength: had the support of allies, act as guard-dog/ BUFFER STATE
Strength: had support of allies to be a barrier against Russia
Strength: Independent country
Strength: Western frontiers settled with Germany
Weakness: Mixed ethnicities
Weakness: Poland given German land around Danzig= Germany would want it back
Weakness: Eastern frontier not properly/entirely agreed on

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