The Terms of the Paris Peace Settlements

The Five Treatiesbold text (Maya, Lucy, Gabbie, Laura, Matthew)
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• Paris Peace Settlements—Treaty of Versailles (most well known and dealt with Germany specifically), St. Germain, Trianon, Neuilly, and Sevres/Lausanne.

• Each treaty incorporated the Covenant of the League of Nations.

• Treaty of Versailles- between Germany and Allied and Associated Powers. Focal point of conference. Contained 440 clauses (including the Covenant of the League of Nations).

• Terms of treaty divided into categories: economic, military, and territorial.

• Terms based on war guilt clause (number 231).
-This statement justified all concessions, limitations and restrictions Germany was forced to make/accept.

The issues arising from the terms of the Paris peace settlements

• The defeated countries and Russia did not attend the conference, so their side was never discussed. All decisions were made by the Council of Four: US, UK, France, and Italy.

• The major powers’ aims were often contradictory and hostile, so there was a lot of compromising—leading to a not so perfect document.

• It is often argued that the Treaty of Versailles was too nice that it didn’t fully cripple Germany, but it was mean enough to prevent reconciliation. So it was perfect for making Germany mad and wanting revenge as soon as she was back on her feet.

Germany’s Reaction:
• reaction based on their hopes and expectations that the treaty would follow the idealistic trend of the Fourteen Points

• resented the treaty, especially the war guilt clause
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• resented the fact that they had been given no opportunity to discuss the terms of the treaty and were forced to sign it

• humiliating – Germany felt that it should have been treated with more consideration
-Germany was specifically unhappy with Wilson. They felt as though he betrayed his ideals of self determination.

• objected to the reparations payments, territorial losses, denial of the principle of self-determination (which had been a pillar of Wilson’s Fourteen Points, but was not applied to Germany)

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• embitterment enhanced by the fact that Germany did not believe it had been defeated —- it defeated Russia, was not invaded or conquered, and had troops occupying France and Belgium.

• the war guilt clause implied that Germany was completely responsible even though the war began in the Balkans with nationalist conflicts and Austria-Hungarian Empire

• banishment from the League of Nations added insult to injury

• treaty caused problems for future German governments, but each group attempted to find ways for Germany to avoid the burdens and restrictions of the treaty

• created negative sentiments among the German people which would lead to individuals taking action to fix the problems caused by the treaty, such as Hitler and Stresemann

Debate over Treaty in Allied countries:
-Debate over whether or not it was too harsh or lenient

-Some felt disillusioned about the treaty not bringing about a new, peaceful world order

-Disagreement led to decreased cooperation which caused the failure of the treaty

-John Maynard Keynes argued that the Treaty was merely based on revenge and that it would weaken the European economy as a whole

-Keynes said it was a Carthaginian Peace-an extremely harsh treatment of a defeated power designed to permanently eliminate them as a future threat.

– changed the views of many people in Britain, including Prime Minister David Lloyd George (exemplified by his Fontainebleu Memorandum in March 1919).

Reaction of the United States :

-U.S. Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles it because of Article X, the League of Nations covenant – the loss of support of the Treaty by the U.S. undermined the authority and power of the League of Nations, decreasing its success

-Article X (collective security clause) would nullify US sovereignty

-Followed US isolationism

The effects of the terms on Germany:

• Hard to determine the extent of Germany’s short term problems: severe and economic problems, but to what extent?

• Many of the problems would’ve occurred as a result of the collapse of empires regardless of the treaty.
- Ottoman Empire
-Austro-Hungarian Empire
-Czarist Empire

• Germany was actually stronger after the war than before it. The new states created along Germany’s eastern border were weak and would not be able to hold back Germany’s expansion tendencies because of unhappy minority groups and internal dissension. Germany was eager to fill the power vacuum created by the break up of Austria-Hungary.

•With the Austria-Hungarian Empire gone, Germany would be able to control small, discontent nationalist nations

The Treaty of Rapallo of 1922:
- A treaty between Germany and the USSR for matuual assistance that allowed the Germans to develop weapons in violation of the Versailles Treaty. This treaty was a direct result of Russia and Germany’s exclusion from European politics. As an “outlaw,” Germany was encouraged to seek any means possible to evade the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles.

-Germany and Russia had nothing to lose by going against the Treaty of Versailles

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