Key issue: how did the treaty of Versailles establish peace? a) The Paris peace conference
The war against Germany ended with an armistice on 11th November 1918. The war had been a disaster for Europe. Millions of soldiers on both sides had been injured. Large areas of France and Belgium had been destroyed. Even the victorious powers were almost bankrupt from the cost of waging war for four years.
The leaders of the victorious countries met in Paris in 1919 to try to settle the issues raised by war. One of the biggest issues was how to stop a war like the Great War from happening again. However, when the peace conference met in January 1919 it was soon obvious that a settlement would be difficult to reach as the different leaders had conflicting views on what the peace treaty should do. France: Georges Clemenceau
France demanded the harshest terms at the conference. The French public wanted revenge on Germany. Most of the war had been fought on French soil and the industry and agriculture of the north-west had been virtually ruined. Clemenceau himself had seen France twice invaded by Germany in his lifetime, in 1870 and 1914. His main aim was to gain security for France. He aimed to do this by keeping Germany weak. He demanded German disbarment, the return of Alsace Lorraine and payments from Germany for the cost of the damage to France (reparations). Britain: David Lloyd George
Lloyd George had become prime minister in 1916 he won a convincing victory in the general election of 1918 on his promises to “hang the Kaiser” and “make Germany pay”. The British public and press demanded harsh treatment of Germany. However, Lloyd George himself didn’t share these views. His main aims were to preserve the supremacy of the British navy and prevent too harsh settlement. He feared that, if punished too heavily, German people would never accept the treaty and may even turn to communism. Lloyd George also hoped for a...