A Plan for Peace


After the Allies win the war, they made a harsh peace settlement. However by this peace settlement, many countries felt betrayed.
The countries which felt betrayed helped cause World War ll.

Allies Negotiate (1919)

external image image?id=71448&rendTypeId=4World War I has ended. Europe is "broken" and devastated. World leaders must gather to negotiate peace; the victorious Allied Powers and the defeated Central Powers had much to settle.

The Palace of Versailles in France was now being used for a different purpose. There, the Allied Powers of WW1 held the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, which was after World War I; delegates from 32 countries participated. The major decisions were made by the Big Four, however: Woodrow Wilson (U.S.), Georges Clemenceau (France), David Lloyd George (Great Britain), and Vittorio Orlando (Italy). Russia and Germany did not participate in these talks. To the right is a picture of the Big Four.

(Right) Big Four Picture (left to right) David George (GB), Vittorio Orlando (Italy), Georges Clemenceau (FR), Woodrow Wilson (U.S.)

Woodrow Wilson proposes the Fourteen Points (1918)

external image woodrow-wilson.jpg

While the war was still going on, Woodrow Wilson proposed the Fourteen Points prior to the Paris Peace Conference. It had 14 key ideas that Wilson thought were very critical to maintain peace.

This is a brief overview of the 14 points:
  1. End Secret Treaties
  2. Freedom of the seas
  3. Free trade
  4. Reduce national armies
  5. Fairness to colonial people
6-13. Changing borders, creating new nations, and promoting self-determination, allowing the people to decide their own government.
14. An association of nations that would negotiate solutions to world conflicts

To the right, is Woodrow Wilson. Photo (right) Source

Treaty of Versailles (1919)

Britain and France were not satisfied with Wilson's Fourteen Points. They were very concerned with national security, and Woodrow's plan. It did not consider national security. France, Britain, and the U.S. were arguing at the Paris Peace Conference on how to reach peace. Woodrow simply wanted to set new rules and boundaries. On the other hand, France and Britain wanted to take away Germany's power and punish the Germans for ruining France. These countries compromised in the Treaty of Versailles[ver-sye]. Germany and the Allied powers signed to this treaty on June 28, 1919. Watch the below video to learn more about the Treaty of Versailles.

(above) The video has actual scenes from the Paris Peace Conference and discusses how the countries compromised. "Treaty of Versailles" video source

The Treaty of Versailles accepted President Wilson’s 14th point by creating the League of Nations. It was an international association that aimed for peace among nations. Its executive council consisted of the five Allied powers—U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan; the General Assembly included 32 representatives from Allied and neutral nations; it intentionally left out Germany and Russia.

Germany's Punishment and its Reaction

The treaty, first of all, took away a lot of Germany's territory. Alsace-Lorraine (territory between France and Germany) was given back to France, and all of Germany's colonies that were in Africa and in the Pacific were surrendered. The Allies also limited its military activities severely by reducing the army size and by preventing trade or production of war material. Moreover, it put the blame on Germany for the war and imposed a huge amount of reparations ($33 billion over 30 years) on them. The Allies negotiated four other separate treaties with the other defeated nations—Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire in 1919 and 1920.

Germany was left to face many economic problems after the Treaty of Versailles. The following table shows Germany's punishments following WW1.
from school textbook:
Territorial Losses
Military Restrictions
War Guilt
  • Germany returns Alsace-Lorraine to France; French border extended to the west bank of the Rhine River
  • Germany surrenders all of its overseas colonies in Africa and the Pacific
  • Limits set on the size of the German army
  • Germany prohibited from importing or manufacturing weapons or war material
  • Germany forbidden to build or buy submarines or have an air force
  • Sole responsibility for the war placed on Germany’s shoulders
  • Germany forced to pay $33 billion in reparations over 30 years

New nations

In 1919-1920, the Allies also negotiated different treaties with the other defeated nations like Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman
Empire. The Central Powers lost huge amounts of land. The Austria-Hungarian Empire was divided into new independent nations: Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. The Ottoman Empire was reduced to only Turkey. The British took control of Palestine, Iraq, and Transjordan. France took control of Syria and Lebanon. Russia lost huge amounts of their territory as well. It had to give up part of its land to Romania and Poland, and had to allow Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to become independent nations.external image Europe-before_afterWWI.gif
The above map shows the new nations of Europe, and Mediterranean after the Treaty of Versailles. Look at the caption above.
Map Source

Broken treaties

Overall: After the Allies win the war, they made a harsh peace settlement. However by this peace settlement, many countries felt betrayed.
After all, the Treaty of Versailles was only a part for a lasting peace among ally countries. One thing for sure is that the United States was now considered the most important and influential after the war. However, they rejected to sign the treaty. Many Americans went against President Wilson’s League of Nations. Americans thought that it was better to stay out of the European affairs. Though the U.S. refused the Treaty of Versailles, after few years they made a separate treaty with Germany. Other countries excluding US and Germany felt betrayed and excluded from the peace settlements since when they asked for the Treaty of Versailles, U.S rejected. . Especially throughout Africa and Asia, people in territories administered by a country on behalf of the League of Nation were angry how the Allies ignored their desire for independence. European Imperialism still carried out through out Asia and Africa disguised as Mandate system which were systems to administer German and the Ottoman empires. Some other powers such as Japan and Italy whom joined to gain territory were on the other hand losing territories due to the war which was a waste of technology and people. At the same time lacking the support from the Unites States, the League of Nations had no rights to complain about anything that was going on. Settlements at the Versailles represented “a peace built on quicksand.” Why? Because within little more than two decades, soon the peace broke out and again another war stroke following new leaders for a power vacuum.

The system established after World War I to administer former territories of the German and Ottoman empires.

A quick overview: Ultimately, the Treaty of Versailles did not make the peace last long for many reasons:
  • The United States refused the treaty, because they thought Europeans needed to solve their own problems. Instead, the U.S. arranged a separate treaty with Germany and its allies.
  • Also, the Germans felt resentful about the fact that they were blamed for the war.
  • The mandated countries in Africa and Asia complained that they couldn't be independent from the Allies.
  • Japan and Italy were very disappointed because they did not gain any land from these plans.

As a result, the peace settlements of the Treaty of Versailles became ineffective and caused, about two decades later, the second
world war to break out.

The Devastation of WW1

This video shows real footages of World War I, and how much devastation and disasters happened during this time. We can imagine how much terror the people would have felt during this war.

As you can see, many of the European countries were involved and many were affected. video source
The Great War caused so much death and destruction;
- about 8.5 million soldiers died
- 21 million soldiers were wounded
- many civilians died of famine, illness and slaughter.
- farmlands, homes, villages and towns were destroyed. As farmlands were destroyed, Germany was in shortage of copper, rubber for agriculture, and minerals for steel production.
- Since the war started in 1917, more than nine million combatants died, including more than half of the French men aged 20~32 years old.
- In Germany, the children's health deteriorated. Diseases like Tuberculosis and anemia slowly spread as well.

Impact on the Economy

The War also greatly affected the economy in Europe. The total cost of the war for one account was $338 billion, which was a huge amount of money in that period.
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Graph Source
The graph above shows the billions of dollars that were spent in each country. As you can see a huge amount of money was spent during this war! Germany seems to have spent the most amount of money.

Devastating impact on the Western Society

World War I also left a great impact on the Western Society. So many people were disillusioned and many suffered the impact of the Great War. Their despair and terror were shown through paintings, poems and literature of that time.
'The Lost Generation' describes the time that American writers traveled to Europe cosmopolitan countries, like London, to find freedom in literature.

Anna Akhmatova wrote a poem in 1919, which conveyed the disillusionment of the people, and terrible impact caused by the Great War:

' Why is our century worse than any other?
Is it that in the stupor of fear and grief
It has plunged its fingers in the blackest ulcer,
Yet cannot bring relief?

Westward the sun is dropping,
And the roofs of towns are shining in its light
Already death is chalking doors with crosses
And calling the ravens and the ravens are in flight '

- ANNA AKHMATOVA, from 'You Will Hear Thunder', translated by D.M. Thomas

The Great War effected countries economically, socially and politically. This war became a huge part of making the modern world today!

Video source
Above is a video on the trailer of "The American Legacy of World War I "
combining Jessica, Rachel, Sunny with HeeJeong & Stacy