1919 Treaty of Versailles

 

Woodrow Wilson

Definition and Summary of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles
Summary and Definition: WW1 or the  "Great War" officially ended the state of war between Germany and the Allies when the Treaty of Versailles was signed at the Palace of Versailles in France on June 28, 1919. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles were extremely harsh towards Germany who had taken responsibility for the war. France, Britain and Italy wanted to take revenge and punish the Germans. Wilson's Fourteen Points Plan was criticized for being to lenient towards Germany and were scuttled and by the other leaders of the Allies. The terms of Treaty of Versailles detailed territorial and military changes and addressed War-Guilt provisions that demanded massive amounts of money (Reparations) as compensation for the Great War. The terms of Treaty of Versailles did however create the League of Nations as suggested in President  Wilson's 14 Points.

1919 Treaty of Versailles for kids
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th American President who served in office from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921. One of the important events during his presidency was the signing of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles following WW1.

Treaty of Versailles Cartoon
The Treaty of Versailles political cartoon was published in a British newspaper showing the weight of Britain, France and Italy crushing Germany, as did the peace Treaty of Versailles.

Treaty of Versailles for kids: The Armistice
The WW1 Armistice between the Allies and Germany was the agreement that ended the fighting in the west of Europe on the Western Front. The armistice went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month on November 11, 1918. The armistice ended the actual fighting on the Western Front, but it took 6 months of negotiations at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference before the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were completed.

What was the 1919 Treaty of Versailles?
The Treaty of Versailles was signed at the Palace of Versailles in France on June 28, 1919. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles consisted of 440 Articles setting out the terms for Germany's punishment after they had taken responsibility for the Great War that had raged from 28 July, 1914 - 11 November, 1918.

Who signed the Treaty of Versailles?
There were many signers of the Treaty of Versailles, the most important being President Woodrow Wilson of the United State of America, David Lloyd George of Great Britain, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, and Georges Clemenceau of France.

Treaty of Versailles Cartoon

Treaty of Versailles Cartoon

"Hey Mister, could you spare a minute
to do a bit of refereeing?

The Effect of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany
The major effect of the Treaty of Versailles was to force Germany to give massive amounts of land to the Allies, force Germany to pay exorbitant amounts of reparation money to the Allies, and limit the size of the German army to a fraction of its former size.

Treaty of Versailles with Germany: Other Treaties with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey
The Treaty of Versailles was not the only treaty following WW1. Four other treaties were made with the countries that had helped Germany during the war (Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey). The terms of these four additional treaties ran along the same lines as the Treaty of Versailles. The terms of the four treaties were that the defeated countries had to disarm, pay reparations and cede land as new countries were formed. The countries, names and dates of the treaties were as follows:

Treaties with Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey
Austria: Treaty of Saint Germain (10 Sept 1919)
Hungary: Treaty of Trianon (4 June 1920)
Bulgaria: Treaty of Neuilly (27 Nov 1919)
Turkey: Treaty of Sèvres (10 Aug 1920)

The Major Provisions and Terms of the Treaty of Versailles
The Major provisions and Terms of the Treaty of Versailles detailed Military Changes, Territory Changes, War Guilt Provision (Financial Reparations) and the establishment of the League of Nations.

Terms of the Treaty of Versailles: Summary of Military Changes
The Terms of the Treaty of Versailles detailed the following Military Changes:

Military Terms
The terms limited the German army to 100,000 men.
Germany was not allowed heavy artillery or tanks.
Germany was not allowed to have an Airforce
The German navy was restricted to 15,000 with six battleships and no submarines were allowed.
The Rhineland was demilitarized, meaning the German army was allowed to go there

Terms of the Treaty of Versailles: Summary of Territory Changes
The Terms of the Treaty of Versailles detailed the following Territory Changes:

Territory Terms and Changes
Germany was forbidden to unite with Austria
Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France
The Territory of the highly industrialized Saar Basin was to be occupied and governed by Britain and France for 15 years. The Saar coalfields were ceded to France for 15 years
The Germany was required to cede land to France, Belgium, Denmark, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
All of Germany's colonies were taken and given to Britain and France as 'Mandates'
Danzig was made a free city under the control of the League of Nations

Terms of the Treaty of Versailles: Summary of War Guilt Provision (Reparations)
The Terms of the Treaty of Versailles detailed the following War Guilt terms:

War Guilt Provision Terms (Reparations)
Germany was held solely responsible for all damages and losses suffered by the Allies during the Great War
The terms required Germany to pay reparations of 269 billion gold marks (later reduced to 132 billion gold marks ($33 billion)

Terms of the Treaty of Versailles: Establishment of the League of Nations
The Terms of the Treaty of Versailles detailed the following War Guilt terms:

The League of Nations
The League of Nations was created but Germany was not allowed to join

1919 Treaty of Versailles: Article 231 - The War Guilt Clause
Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles, often known as the War Guilt Clause, was the opening article of the reparations section of the Treaty of Versailles and was one of the most controversial points of the treaty. Article 231 specified:

"The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies
for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been
subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies."

 

Presidential Seal

 

1919 Treaty of Versailles for kids: Important Articles of the Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles consisted of 440 Articles. The most important articles are summarized in the following table:

Important Articles of the Treaty of Versailles for kids
Articles 1-26:The Covenant of the League of Nations - Germany was not allowed to join.
  • Article 21 was amended to include the "racial equality clause"
Article 42:The Rhineland was demilitarized
Article 45:The rich coalfields of the Saar were given to France for 15 years.
Article 51:Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France.
Article 80:Germany was prohibited from uniting with Austria.
Article 87:The rich farmlands in eastern Germany were given to Poland.
Article 100:Danzig was made a free city under the control of the League of Nations
Article 119:All of Germany's colonies were given to Britain and France
Article 160:The German army was restricted to 100,000 men.
Article 181:The German navy was restricted to 6 battleships and no submarines.
Article 198:Germany not allowed to have an air force.
Article 231:Germany was held responsible for causing all the loss and damage caused by the war.
Article 232:Germany were required to pay reparations
Important Articles of the Treaty of Versailles for kids

1919 Treaty of Versailles for kids: The U.S. Senate Rejected the Treaty of Versailles -  "The Irreconcilables"
The Treaty of Versailles was rejected by the US Senate. President Wilson's Fourteen Points for peace had been scuttled by the Allies in the treaty who believed that they were far too lenient on Germany. There were other concerns, especially the terms relating to the League of Nations. The Senators who raised the objections were nicknamed "the Irreconcilables" in the press. These critics, "the Irreconcilables" feared that the League of Nations would supersede the power of Congress to declare war and that the US might be forced to fight in foreign wars.

1919 Treaty of Versailles for kids: The U.S. Senate Rejected the Treaty of Versailles - "The Reservationists"
A larger group of Senators, nicknamed "the Reservationists",  supported the League of Nations but would only ratify the Treaty of Versailles with amendments that would preserve the nation’s freedom to act independently.

1919 Treaty of Versailles for kids: President Woodrow Wilson's reaction
President Wilson was obviously extremely disappointed in the Treaty of Versailles but feared the changes required would defeat the basic purpose of the League of Nations and insisted that the Senate ratify the treaty without changes. The president believed he could defeat the opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, including the League of Nations, by winning public support and traveled the USA making speeches. His tour was stopped when he suffered a stroke. The Senate voted in November 1919 and again in March 1920, but refused to ratify the treaty. The USA negotiated separate peace treaties with each of the Central Powers after President Wilson left office in 1921.

US Peace Treaties following WW1
The United States Congress passed a resolution on June 4, 1926 that officially recognized the end of WW1 and announced the commemoration of Armistice Day as a legal holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace. The United States never joined the League of Nations although, ironically, it was America's original idea.

1919 Treaty of Versailles for kids - President Woodrow Wilson Video
The article on the Treaty of Versailles provides detailed facts and a summary of one of the important events during his presidential term in office. The following Woodrow Wilson video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 28th American President whose presidency spanned from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921.

 

 

 

1919 Treaty of Versailles
 
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Woodrow Wilson Presidency from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921
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Foreign & Domestic policies of President Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson Presidency and 1919 Treaty of Versailles for schools, homework, kids and children

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