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To what extent was Woodrow Wilson successful in brokering a "just and lasting peace?"

The end of WWI brought about many questions. What would be the "terms" that ended the war? How would Germany be treated? What would happen to lands that were in dispute? How could a future war be avoided? As the victors met in Paris President Wilson thought he had the answers...but would the Allies listen?

I. The End of WWI

At the conclusion of hostilities the Big Four (Wilson form the United States, Clemenceau from France, Orlando from Italy and David Lloyd George from England) met to discuss the treaty that would end the war. Wilson pushed for his 14 Points. The others, wanting revenge, resisted. In the end it was a poor compromise. The Germans who were winning the war at the conclusion received the blame and harsh penalties and France and England received much new territory. Wilson was dismayed as the America allies seemed content to claim the spoils of war without really trying to solve the systemic problems that had brought the world to cataclysmic crisis.

A. What were the underlying principles behind the 14 Points?

1. Self determination of peoples.

2. Arms reduction.

3. Non punishment.

4. Formation of the League of Nations.

5. Freedom of the Seas.

6. No secret treaties.

7. Free and open trade.

B. The Treaty of Versailles

1. Germany blamed, demilitarized and forced to pay reparations.

2. Treaty written without German input.

3. Map altered with little regard for ethnic or true national boundaries.

-Poland created out of Germany and Russia.

-France given Alsace Lorraine province from Germany.

-Czechoslovakia created out of German and Austro Hungarian territory.

-Yugoslavia created combining and submerging Montenegro, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and others...

-Austria-Hungary broken up

-England receives territorial holdings in the Middle East from the Ottoman Empire.

4. Anschluss (Combining of Germany and Austria) forbidden.

5. League of Nations created but Germany not admitted.

C. What was the result of the Treaty of Versailles?

1. Germany was angered at her harsh treatment. From the German perspective they were winning the war territorially at the close of hostilities. It was clear that they could not win against the combined might of the US, France and England but they hadn't lost either. Germans felt that the reparations were harsh and that they shouldn't have been blamed. German pride was lost. In the end these feelings combined with Germany's entrance into the world wide depression that swept through Europe in the 20's created an atmosphere that was ripe to the rantings of extremists. The newly installed democratic Weimar Republic would fall and a new regime led by the dicataor Adolf Hitler would begin.


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