GCSE Modern History/The Treaty of Versailles

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The Treaty of Versailles dealt with and imposed sanctions on the defeated Germany.

Who was Involved[edit]

The Big three all attended. Germany was also allowed to be present but not to speak. The three leaders were David Lloyd George (Britain), Woodrow Wilson (America) and Georges Clemenceau (France).


Lloyd George wanted a fair settlement that would create a lasting peace. However, the people of Britain wanted to punish Germany hard so Lloyd George has to take a middle ground between Wilson and Clemenceau. Lloyd George also wanted to secure many of Germany's overseas territories for Britain. this completed Britain's control of East Africa, allowing them to build a railway from the North to South.


France wanted to punish Germany hard for what they had done, twice now. Clemenceau and the people of France wanted to charge large reparations and to split Germany up into many smaller states. However, many of his demands were not met as the other two leaders felt that they were unreasonable and would create another war.


As America had the least involvement, they took a more forgiving approach. Wilson wanted to create a just lasting peace that was fair for Germany. He also wanted a League of Nations to be set up. This would be a place where countries could talk over disagreements and eventually work towards disarmament.

The Terms[edit]

These are the terms that were set out in the Treaty of Versailles.

War guilt[edit]

Germany had to agree that is was solely responsible for starting the war, and had to announce this publicly.


It was agreed that Germany would have to pay reparations to pay back for the damage they had done to the Allies.

  • The exact amount of reparations, £6600 million, was agreed in 1921.
  • This was reduced by the Young Plan in 1929. If it was no they would not have finished paying until 1984.


The part of the treaty that dealt with territories was a complex one. The main points that were agreed were:

  • They lost large parts of land in Europe.
  • Their overseas colonies became mandates controlled by League of Nations. This meant that they were effectively controlled by Britain and France.
  • They could not unite with their former ally, Austria.

Armed forces[edit]

The following things were agreed:

  • The German army would be limited 100 000 men.
  • Conscription would be banned - all soldiers would have to be volunteers.
  • The army would have no tanks, submarines or aircraft
  • Their navy would be limited to 6 battleships.
  • No armed forces would be stationed in the Rhineland

League of Nations[edit]

The League of Nations would be set up amongst the allied countries to help maintain world peace. Germany, which was not considered a peaceful country at the time, would not be invited to join the League. This was Woodrow Wilson's main aim at negotiations; except from creating a 'just and lasting peace'.