The Great War A Flawed Peace
After the War • March 3, 1918 – Russia signs the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk • November 9, 1918 – Kaiser Wilhelm steps down • November 11, 1918 at 11:00am local time – an armistice is signed • THE WAR IS OVER!!
The Legacy of the War • A High Price • War takes heavy toll: • 8.5 million soldiers dead, • 21 million wounded
A High Price • War devastates European economies, drained national treasuries • Many acres of land & homes, villages, towns destroyed
The Allies Meet and Debate After winning the war, the Allies dictate a harsh settlement that leaves many nations feeling betrayed.
B. The Allies Meet & Debate • Key Leaders come together • Group of leaders know as the Big Four dominate peace talks • 1) Woodrow Wilson – US President • 2) Georges Clemenceau – French ruler • 3) David Lloyd George - Great Britain • 4) Vittorio Orlando – Italy • No representatives from Russia or Germany
(Left to right) The “Big Four”: David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, Georges Clemenceau of France, and Woodrow Wilson of the United States, the principal architects of the Treaty of Versailles.
The Allies Meet and Debate • Wilson’s Plan for Peace • Wilson proposes Fourteen Points – an outline for achieving a just and lasting peace. • First four points include end to secret treaties, freedom of the seas, free trade and reduced militaries. • Promoted self-determination – right of people to govern their own nation. • Fourteenth point – proposed a “general association of nations” that would protect “great and small states alike.” • Believed that this organization would settle world disputes and prevent wars.
The Versailles Treaty • Britain and France oppose Wilson’s ideas • They want to punish Germany • David Lloyd George, PM of Great Britain, had just been reelected on a platform of making the Germans pay for the war • The French were particularly guided by national interests • Georges Clemenceau wanted revenge and security against any further German aggression • He wanted Germany demilitarized and the Rhineland separated to form a buffer between the two nations
The Versailles Treaty A compromise was reached and the Treaty of Versailles was signed June 28, 1919 – five years to the day after Franz Ferdinand’s assassination. The treaty created the League of Nations (14th point) Blames Germany for the war, forces Germany to pay damages to nations. The League of Nations to rule German colonies until deemed ready for independence.
A Troubled Treaty • The final peace settlement of Paris was in fact five separate treaties of which the Treaty of Versailles with Germany was the most important • The Germans considered it a harsh treaty and they were particularly displeased about Article 231, the infamous War Guilt Clause • It declared that Germany (& Austria) were responsible for the war and liable to pay reparations to the Allies for all the damage caused • The amount was not specified in the Treaty, but was to be decided later • In addition, the German Army was reduced to 100,000 men • enough to quell domestic uprisings, but too small to attack other countries • Not allowed to have an Air Force • Alsace & Lorraine were to be returned to France as well as territories to Poland
The Creation of New Nations • The Western powers signed separate peace treaties with each of the other defeated nations: Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. • Austro-Hungarian Empire – Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia were all recognized as independent nations. • Ottoman Empire – kept only land that is now Turkey • Britain ruled Palestine, Iraq, and Transjordan • France ruled Syria and Lebanon • Russia lost lands as well Poland and Romania gained territory Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania became independent nations.
New European Countries Post World War I Finland-land lost by Russia Estonia-land lost by Russia Latvia-land lost by Russia Lithuania-land lost by Russia Poland-restored from land lost by Germany and Russia Czechoslovakia Austria Hungary Romania-gained land Yugoslavia
Mandates in Africa and Middle East • French Mandate of Syria • French Mandate of Lebanon • British Mandate of Palestine • British Mandate of Transjordan • British Mandate of Iraq • British Togoland • French Togoland • British Cameroon • French Cameroon • Ruanda-Urundi • Tanganyika • South-West Africa
“A Peace Built on Quicksand” • Treaty of Versailles creates feelings of bitterness on both sides • United States rejects the treaty. • Americans rejected Wilson’s League of Nations. Best hope for peace is to stay out of European affairs. • Sign separate treaty with Germany years later. • German people feel bitter and betrayed after taking blame for the war.
“A Peace Built on Quicksand” • People in former colonies express anger over not winning independence. • What happened to national self-determination? • Even some Allies were upset at the outcome. • Japan and Italy had entered the war to acquire territory, but gained less than they wanted.
Results of the Great War • The death of over 10 million people and the destruction of millions of dollars of property & material • Property and materials could be replaced, but the generation of leaders, poets, and artists could not be replaced so easily • Lastly, European dominance over Western society, politically, militarily, and economically, was fatally weakened, allowing for the rise of the United States and the Soviet Union later in the century • Ultimately, Europe between 1914 and 1918 tried to commit suicide