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History

The conference and the Big Three

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In January 1919 delegates from 32 countries met in Paris to make peace after the First World War - the peace they hoped would 'end all wars'. The conference was dominated by David Lloyd George, Georges Clemençeau and Woodrow Wilson, the leaders of Britain, France and America, often known as the 'Big Three'.

The conference and the Big Three

Delegates from 32 countries met in January 1919, but the conference was dominated by the Big Three - Lloyd George (Britain), Clemençeau (France) and Wilson (USA). The delegations made presentations to them, after which the Big Three made their decision.

Negotiations were difficult. Each of the Big Three wanted such different things, that by March 1919 it looked as though the conference was going to break up.

 Lloyd George sat at a table

Lloyd George Prime Minister 1916-1922

Lloyd George saved the conference. On 25 March 1919, he issued the Fontainebleau Memorandum, and persuaded Clemençeau to agree to the League of Nations and a more lenient peace treaty that would not destroy Germany. Then he went to Wilson and persuaded him to agree to the War Guilt Clause.

The Germans were shown the proposed Treaty of Versailles. There was no negotiation. The Germans published a rebuttal, arguing that the treaty was unfair, but they were ignored. On 28 June 1919, the delegates met at the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, and forced two Germans to sign the treaty.

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