Treaty of Versailles and its impact on Germany

End of World War One

On 11 November 1918 the Armistice agreed between the Allies and Germany brought an end to fighting in World War One.

But the war would not officially end until a peace treaty had been signed. This eventually took place in June 1919.

Expectations of the peace treaty

The people of Europe wanted lasting peace. However, many people felt that Germany should be made to pay for the damage done.

American President Woodrow Wilson put forward a plan based on Fourteen Points. The six key principles of the Fourteen Points were:

  1. Setting up a League of Nations
  2. Disarmament
  3. Self-determination for the people of Europe - the right to rule themselves
  4. Freedom for colonies
  5. Freedom of the seas
  6. Free trade

The Germans had expected that the peace treaty would be based on Wilson's plan. However, neither Britain nor France was willing to base a peace settlement on the fourteen points after November 1918. As both controlled large Empires, they realised that Wilson’s view of colonies would cause them problems as well. Instead the treaty was to be much harsher than the Germans had hoped.

The Treaty was negotiated between the Allied Powers in Paris, between January and June 1919. Germany had very little say in the negotiations or the terms of the Treaty.