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Bridget Kendall explores how decisions and actions at the Paris Peace Conference 1919 influenced the Second World War.

As the dusts of the Great War settled in 1919, the victorious Allied Powers of Britain, France and the United States gathered together in Paris to build a new, peaceful world. In this series, former BBC Diplomatic Editor Bridget Kendall explores how their decisions would influence a century of global conflict.

Kings, prime ministers and foreign ministers with their crowds of advisers rubbed shoulders with journalists and lobbyists for a hundred causes, from Armenian independence to women's rights. For six extraordinary months the city was effectively the centre of world government as the peacemakers wound up bankrupt empires and created new countries.

In this opening episode Bridget examines the treatment of Germany at the Paris Peace Conference. Blamed for the outbreak of the war and not given a seat at the table at the palace of Versailles where the conference was held. The Treaty of Versailles, when agreed, lumped Germany with economic reparations, forced disarmament and reduced territories. Following these punitive measures, the next decades of German history include the rise of Nazism and the outbreak of another World War. Were the seeds sown at Versailles?

Featuring contribution from Professor Margaret MacMillan, author of 'Peacemakers: Six Months that Changed the World' and Professor Richard Evans, University of Cambridge and author of 'The Third Reich Trilogy'.

Producer: Sam Peach

Available now

14 minutes