8.4 Versailles Conference and Peace Settlement

3 min readjanuary 14, 2023

Bretnea Turner

Bretnea Turner


Isabela Padilha Vilela

AP European History 🇪🇺

335 resources
See Units

Paris Peace Conference

The Paris Peace Conference was held between Janueary and June of 1919 and aimed to symbolize the end of WWI. However, it failed at that by imposing agreements that were considered unjust and harsh to punished countries. This Diplomatic Idealism pushed particular agendas over others, ultimately failing to exercise real diplomacy,
Each of the members of the conference entered negotiations with their own agendas. The lack of a productive agreement between these nations laid the groundwork for World War II. In the table below you should notice the ideal outcomes of each nation through this agreement, and the wide interest to punish Germany.
Great Britain 🇬🇧
Wanted Germany punished for their actions in expanding the war, but wanted Germany to recover economically so they could contribute to European trade and avoid the spread of communism. 
  • Wanted to maintain naval supremacy, 
  • Expand their colonial control at the expense of Germany and the Ottoman Empire
  • Force Germany to pay manageable reparations for war damages in Belgium
France 🇫🇷
Still upset from the Franco-Prussian War, France had the largest agenda against Germany at the Conference
  • Alsace and Lorraine to be returned to France from Germany
  • Rhineland used as a buffer state between France and Germany
  • Poland to be created from German and Russian lands
  • France receives colonies from Ottoman Empire
  • Germany to pay large sums of reparations to take blame for war, pay for war damages and expenses
  • German military and navy to be diminished
United States 🇺🇸
President Woodrow Wilson and the US Congress developed 14 Points for peace with no victor, aimed at ensuring there would be no further conflict. 
  • Reduction of all European colonial territories
  • Poland an independent state
  • Ottoman Empire broken into independent states
  • Free trade among all nations
  • No private alliances
  • Alsace and Lorraine to France
  • Establish the League of Nations to ensure future world peace
Italy 🇮🇹
Italy switched sides during the war after they were promised territory if they didn’t aid the Germans.
  • Wanted colonies from former Ottoman Empire
  • Expand Italy into Austria-Hungary
  • Reparations from Austria-Hungary
Germany 🇩🇪
Germany wanted to avoid blame for the entire war so they could focus on rebuilding their economy back home.
  • Avoid expensive war reparations
  • Keep terms of treaty with Russia
  • Form a German Republic

Paris Peace Treaty / Treaty of Versailles 1919

President Woodrow Wilson of the United States sought to end the war with peace. He feared that allowing a victor would create a future rivalry and more conflict. This idealism clashed with the very real wounds of WWI that France, Britain, and other European nations experienced. France sought the harshest of punishments against Germany to seek revenge for the Franco-Prussian War and the Moroccan Crisis in addition to the damages from WWI. Ultimately, France and Britain accepted most of the moderate terms in Wilson’s 14 Points. They, however, ensured Germany would pay severe war reparations, no longer ally with Austria-Hungary, and cut their military forces drastically. 
These conditions, specifically crippling reparations, helped plunge Germany into hyperinflation. This kept the Weimar Republic in Germany from stabilizing and they were overthrown. In addition, the mandate system gave the territories of the defeated states to others, causing a great power imbalance. Territories previously owned by Germany were mandated to France and Great Britain. Some of these mandate territories include Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.
Additionally, the United States does not agree to its own idea of the League of Nations, effectively rendering it with no viable military force and no funding.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🎨Unit 1 – Renaissance & Exploration
⛪️Unit 2 – Reformation
👑Unit 3 – Absolutism & Constitutionalism
🤔Unit 4 – Scientific, Philosophical, & Political Developments
🥖Unit 5 – Conflict, Crisis, & Reaction in the Late 18th Century
🚂Unit 6 – Industrialization & Its Effects
Unit 7 – 19th Century Perspectives & Political Developments
💣Unit 8 – 20th Century Global Conflicts
🥶Unit 9 – Cold War & Contemporary Europe
🚀Thematic Guides
📝Long Essay Questions (LEQ)
📆Big Reviews: Finals & Exam Prep

Stay Connected

© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.