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Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles

Article 231war guiltwar guilt clause
This article, Article 231, later became known as the War Guilt clause.
Article 231, often known as the War Guilt Clause, was the opening article of the reparations section of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the First World War between the German Empire and the Allied and Associated Powers.

Paris Peace Conference, 1919

Paris Peace Conference1919 Paris Peace ConferenceParis Peace Conference of 1919
Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.
The main result was the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, which in section 231 laid the guilt for the war on "the aggression of Germany and her allies".

World War I

First World WarGreat WarFirst
The Treaty of Versailles (Traité de Versailles) was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end.
The Big Four (Britain, France, the United States, and Italy) imposed their terms on the defeated powers in a series of treaties agreed at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, the most well known being the German peace treaty—the Treaty of Versailles.

Allies of World War I

AlliesAlliedAllied Powers
The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. On the Western Front, the Allied forces launched the Hundred Days Offensive and decisively defeated the German western armies.
These changes meant the Allies who negotiated the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 included France, Britain, Italy, Japan and the US; Part One of the Treaty agreed to the establishment of the League of Nations on 25 January 1919.

Appeasement

appeasement of Hitlerappeaseappeasement policy
The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was a compromise that left no one content: Germany was neither pacified nor conciliated, nor was it permanently weakened.
At the beginning of the 1930s, such concessions were widely seen as positive due to the trauma of World War I, second thoughts about the treatment of Germany in the Treaty of Versailles, and a perception that Fascism was a useful form of anti-communism.

World War I reparations

reparationswar reparationsreparations payments
The treaty required Germany to disarm, make ample territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers.
The Treaty of Versailles (signed in 1919) and the 1921 London Schedule of Payments required Germany to pay 132 billion gold marks in reparations to cover civilian damage caused during the war.

Ferdinand Foch

FochMarshal FochMaréchal Foch
On the other hand, prominent figures on the Allied side such as French Marshal Ferdinand Foch criticized the treaty for treating Germany too leniently.
He considered the Treaty of Versailles too lenient on Germany and as the Treaty was being signed on 28 June 1919, he declared: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years".

Dawes Plan

Agreement between the Allied Governments and the German Government to carry out the Experts' [Dawes] Plan of 9 April 1924DawesDawes Committee
The problems that arose from the treaty would lead to the Locarno Treaties, which improved relations between Germany and the other European powers, and the re-negotiation of the reparation system resulting in the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, and the indefinite postponement of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.
The Dawes Plan (as proposed by the Dawes Committee, chaired by Charles G. Dawes) was a plan that was made in 1924 to resolve the World War I reparations that Germany had to pay, that had strained diplomacy following World War I and the Treaty of Versailles.

Woodrow Wilson

WilsonPresident WilsonPresident Woodrow Wilson
On 8 January 1918, United States President Woodrow Wilson issued a statement that became known as the Fourteen Points. Prime Minister of France Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of Italy Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Lloyd George, and President of the United States Woodrow Wilson formed the "Big Four" (at one point becoming the "Big Three" following the temporally withdrawal of Vittorio Emanuele Orlando).
Following the signing of an armistice in November 1918, he traveled to Paris, concluding the Treaty of Versailles.

John Maynard Keynes

KeynesKeynesianKeynes, John Maynard
At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes (a British delegate to the Paris Peace Conference), predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a "Carthaginian peace"—and said the reparations figure was excessive and counter-productive, views that, since then, have been the subject of ongoing debate by historians and economists from several countries.
In the 1917 King's Birthday Honours, Keynes was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath for his wartime work, and his success led to the appointment that would have a huge effect on Keynes's life and career; Keynes was appointed financial representative for the Treasury to the 1919 Versailles peace conference.

League of Nations

Leaguethe League of NationsCouncil of the League of Nations
The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.
The final Covenant of the League of Nations was drafted by a special commission, and the League was established by Part I of the Treaty of Versailles.

Georges Clemenceau

ClemenceauClémenceauGeorge Clemenceau
Prime Minister of France Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of Italy Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Lloyd George, and President of the United States Woodrow Wilson formed the "Big Four" (at one point becoming the "Big Three" following the temporally withdrawal of Vittorio Emanuele Orlando).
He achieved these goals in the Treaty of Versailles imposed on Germany at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.

Western Front (World War I)

Western FrontFranceWestern
On the Western Front, the Allied forces launched the Hundred Days Offensive and decisively defeated the German western armies.
The German government surrendered in the Armistice of 11 November 1918, and the terms of peace were settled by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

Province of Posen

PosenPosen ProvincePrussian Poland
In December, Poles launched an uprising within the Prussian province of Posen.
Posen was part of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany from 1918, but was dissolved the following year when most of its territory was ceded to the Second Polish Republic by the Treaty of Versailles, and the remaining German territory was later re-organized into Posen-West Prussia in 1922.

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

Brest-Litovskpeace treatyBrest-Litovsk negotiations
After the Central Powers launched Operation Faustschlag on the Eastern Front, the new Soviet Government of Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany on 3 March 1918.
When Germans later complained that the later Treaty of Versailles in the West of 1919 was too harsh on them, the Allied Powers responded that it was more benign than the terms imposed by Brest-Litovsk treaty.

Armistice of 11 November 1918

ArmisticeArmistice with Germany1918 Armistice with Germany
Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.
Although the armistice ended the fighting on the Western Front, it needed to be prolonged three times until the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on 28 June 1919, took effect on 10 January 1920.

Shandong Problem

Shandongreceive territories in Shandongclaim to Shantung
In spite of this position and in order to ensure that Japan did not refuse to join the League of Nations, Wilson favored turning over the former German colony of Shandong, in Eastern China, to Japan rather than return the area to Chinese control.
The Shandong Problem was a dispute over Article 156 of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, which dealt with the concession of the Shandong Peninsula.

Scheidemann cabinet

cabinetgovernmentcabinet of Philipp Scheidemann
The government headed by Philipp Scheidemann was unable to agree on a common position, and Scheidemann himself resigned rather than agree to sign the treaty.
Ministerpräsident Philipp Scheidemann resigned in protest against the Treaty of Versailles on 20 June 1919.

European theatre of World War I

European theatreEuropeEuropean
Fighting would rage across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia for the next four years.

Lausanne Conference of 1932

Lausanne ConferenceLausanneLausanne Agreement
The problems that arose from the treaty would lead to the Locarno Treaties, which improved relations between Germany and the other European powers, and the re-negotiation of the reparation system resulting in the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, and the indefinite postponement of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.
The Lausanne Conference was a 1932 meeting of representatives from Great Britain, Germany, and France that resulted in an agreement to suspend World War I reparations payments imposed on the defeated countries by the Treaty of Versailles.

1920 Schleswig plebiscites

plebisciteplebiscitesSchleswig plebiscites
The sovereignty of Schleswig-Holstein was to be resolved by a plebiscite to be held at a future time (see Schleswig Plebiscites).
The Schleswig plebiscites were two plebiscites, organized according to section XII, articles 109 to 114 of the Treaty of Versailles of 28 June 1919, in order to determine the future border between Denmark and Germany through the former duchy of Schleswig.

Territory of the Saar Basin

SaarSaar BasinSaarland
To compensate for the destruction of French coal mines, Germany was to cede the output of the Saar coalmines to France and control of the Saar to the League of Nations for 15 years; a plebiscite would then be held to decide sovereignty.
Initially, the occupation was under the auspices of the Treaty of Versailles.

Carthaginian peace

Carthagenian settlement
At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes (a British delegate to the Paris Peace Conference), predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a "Carthaginian peace"—and said the reparations figure was excessive and counter-productive, views that, since then, have been the subject of ongoing debate by historians and economists from several countries.
Thus, after World War I, many (the economist John Maynard Keynes among them ) described the Treaty of Versailles as a "Carthaginian Peace."

Klaipėda Region

MemelMemellandMemel Territory
Memel was to be ceded to the Allied and Associated powers, for disposal according to their wishes.
The Klaipėda Region (Klaipėdos kraštas) or Memel Territory (Memelland or Memelgebiet) was defined by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920 and refers to the most northern part of the German province of East Prussia, when as Memelland it was put under the administration of the Council of Ambassadors.

Eupen-Malmedy

East CantonsEupen and Malmedyannexed after WWI
In Western Europe Germany was required to recognize Belgian sovereignty over Moresnet and cede control of the Eupen-Malmedy area.
The region, which had formerly been part of Prussia and the German Empire, was allocated to Belgium by the Treaty of Versailles.