The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

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The damage inflicted on Europe during World War I was dire and left Europe in a state of chaos. Consequently, post-war peace settlements were complicated, but were necessary in order to end the period of disorder. World War I concluded on November 1918, when Germany agreed to an armistice. At the end of the war, European leaders realized that their reasons for initially engaging in the war had not been worth it. Countries were torn apart, as established dynasties had fallen during the war and new states were attempting to rise up. In early 1919, a conference was to be held, whose purpose would be to end the period of disorder. The victors of the war, the Allies, would negotiate peace settlements and then propose them to the losing…show more content…
The German Problem was the overriding issue discussed at the conference, and because there were decisions to be made about many different matters such as frontiers, reparations, and military limitations, the countries had contrary ambitions, and were forced to make numerous compromises. Each country was focused on achieving their own goals.The discussion of frontiers, especially the German Rhineland, was controversial between the three countries because they each opposed the ambitions of the others. France had very specific intentions, such as regaining the territory of Alsace-Lorraine and expanding into territories such as the German Rhineland. However, as France’s size would increase, so would its power, and this went against Britain’s goal of establishing a balance of power in Europe. Wilson believed that the opinions of the people of each territory should be considered in their decision. The final decision was that France would regain Alsace-Lorraine and the German Rhineland would become a demilitarized zone, so Germany could no have no forces there. This compromise satisfied each of the three countries because France desired a buffer state between itself and Germany, and it would not threaten the British balance of power nor Wilson’s ideas of new diplomacy. This settlement shows that the delegates, despite their opposing views, were able to reach a compromise. Disagreements between the countries during the negotiations of reparations caused a large shift in
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