Revision Diary

Paris Peace Conference


Paris Peace Conference:

Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George, Clemenceau – their views and motives



1.  Make sure that you know the STORY of the Paris Peace Conference.

2.  Make sure that, for each of the Big Three, you can explain:

●   WHAT they wanted

●   How successful they were in getting what they wanted.

●   Their IMPORTANCE within the conference/peace process




The Paris Peace Conference


•   Losses during WWI - a few details?

•   Wilson's 14 Points (which, very briefly, were?) paved the way

•   Armistice (briefly, what were its terms?)

•   Bitterness - e.g. Geddes

•   January 1919, delegates from 32 countries met at Versailles


•   At first Wilson was suspicious of Britain (Empire)

•   Wilson insisted that the LoN was set up first.

•   Clemenceau wanted punitive reparations

•   LG played both sides - sent Cecil (an appeaser) to negotiate the LoN, but hardliners (Sumner and Cunliffe) to negotiate reparations.  

•   Wilson and Clemenceau soon came to stalemate over LoN v reparations

•   25 March Fontainbleau Memorandum - forces Clemenceau to be moderate, then Wilson to accept War Guilt Clause.


•   7 May draft sent to Germans, who protest that it breaches self-determination and will destroy Germany, but

•   they are forced to sign on 28 June 1919.




What the Big Three Wanted


1.   14 Points (know some details)

2.   a better world ‘safe for democracy’

3.   fair peace

4.   self-determination

5.   International Co-operation (League of Nations)


1.   blamed Germany = punishment/ ‘hard justice’

2.   angry = revenge.

3.   wanted to ’make Germany pay’ for the Damage = reparations

4.   threatened = wanted independent Rhineland/ get Alsace-Lorraine/

5.   peace = wanted Germany weak and crippled .

Lloyd George

1.   compromise (nb Fontainbleau Memorandum)

2.   had promised Parliament/November 1918 election that he would punish/make Germany pay, but did not want revenge like France

3.   protect British Empire (=Mandates)/ British navy (=German navy)

4.   trade

5.   peace: did not want to create anger in Germany which would lead to war in the future.




What the Big Three Got



•   League of Nations

•   self-determination for Poland, Czechoslovakia etc,


•   many of his 14 points were ignored

•   Britain opposed freedom of seas

•   only defeated powers were made to disarm

•   colonies were given no say in their future



•   Clause 231

•   disarmament

•   Reparations

•   Getting back Alsace-Lorraine

•   getting mandates


•   Saar (only got for 15 years)

•   wanted an independent Rhineland, not just demilitarised.

Lloyd George


•   reducing German navy

•   getting German colonies as British mandates


•   Wilson’s ideas about colonies and freedom of the seas

•   Clemenceau’s harshness

•   JM Keynes said that reparations would cause another war

•   Harold Nicolson thought the Treaty ‘neither just nor wise'.




Importance of the Big Three


1.   Gave the Conference its moral authority (14 points) - regarded as great and good man from America, bringing a new world order

2.   Secured the LoN - influenced world peace for two decades/ brilliant new PRINCIPLE of 'collective security' still seen today (in UN).

3.   'Self-determination' was the dominating principle of foreign affairs for the next two decades -  countries like Estonia, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia owed their existence to him.

4.   Almost ruined the conference because he fell out with Clemenceau

5.   Failed to get US Congress to agree ToV or LoN - so made sure they both failed


1.   Demanding war-guilt/ reparations/ Rhineland angered the Germans and gave Hitler his platform.

2.   Almost ruined the conference because he fell out with Wilson

3.   Got back Alsace-Lorraine for France, and Saar for 15 years

4.   Got Germany disarmed and Rhineland demilitarised - and so set the scene for politics in Europe (e.g. France could invade in 1920, 1921 AND 1923) until Hitler re-armed in 1935 and re-occupied the Rhineland in 1936.

Lloyd George

1.   Increased the British empire by getting the mandates

2.   Secured the British navy by getting the German navy reduced to 6 ships - and the rest given to Britain at Scapa Flow/ defeated Wilson's ideas for freedom of the seas

3.   Continually mediated between Wilson and Clemenceau - the Fontainbleau Memorandum saved the Conference

4.   His determination to get a lasting peace got a Treaty which survived 20 years

5.   Managed to please the electorate (to 'make Germany pay') YET Germany made a trade treaty with Britain in 1924.



Revision Focus

This is a Paper 1 topic, so concentrate on learning:

1.   WHAT happened

2.   EFFECTS/ Importance



e-book on the Conference and the Aims

Lloyd George at the Conference - essential


Online revision sheet  



Essays on the Aims and Achievements of the Big 3 at Versailles



Check your learning:

Do the Self-test on the Treaty of Versailles