The Treaty of Versailles established a blueprint for the postwar world. One of the most controversial terms of the treaty was the War Guilt clause, which explicitly and directly blamed Germany for the outbreak of hostilities. The treaty forced Germany to disarm, to make territorial concessions, and to pay reparations to the Allied powers in the staggering amount of $5 billion.
The Germans had expected that the peace treaty would be based on Wilson’s plan. However, neither Britain nor France was willing to base a peace settlement on the fourteen points after November 1918. As both controlled large Empires, they realised that Wilson’s view of colonies would cause them problems as well. Instead the treaty was to be much harsher than the Germans had hoped.
The Treaty was negotiated between the Allied Powers in Paris, between January and June 1919. Germany had very little say in the negotiations or the terms of the Treaty.
The Germans were shown the proposed Treaty of Versailles, with no option for negotiation. The Germans published a rebuttal, arguing that the treaty was unfair, but they were ignored. On 28 June 1919, the delegates met at the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, and forced two Germans to sign the treaty. These events and one sided proposals humiliated the Germany and Itlay which led to the rise of Fascist powers in these countries.
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