The Versailles Settlement

Reading: In addition to Ben Walsh, GCSE Modern World History, (Walsh), pp. 80-96, See John D. Clare’s pages on Versailles.

The key issues:

  • To identify the different aims of the Big Three and how they impacted on the peace treaties.
  • To understand the key terms of each of the peace treaties.
  • To know the reactions to the peace settlement especially in Germany to the Treaty of Versailles.

Key concepts:

  • The Fourteen Points
  • The League’s Covenant

Key persons

  • Clemenceau
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Lloyd George



The aims of the Big Three and the process of negotiation
Walsh, pp. 80-85;

Key terms of the treaty of Versailles: GARGLE!
Walsh, pp. 86-87.


Germany: extent of damage done to Germany and German reaction

  • Political crisis in Germany: Spartacist uprising (1919), Communist uprising in Bavaria (1920); Kapp Putsch (1921), and the Munich Beer Hall Putsch (1923);
  • impact of reparations (were they affordable?);
  • Was Versailles too harsh?

Walsh, pp. 88-90


The views of contemporaries and historians
Walsh, pp. 91.

Those who argued the Treaty of Versailles was too harsh included two diplomats who were part of the British delegation, the historian and Labour politician Harold Nicholson, the economist JM Keynes. Churchill, on the other hand thought it fair, as does the modern historian Margaret Macmillan


Key terms of the treaties of St Germain, Sevres, Trianon and Neuilly.
Walsh, pp. 92-93.


Reactions to the peace treaties.
Walsh, pp. 94-96

Rejection by the US Senate; Italian disappointment
Walsh, pp. 230-231.

Class debate:
How fair was the Treaty of Versailles fair?

1. German newspaper expressing reactions to the Treaty of Versailles within Germany.
2. Newspapers from UK, Britain and France expressing reactions to the Treaty of Versailles.

Extra materials


Margaret MacMillan on Versailles

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