Who were the ‘Big Three’ at the Paris Peace Conference?
Woodrow Wilson (US President), David Lloyd George (British PM), George Clemenceau (French PM)
What job had Wilson held before becoming president and how did this influence him?
A professor at Princeton University.
This made him an idealist
What is an idealist?
A person who believes in ideals (rather than harsh reality).
What principles guided Wilson?
Those set out in his Fourteen Points
What did Wilson believe about Germany?
That Germany should not be punished too harshly because when it grew strong again it would want revenge.
What did Wilson believe about democracy?
That democracy should be installed in defeated countries (e.g. Germany) as the people would not allow their leaders to take them to war again
What did Wilson want for people that had once been under imperial rule (e.g. Serbians, Croats)?
Self-determination e.g. he wanted Poles and Croats to rule themselves, not be ruled by Austria-Hungary
Where did the Paris Peace Conference take place?
At the Palace of Versailles just outside Paris
What was the most important of Wilson’s Fourteen Points?
That a League of Nations should be established where disputes could be peacefully resolved
Why was Wilson more idealistic than Lloyd George and Clemenceau?
The USA suffered FAR few casualties than Britain and France.
Also, no fighting took place in the USA.
And they joined the war in 1917.
What did David Lloyd George want to do to Germany?
DLG wanted to punish Germany, but not too harshly.
What was trade like between Germany and Britain before the war?
Good - Germany was Britain’s second largest trading partner before WWI
What was DLG keen to see Germany lose AND why?
Its navy and its colonies - both were threats to the British Empire
What pressures were on DLG?
There was huge pressure on DLG from the British public because he had won the 1918 general election promising to ‘make Germany pay’.
What did Clemenceau want to achieve in Paris?
He wanted to destroy Germany so it could never threaten France again
Why did Clemenceau personally want to destroy Germany?
He had seen his country invaded twice by Germany, in 1871 and 1914
How had the war affected France? (2)
- Two-thirds of men who had served in the French army had either died or were injured
- Much of the fighting had taken place in France, ruining its land and its industry
What did the French president, Poincare, want?
He wanted to see Germany broken up into a series of smaller states.
(Although Clemenceau knew DLG and Wilson would never agree to this)
How many troops did the USA lose during the war?
France: 1.3m, Britain: 750,000
Did any fighting take place in the USA during WWI?
No - so there was less public pressure on Wilson than in, say, France
How many British soldiers died in the war?
How many French died in the war?
Approx. 1.3 million
Why did Lloyd George fear an overly punitive (punishing) treaty?
He feared the Germans would one day seek revenge
What did Lloyd George fear an overly punitive treaty might lead to (as in Russia)?
A Communist revolution (like in Russia in 1917)
Lloyd George wanted Germany to bounce back economically after the war. Why?
So Britain could start trading with Germany again (and make both countries richer)
How had propaganda during the war contributed to anti-German feeling in Britain?
The propaganda Britons had been fed was strongly anti-German.
Therefore, many Britons thought Germans were evil.
How had wartime conditions in Britain contributed to British anger towards Germany?
The British had had to endure food shortages and felt Germans should now endure the same (or similar)
What example did the British people point to to justify a harsh treaty?
The harsh treaty Germany had inflicted on Russia (the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk)
How many casualties (deaths + wounded) had Britain suffered?
Approx one million
What percentage of its population had Russia lost as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk?
34% (or: one-third, 1/3)
What percentage of its COAL mines had Russia lost as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk?
89% (nearly 90%!)
What percentage of its coal mines had Russia lost as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk?
25% (one quarter)
How many gold roubles did Russia have to pay as part of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk?
300 million gold roubles
What was Clemenceau fundamentally trying to achieve?
The future security of France
What only enhanced France’s desire for revenge?
The fact that when the German army were retreating at the end of the war they had caused deliberate damage of towns, railways and villages