The Versailles Conference  

The road to long-term peace of a disaster waiting to happen?

In order to negotiate peace treaties between the victorious Allied Powers and the vanquished Central Powers, the First World War victors established the Paris Peace Conference (also known as the Versailles Conference) in 1919.

The conference resulted in the more widely known signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

Taking place, the year after the end of the First World War, they met in Paris in 1919.


...ultimately, the conference produced five treaties...

The decision to hold the conference in Paris was a contentious decision in and of itself. Wilson disliked Switzerland as an option, fearing the country was "saturated with every kind of poisonous element and open to every hostile element in Europe".

As for Paris, Lloyd George felt he was powerless to resist Clemenceau: "I never wanted to hold the Conference in his bloody capital...but the old man wept and protested so much that we gave way."

Such a large conference could be held in Paris - it certainly had the infrastructure and facilities, but the city's recent threat from German armies did not exactly encourage moderation or charity. 

Ultimately, the conference produced five treaties that reorganised the maps of Europe, sections of Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands, and imposed financial penalties.

British soldiers shelter in a trench during the First World War - at that point, the most brutal conflict in human history.

Council of Ten

The Paris Conference took place between January 18, 1919, and January 21, 1920. It is frequently referred to as the "Versailles Conference," even though only the signing of the first treaty took place there in the historic palace; the negotiations took place at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris.

The Council of Ten, which originally consisted of the presidents of state and foreign ministers of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and two delegates from Japan, served as its principal forum.

Official delegates photograph taken at the conference.

Paris Peace Conference Photograph by Granger - Fine Art America

Following March 1919, this group broke up. Up until the German pact was signed, the Council of Four—Prime Ministers Lloyd George of Great Britain, Georges Clemenceau of France, Vittorio Orlando of Italy, and President Woodrow Wilson of the United States—became the primary decision-making body.

Together with Baron Makino Nobuaki of Japan, their respective foreign ministers Arthur Balfour, Stephen Pichon, Sidney Sonnino, and Robert Lansing formed the Council of Five, which handled much of the intricate work on the treaty with Austria and the new frontiers of Europe while delegating delicate decisions to the Four. 

Transcript of President Woodrow Wilson's words from the 3rd Plenary Session of the Paris Peace Conference on the 14th February 1919.

Documents from the Paris Peace Conference | National WWI Museum and Memorial (

Seating chart of the delegates at the Paris Peace Conference.

Documents from the Paris Peace Conference | National WWI Museum and Memorial (

Five major peace treaties were prepared at the Paris Peace Conference (with, in parentheses, the affected countries):

  • The Treaty of Versailles, 28 June 1919 (Germany)
  • The Treaty of Saint-Germain, 10 September 1919 (Austria)
  • The Treaty of Neuilly, 27 November 1919 (Bulgaria)
  • The Treaty of Trianon, 4 June 1920 (Hungary)
  • The Treaty of Sèvres, 10 August 1920; subsequently revised by the Treaty of Lausanne, 24 July 1923 (Ottoman Empire/Republic of Turkey).

The location of the signing of the five principal treaties within the Île de France region.

User:Sting - Wikimedia Commons

The 'Big Four'

The Conference was under the control of the five of the major powers – all from the winning side: France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

The so called "Big Four" were US President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, and French President Georges Clemenceau.

Before they were confirmed, they made all significant decisions during 145 informal meetings.

Due to Germany's and its former allies’ lack of participation in the Conference's discussions, political resentments developed that lasted for decades.

US President, Woodrow Wilson

British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George

Italian Prime Minister, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando

French Prime Minister, Georges Clemenceau

...Germany was not invited to the Versailles conference...

Diplomats representing 32 different nations and nationalities attended the conference. The Delegates from 27 countries (delegates representing 5 nationalities were for the most part ignored) were distributed among 52 commissions, which convened 1,646 sessions to write reports with the assistance of several specialists on a variety of subjects, including culpability for the conflict and undersea cables.

The Weimar Republic of Germany was not invited to the Versailles conference. Attending the conference were White Russians, but not Communist Russians. Other countries sent delegations to lobby for a number of ultimately unsuccessful additions to the treaties, lobbying for causes ranging from Japan's proposal for racial equality to independence for the South Caucasus countries.

The 'Big Four' at the Paris Peace Conference.


One of the conference's main issues was how to handle Germany's former colonies abroad. The British dominions desired compensation for their sacrifice (Austria-Hungary had no significant colonies, and the Ottoman Empire was a separate problem).

South Africa wanted Southwest Africa, New Zealand wanted Samoa, and Australia wanted New Guinea. U.S. President Wilson favoured having the League oversee all German colonies until they were capable of declaring their independence. There should be three different types of mandates, Lloyd George suggested as a compromise after realising he had to support his dominions.

...the African colonies would require rigorous oversight...

  • One type of mandate was for the Turkish provinces, which would be split between Britain and France.
  • The mandates could hardly be awarded to anybody other than Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa for the second group, which included New Guinea, Samoa, and Southwest Africa because they were situated so close to the relevant supervisors.
  • Finally, the "Class B" mandates for the African colonies would require rigorous oversight, which could only be delivered by seasoned colonial powers: Britain, France, and Belgium, even though Italy and Portugal acquired relatively modest amounts of land.

Wilson and the others agreed to the solution. The colonies that the dominions requested obtained "Class C Mandates." Japanese mandates were granted over German territories located north of the equator.

At the Peace Conference in Paris, 22nd January 1919. The Emir Faisal (1885 - 1933) king of the Helaz, who became King Faisal I of Iraq (centre) with (left to right) General Nuri Es-Sa'id (1888 - 1958); Anglo-Irish soldier and Arabist Thomas Edward Shaw (Lawrence of Arabia, 1888 - 1935); and Captain Pisani of the French Mission.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The British Plans

The British participants to the conference had the following priorities set before they arrived at the meeting. Established in order of importance, and in addition to their larger goal of maintaining the unity, territories, and interests of the British Empire, they were:

  • Ensuring France's security
  • Removing the German High Seas Fleet's threat
  • Resolving territorial disputes
  • Supporting the League of Nations

HMS Iron Duke, flagship of the British Grand Fleet during the First World War. Lloyd George wanted to ensure Britain maintained naval supremacy over Germany.

The Racial Equality Proposal, put forth by the Japanese, did not directly conflict with any core British interest. However, as the conference went on, its full implications on immigration to the British dominions, with Australia taking particular exception, would become a major point of contention within the delegation.

The British were able to reject attempts by the representatives of the newly established Irish Republic to make their case to the conference for self-determination, diplomatic recognition, and membership in the proposed League of Nations. 

...Lloyd George adopted a measured approach to the issue of Germany. He had no wish to see them retain their military power...

Britain had reluctantly agreed to the attendance of other separate dominion delegations.

The Pragmatic Lloyd George adopted a measured approach to the issue of Germany. He had no wish to see them retain their military power – particularly at sea but equally realised that a healthy and flourishing Germany could foster beneficial trade links with the UK.

Photograph of the British Air Section at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919. Major General Sir Frederick Sykes is seated front row centre. On Sykes's right is Colonel P R C Groves (Air Advisor to the British Ambassador) and on his left is Mr H White-Smith (representing civil aviation).

Standing at the back are (as shown left to right): Captain Crosbie, Captain Tindal-Atkinson, an unidentified major, Colonel L F Blandy and Captain Lyall.

High Commanders of the Royal Air Force. HMSO. ISBN 0-11-772635-4

Summary of Lloyd George's aims:
To please the electors who wanted to make Germany pay.
To leave Germany strong enough to trade with.
To safeguard Britain's naval supremacy.

The Dominions

Although they were not initially extended separate invitations to the meeting, the dominion governments were expected to send a delegation as part of the British delegation.

Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden insisted that his country be given a special seat at the conference because of its involvement in the conflict.

That was first opposed by both the United States and Britain, which considered a Dominion delegation as an additional British vote. In response, Borden noted that Canada had at least the right to the representation of a "minor" power because it had lost approximately 60,000 men, a significantly higher percentage of its male population than the 50,000 men lost by the United States.

...Despite suffering significant losses throughout the conflict, Canada opted not to request mandates or reparations...

Finally relenting, Lloyd George persuaded the recalcitrant Americans to accept the representatives from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Newfoundland, and Canada as well as their own seats in the League of Nations. Despite suffering significant losses throughout the conflict, Canada opted not to request mandates or reparations.

The impressively moustachioed Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden.

National Archives of Canada / The Canadian Press

Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes and his cheeky smile after returning from the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

Fairfax Corporation - National Library of Australia (

...his fears regarding Japanese expansion would soon prove to be correct....

Billy Hughes, the prime minister of Australia, led the delegation, which fought tenaciously for its demands of racial reparations, the annexation of German New Guinea, and the rejection of the Racial Equality Proposal. If it was made clear that the idea did not grant any right to enter Australia, he indicated he would not oppose to it.

The ascent of Japan worried him. Japan, Australia, and New Zealand acquired all of Germany's assets in the Far East and the Pacific Ocean within months of the beginning of war in 1914. With the British's approval, Japan occupied German territory, although Hughes was troubled by the move. His fears regarding Japanese expansion would soon prove to be correct.

The French approach

The group was under the command of French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, whose main objective was to weaken Germany militarily, tactically, and economically, unsurprising given their shared border and the history of violent conflict between the two countries.

He was certain that Germany should not be allowed to attack France once more because he had personally observed two German attacks on French soil in the previous 40 years.

Clemenceau was specifically looking for a joint American-British guarantee of French security in the event of another German attack.

Given the circumstances and history of animosity between the two countries, his hard-line approach was understandable.

The disputed region of Alsace-Lorraine which Clemenceau wanted returned to France.

...Germany rejected the French offers...

Another potential French course of action was to try to improve relations with Germany. The diplomat René Massigli undertook multiple covert missions to Berlin in May 1919.

German Foreign Minister Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau believed that the United States was more likely than France to lessen the severity of the peace treaty.

As a result, Germany rejected the French offers because they believed that they were a ruse to get them to accept the Treaty of Versailles unchanged.

In the end, Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, was the one who campaigned for more favourable conditions for Germany.

Summary of Clemenceau's aims:
To punish Germany and ensure it was too weak to attack France again.
To return the Alsace-Lorraine region to France.
He accepted the League of Nations but believed it would need to be strengthened to deal with Germany.
An independent Rhineland which would weaken Germany.
Huge reparations,
To disband the German army so that Germany would never be strong enough to attack France again

Italian disappointment

Despite the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1914, Italy remained neutral at the start of the First World War.

However, in order to obtain the lands promised by the Triple Entente in the covert Treaty of London, it allied with the Allies in 1915.

These lands included Trentino, the Tyrol up to Brenner, Trieste, Istria, the majority of the Dalmatian Coast (except Fiume), Valona, a protectorate over Albania, Antalya (in Turkey), and perhaps colonies in Africa.

Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando tried to obtain full implementation of the Treaty of London, as agreed by France and Britain before the war.  

The Italian government and people felt entitled to all of those territories, as well as others not mentioned in the Treaty of London, particularly Fiume, which many Italians believed should be annexed to Italy because of the city's Italian population.

Map of the Free City of Fiume and surroundings, 1920.

(21) Zveiner (u/Zveiner) - Reddit

...many Italians felt this was a muted victory...

Italy won Istria, Trieste, Trentino, and South Tyrol during the conference. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes received the majority of Dalmatia, while Fiume remained contested territory, infuriating Italian nationalists. 

Other outcomes included Italy's permanent participation in the League of Nations and the Allies' agreement to give Italian territories British Jubaland and the French Aozou strip. 

Despite also gaining protectorates over Albania and Antalya, many Italians felt this was a muted victory, which ultimately cost Orlando his job - he was forced to resign shortly afterwards.

This perceived failure at the conference spurred on the Italian nationalists and fascists, which in itself would help lead to the rise of fascism itself in Italy and ultimately send the country on its path to joining the Axis in the Second World War.

Japanese discontent

A sizable group from Japan was despatched, led by Marquis Saionji Kinmochi, a former prime minister. It was originally one of the "big five," but it gave up that position due to its lack of interest in European politics.

Instead, Tokyo concentrated on two demands: its Racial Equality Proposal's inclusion in the League's Covenant and Japanese territorial claims over former German territories Shantung and the Pacific Islands north of the Equator (the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Mariana Islands, and the Carolines).

...the Japanese delegation became dissatisfied and left the conference...

The de facto leader was the former foreign minister Baron Makino Nobuaki, and Saionji's role was symbolic and constrained due to his history of illness.

After being given only half of Germany's rights, the Japanese delegation became dissatisfied and left the conference.

The Japanese delegation at the Conference, with (seated left to right) former Foreign Minister Baron Makino Nobuaki, former Prime Minister Marquis Saionji Kinmochi, and Japanese Ambassador to Great Britain Viscount Chinda Sutemi

Bain News Service - Library of Congress

An optimistic USA

No sitting American president had ever visited the continent before Wilson arrived in December 1918.

As the war came to a close, Wilson's Fourteen Points—which included Germany and her allies as well as former Ottoman Empire subjects—had helped win over many hearts and minds in America and throughout Europe. So Wilson entered the conference as a popular and well-respected figure.

An optimistic Wilson believed that playing a significant role in the peace talks was his responsibility and obligation to the people of the world.

He was expected to fulfil his promises for the postwar era with great hope and expectation.

As a result, Wilson eventually started to steer American foreign policy in the direction of interventionism, a development that has since encountered fierce opposition in some home quarters.

A depiction of Wilson addressing the conference members on the issue of the League of Nations.  Corbis

...Wilson's attempts to win complete support for his Fourteen Points finally failed...

Once Wilson arrived, however, he found pre-existing rivalries and tensions already clashed with his ideals.

After France and Britain declined to adopt several of its specific points and guiding concepts, Wilson's attempts to win complete support for his Fourteen Points finally failed.

Many of his ideas ran counter to what the other powers wanted. For example, the United States did not support or hold - the solely German responsibility for the war, as imposed by Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles - to be just or justifiable.

This was in complete contrast to the French viewpoint.

President Woodrow Wilson on his return from the Paris Peace Conference. an effort to placate Wilson, France and Britain agreed to the creation of his League of Nations...

Conflicting interests and rights, as well as the new mandate system, complicated negotiations in the Middle East.

According to the Fourteen Points, the United States aimed to create a more liberal and diplomatic world where democracy, sovereignty, liberty, and self-determination would be honoured.

On the other side, France and Britain already had empires under their control, had influence over people all over the world, and still sought to be the leading colonial powers.

Among the first maps made by Wilson’s advisers, in November 1917, to prepare for the reconstitution of Poland.

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

Mapping the Paris Peace- Mapping the Nation Blog

In an effort to placate Wilson, France and Britain agreed to the creation of his League of Nations. The US, however, never ratified the Treaty of Versailles or joined the League due to strong isolationist sentiment and some League Charter provisions that were in violation with the US Constitution.

Summary of Wilson's aims:
To end war by creating a League of Nations based on his Fourteen Points
To ensure Germany was not destroyed
Not to blame Germany for the war - Wilson hated the Guilt Clause

Pass to attend the Peace Conference, given to journalist Faith Hunter Dodge. The pass notes that a special train was available from Paris to take her to the Palace of Versailles. Faith Hunter Dodge was a freelance writer who attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 as an official journalist with the United States Army. While there, she represented the New York-based newspaper La Prensa.

Paris Peace Conference | National WWI Museum and Memorial (

The Greek View

Greece's principal delegate at the summit was Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos. Venizelos reportedly received the highest personal rating from Wilson of all the delegates in Paris.

In order to realise the Megali Idea, Venizelos suggested Greek expansion into Thrace, Imvros, and Tenedos, regions that had previously belonged to the Ottoman Empire and the vanquished Kingdom of Bulgaria.

Additionally, he and the Italians came to the Venizelos-Tittoni agreement, which saw the Dodecanese (apart from Rhodes) ceded to Greece. He suggested a Pontic-Armenian state as a solution for the Pontic Greeks.
Venizelos, a liberal politician, was a fervent admirer of the League of Nations and the Fourteen Points.

A map showing the Dodecanese islands which were awarded to Greece at the conference.

The Chinese delegation

Lou Tseng-Tsiang, who was in charge of the Chinese delegation, was joined by Wellington Koo and Cao Rulin. Koo asked that China receive the concessions made to Germany about Shandong.

Additionally, he demanded that imperialist practices like extraterritoriality, legation guards, and foreign leaseholds be abolished.

...significant student protests...

Unsurprisingly - given the Chinese views regarding imperialism - the Western countries rejected these demands and instead gave the German concessions to Japan, despite American support and the pretended spirit of self-determination.

The May Fourth Movement, later recognized due to significant student protests that took place in China on the 4th May, compelled the government to ultimately reject the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles.

The only conference participant who did not sign the pact at the signing ceremony was the Chinese delegation.

The May Fourth movement protesting in China.

Other nations

White Russia, although having battled the Central Powers for three years, was legally barred from the Conference.

However, the former tsarist minister Sergey Sazonov attended the conference on behalf of the Russian Provincial Council, the political wing of the Russian White movement.

Red Russia – or the new Bolshevik government - was a non-attendee at the conference.

The Bolshevik governments choice to reject Russia's unpaid financial obligations to the Allies and disclose the contents of confidential agreements among the Allies regarding the postwar era provoked dissatisfaction among the Allies.

Consequently, the Allied Powers declined to acknowledge the newly established Bolshevik Government, leading to the exclusion of its representatives from the Peace Conference.

Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuanian delegations attended the meeting as well. They were successful in getting international recognition for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania's independence.

However, Ukraine was largely disregarded at the summit as the main participants debated whether or not a united Russia was preferable.

Ukraine map presented by the Ukrainian delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in a bid that was ultimately rejected, which led to the incorporation of Ukraine into the Soviet Union.

Government of ZUNR in name of ZUNR and UNR, official document of government of Ukraine

In an effort to have the international community recognise Belarus' independence, a delegation from the Belarusian Democratic Republic led by Prime Minister Anton 'uckievi' attended the meeting.

...the Korean nationalists' dreams of receiving foreign backing were dashed...

A delegation of Koreans from China and Hawaii made it to Paris after the Korean National Association's attempt to send a three-man mission there was unsuccessful.

It comprised Kim Kyu-sik, a representative of the Shanghai-based Korean Provisional Government. No country at the meeting, with the exception of China, took the Koreans seriously because they already had the status of a Japanese colony. The Korean nationalists' dreams of receiving foreign backing were dashed when they were unable to win support at the summit.

The representatives from Belarus sought international recognition at the Paris Peace Conference.

The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus, the three South Caucasian countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as the conference were all represented by delegations.

Since none of the main countries was eager to take a mandate over the Caucasian regions, their attempts to obtain protection from the ensuing Russian Civil War's threats generally failed.


The Treaty of Versailles with Germany, as well as treaties with the other vanquished states, incorporated significant suggestions.

  • The principal outcome was the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, which contained 15 chapters and 440 provisions and which, in Article 231, blamed Germany and her allies for all of the war's atrocities. That clause humiliated Germany severely and prepared the way for the costly reparations Germany was supposed to pay (it paid only a small portion before its last payment in 1931).
  • The League of Nations was founded,
  • Five peace treaties were signed with the defeated nations,
  • German and Ottoman overseas territories were given to Britain and France as "mandates,"
  • New national borders were drawn, sometimes with the help of plebiscites, to more closely reflect ethnic boundaries.

A newspaper cartoon commenting on New Zealand's mandate over Samoa.

The Paris Peace Conference also led to the creation of several new nations, as the dismantling of empires and the redrawing of borders were central to the post-war settlement. Some of the notable new nations include:

  • Poland: Regained independence after more than a century of being partitioned between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia.
  • Czechoslovakia: Formed as a sovereign state, comprising the Czechs and Slovaks, from the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  • Yugoslavia: Created as a kingdom, bringing together South Slavic peoples, including Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.
  • Finland: Gained independence from Russia, becoming a separate and sovereign nation.
  • Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia: These Baltic states became independent after the collapse of the Russian and German empires.
  • Austria and Hungary: These nations emerged as separate entities following the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  • Turkey: The Treaty of Sèvres aimed to dismantle the Ottoman Empire, leading to the establishment of modern Turkey through the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

A map used by the American peace negotiators to argue for the coherence of a new Yugoslavian nation, grounded in ethnic and religious identities.

Mapping the Paris Peace- Mapping the Nation Blog

Wilsonian objectives, outlined in the Fourteen Points, served as the foundation for the terms of Germany's capitulation at the conference, much as they had earlier served as the basis for discussions between the German government and the Allies in the Armistice of November 11, 1918.

John Berryman’s January 1919 commentary on the opening of the Paris Peace negotiations after the Great War.

National Archives.

Mapping the Paris Peace- Mapping the Nation Blog

The Supreme Economic Council

The Paris Peace Conference 1919 established a new body, the Supreme Economic Council, to advise the conference on issues related to economics and peace negotiations.

The Council's members included representatives from the United States, France, the British Empire, and Japan. Other nations, such as Belgium, Brazil, China, Greece, Poland, and Romania, were also represented.

Specialized commissions were also established to examine specific problems, including the League of Nations Covenant and responsibility for war.

"The World, Today and Yesterday" was a pamphlet published by Rand McNally in 1919. It includes maps of the changes to countries and territories brought about by the Paris Peace Conference, as well as information on the treaties, the League of Nations and provides summaries on key figures and events.

League of Nations

Officially implemented on January 10th, 1920, the main purpose of the League of Nations (the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation) was to uphold international peace.

The League proved controversial in the United States though, since critics said it subverted the powers of the US Congress to declare war; the US Senate did not ratify any of the peace treaties and so the United States never joined the League.

Instead, the 1921-1923 Harding administration concluded new treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary.

A Pro-Leage of Nations advert which appeared in the New York Times.


Although the Paris Peace Conference was a success, it was not without controversy. Its sour tone and ill-advised decisions disillusioned many participants.

For example, the British delegation wanted the peace conference to be smaller and held in a less emotionally charged location. The French, on the other hand, felt that Paris was large enough to host the conference. In addition, Paris was the traditional capital of diplomacy.

Paris effectively served as the seat of a global government during the conference, which considered and put into action the radical changes to the political geography of Europe.

Decisions made at the conference were implemented unilaterally and largely based on the whims of the Big Four.

The Treaty of Versailles itself is most infamous for weakening the German military and placing full responsibility for the war and expensive reparations on Germany's shoulders.

Historians frequently consider the subsequent humiliation and resentment in Germany to be one of the direct causes of the Nazi Party's electoral successes and one of the indirect causes of World War II.

Europe in 1920, the year the Paris Peace Conference ended. The map of Europe had drastically changed, the effects of which would ultimately contribute to the Second World War.

Further reading

Margaret MacMillan's "Paris 1919" provides a comprehensive analysis of the Paris Peace Conference, unveiling the intricate negotiations and political dynamics that shaped the post-World War I settlement. Delving into the personalities of key leaders and the clash of interests, MacMillan explores how decisions made during this pivotal moment reverberated globally, ultimately influencing the geopolitical landscape and contributing to the complexities that led to subsequent conflicts.

A nuanced analysis of the Paris Peace Conference by examining the Ottoman Empire's collapse and its repercussions. Rogan explores how the conference shaped the Middle East's post-war landscape, unraveling the diplomatic intricacies that led to the establishment of new borders and mandates. The book illuminates how decisions made in Paris profoundly influenced the region's geopolitical dynamics, contributing to the complex and enduring challenges faced in the aftermath.

Andelman critically dissects the Paris Peace Conference, exposing the unintended consequences and enduring implications of the decisions made in its aftermath. With a keen eye for historical nuances, Andelman unveils the complexities of post-First World War diplomacy, shedding light on the intricacies that shaped the geopolitical landscape. The book offers a thorough examination of the conference's aftermath, providing a valuable perspective on the challenges and tensions that influenced the course of international relations.

David Reynolds' "The Long Shadow" critically examines the aftermath of World War I and the Paris Peace Conference's impact on the 20th century. By exploring the complex negotiations and geopolitical dynamics, Reynolds analyzes the conference's long-term consequences on international relations. The book highlights the tensions between competing national interests, shedding light on the enduring legacy of the decisions made in Paris and their profound influence on the course of history.

Robert W. Tucker delves into President Woodrow Wilson's role in the Paris Peace Conference, analyzing his idealistic vision for the post-World War I world. Tucker explores Wilson's diplomacy, the formulation of the Fourteen Points, and the negotiations leading to the Treaty of Versailles. The book provides a nuanced understanding of Wilson's contributions, shedding light on the challenges and contradictions faced during the conference and their impact on global politics.

Hans Van de Ven investigates China's role in the First World War and its engagement with the Paris Peace Conference. Van de Ven explores the complex dynamics of China's participation, shedding light on its contributions and challenges during the negotiations. The book provides a comprehensive analysis of how China's involvement in the war and the subsequent peace conference influenced its domestic politics, foreign relations, and its quest for international recognition in the early 20th century.

Erik Goldstein's "Winning the Peace" scrutinizes the Paris Peace Conference, providing a meticulous analysis of the diplomatic negotiations and decisions that followed World War I. Focused on the British perspective, the book delves into the complexities of peacebuilding and the challenges faced by the Allies in shaping the post-war order. Goldstein's work sheds light on the intricate balance between idealistic goals and geopolitical realities, offering insights into the enduring consequences of the decisions made during the conference.

Michael S. Neiberg's "The Treaty of Versailles" focuses on the intricacies of the peace settlement after the First World War. While the book primarily delves into the Treaty of Versailles, Neiberg provides a contextual analysis of the Paris Peace Conference. He explores the diplomatic negotiations, the influence of key leaders, and the complexities of post-war decision-making. The work offers valuable insights into the broader implications of the conference and its lasting impact on the 20th-century geopolitical landscape.

"The Economic Consequences of the Peace" by John Maynard Keynes offers a scathing critique of the Paris Peace Conference's economic decisions. Keynes, a delegate at the conference, contends that the punitive reparations imposed on Germany in the Treaty of Versailles were economically unjust and would lead to devastating consequences. His foresighted analysis of the treaty's economic ramifications has been influential, offering a compelling perspective on the shortsightedness of post-First World War policies.


Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Ciprian Stoleru How were the decisions being made at the Paris Peace Conference?

Bain News Service - Library of Congress

Government of ZUNR in name of ZUNR and UNR, official document of government of Ukraine - Mémoire sur l’indépendance de l’Ukraine présenté à la Conférence de la paix par la délégation de la république ukrainienne. Photo was published by Watermark was removed by user:AlexKozur.

Jonathan Sumption

British Government. - The photograph was scanned from Probert, H. (1991). High Commanders of the Royal Air Force. HMSO. ISBN 0-11-772635-4. Originally uploaded to EN Wikipedia as en:Image:British Air Section at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.jpg by en:User:Greenshed 21 December 2006

Fairfax Corporation - National Library of Australia (

National Archives of Canada / The Canadian Press


Alan Sharp

Margaret MacMillan, “Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (2001)”

Eugene Rogan, “The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East” (2015)

Robert Menzies, “The Forgotten People: And Other Studies in Democracy” (1942)

David Reynolds, “The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century” (2014)

Robert W. Tucker, “Woodrow Wilson and the Great War: Reconsidering America's Neutrality, 1914-1917” (2007)

Erik Goldstein, “Winning the Peace: British Diplomatic Strategy, Peace Planning, and the Paris Peace Conference”, 1916-1920 (1991)

Hans van de Ven, “China at War: Triumph and Tragedy in the Emergence of the New China” (2018)

Kyung Moon Hwang, “A History of Korea: An Episodic Narrative” (2016)

M. Keynes, “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” (1919)

National Archives

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Ciprian Stoleru