House of Lords Library

Treaty of Versailles: 100th Anniversary

Published Tuesday, June 18, 2019

On 28 June 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in the Palace of Versailles, in the Hall of Mirrors. This briefing has been prepared in advance of the centenary. It provides an overview of the peace negotiations and a summary of the terms of the treaty.

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This year marks 100 years since the Treaty of Versailles was signed. The treaty contained the terms of peace agreed between the Allied powers and Germany following cessation of hostilities in the First World War. The armistice signed by the Allies and Germany in November 1918 had ended the fighting but negotiations on long-term peace still had to take place. The Paris Peace Conference, which began in January 1919, was established to draft and finalise the terms of peace. Germany was not invited to take part in the conference, which was dominated by Britain, France, the US and Italy—the Council of Four. Germany was presented with the draft in May 1919, and the final text in June. German objections and counter-proposals were rejected by the Allies and on 22 June 1919, Germany was given 24 hours to accept the treaty. The following day the German government agreed to the terms. The treaty assigned responsibility for the war and legal liability for the damage caused to Germany and its allies. It established the League of Nations, an international organisation for resolving international disputes, and returned some German territories to Belgium and France. The sovereignty of several territories and colonies was transferred to the League of Nations.

Lords Library notes LLN-2019-0079

Author: Sarah Tudor

Topics: Cultural heritage, International politics and government, Military operations

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