Treaty of Versailles

Article

July 5, 2022

The Treaty of Versailles was signed in Versailles on June 28, 1919 by the victorious states in the First World War (the USA, Great Britain, the French Republic, the Kingdom of Italy, the Japanese Empire, Belgium, etc.) on the one hand, and defeated Germany on the other. Separate treaties were signed with other central powers that fought on the side of the German Empire in the First World War. Although the armistice signed on November 11, 1918 effectively ended hostilities, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude a peace treaty. The treaty was registered at the secretariat of the League of Nations on October 21, 1919, and printed in the Treaty Series. Of the many provisions of the treaty, one of the most important and controversial was the assumption by Germany of responsibility for causing the war (along with Austria and Hungary, in accordance with the Saint-Germain Peace Treaty and the Trianon Treaty) and, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 231-248 (later called the Provisions about the guilt of war, English. War Guilt clauses), to disarm, make significant territorial concessions and pay large reparations to the countries that formed the bloc of Entente states. The total cost of these reparations was estimated at 132 billion marks ($31.4 billion or £6.6 billion in 1921), roughly equivalent to $442 billion or £284 billion in 2013, an amount that many economists at the time, including John Maynard Keynes, considered excessive and counterproductive, since Germany had to pay until 1988. Ultimately, the last payments were made on October 4, 2010 on the 20th anniversary of German reunification, and some 92 years after the end of the war for which they were appointed. The treaty was undermined by a series of events as early as 1932 and was widely violated until the mid-1930s.

Negotiation

Negotiations between the Allied Powers began on January 18 in the Salle de l'Horloge of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Quai d'Orsay in Paris. Initially, 70 delegates from 27 countries participated in the negotiations. Defeated Germany, Austria and Hungary were excluded from the negotiations. Bolshevik Russia was also excluded because it had made a separate treaty with the German Empire in 1918, according to which Germany received much of the territory of