The Paris Peace Conference, also known as Versailles Peace Conference, was the meeting of the Allied victors(বিজেতা), following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities.
Five major peace treaties were prepared at the Paris Peace Conference
- 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 major decisions were the creation of the League of Nations; the five peace treaties with the defeated states, including
the Treaty of Versailles with Germany; the awarding of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as “mandates”, chiefly to Britain and France; reparations(যুদ্ধের ক্ষতিপূরণ) imposed on Germany, and the drawing of new national boundaries (sometimes with plebiscites(গণভোট)) to better reflect ethnic boundaries. The main result was the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, which in section 231 laid the guilt for the war on “the aggression of Germany and her allies”. This provision proved humiliating for Germany and set the stage for the expensive reparations Germany was intended to pay (it paid only a small portion before reparations ended in 1931).
The “Big Four” were the Prime Minister of France, Georges Clemenceau; the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Lloyd George; the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson; and the Prime Minister of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. They met together informally 145 times and made all the major decisions, which in turn were ratified by the others.
A central issue of the Conference was the disposition(হস্তান্তর) of the overseas colonies of Germany. (Austria did not have colonies and the Ottoman Empire presented a separate issue.)
The British dominions wanted their reward for their sacrifice. Australia wanted New Guinea, New Zealand wanted Samoa, and South Africa wanted South West Africa (modern Namibia). Wilson wanted the League of Nations to administer all the German colonies until such time as they were ready for independence. Lloyd George realized he needed to support his dominions, and he proposed a compromise that there be three types of mandates. Mandates for the Turkish provinces were one category; they would be divided up between Britain and France.
The second category, comprising New Guinea, Samoa, and South West Africa, were located so close to responsible supervisors that the mandates could hardly be given to anyone except Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Finally, the African colonies would need the careful supervision as “Class B” mandates that could only be provided by experienced colonial powers Britain, France, and Belgium; Italy and Portugal received small bits of territory. Wilson and the others finally went along with the solution. The dominions received “Class C Mandates” to the colonies they wanted. Japan obtained mandates over German possessions north of the equator.
Wilson wanted no mandates for the United States; his top advisor Colonel House was deeply involved in awarding the others. Wilson was especially offended by Australian demands. He and Hughes had some memorable clashes, with the most famous being:
Because isolationist sentiment was strong and some of the articles in the League’s charter conflicted with the United States Constitution, the United States never did ratify the Treaty of Versailles nor join the League of Nations, which President Wilson had helped create, to further peace through diplomacy rather than war and conditions which can breed it.
Under President Warren Harding the United States signed separate treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary in 1921.