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Facts about the Treaty of Versailles for Kids

The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers.  The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919, and was printed in The League of Nations Treaty Series.

  • The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I were dealt with in separate treaties.
  • Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.
  • Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required “Germany[to] accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage” during the war.
  • The treaty forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers.
  • The contemporary American historian Sally Marks judged the reparation figure to be lenient, a sum that was designed to look imposing but was in fact not, that had little impact on the German economy and analyzed the treaty as a whole to be quite restrained and not as harsh as it could have been.
  • On 6 April 1917, the United States entered the war against the Central Powers due to German submarine warfare against merchant ships trading with France and Britain.
  • This treaty ended the war between Russia and the Central powers and annexed 1,300,000 square miles of territory and 62 million people.
  • Negotiations between the Allied powers started on 18 January in the Salle de l’Horloge at the French Foreign Ministry on the Quai d’Orsay in Paris.
  • Apart from Italian issues, the main conditions were determined at personal meetings among the leaders of the “Big Three” nations: British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and American President Woodrow Wilson.
  • Clemenceau wished to bring the French border to the Rhine or to create a buffer state in the Rhineland, but this demand was not met by the treaty.
  • On 28 June 1919, the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the peace treaty was signed.
  • In March 1921, French and Belgian troops occupied Duisburg, which formed part of the demilitarized Rhineland, according to the Treaty of Versailles.