"Woodrow Wilson: 28th President of the U.S.," http://gi.grolier.com/presidents/ea/bios/28pwils.html is a fairly complete biography of Wilson's life and accomplishments. Topics discussed include his early life, time as president of Princeton University (1902-1910) and as governor of New Jersey (1911-1913), and the eight years of his presidency (1913-1921), highlighting particularly his foreign policy leading up to U.S. entry into World War I, his leadership during the war, as well as the fight over the Treaty of Versailles. The neutral description presents a president weakened before the start of the Paris negotiations by the Republican Congressional victory of 1918, but still committed to "vindicating" the principles laid down in his Fourteen Points despite conflicts with other negotiators looking only for immediate rewards from the battlefield victory.
"Woodrow Wilson on the Web," http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2391/ provides a comprehensive source for information on Wilson, his family, speeches, and a few articles written about him. The site's full-life biography also portrays Wilson as the one leader looking out for the interests of justice, in face of the other Allied leaders who were out to punish Germany severely. The section about the Treaty negotiations concludes by stating that most of Wilson's efforts went for naught, although he did manage to prevent any harsher penalties against Germany and to persuade the others of the value of the League of Nations.
"Woodrow Wilson the Warmonger," http://members.aol.com/gregweston/wilson.html
is a brief but scathing criticism of Wilson's objectives during his presidency,
accusing the President of having tricked America into going to war in 1917.
After criticizing Wilson's policies with regard to Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican
Republic and Nicaragua, the author Weston criticizes Wilson for getting
the U.S. into World War I by secret and unconstitutional means. With
no references or citations to scholarly literature, or any other evidence
of the foundation of his beliefs, Weston states his opinion that Wilson
was blowing up every mishap with Germany into an excuse for declaring war,
but the Congress and American people were not behind him.
"Encarta on Georges Clemenceau," http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?ti=06545000 provides a short biography of the French Premier during the end of World War I and throughout the Paris Peace Conference. If you register for a free trial week (with no obligation to purchase anything) of access to the Encarta online encyclopedia system, you will find a more complete biography of Clemenceau, including an explanation of Clemenceau's objectives during the Conference. [And while you're there, check out Encarta's entries on other topics pertaining to the Treaty of Versailles] According to Encarta, Clemenceau was primarily interested in protecting the territorial integrity of France through forced German military reductions, heavy war reparations, and occupation. While Clemenceau certainly did not get all his wishes, Encarta states that it is generally believed that the Clemenceau's objectives (basically similar to those of Lloyd George) of imposing harsh penalties against Germany won out over Wilson's more moderate and idealistic approach to the German question. More detailed information on the life or political career of Clemenceau is surprisingly hard to find. Even French government pages chronicling their Prime Ministers and important government officials do not recount much about Clemenceau other than his work as a newspaper editor for L'Aurore (the Dawn), which he founded.
A detailed biography of David Lloyd George
can be found at http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRgeorge.htm.
The site primarily recounts Lloyd George's political career, with numerous
links to other important figures and events in British politics of the
time. But curiously, none of the brief biographies I found on Lloyd
George significantly discuss his role in the Paris Peace Conference, except
to say that though one of the primary participants, he had only a moderate
effect on the final result of the Treaty. Surprisingly, though, the
"spartacus" biography tells how he sympathized with German grievances as
a result of the Treaty, and how he even went to visit Hitler in 1936 to
try to convince him to continue his military action in Europe.
Relevant Texts -- in chrolonogical order
To see the actual text of Wilson's Fourteen Points speech, go to http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/wilson14.htm. There is very little pertinent analysis of the speech as a whole to be found elsewhere on the web, except in comparisons to the Treaty of Versailles. For those links, see the next section below. [Note: the picture at left is a photocopy of the first page of Wilson's original shorthand draft of his Fourteen Points speech.]
Wilson's speech asking the Congress to declare war on Germany can be read at http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1917/wilswarm.html.. In making the case for war, Wilson characterizes the German offensive as a war against mankind, due to the "the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate." He also repeats his objectives from the Fourteen Points speech of protecting global peace and justice from selfish and autocratic powers and upholding the supreme value of self-governance for all peoples.
"The Allies Conditional Acceptance of the Fourteen Points," http://library.byu.edu/%7Erdh/wwi/1918/allies14.html is the original message of November 5, 1918 sent back to Wilson indicating the conditions upon which France and Britain would go along with the Fourteen Points as the basis for an armistice ending the war with Germany. First, the message states that Point Two (about the freedom of seas) is open to differing interpretations, some of which are unacceptable to the Allies (thus, Britain was expressing from the beginning its refusal to give up its naval advantage). Second, the message states that they understand Wilson's proposal on Germany "restoring" the invaded territories to mean that compensation will be made for all damage to the civilian population and its property.
"The Terms of the Armistice with Germany,"http://www.nv.cc.va.us/home/cevans/Versailles/legalities/Armistice.html provides the text of the November 11, 1918 end to the war. The document addresses the exact conditions for stopping the fighting, as well as preliminary forecasts of the terms of peace to be imposed on Germany. Notables include the mention of border adjustments and the brief statement that reparations for damage done will be imposed.
For a look at the entire Treaty of Versailles,
an excellent resource. The site provides a very useful table of contents
to the 440 treaty articles, allowing the reader to observe and/or print
portions of the document. For the ambitious reader, there is a central
file with the entire treaty, but make sure your printer has plenty of paper
... the document is 173 pages long. Also, the site contains numerous
maps, photos, and cartoons from the time period, as well as some other
links, which are perfect for a web paper-project such as mine. Those
~ http://ac.acusd.edu/History/classes/diplo177/warstart.html -- a brief outline of the events surrounding the outbreak of World War I
~ http://ac.acusd.edu/History/text/versaillestreaty/overthere.html -- a timeline of U.S. involvement in World War I
~ http://ac.acusd.edu/History/WW2Timeline/1919League2.html -- a timeline of the events of the debate in the U.S. on joining the League of Nations
For an Archive of Documents from World
War I, visit the site http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1918p.html.
This page has links to a number of post-1918 documents, including the Allied
treaties with Austria, Hungary, and Turkey, and the U.S. treaties with
Germany, Austria, and Hungary. If you click on the ěWWI Document
Archive Main Index Pageî at the top of the page, you will find category
links to documents from the entire World War I era, plus a biographical
dictionary, an archive of images, and a collection of articles and essays.
This is a phenomenal tool for finding any official documents from the time
Critiques of the Treaty of Versailles and other directly relevant links
"The Faults of the World War I Peace Settlement," http://126.96.36.199/~aer23655/Versailles.htm is a student paper critiquing the Treaty of Versailles. Jeremy Fazli concludes that Britain and France were overly vindictive and terribly short-sighted in assessing enormous reparations on Germany. He recounts several German counter-proposals during the Treaty negotiations, and the Allies' refusal to consider those proposals, instead concealing them from the public eye, in order not to stir up sympathy toward the Germans. Fazli blames most of the ineffectiveness of the Treaty on the British and French, condemning them for mocking Wilsonís noble ideas and for imposing their own selfish will in place of Wilsonianism.
"Two Treaties," http://www.june29.com/%7Echambers/Tyler/nonfiction/2treat.html compares the Treaty of Versailles to the Treaty of Vienna which ended the Napoleonic Wars and punished France. This brief essay declares the Treaty of Versailles to have been a fairly incompetent attempt at restoring peace in Europe, by punishing the vanquished too severely, compared to the Treaty of Vienna's attempt to deal with the aggressors in a civilized and fair manner. The author concludes that the Treaty of Versailles was little more than a profit motive for the main nations of Europe, not a peace treaty.
"Was the Treaty of Versailles Unjust?" http://www.freeyellow.com/members5/broening/page2.html
is a very interesting comparison between the Treaty of Versailles (in which
Germany was the defeated nation) and the Treaties of Frankfurt in 1871
and Brest-Litovsk in 1918 (in which Germany was the victor and France and
Russia were the losers, respectively). The author states that the
German anger at the unfair harshness of the Treaty of Versailles seems
unjustified, given the similar natures of the treaties it imposed upon
its enemies when on the other side of the win-loss line. The author,
though recognizing that Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty (the war guilt
clause) was taken by the Germans as placing all the responsibility for
the war upon their shoulders, concludes that in fact, the article was not
meant to serve such a purpose, but rather was the basis upon which the
Allies could impose war reparations on Germany.
A conference room at the Chateau de Versailles
"Jay M. Winter on the Versailles Treaty," http://www.pbs.org/greatwar/interviews/winter14.html gives a Cambridge University professor's view on the Treaty of Versailles, as part of a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) series of interviews on the Great War. Winter describes some of the tactics used by the Allies to ensure that the armistice would hold through the period of negotiations of the Treaty (in particular, the maintenance of the blockade against Germany despite the end of the fighting). As he says it, the mean-spirited strategy was designed to prevent the German war machine from reforming, to the detriment of the men, women and children of Germany, who were dying of starvation, and whose embitterment by the perceived Allied injustices would never be forgotten. Click on Next to see a paragraph on Hitler's characterization of the Versailles Treaty.
For a first-hand narrative of the negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference, from the perspective of a French government leader, see André Tardieu's "The Truth About the Treaty."http://raven.cc.ukans.edu/~libsite/wwi-www/treatytruth/tardieu00tc.htm#TC. Tardieu's primary purpose is to defend the Treaty as in the best interests of France, and to defend his and Prime Minister Clemenceau's actions during the course of the negotiations. Convinced that the German state of mind was inherently militaristic and prone to aggression, Tardieu explains the beliefs that drove the French delegation in its attempts to neutralize all facets of Germany's strength to render it incapable of future aggression.
"Suitors and Suppliants," http://www.msstate.edu/archives/history/suitors/contents.htm, gives Stephen Bonsal's historical account of the treaty negotiations based on the official records taken at Versailles. The book documents the efforts of the smaller nations represented at the Conference to ensure that they would not be the causes of a future war, and the failure of the main Allies to give them the assistance necessary to that end. The book provides a very detailed story, without analysis, of the events at Versailles and the actors that caused them.
For the History Channel's view on the Treaty, see http://www.historychannel.com/. Enter Treaty of Versailles as search term, then click on the first resulting link (Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations). See also the entry on Isolationism for a description of the ideology that dominated American foreign policy for the first half of the 20th century and resulted in the Senate's refusal to join the League of Nations.
"League of Nations," http://www.projectgcse.co.uk/history/league.htm
analyzes the League and its successes and failures over its life.
The site, which is designed as a study guide in preparation for a British
exam, briefly reviews the topics handled by the League (in chronological
order) and the actions taken in response to those issues. Periodic
analyses also occur where the question is asked (and briefly answered)
as to why certain events occurred the way they did, such as American refusal
to join, and why the League failed in the 1930s. This site does not
provide much depth into the issues, but as a quick reference, it could
Simulated Treaty Negotiation Exercises
"Treaty of Versailles Role Play," http://www.granada-learning.com/yitm/ww1/case_studies/role_play/ is an intriguing simulated negotiation game for teachers or professors that attempts to recreate the scene at Versailles for students. The two- to three-hour game requires students to break up into six teams, each assigned to one of the following participating countries: the U.S., France, Britain, Italy, Poland and Serbia. Then the students are given a matrix of their country's national objectives, as well as those of the other participants. The goal is for students to "develop an understanding of the nature of negotiation and the need for compromise, and to heighten awareness of the consequences of the war and of the outcome of the Treaty, on Europe and the world." Before the game is played, students (with an assumed knowledge of the World War I era) attempt to prioritize their national objectives and prepare negotiating strategies. During the play of the game, each country must come to agreement with the other country affected by its particular objective. All agreements are recorded, and the game ends when all objectives have been satisfied, or when the time period runs out. After the game ends, the players discuss which objectives were met and which were not, as well as the strategies that worked and did not work in obtaining those objectives.
"Jonathan's Home Page on Woodrow Wilson," http://www.coe.ufl.edu/courses/edtech/vault/ss/wilson/Wilson3.html
is another teaching aid, providing a list of seven lessons to use on the
topic. Some of the lessons are simply lesson plans for teachers to
present, while the most relevant to this project (Lesson #6 on the Treaty
of Versailles) is another negotiating exercise. This exercise simply
asks students to divide up in groups to discuss the terms of the peace
they would impose upon Germany if they had represented France at the negotiations.
Students are provided with some facts from the end of the war, including
the total economic losses to France and the total casualties, with which
to form their own opinions. Then, after the groups present their
conclusions to the class, the teacher reveals the actual terms imposed
by the Treaty, and asks students to evaluate whether they consider those
terms to be just or overly harsh.
Other related topics -- in chrolonogical order
"The Franco-Prussian War" by Encarta. http://encarta.msn.com/encarta/Article.asp?z=2&br=0&mod=1&pg=6&ti=06802000 Click here, and if you subscribe for a week, you will be able to see this site that summarizes the events of the Franco-Prussian war of 1871. Of particular relevance to this project is the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the war, giving the French provinces of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany and imposing sizeable reparations (5 billian gold francs, roughly $1 billion) on France. Other parts of France was also occupied by German soldiers for nearly three years after the end of the war. See also http://www.optonline.com/comptons/ceo/01746_A.html for a similar description that does not require subscribing to a free trial week with an encyclopedia.
"Trenches on the Web," http://www.worldwar1.com/
is a veritable gold mine of information on the Great War. Widely
reputed (on other web sites) to be the best and most comprehensive site
on World War I, you can find information about the people, places, and
events of the war, with additional information continuously being added.
There is a small table of contents at the bottom of the first page, but
the best place to start on your first visit is at the reference library
There you can see a diagram of the structure of the website, as well as
symbols, exhibits, and direct links to other useful sites. For all
your World War I research needs, start at this site. Take
the time to peruse the many pages, or submit a search to focus more narrowly
on your particular topic.
Other great resource cites on World War I include:
~ http://www.westernfront.co.uk/ (an association to promote the interest in and knowledge of the war on the western front)
~ http://www.cfcsc.dnd.ca/links/milhist/wwi.html (a site devoted to the military history of the war)
If you're looking in particular for statistics on World War I, and you didn't find them at the Trenches on the Web site (i.e., you didn't look hard enough), visit http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWstatistics.htm. You will find statistics on the size of armies, French property losses, losses of warships during the war, total casualties, and the financial cost of the war. There is no analysis of the statistics, but if you're just looking for raw data, you'll likely find it here.
For a list of major international events between
1918 and 1949, see "Global Timeline 1918-1948," at http://worldatwar.net/timeline/18-48.html.
A three-paragraph synopsis appears at the top of the page. You may
also be interested in seeing other timelines and a list of armed conflicts
between 1918-1948, the links for which occur between the end of the synopsis
and the beginning of the timeline.
"Short History of World War II,"http://home.att.net/~morgan007/wwii.htm
provides a moderately detailed overview of the outbreak and conduct of
World War II. It chronicles the rise of Hitler to power, as well
as how Hitler used that power to provoke a war more terrible than the Great
War. But a better and more thorough history of the German situation
from the end of World War I up through World War II can be found in "Germany
During World War II," at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Rhodes/6916/ww2.htm#two.
After discussing the post-W.W.I revolution, the site reviews the terms
of the Versailles Treaty and the immediate German reaction to it, including
Prime Minister Scheidemann's statement that "The hand that signs that document
... would wither." The Germans hated the treaty, feeling they were
being punished for the actions of their fathers and previous rulers, and
thus the whole German population wanted to rid themselves of the treaty.
The German humiliation from the Treaty became part of the reason the people
were eager to accept Hitler's aggressive policies when the Nazi Party rose
to power in 1933. The site also includes good discussions (among
other topics) of the arrival of Hitler on the political scene and his subsequent
preparations for the war for which he (and all Germans) had longed.
"Joint Communique on Crimea Conference," http://www.metalab.unc.edu/pha/policy/1945/450212b.html
is the official February 12, 1945 document that was the product of the
conference between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, U.S. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt, and U.S.S.R. leader Josef Stalin. In the document
published before the end of the World War II, the three leaders state their
decisions on the terms of the peace to be established after the war, the
second war caused at least in part by German aggression. The document
states the intention to impose war reparations upon Germany, as well as
permanently breaking up and occupying the German state, recreating Eastern
European boundaries overrun by Hitler, and finally, creating a new organization
of friendly states for the purposes of collective security. [To visit
the official web site of the that organization, the United Nations,
go to http://www.un.org/. To see
the U.N. Charter, including its procedures and purposes, visit http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/aunchart.htm.]
A few topics on efforts to stop aggression and end war
~ http://www.unausa.org/issues/sc/kforce.htm: examples of U.N. peacekeeping intervention as a means of securing the peace
~ http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/kosovo42.htm: proposal that the U.N. do even more, having a standing army to respond to international crises
~ http://www.leyden.com/gulfwar/: thorough website on the international coalition against Iraq during the Gulf War
~ http://hometown.aol.com/jmarshel/saddam.htm: critique of U.S. policy with regards to Iraq since the end of the War
~ http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/ksvindx.htm: a list of articles on the crisis in Kosovo and the West's response
a criticism of U.S. policy with respect to Saddam Hussein and Slobodan
Milosevic, suggesting that instead of a policy of threats, sanctions, and
bombing (which have allowed these aggressors to portray themselves as victims
to their citizens), efforts should be made to work toward preventive diplomacy
as a more effective means of ending the persistent conflicts in those two