Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference, also known as Versailles Peace Conference, was the meeting of the Allied victors, following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris during 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities. The major decisions were the creation of the League of Nations; the five peace treaties with defeated enemies, including the Treaty of Versailles with Germany; the awarding of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as "mandates," chiefly to Britain and France; reparations imposed on Germany, and the drawing of new national boundaries (sometimes with plebiscites) to better reflect the forces of nationalism. 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 very high reparations Germany was supposed to pay (it paid only a small portion before reparations ended in 1931).
The "Big Four" were the Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Lloyd George; President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson; the Prime Minister of France, Georges Clemenceau; 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.
|Paris Peace Conference|
- 1 Overview and direct results
- 2 Mandates
- 3 American approach
- 4 British approach
- 5 French approach
- 6 Italian approach
- 7 Greek approach
- 8 Japanese approach
- 9 Chinese approach
- 10 Questions about independence
- 11 Historical assessments
- 12 Cultural references
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 Further reading
- 16 External links
Overview and direct results
The conference opened on 18 January 1919. Delegates from 27 nations were assigned to 52 commissions, which held 1,646 sessions to prepare reports, with the help of many experts, on topics ranging from prisoners of war, to undersea cables, to international aviation, to responsibility for the war. Key recommendations were folded into the Treaty of Versailles with Germany, which had 15 chapters and 440 clauses, as well as treaties for the other defeated nations. The five major powers (France, Britain, Italy, the U.S. and Japan) controlled the Conference. In practice Japan played a small role and the "Big Four" leaders were the dominant figures at the conference. They met together informally 145 times and made all the major decisions, which in turn were ratified by the others. The open meetings of all the delegations approved the decisions made by the Big Four. The conference came to an end on 21 January 1920 with the inaugural General Assembly of the League of Nations.
Five major peace treaties were prepared at the Paris Peace Conference (with, in parentheses, the affected countries):
- 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 defeated enemies, including the Treaty of Versailles with Germany; the awarding of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as "mandates," chiefly to Britain and France; reparations imposed on Germany, and the drawing of new national boundaries (sometimes with plebiscites) to better reflect the forces of nationalism. 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 very high reparations Germany was supposed to pay (it paid only a small portion before reparations ended in 1931).
As the conference's decisions were ennacted unilaterally, and largely on the whims of the Big Four, for its duration Paris was effectively the center of a world government, which deliberated over and implemented the sweeping changes to the political geography of Europe. Most famously, the Treaty of Versailles itself weakened Germany's military and placed full blame for the war and costly reparations on its shoulders – the humiliation and resentment in Germany is sometimes considered as one of the causes of Nazi success and indirectly a cause of World War II. The League of Nations proved controversial in the United States as critics said it subverted the powers of Congress to declare war; the U.S. Senate did not ratify any of the peace treaties and the U.S. never joined the League – instead, the Harding administration concluded new treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Republican Germany was not invited to attend. Representatives of White Russia but not Communist Russia were present. Numerous other nations did send delegations in order to appeal for various unsuccessful additions to the treaties, ranging from independence for the countries of the South Caucasus to Japan's unsuccessful demand for racial equality amongst the other Great Powers.
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:
Wilson: "But after all, you speak for only five million people." Hughes: "I represent sixty thousand dead." (The much larger United States had suffered 50,000 deaths.)
Prior to Wilson's arrival in Europe in December 1918, no American president had ever visited Europe while in office. Wilson's Fourteen Points, of a year earlier, had helped win the hearts and minds of many as the war ended; these included Americans and Europeans generally, as well as Germany, its allies and the former subjects of the Ottoman Empire specifically. Wilson's diplomacy and his Fourteen Points had essentially established the conditions for the armistices that had brought an end to World War I. Wilson felt it was his duty and obligation to the people of the world to be a prominent figure at the peace negotiations. High hopes and expectations were placed on him to deliver what he had promised for the post-war era. In doing so, Wilson ultimately began to lead the foreign policy of the United States toward interventionism, a move strongly resisted in some domestic circles.
Once Wilson arrived, however, he found "rivalries, and conflicting claims previously submerged". He worked mostly trying to sway the direction that the French (Georges Clemenceau) and British (Lloyd George) delegations were taking towards Germany and its allies in Europe, as well as the former Ottoman lands in the Middle East. Wilson's attempts to gain acceptance of his Fourteen Points ultimately failed, after France and Britain refused to adopt some specific points and its core principles.
In Europe, several of his Fourteen Points conflicted with the other powers. The United States did not encourage or believe that the responsibility for the war that Article 231 placed on Germany was fair or warranted. It would not be until 1921 that the United States finally signed separate peace treaties with Germany, Austria and Hungary.
In the Middle East, negotiations were complicated by competing aims, claims, and the new mandate system. The United States hoped to establish a more liberal and diplomatic world, as stated in the Fourteen Points, where democracy, sovereignty, liberty and self-determination would be respected. France and Britain, on the other hand, already controlled empires, wielded power over their subjects around the world, and still aspired to be dominant colonial powers.
In light of the previously secret Sykes–Picot Agreement, and following the adoption of the mandate system on the Arab province of the former Ottoman lands, the conference heard statements from competing Zionist and Arab claimants. President Woodrow Wilson then recommended an international commission of inquiry to ascertain the wishes of the local inhabitants. The Commission idea, first accepted by Great Britain and France, was later rejected. Eventually it became the purely American King–Crane Commission, which toured all Syria and Palestine during the summer of 1919, taking statements and sampling opinion. Its report, presented to President Wilson, was kept secret from the public until The New York Times broke the story in December 1922. A pro-Zionist joint resolution on Palestine was passed by Congress in September 1922.
France and Britain tried to appease the American President by consenting to the establishment of his League of Nations. However, 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.
Maintenance of the British Empire's unity, holdings and interests were an overarching concern for the British delegates to the conference, but it entered the conference with the more specific goals of:
- Ensuring the security of France
- Removing the threat of the German High Seas Fleet
- Settling territorial contentions
- Supporting the League of Nations
with that order of priority.
The Racial Equality Proposal put forth by the Japanese did not directly conflict with any of these core British interests. However, as the conference progressed the full implications of the Racial Equality Proposal, regarding immigration to the British Dominions (with Australia taking particular exception), would become a major point of contention within the delegation.
Ultimately, Britain did not see the Racial Equality proposal as being one of the fundamental aims of the conference. The delegation was therefore willing to sacrifice this proposal in order to placate the Australian delegation and thus help satisfy its overarching aim of preserving the unity of the British Empire.
Although Britain reluctantly consented to the attendance of separate Dominion delegations, the British did manage to rebuff attempts by the envoys of the newly proclaimed Irish Republic to put its case to the Conference for self-determination, diplomatic recognition and membership of the proposed League of Nations. The Irish envoys' final "Demand for Recognition" in a letter to Clemenceau, the Chairman, was not answered. Britain had planned to legislate for two Irish Home Rule states (without Dominion status), and did so in 1920. In 1919 Irish nationalists were unpopular with the Allies because of the Conscription Crisis of 1918.
David Lloyd George commented that he did "not do badly" at the peace conference, "considering I was seated between Jesus Christ and Napoleon." This was a reference to the very idealistic views of Wilson on the one hand and the stark realism of Clemenceau, who was determined to see Germany punished.
The Dominion governments were not originally given separate invitations to the conference, but rather were expected to send representatives as part of the British delegation.
Convinced that Canada had become a nation on the battlefields of Europe, its Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, demanded that it have a separate seat at the conference. This was initially opposed not only by Britain but also by the United States, which saw a dominion delegation as an extra British vote. Borden responded by pointing out that since Canada had lost nearly 60,000 men, a far larger proportion of its men compared to the 50,000 American losses, at least had the right to the representation of a "minor" power. The British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, eventually relented, and convinced the reluctant Americans to accept the presence of delegations from Canada, India, Australia, Newfoundland, New Zealand and South Africa. They also received their own seats in the League of Nations.
Canada, although it too had sacrificed nearly 60,000 men in the war, asked for neither reparations nor mandates.
The Australian delegation, led by the Australian Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, fought hard for its demands: reparations, annexation of German New Guinea and rejection of the Japanese racial equality proposal. Hughes said that he had no objection to the equality proposal provided it was stated in unambiguous terms that it did not confer any right to enter Australia. Hughes was concerned by the rise of Japan. Within months of the declaration of the War in 1914; Japan, Australia and New Zealand seized all German possessions in the Far East and Pacific. Though Japan occupied German possessions with the blessings of the British, Hughes was alarmed by this policy.
The French Prime Minister, George Clemenceau, controlled his delegation and his chief goal was to weaken Germany militarily, strategically and economically. Having personally witnessed two German attacks on French soil in the last forty years, he was adamant that Germany should not be permitted to attack France again. In particular, Clemenceau sought an American and British guarantee of French security in the event of another German attack. Clemenceau also expressed skepticism and frustration with Wilson's Fourteen Points: "Mr. Wilson bores me with his fourteen points", complained Clemenceau. "Why, God Almighty has only ten!" Wilson won a few points by signing a mutual defense treaty with France, but back in Washington he did not present it to the Senate for ratification and it never took effect.
Another alternative French policy was to seek a rapprochement with Germany. In May 1919 the diplomat René Massigli was sent on several secret missions to Berlin. During his visits Massigli offered on behalf of his government to revise the territorial and economic clauses of the upcoming peace treaty. Massigli spoke of the desirability of "practical, verbal discussions" between French and German officials that would lead to a "collaboration Franco-allemande". Furthermore, Massagli told the Germans that the French thought of the "Anglo-Saxon powers", namely the United States and British Empire, to be the major threat to France in the post-war world. He argued that both France and Germany had a joint interest in opposing "Anglo-Saxon domination" of the world and warned that the "deepening of opposition" between the French and the Germans "would lead to the ruin of both countries, to the advantage of the Anglo-Saxon powers". The Germans rejected the French offers because they considered the French overtures to be a trap to trick them into accepting the Versailles treaty "as is" and because the German foreign minister, Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau thought that the United States was more likely to reduce the severity of the peace terms than France. In the final event it proved to be Lloyd George who pushed for more favourable terms for Germany.
In 1914 Italy remained neutral despite its alliance with Germany and Austria. In 1915 it joined the Allies. It was motivated by gaining the territories promised by the Allies in the secret Treaty of London: the Trentino, the Tyrol as far as Brenner, Trieste and Istria, most of the Dalmatian coast except Fiume, Valona and a protectorate over Albania, Antalya in Turkey and a possibly colonies in Africa or Asia.
The Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando tried therefore to get full implementation of the Treaty of London, as agreed by France and Great Britain before the war. He had popular support, for the loss of 700,000 soldiers and a budget deficit of 12,000,000,000 Lire during the war made the Italian government and people feel entitled to all these territories and even more not mentioned in the Treaty of London: the city of Fiume, which many Italians believed should be annexed to Italy because of the Italian population.
In the meetings of the "Big Four", in which Orlando's powers of diplomacy were inhibited by his lack of English, the others were only willing to offer Trentino to the Brenner, the Dalmatian port of Zara and some of the Dalmatian islands. All other territories were promised to other nations and the great powers were worried about Italy's imperial ambitions. Even though Italy did get most of its demands, Orlando was refused Fiume, most of Dalmatia and any colonial gain and he left the conference in a rage.
There was a general disappointment in Italy, which the nationalist and fascist parties used to build the idea that Italy was betrayed by the Allies and refused what was due. This led to the general rise of Italian fascism.
PM Eleftherios Venizelos took part in the Paris Peace Conference as Greece's chief representative. President Woodrow Wilson was said to have placed Venizelos first in point of personal ability among all delegates gathered in Paris to settle the terms of Peace.
Venizelos proposed the Greek expansion in Thrace and Asia Minor (lands of the defeated Kingdom of Bulgaria and Ottoman Empire), Northern Epirus, Imvros and Tenedos, aiming to the realization of Megali Idea. He also reached an agreement with the Italians on the cession of the Dodecanese (Venizelos–Tittoni agreement). For the Greeks of Pontus he proposed a common Pontic-Armenian State.
The Empire of Japan sent a large delegation headed by Marquess Saionji Kinmochi (former Prime Minister). It was originally one of the "big five" but relinquished that role because of its slight interest in European affairs. Instead it focused on two demands: the inclusion of their racial equality proposal in the League's Covenant and Japanese territorial claims with respect to former German colonies, namely Shantung (including Kiaochow) and the Pacific islands north of the Equator (the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Mariana Islands, and the Carolines). Makino was de facto chief while Saionji's role was symbolic and limited by his ill health. The Japanese delegation became unhappy after receiving only one-half of the rights of Germany, and walked out of the conference.
Racial equality proposal
The equality of nations being a basic principle of the League of Nations, the High Contracting Parties agree to accord as soon as possible to all alien nationals of states, members of the League, equal and just treatment in every respect making no distinction, either in law or in fact, on account of their race or nationality.
Because he knew that Great Britain was critical to the decision, President Wilson, as Conference chairman, ruled that a unanimous vote was required. On 11 April 1919 the commission held a final session and the proposal received a majority of votes, but Great Britain and Australia opposed it. The Australians had lobbied the British to defend Australia's White Australia policy. The defeat of the proposal influenced Japan's turn from cooperation with West toward more nationalistic policies.
The Japanese claim to Shantung was disputed by the Chinese. In 1914 at the outset of World War I Japan had seized the territory granted to Germany in 1897. They also seized the German islands in the Pacific north of the equator. In 1917, Japan had made secret agreements with Britain, France and Italy that guaranteed their annexation of these territories. With Britain, there was a mutual agreement, Japan also agreeing to support British annexation of the Pacific islands south of the equator. Despite a generally pro-Chinese view on behalf of the American delegation, Article 156 of the Treaty of Versailles transferred German concessions in Jiaozhou, China to Japan rather than returning sovereign authority to China. The leader of the Chinese delegation, Lou Tseng-Tsiang, demanded that a reservation be inserted before he would sign the treaty. The reservation was denied, and the treaty was signed by all the delegations except that of China. Chinese outrage over this provision led to demonstrations known as the May Fourth Movement. The Pacific islands north of the equator became a class C mandate administered by Japan.
The Chinese delegation was led by Lou Tseng-Tsiang, accompanied by Wellington Koo and Cao Rulin. Before the Western powers, Koo demanded that Germany's concessions on Shandong be returned to China. He further called for an end to imperialist institutions such as extraterritoriality, legation guards, and foreign lease holds. Despite American support and the ostensible spirit of self-determination, the Western powers refused his claims, transferring the German concessions to Japan instead. This sparked widespread student protests in China on 4 May, later known as the May Fourth Movement, eventually pressuring the government into refusing to sign the Treaty of Versailles. Thus the Chinese delegation at the Paris Peace Conference was the only one not to sign the treaty at the signing ceremony.
Questions about independence
All-Russian Government (Whites)
Whilst Russia was formally excluded from the Conference, despite having fought the Central Powers for three years, the Russian Provincial Council (chaired by Prince Lvov),the successor to the Russian Constituent Assembly and the political arm of the Russian White movement attended the conference. Represented by former Tsarist minister Sergey Sazonov who, ironically, if the Tsar had not been overthrown would most likely have attended the conference anyway. The Council maintained the position of an indivisible Russia, but some were prepared to negotiate over the loss of Poland and Finland. The Council suggested all matters relating to territorial claims, or demands for autonomy within the former Russian Empire, be referred to a new All-Russian Constituent Assembly.
Ukraine had its best opportunity to win recognition and support from foreign powers at the Conference of 1919. At a meeting of the Big Five on 16 January, Lloyd George called Ukrainian leader Symon Petliura (1874–1926) an adventurer and dismissed Ukraine as an anti-Bolshevik stronghold. Sir Eyre Crowe, British undersecretary of state for foreign affairs, spoke against a union of East Galicia and Poland. The British cabinet never decided whether to support a united or dismembered Russia. The United States was sympathetic to a strong, united Russia as a counterpoise to Japan, but Britain feared a threat to India. Petliura appointed Count Tyshkevich his representative to the Vatican, and Pope Benedict XV recognized Ukrainian independence. Ukraine was effectively ignored.
A Delegation of the Belarusian Democratic Republic under Prime Minister Anton Łuckievič also participated in the conference, attempting to gain international recognition of the independence of Belarus. On the way to the conference, the delegation was received by Czechoslovak president Tomáš Masaryk in Prague. During the conference, Łuckievič had meetings with the exiled Foreign Minister of admiral Kolchak's Russian government Sergey Sazonov and the Prime Minister of Poland Ignacy Jan Paderewski.
Minority rights in Poland and other European countries
At the insistence of President Wilson, the Big Four required Poland to sign a treaty on 28 June 1919 that guaranteed minority rights in the new nation. Poland signed under protest, and made little effort to enforce the specified rights for Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and other minorities. Similar treaties were signed by Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and later by a Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Finland and Germany were not asked to sign a minority rights treaty.
In Poland the key provisions were to become fundamental laws that overrode any national legal codes or legislation. The new country pledged to assure "full and complete protection of life and liberty to all individuals...without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race, or religion." Freedom of religion was guaranteed to everyone. Most residents were given citizenship, but there was considerable ambiguity on who was covered. The treaty guaranteed basic civil, political, and cultural rights, and required all citizens to be equal before the law and enjoy identical rights of citizens and workers. Polish was of the national language, but the treaty provided that minority languages could be freely used privately, in commerce, religion, the press, at public meetings, and before all courts. Minorities were to be permitted to establish and control at their own expense private charities, churches and social institutions, as well as schools, without interference from the government. The government was required to set up German language public schools in those districts that had been German territory before the war. All education above the primary level was to be conducted exclusively in the national language. Article 12 was the enforcement clause; it gave the Council of the League of Nations responsibility for monitoring and enforcing each treaty.
As Japan violently suppressed the March First Movement, there was limited opportunity for a Korean voice. A delegation of overseas Koreans, from Japan, China, and Hawaii, did make it to Paris. Included in this delegation, was a representative from the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai, Kim Kyu-sik (김규식). They were aided by the Chinese, who were eager for the opportunity to embarrass Japan at the international forum. Several top Chinese leaders at the time, including Sun Yat-sen, told U.S. diplomats that the peace conference should take up the question of Korean independence. Beyond that, however, the Chinese, locked in a struggle against the Japanese themselves, could do little for Korea. Apart from China no nation took the Koreans seriously at the Paris conference because of its status as a Japanese colony. The failure of the Korean nationalists to gain support from the Paris Peace Conference ended the possibility of foreign support.
Following the Conference's decision to separate the former Arab provinces from the Ottoman Empire and to apply the newly conceived mandate-system to them, the Zionist Organization submitted their draft resolutions for consideration by the Peace Conference on 3 February 1919.
The statement included five main points:
- Recognition of the Jewish people's historic title to Palestine and their right to reconstitute their National Home there.
- The boundaries of Palestine were to be declared as set out in the attached Schedule
- The sovereign possession of Palestine would be vested in the League of Nations and the Government entrusted to Great Britain as Mandatory of the League.
- Other provisions to be inserted by the High Contracting Parties relating to the application of any general conditions attached to mandates, which are suitable to the case in Palestine.
- The mandate shall be subject also to several noted special conditions, including
- promotion of Jewish immigration and close settlement on the land and safeguarding rights of the present non-Jewish population
- a Jewish Council representative for the development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine, and offer to the Council in priority any concession for public works or for the development of natural resources
- self-government for localities
- freedom of religious worship; no discrimination among the inhabitants with regard to citizenship and civil rights, on the grounds of religion, or of race
- control of the Holy Places
However, despite these attempts to influence the conference, the Zionists were instead constrained by Article 7 of the resulting Palestine Mandate to merely having the right of obtaining Palestinian citizenship: "The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine."
Citing the Balfour Declaration, the Zionists suggested that the British had already recognised the historic title of the Jews to Palestine in 1917. The preamble of the British Mandate of 1922, in which the Balfour Declaration was incorporated, stated: "Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country ...".
The remaking of the world map at these conferences gave birth to a number of critical conflict-prone international contradictions, which would become one of the causes of World War II. The British historian Eric Hobsbawm claimed that
no equally systematic attempt has been made before or since, in Europe or anywhere else, to redraw the political map on national lines. [...] The logical implication of trying to create a continent neatly divided into coherent territorial states each inhabited by separate ethnically and linguistically homogeneous population, was the mass expulsion or extermination of minorities. Such was and is the reductio ad absurdum of nationalism in its territorial version, although this was not fully demonstrated until the 1940s.
It has long been argued that Wilson's Fourteen Points, in particular the principle of national self-determination, were primarily anti-Left measures, designed to tame the revolutionary fever sweeping across Europe in the wake of the October Revolution and the end of the war by playing the nationalist card.
- World's End (1940), the first novel in Upton Sinclair's Pulitzer Prize winning Lanny Budd series. Much of the second half of this book describes the political machinations and consequences of the Paris Peace Conference, with Sinclair's narrative including many historically accurate characters and events.
- The first two books of novelist Robert Goddard's The Wide World trilogy, (The Ways of the World and The Corners of the Globe) are centred around the diplomatic machinations which form the background to the conference.
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- Causes of World War II
- International relations (1814–1919)
- Minority Treaties
- Czech Corridor
- League of Nations mandate
- Commission of Responsibilities
- Congress of Vienna
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- Statement of the Zionist Organization regarding Palestine, 3 February 1919
- Avalon Project, The Palestine Mandate
- First World War – Willmott, H. P., Dorling Kindersley, 2003, pp. 292–307.
- Hobsbawm 1992, p. 133.
- Hobsbawm 1994, p. 67: "[T]he first Western reaction to the Bolsheviks' appeal to the peoples to make peace—and their publication of the secret treaties in which the Allies had carved up Europe among themselves—had been President Wilson's Fourteen Points, which played the nationalist card against Lenin's international appeal. A zone of small nation-states was to form a sort of quarantine belt against the Red virus. ... [T]he establishment of new small nation-states along Wilsonian lines, though far from eliminating national conflicts in the zone of revolutions, ... diminished the scope for Bolshevik revolution. That, indeed, had been the intention of the Allied peacemakers."
From the other side of the political spectrum, John Lewis Gaddis likewise writes: "When Woodrow Wilson made the principle of self-determination one of this Fourteen Points his intent had been to undercut the appeal of Bolshevism" (Gaddis 2005, p. 121).
- Albrecht-Carrie, Rene. Italy at the Paris Peace Conference (1938) online edition
- Ambrosius, Lloyd E. Woodrow Wilson and the American Diplomatic Tradition: The Treaty Fight in Perspective (1990) excerpt and text search
- Andelman, David A. A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today (2007) popular history that stresses multiple long-term disasters caused by Treaty. excerpt and text search
- Bailey; Thomas A. Wilson and the Peacemakers: Combining Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace and Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal (1947) online edition
- Birdsall, Paul. Versailles twenty years after (1941) well balanced older account
- Boemeke, Manfred F., et al., eds. The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years (1998). major collection of important papers by scholars excerpt and text search
- Bruce, Scot David, Woodrow Wilson's Colonial Emissary: Edward M. House and the Origins of the Mandate System, 1917-1919 (University of Nebraska Press, 2013).
- Clements, Kendrick, A. Woodrow Wilson: World Statesman (1999) excerpt and text search
- Cooper, John Milton. Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (2009), scholarly biography; pp 439–532 excerpt and text search
- Dillon, Emile Joseph. The Inside Story of the Peace Conference, (1920) online
- Ferguson, Niall. The Pity of War: Explaining World War One (1999), economics issues at Paris pp 395–432
- Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace, The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, Macmillan 1989.
- Gaddis, John Lewis (2005). The Cold War. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0-713-99912-9.
- Ginneken, Anique H.M. van. Historical Dictionary of the League of Nations (2006) excerpt and text search
- Henig, Ruth. Versailles and After: 1919–1933 (2nd ed. 1995), 100 pages; brief introduction by scholar excerpt and text search
- Hobsbawm, E. J. (1992). Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality. Canto (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-43961-9.
- Hobsbawm, E.J. (1994). The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991. London: Michael Joseph. ISBN 978-0718133078.
- Keynes, John Maynard, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1920) famous criticism by leading economist full text online
- Dimitri Kitsikis, Le rôle des experts à la Conférence de la Paix de 1919, Ottawa, éditions de l'université d'Ottawa, 1972.
- Dimitri Kitsikis, Propagande et pressions en politique internationale. La Grèce et ses revendications à la Conférence de la Paix, 1919-1920, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1963.
- Knock, Thomas J. To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order (1995) excerpt and text search
- Lederer, Ivo J., ed. The Versailles Settlement—Was It Foredoomed to Failure? (1960) short excerpts from scholars online edition
- Lentin, Antony. Guilt at Versailles: Lloyd George and the Pre-history of Appeasement (1985)
- Lentin, Antony. Lloyd George and the Lost Peace: From Versailles to Hitler, 1919–1940 (2004)
- McFadden, David W. (1993). Alternative Paths: Soviets and Americans, 1917–1920. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-195-36115-5.
- Macmillan, Margaret. Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (2002), also published as Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (2003); influential survey excerpt and text search
- Mayer, Arno J. (1967). Politics and Diplomacy of Peacemaking: Containment and Counterrevolution at Versailles, 1918–1919. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
- Nicolson, Harold (2009) . Peacemaking, 1919. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-25604-4.
- Paxton, Robert O., and Julie Hessler. Europe in the Twentieth Century (2011) pp 141–78 excerpt and text search
- Marks, Sally. The Illusion of Peace: International Relations in Europe 1918–1933 (2nd ed. 2003)
- Mayer, Arno J., Politics and Diplomacy of Peacemaking: Containment and Counter-revolution at Versailles, 1918–1919 (1967), leftist
- Newton, Douglas. British Policy and the Weimar Republic, 1918–1919 (1997). 484 pgs.
- Pellegrino, Anthony; Dean Lee, Christopher; Alex (2012). "Historical Thinking through Classroom Simulation: 1919 Paris Peace Conference". The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas 85 (4): 146–152.
- Roberts, Priscilla. "Wilson, Europe's Colonial Empires, and the Issue of Imperialism," in Ross A. Kennedy, ed., A Companion to Woodrow Wilson (2013) pp: 492–517.
- Schwabe, Klaus. Woodrow Wilson, Revolutionary Germany, and Peacemaking, 1918–1919: Missionary Diplomacy and the Realities of Power (1985) online edition
- Sharp, Alan. The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking after the First World War, 1919–1923 (2nd ed. 2008)
- Sharp, Alan (2005). "The Enforcement Of The Treaty Of Versailles, 1919–1923". Diplomacy and Statecraft 16 (3): 423–438. doi:10.1080/09592290500207677.
- Naoko Shimazu (1998), Japan, Race and Equality, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-17207-1
- Steiner, Zara. The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919–1933 (Oxford History of Modern Europe) (2007), major scholarly work excerpt and text search
- Trachtenberg, Marc (1979). "Reparations at the Paris Peace Conference". The Journal of Modern History 51 (1): 24–55. doi:10.1086/241847. JSTOR 1877867.
- Walworth, Arthur. Wilson and His Peacemakers: American Diplomacy at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 (1986) 618pp online edition
- Watson, David Robin. George Clemenceau: A Political Biography (1976) 463 pgs. online edition
- Excerpts from the NFB documentary Paris 1919
- Sampling of maps used by the American delegates held by the American Geographical Society Library, UW Milwaukee