This year is the Centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Signed on 28 June 1919 in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles Palace, the Treaty was the most important of the peace treaties that brought an end to World War I. To mark this anniversary, the Peace Palace Library has put together a collection of books exploring the background and aftermath of the Versailles Treaty. Part I: Negotiations in Paris.
The Conference convened following the cessation of hostilities in World War I on the Western Front to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers. Involving diplomats from 32 countries and nationalities, the major or main decisions were the creation of the League of Nations, as well as the five peace treaties with the defeated states. The five major powers, France, Britain, Italy, Japan and the United States controlled the Conference. The "Big Four" were French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, US President Woodrow Wilson, and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. They met together informally 145 times and made all the major decisions, which in turn were ratified by the others. The conference began on 18 January 1919. Although the senior statesmen stopped working personally on the Conference in June 1919, the formal peace process did not really end until July 1923, when the Treaty of Lausanne was signed".
Documents of the Conference
I. Recueil des actes de la conférence, Conférence de la Paix 1919-1920, Paris, Imprimerie Nationale.
II. The Paris Peace Conference, Papers relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States 1919, Washington, United States Government Printing Office.
Treaty of Versailles Centennial
The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to the war. The other Central Powers on the German side signed separate treaties. Although the Armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.