The Treaty of Versailles was a vicious project, during which the Great Powers prioritised their own imperialist interests over the rhetoric of a “just and lasting peace”. Steve Guy looks at its consequences.
The Great War had ground on for four long years, and the Allied leaders were caught by surprise when revolution in Germany compelled the military dictatorship of Ludendorff and von Hindenburg to sue for peace in November 1918. As a result, the peace talks only commenced in January 1919, with a commitment by the Allies to producing a “just and lasting peace”. In fact, there were five peace treaties concluded by late 1920. Of the five, the one with Germany, the Treaty of Versailles, levied the most onerous demands on the vanquished foe.