Treaty of Versailles Signed

The Treaty of Versailles, signed in the palace’s Hall of Mirrors on June 28, 1918, ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. The date was exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. 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 sole responsibility for causing the war and, under the terms of articles 231–248 (later known as the War Guilt clauses), to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers. The total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks (then $31.4 billion, £6.6 billion) in 1921.[ This was a sum that many economists deemed to be excessive because it would have taken Germany until 1988 to pay. The Treaty was undermined by subsequent events starting as early as 1932 and was widely flouted by the mid-1930s.

The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was compromise that left none contented: Germany was not pacified or conciliated, nor permanently weakened. This would prove to be a factor leading to later conflicts, notably and directly the Second World War.


One Response to “Treaty of Versailles Signed”
  1. jbecker says:

    Robert C. Byrd, born Cornelius Calvin Sale, was seven months old at the time. He would live to be the longest serving member of U.S. Congress and pass away on the 92nd anniversary of the signing of this treaty.