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Today In History : January 18, 2022

On This Day In History
On January 18, 1919, in Paris, France, world leaders met to begin the complicated negotiations that would to officially mark the end of the First World War.

Leaders of the Allied powers—France, Great Britain, the United States and Italy—would make most of the crucial decisions in Paris. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson struggled to support his idea of a “peace without victory.” He did not want Germany to be treated too harshly. Prime Ministers Georges Clemenceau of France and David Lloyd George of Britain argued that punishing Germany adequately to ensure its weakness was the only way to justify the immense costs of the war. In the end, Wilson compromised on the treatment of Germany in order to push through the creation of his pet project, an international peacekeeping organization called the League of Nations.

Representatives from Germany were excluded from the peace conference until May. They were deeply frustrated and disillusioned by the treaty, which required them to forfeit a great deal of territory and pay reparations.

The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, five years to the day after a Serbian nationalist’s bullet ended the life of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and sparked the beginning of World War I.

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