Following the results of World War I, allied victors (mainly British Empire, France, Italy, and Russia) congregated to confer the terms for peace for the conquered central powers (German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Turkish). This was after the armistices that were arrived at in 1918. The conference took place at Versailles, on the outskirts of Paris, from 18 January 1919 till 21 January 1920, with some breaks between. This convention acted and functioned as the government of the world. It was meant to resolve international disputes and restore peace and order between nations after World War I. This paper focuses on the agendas of the Paris Peace Conference, the implementations, and the challenges that were met.
This meeting was attended by representatives from nearly thirty countries, but representatives from France, United States of America, the Great Britain, and Italy emerged as the “Big Four”. The “Big Four” had a pivotal role in the proceedings leading to the drafting of the Treaty of Versailles. This treaty included a blue print to form a confederacy of countries that would serve as an international medium and collective peace and security arrangement. Significant representatives in these discussions included Georges Clemenceau (France), Vittorio Orlando (Italy), David Lloyd George (Britain), and Woodrow Wilson (United States) (Slavicek L, 2010).
Some countries, such as France, Great Britain, and Italy, came together and fought jointly during the World War I as Allied Powers. The United States joined the war in April 1917 by virtue of being an Associated Power and fought in favor of the Allies. The U.S. did not give priority or show concern to the pre-existing accords between the Allied Forces. These unconformities were largely based on the redistribution of territories after the war was finished. This often resulted in major discrepancies among the “Big Four”, thus, challenging the process (Welch, 1999).
The absence of other significant nations in the discussions also posed a challenge to the strategies. Russia had participated in the war as a member of Allied forces until December 1917. This was due to the withdrawal from the war by its new Bolshevik Government. The Allied Powers declined to acknowledge the new Bolshevik Government, and, hence, its representatives were not invited to the Peace Conference. The Allied Powers also excluded the conquered Central Powers (Germany, Turkey, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria) (Slavicek, 2010).
In accordance to British and French wishes, strict punitive procedures were imposed on Germany in conformity with the Treaty of Versailles. The new Germany administration was to waive about ten percent of the territory in possession before war in regions like Europe and all of its overseas assets. Germany did not have a strong large army and navy. A number of superior and prominent German bureaucrats including Kaiser Wilhelm II were to be tried as criminals of war. Germans accepted fault on the war and, thus, were charged financial damages to the Allied Powers (Welch, 1999).
In conclusion, the Paris Peace Settlement, however, left some nations, such as Germany and Italy, at a loss and discontented. Such disillusionments and distress fuelled the need to avenge, hence, creating an amicable ambiance for the dawn of World War II. Germans supported the Nazi party that was led by Adolph Hitler and raided the newly formed countries by the Paris Peace Settlement such as Poland, since they did not have a well structured and strong defense (Heinrich H, 2000, pp. 160-164).