After Germany signed the Armistice, the Great four: United States' president Woodrow Wilson, France's prime minister Georges Clemenceau, England's prime minister Lloyd George and Italy's Orlando met in Paris in January 1919 and worked out the Treaty of Versailles.
The armistice based on Woodrow Wilson's 14 points was agreedby Germany. But the Treaty of Versailles sharply differed from Wilson's points, and Germany who felt betrayed, denounced it as unjust and morally invalid. The reparations were especially regarded as too draconian. The question still remains: Was Versailles to draconian?
The peace treaty's goal was to restore European stability and maintain everlasting peace. Later it became clear that what had been attained was not a lasting peace.
The Great four had difficulties in arriving at an agreement. Great Britain and the United States were opposed to French aims. While British felt that the treaty was too harsh on Germany, France felt as though it was not harsh enough. France's Clemenceau implicitly wantedGermany to remain powerless. The victorious powers agreed that if the conditions were unbearably harsh, Germany might throw itself into the arms of Bolsheviks. Thus French aims were resisted.
The variety of views and the mixture of principles of new diplomacy, considerations of power politics and nationalist passion lead to a treaty which was said to be a compromise and one that nobody really liked.
The treaty stated that in the next few years Germany was to pay 5 billion dollars. Germany had to hand over most of its merchant marine, a quarter of its fishing fleet and a good part of its railroad stock to the Allies. For five years Germany had to give annually 200.000 tons of shipping for the victors. It had to make annual deliveries to France, Italy and Belgium and to pay the costs of the occupation of the Rhineland by the Allied armies. Furthermore France received econo…