This talk explores the divided opinions over the justness and the success of the Treaty of Versailles, which was signed on 28 June 1919 ending the war with Germany.
Received wisdom has it that the principal authors of this peace settlement with Germany – Georges Clemenceau, Woodrow Wilson and David Lloyd George –doomed Europe and the world to disaster twenty years later. Others believe that the Treaty of Versailles was not a disaster and that the Allies did the best they could in very difficult circumstances. The aim of this talk is to revisit the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 in an attempt to explain why its legacies have been so toxic, and to assess the competing claims and interpretations surrounding the Treaty of Versailles in particular.
Dr Nicholas Martin has had a passionate interest in the First World War and its aftermath for over forty years, grown from listening to the experiences his Grandfather had in the trenches. He was educated at Dulwich College and New College, Oxford, and teaches German culture and history at the University of Birmingham. He is also Director of the Institute for German Studies, which is part-funded by the German government.