Consequences of World War I and the Treaty of Versailles

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1. What were the economic and demographic consequences of the war?

The First World War caused the deaths of around ten million soldiers and a large number of civilian casualties due to malnutrition and disease.
The conflict left the warring nations impoverished. European industry and agriculture reduced in size, and all European countries were in debt, especially to the United States.

2. Why was the League of Nations created? Why did it fall?

US President Wilson suggested the creation of a League of Nations (LN) to guarantee peace and cooperation between states. However, the defeated countries were excluded from the LN, and finally, neither the USSR nor the US joined it. With so many excluded countries, the LN ended up by having no influence on international politics.

3. What new disputes resulted from the peace conference?

The Germans considered the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles a humiliation, which increased their sense of nationalism and the desire for future revenge. Italy’s frustration at not receiving the land they had been promised (Treaty of London) also led to increased nationalism.
The Russian Revolution had produced a tense situation in Europe. It provided evidence of a new conflict between capitalism and communism.

4. What were the conditions of peace imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles?

The Treaty of Versailles declared Germany responsible for the war and made it pay compensation (reparations). Germany was also forced to demilitarize and to make considerable territorial concessions to France, Poland, Belgium, and Denmark.

5. Look at the map and read the text. Then, answer the questions.
a. What territory did Germany and the USSR cede? Germany ceded: Alsace-Lorraine to France, Schleswig-Holstein to Denmark, Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium, Posen to Poland, Niemen to Lithuania and Danzig (a free city)
The USSR lost: the Baltic States (present-day countries: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) Most of Poland and Bessarabia to Romania

b. Which countries did the Ottoman Empire cede territory to? The Ottoman Empire ceded territory to: Greece and French and British mandates.

c. List the new nations that were created? The independent states created were: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, and land that would become Yugoslavia after World War II.

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