Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This Day in History: January 18




Also on This Day

Lead Story

Post-World War I peace conference begins in Paris, 1919

American Revolution

Georgia's royal governor is arrested, 1776


GM auctions off historic cars, 2009

Civil War

Former U.S. president and Confederate congressman-elect John Tyler dies, 1862

Cold War

United States walks out of World Court case, 1985


Barry arrested on drug charges, 1990


Heavy rain leads to landslides in Southern California, 1969

General Interest

Cook discovers Hawaii, 1778

Scott reaches the South Pole, 1912


Coen brothers release debut film, Blood Simple, 1985


A.A. Milne is born, 1882


"Mandy" is Barry Manilow's first #1 pop hit, 1975

Old West

Jefferson requests funds for Lewis and Clark, 1803


Jefferson requests funding for Lewis and Clark expedition, 1803

Wilson attends Paris Peace Conference, 1919


NHL is integrated, 1958

Vietnam War

China and Soviet Union recognize Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 1950

McGovern begins his presidential campaign, 1971

World War I

Peace conference opens in Paris, 1919

World War II

Germans resume deportations from Warsaw to Treblinka, 1943



Jan 18, 1919:

Post-World War I peace conference begins in Paris

On this day in Paris, France, some of the most powerful people in the world meet to begin the long, complicated negotiations that would officially mark the end of the First World War.

Leaders of the victorious Allied powers--France, Great Britain, the United States and Italy--would make most of the crucial decisions in Paris over the next six months. For most of the conference, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson struggled to support his idea of a "peace without victory" and make sure that Germany, the leader of the Central Powers and the major loser of the war, was not treated too harshly. On the other hand, Prime Ministers Georges Clemenceau of France and David Lloyd George of Britain argued that punishing Germany adequately and ensuring 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, when they arrived in Paris and were presented with a draft of the Versailles Treaty. Having put great faith in Wilson's promises, the Germans were deeply frustrated and disillusioned by the treaty, which required them to forfeit a great deal of territory and pay reparations. Even worse, the infamous Article 231 forced Germany to accept sole blame for the war. This was a bitter pill many Germans could not swallow.

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. In the decades to come, anger and resentment of the treaty and its authors festered in Germany. Extremists like Adolf Hitler's National Socialist (Nazi) Party capitalized on these emotions to gain power, a process that led almost directly to the exact thing Wilson and the other negotiators in Paris in 1919 had wanted to prevent--a second, equally devastating global war.

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Previous DayJanuary 18CalendarNext Day


This Week in History, Jan 18 - Jan 24

Jan 18, 1919

Post-World War I peace conference begins in Paris

Jan 19, 1809

Edgar Allan Poe is born

Jan 20, 1981

Iran Hostage Crisis ends

Jan 21, 1977

President Carter pardons draft dodgers

Jan 22, 1998

Ted Kaczynski pleads guilty to bombings

Jan 23, 1957

Toy company Wham-O produces first Frisbees

Jan 24, 1935

First canned beer goes on sale


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