28 June 1919
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
About the Treaty
The peace treaty formally concluded hostilities between Germany and the allied powers and was signed at the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris, on 28 June 1919. Criticised by liberal allied opinion as too hard, and by others as too lenient, the treaty deprived Germany of:
- about 13.5 per cent of its 1914 territory
- about 13 per cent of its economic resources
- around 7 million of its people, and
- all of its overseas possessions.
The treaty was one of five formulated at the Paris Peace Conference as part of the peace negotiations at the end of the First World War. The Treaty of Versailles related to establishing the conditions of peace with Germany.
The major sanctions imposed by the treaty included the disarmament of Germany, payment of very large reparations to the allies, and demilitarization of the Rhineland. The treaty also involved the surrender of territory which had been part of Germany prior to the First World War, including Alsace-Lorraine to France and substantial areas to Poland. Germany reluctantly signed the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.
Australia’s representatives at the Paris Peace Conference were the Prime Minister Billy Hughes, the Deputy Prime Minister Sir Joseph Cook, and Lieutenant Commander J.G. Latham, Royal Australian Naval Reserve.