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Qwiz5 Quizbowl Essentials - Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles is the treaty that ended World War I. It was negotiated at Versailles outside of Paris, the former hunting lodge of Louis XIII that became the primary palace of King Louis XIV. The treaty was signed in the opulent Hall of Mirrors designed by architect Jules Mansart and artist Charles Le Brun. Ultimately the treaty was incredibly punitive towards Germany, setting the stage for the Second World War.

The Treaty of Versailles is signed in the Hall of Mirrors.  Part of the Qwiz5 series by Qwiz Quizbowl Camp, written to help quiz bowl teams power more tossups!

By analyzing questions, you can see patterns emerge, patterns that will help you answer questions. Qwiz5 is all about those patterns. In each installment of Qwiz5, we take an answer line and look at five of its most common clues. Here we explore five clues that will help you answer a tossup on the Treaty of Versailles.


The Versailles Peace Conference was dominated by the so-called “Big Four”. These four men were the leaders of the victorious Allied nations and determined the course of the treaty negotiations. The “Big Four” were Vittorio Orlando (Italy), David Lloyd George (Great Britain), Georges Clemenceau (France), and Woodrow Wilson (United States).


The most important provision of the treaty to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was the creation of the League of Nations, an international arbitration body whose goal was to maintain world peace. This was codified as Article 10 of the Treaty.

Article 10 was highly controversial in the U.S., and was vehemently opposed by isolationist senators such as Henry Cabot Lodge (MA), Hiram Johnson (CA), and William Borah (ID). Their opposition was so successful that it led to the United States never ratifying the Treaty of Versailles.


One of the biggest debates at the conference was the degree to which Germany would be forced to accept war guilt and pay reparations for their role in starting WWI. One of the loudest voices arguing for reparations were the so-called heavenly twins, British delegates Lord Sumner and Lord Cunliffe, who led the charge for heavy reparations from Germany.


The “heavenly twins” were opposed by another member of the British delegation, economist John Maynard Keynes who held that strong reparations for Germany would cripple the German economy and lead to further problems in the future. Keynes later outlined this argument in his book, The Economic Consequences of the Peace. You can read more about John Maynard Keynes in this Qwiz5.


There are several pieces of territory that changed hands as a result of the treaty. One of the most frequently mentioned in quizbowl questions is the German-controlled territory of Shandong in China which was ceded to Japan. This resulted in much resentment amongst the Chinese, eventually leading to the May Fourth Movement and a general rise in Chinese Nationalism.


Quizbowl is about learning, not rote memorization, so we encourage you to use this as a springboard for further reading rather than as an endpoint. Here are a few things to check out:

* Did John Maynard Keynes predict the rise of Nazi Germany? Read more about it HERE.

* How did Germany pay the billions demanded in reparation payments? Much of the money came via loans from the United States through the Dawes Plan. Read more about it HERE.

* Learn more about the debates surrounding the treaty by listening to this interview with Michael Neiberg, author of The Treaty Of Versailles: A Concise History.

* Learn more about the Senate debates that led to the United States’ refusal to sign the Treaty of Versailles by watching this video:


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