The Treaty of Versailles
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Role of United Kingdom in the First World War

The United Kingdom made a massive impact with their participation in the First World War. They were one of the Allied Powers, with Britain part of the Triple Entente. As a result of World War l, the Royal Air Force was established; main training grounds were in Canada, which ensured that the Central Powers would not attack. The British fought alongside the Dominion troops in the battle of Ypres, as well as Passchendaele. Their involvement in trench warfare can also compare to their accomplishments at sea. Shipping weaponry from America made it possible for the Central Powers not to interrupt. The Royal Navy prevented the German navy from breaking out of confines in the North Sea. Germany, in turn, was cut off from trading and important resources. Though not always successful, Britain maintained the blockade and kept the High Seas Fleet in port.

Britain provided a large army as part of the Triple Entente. It was also the main manufacturer of weapons and other tools. When David Lloyd George was elected as Prime Minister of Britain in 1916, he put Britain directly into the war. He put full commitment into sending men and guns to Italy and Palestine. The UK’s involvement in the First World War was what made them part of the “Great Powers” in the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George

- Prime Minister of Britain, leader of the Liberal Party
- Represented Britain at the Versailles Peace Conference
- Wanted to punish Germany (politically and economically) but didn’t want to destroy their systems, like the French and Italians
  • ei. Wanted "justice" not revenge. He said that peace must not be harsh, since he believed that would cause another war in a couple years.

“Not badly, considering I was seated between Jesus Christ and Napoleon”

When replying to a question on how he had done at the conference - he referred to Woodrow Wilson, the president of the United States, as Jesus because he didn’t want to punish Germany harshly. On the other hand, Georges Clemenceau, the Premier of France, wanted to punish Germany to the highest extent.

- Wanted to restore Germany (important trading partner)
- Supported secret treaties and naval blockades – to establish Britain as the naval superpower once more
- Demanded a larger compensation for the widows, orphans and men left unable to work because of injuries from the war

Heavenly Twins

- Judge Lord Sumner and the Banker, Lord Cunliffe represented British and British Dominions’ at the 1919 Treaty of Versailles regarding the terms to be imposed on Germany
- Determined to have Germany pay reparations for the losses in the armed forces
- Lord Cunliffe wanted Germany to pay 25 billion Euros, but was turned down
- Pressured the Americans to give up their position that only limited reparations should be imposed upon Germany


Timeline of Britain’s Involvement & Treaty Negotiations of WW1


June 28
 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, is assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia
July 28
 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
July 29
 Great Britain warns Germany that it cannot remain neutral
August 3
 Germany declares war on France.
Great Britain gives order for troops to mobilize.
October 19
 First Battle of Ypres.
November 23
The British enter Basra, securing oil supplies in the Middle East needed to supply most of the Royal Navy.


February 18 Blockade of Britain by German U-boats begins. All vessels are considered viable targets, including those from neutral countries.

February 19 Britain bombarded Turkish forts in the Dardanelles
April 22 Second Battle of Ypres begins. First use of poison gas by Germany.

May 7 The "Lusitania" was sunk by a German U-boat.
August 16 A U-boat bombards Whitehaven, showing Britain's maritime defences can be breached by German submarines.


January 24 British Government passes Military Service Act - legalizes conscription.
February 21 Start of Battle of Verdun
July 1 Battle of Somme begins

January 31 Germany announces the continuation of unrestricted submarine warfare, hoping to starve Britain into submission.
November 10 Battle of Passchendaele ends. After months of fighting, the Allies 
have advanced only 5 miles. Half a million casualties.
December 5 Armistice is signed between Germany and Russia

August 8 Advance of allies is successful
October 4 Germany asks allies for armistice
November 11 - Armistice Day
- The Armistice is signed at 5.00am and comes into effect at 11.00am.

January 18 
Paris Peace Conference begins
January 25
 Principle of a League of Nations approved
February 14
 Draft of the League of Nations completed
May 6
 Under conditions of the Peace Conference, German colonies
 are annexed.
June 28
 Treaty of Versailles signed

Objectives of the country in treaty organization

- Supported reparations to a lesser extent than the French
- Worried about all the reparations on Germany would effect their economy
- Wilson’s idea for “self-determination” frightened the British, as Lloyd George wanted to preserve his own nations empire.
- Supported secret treaties and naval blockades
  • Key objective = to secure the sea lanes to its empire (meaning German sea power had to be damaged)
- Increased overall reparations payments + Britain’s share
  • Did this by ordering compensation for the great number of widows, orphans, and men left incompetent to work because of war injuries.

Goals met by Treaty

-Some "justice” met
  • Germany had to give back Alsace-Lorraine
  • Gave land back to Poland (polish were given a country again)
- Germany's empire deflated.
- Colonies were taken away and redistributed to the allies.
- German naval forces limited to 15,000 men, 6 battleships,6 cruisers, and 12 torpedo boats. Submarines were forbidden or forboten.
- Blockades on ships were prohibited
- key objective to secure Britain's sea lanes was achieved by these factors

Work Cited

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