Peace conference opens in Paris 18th Jan 1919..

On the 18th of January 1919 in Paris, France, in the Salle d’Horloge on the Quai d’Orsay, delegates convene for the official opening of the peace conference that will end the Great War.

Image

For Germany, already laid low in defeat, opening the peace conference on January 18 was an affront to national pride.  On that same day in 1871, the efforts of Otto von Bismarck to unify Prussia and the German kingdoms into a single nation had culminated in the glorious coronation of Wilhelm I as kaiser of the new Germany.  This was not a coincidence—George Clemenceau, the prime minister of the host country, had specially chosen the date.

Gathered in the Salle d’Horloge were representatives from far-flung nations: some established powers, some—like those from the contentious Balkan region—emerging new states struggling to carve out a place for themselves.  Notable absences in the room included the Greek prime minister, Eleutherious Venizelos, who was annoyed that Serbia had been allowed more delegates than Greece; the Japanese delegation, who had not yet arrived; and, most importantly, representatives from Russia, an Ally in 1914 under the imperial regime of Czar Nicholas II, now in the grips of a revolutionary dictatorship led by a small group of radical socialists, the Bolsheviks.

The French president, Raymond PoincarÉ, addressed the assembled delegates, telling them, You hold in your hands the future of the world.  All eyes would be on Paris during the coming months to see whether the peace brokered at Versailles would be worthy of the immense sacrifices made by both winners and losers during the Great War.

Image

William Orpen’s painting The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 28th June 1919, showing the signing of the peace treaty by the German Minister of Transport Dr Johannes Bell, opposite to the representatives of the winning powers

Advertisements
This entry was posted in History. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s