Historical Analysis and Interpretation: Considering Multiple Perspectives on the Peace of Versailles
Different people experience and view events differently. Nowhere could this be clearer than in war—a victory for one group of people is a defeat for another. At the end of World War I, Americans celebrated the Armistice, but Germans would soon be protesting the peace treaty that followed.
The engraving shown below originally appeared in a French newspaper. It shows a delegation to the Versailles conference listening to a speech by French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. Look carefully at the painting. What can you discern from the expressions on the delegates’ faces and their body language? What country do you think this delegation represents? (Go to the collection to see if your answer is correct.) From your knowledge of the peace negotiations, how accurately do you think this drawing reflects the mood of the delegation it purports to represent? Explain your answer.
Near the end of the War of the Nations is a collage of U.S. newspaper headlines announcing the signing of the peace treaty. Examine these headlines. Use what you know about the Germans’ attitudes toward the peace treaty to write several headlines that might have appeared in German newspapers to mark this event.
You can examine multiple perspectives on other historic events, including D-Day, the assassination of President Kennedy, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, by comparing headlines from around the world at the website of the Newseum.