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Primary Documents in American History

Treaty of Versailles

How American Press Announced Signing of Peace Treaty
How American Press Announced Signing of Peace Treaty.
January 1, 1919.
Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures, 1913-1919.
Serial and Government Publications Division.

The Treaty of Versailles (PDF, 7.87MB) was signed by Germany and the Allied Nations on June 28, 1919, formally ending World War One. The terms of the treaty required that Germany pay financial reparations, disarm, lose territory, and give up all of its overseas colonies. It also called for the creation of the League of Nations, an institution that President Woodrow Wilson strongly supported and had originally outlined in his Fourteen Points address. Despite Wilson's efforts, including a nationwide speaker tour, the Treaty of Versailles was rejected by the United States Senate twice, in 1919 and 1920. The United States ultimately signed a separate peace treaty with Germany in 1921, although it never joined the League of Nations.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

Digital Collections

American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I

The Nation's Forum Collection from the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division consists of fifty-nine sound recordings of speeches by American leaders at the turn of the century. The speeches focus on issues and events surrounding the First World War and the subsequent presidential election of 1920.

Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures, 1914-1919

This online collection is drawn from three primary sources: The War of the Nations: Portfolio in Rotogravure Etchings, a volume published by the New York Times shortly after the armistice that compiled selected images from their "Mid-Week Pictorial" supplements of 1914-19; Sunday rotogravure sections from the New York Times for 1914-19; and Sunday rotogravure sections from the New York Tribune for 1916-19.

A selection of highlights concerning the Treaty of Versailles from The War of the Nations: Portfolio in Rotogravure Etchings includes:

Woodrow Wilson Papers

The papers of Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), scholar, president of Princeton University, governor of New Jersey, and president of the United States (1913-1921), consist of approximately 280,000 documents, comprising approximately 620,000 images, most of which were digitized from 540 reels of previously produced microfilm.

Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

In honor of the Manuscript Division's centennial, its staff has selected for online display approximately ninety representative documents spanning from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.

America's Library

This site is designed for elementary and middle school students.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Chronicling America

This site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1836-1922. Search this collection to find hundreds of articles about the Treaty of Versailles.

Examples of articles about the Treaty of Versailles include:

In addition, the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room has created a series of topics guides to the newspapers included in Chronicling America, including guides on the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.

Exhibitions

American Treasures of the Library of Congress

This exhibition provides unique insight into various aspects of American history and culture. Objects displayed are organized according to the three categories that Thomas Jefferson used for his library: memory, reason, and imagination.

Prints & Photographs

Search the Library's collections of prints and photographs to find images related to the Treaty of Versailles and the end of World War I. A selection of images includes:

Today in History

January 18, 1919

On January 18, 1919, a few months after the end of World War I, leaders from the Allied nations began a series of discussions that became known as the Paris Peace Conference to settle issues raised by the war and its aftermath.

June 28, 1919

On June 28, 1919, Germany and the Allies signed the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending World War I and providing for the creation of the League of Nations.

External Web Sites

Digital Public Library of America

National Archives and Records Administration

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Senate

Selected Bibliography

Government Documents

Addresses of President Wilson. Addresses Delivered by President Wilson on His Western Tour September 4 to September 25, 1919, on the League of Nations, Treaty of Peace with Germany, Industrial Conditions, High Cost of Living, Race Riots, etc. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Addresses of President Wilson on First Trip to Europe. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Data on German Peace Treaty. Data Presented to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Relating to the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 86, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

International Law and the Treaty of Peace, Being a Comparative Analysis of the Covenant and Treaty of Versailles of June 28, 1918, with the Articles of the Settlement and Applicable Principles of the Law of Nations Set Out in Parallel Columns. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 156, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Investigation Relative to the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Sixty-sixth Congress, First Session, Pursuant to S. Res. 64 Directing the Committee on Foreign Relations to Investigate whether Copies of the Peace Treaty with Germany are in the City of New York, June 9, 11, 1919. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

League of Nations, Comparison of the Plan for the League of Nations. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 7, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Papers Concerning the German Peace Treaty. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 72, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Protocol to the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 66, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Reservations. Proposed Reservations to the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 139, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Reservations. Proposed Reservations to the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 150, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Reservations to the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 143, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Reservations to the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Statements Made to the Press Regarding the Bipartisan Conference on Reservations to the Treaty of Peace with Germany. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 193, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Treaty of Peace with Germany. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 70, 67th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Treaty of Peace with Germany Address of the President of the United States to the Senate of the United States, Relative to the Treaty of Peace with Germany Delivered on July 10, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 50, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Treaty of Peace with Germany: Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Sixty-Sixth Congress, First Session on the Treaty of Peace with Germany, Signed at Versailles on June 28, 1919, and Submitted to the Senate on July 10, 1919 by the President of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 106, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Treaty of Peace with Germany. Reservations Reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations to Accompany the Treaty of Peace with Germany Done at Versailles on June 28, 1919. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 87, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Treaty of Peace with Germany ... Report. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Rep. No. 176, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Treaty of Peace with Germany. Report of the Conference Between Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the President of the United States at the White House, Tuesday, August 19, 1919. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 76, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Treaty of Peace with Germany, Showing the Amendments Reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1919. (S. Doc. No. 85, 66th Cong., 1st Sess.) [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

United States Department of State. Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1919. The Paris Peace Conference. 13 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1942-47 [Catalog Record]
[Vol. 1] External Link [Vol. 2] External Link [Vol. 3] External Link [Vol. 4] External Link [Vol. 5] External Link [Vol. 6] External Link [Vol. 7] External Link [Vol. 8] External Link [Vol. 9] External Link [Vol. 10] External Link [Vol. 11] External Link [Vol. 12] External Link [Vol. 13] External Link

Secondary Sources

Ambrosius, Lloyd E. Woodrow Wilson and the American Diplomatic Tradition: The Treaty Fight in Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987. [Catalog Record]

Andelman, David. A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley, 2008. [Catalog Record]

Boemeke, Manfred F., Gerald D. Feldman, and Elisabeth Glaser, eds. The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment After 75 years. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. [Catalog Record]

Cooper, John Milton. Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. [Catalog Record]

Graebner, Norman A. and Edward M. Bennett. The Versailles Treaty and Its Legacy: The Failure of the Wilsonian Vision. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. [Catalog Record]

Keynes, John Maynard. The Economic Consequences of the Peace. London: Macmillan, 1919. [Catalog Record] [Full Text] External Link

Knock, Thomas J. To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. [Catalog Record]

Lodge, Henry Cabot. The Senate and the League of Nations. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1925. [Catalog Record]

MacMillan, Margaret. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. New York: Random House, 2002. [Catalog Record]

Margulies, Herbert F. The Mild Reservationists and the League of Nations Controversy in the Senate. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1989. [Catalog Record]

Schwabe, Klaus. Woodrow Wilson, Revolutionary Germany, and Peacemaking, 1918-1919: Missionary Diplomacy and the Realities of Power. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. [Catalog Record]

Sharp, Alan. The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking After the First World War, 1919-1923. 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. [Catalog Record]

Walworth, Arthur. Wilson and His Peacemakers: American Diplomacy at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. New York: Norton, 1986. [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

Grant, Reg. Armistice, 1918. Austin, Tex.: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 2001. [Catalog Record]

Slavicek, Louise Chipley. The Treaty of Versailles. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2010. [Catalog Record]

Swayze, Alan. The End of World War I: The Treaty of Versailles and its Tragic Legacy. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2014. [Catalog Record]

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  May 16, 2018
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