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The information in this article is part of an upcoming rework, and may not be reflected in other articles.

The Treaty of Versailles, refered to as the Peace with Honor by British propaganda, was the peace treaty that officially ended the Weltkrieg in Europe and, at least on paper, as a whole. Ratified in November 1919 by the remaining members of the European Entente after an armistice had been signed in early August, it finally solidified German hegemony in Continental Europe but also plunged France into a revolution and a bloody civil war, changing the political landscape of Western Europe forever.

As Japan refused to sign the treaty as they did not want to give up their gains in Eastern Asia, the war officially continued until the signing of the Tsingtao Accord exactly two years later on 6 November 1921.

Important notice: This page contains lore relevant to the upcoming reworks of the Weltkrieg and several European countries, and it may not reflect the current in-game setup that well. The ultimate goal, to eventually fully transpose the changes made to the lore in-game, still stands. This lore also may not be final, and some minor changes may occur.

Prelude

The Entente had struggled to keep up against the Central Powers at least since early 1918. While most battles during 1917 had been mostly indecisive, like the Battle of Passchendaele (31 July – 10 November 1917) in Flanders or the Battle of Cambrai (20 November – 7 December 1917) in Northern France, the dawn of 1918 would change that drastically.

Germany had already defeated the Kingdom of Romania in late 1917, and the chaos-plagued Soviet Russia would follow in early 1918. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the Treaty of Bucharest were signed, ending the war in the East after more than three long years. Around the same time, Italy was slowly beginning to lose against the Austro-Hungarians; After over 10 engagements along the Isonzo River, the Austrians managed to push into Veneto after the Battle of Caporetto (24 October – 19 November 1917), severely pressuring the Italians.

Ferdinand Foch, Chief of the French Army Staff, knew that a German victory in the East would allow Berlin to transfer thousands of troops from the East over to the Western Front, which would severely change the unstable balance between Entente and Central Powers and could lead to a German victory very soon. Therefore, he pushed for a so-called "Great Allied Spring Offensive", hoping to weaken the Germans before they would be able to start a offensive themselves.

The attack was planned for March and involved a near simultaneous thrust on no less than five different points along the front. While this hampered attempts to concentrate attacking forces, it was hoped that the German line and mobile reserve would not be able to defend so many places at once. Attempts were made to replicate the new tactics devised at Cambrai in late 1917.

Unfortunately it proved impossible to achieve surprise with such a large attack. Moreover the Germans decision to defend meant they had taken the time to devise counter-measures for the tanks. As such, when the attack was finally launched, it immediately became bogged down. The strong defences of the Hindenburg Line proved too much for the Entente forces. Only in the British attack on Lille was any notable success achieved - indeed it only proved worthwhile in the following year, as it allowed thousands more British troops to escape France. Elsewhere, the attack proved to be a costly waste of time, with over 800,000 Entente casualties.

Over the course of the remaining year, Germany's position would grow stronger and stronger. Greece and the Entente headquarters in Salonika would fall in summer, ending the presence of Allied forces in the Balkans theatre. The Treaty of Salonika (for Greece) and the Treaty of Wartholz (for Serbia & Montenegro) would follow soon after, ending the war in South Eastern Europe as well.

At the beginning of 1919, the Allied position was more than shaky. The Central Powers were now able to focus entirely on the Western Front; The only place where the Entente was still able to make gains was against the Ottoman Empire in the Levant. Italy was still fiercely defending against the Austro-Hungarians, but the defense at the Piave would become weaker and weaker with every day and many predicted that the Central Powers would capture Venice pretty soon.

On March 2nd the Germans would launch their Great Spring Offensive at St. Mihiel, south of Verdun. Their infiltration tactics proved to be successful, with Nancy falling on the 16th. The French organized an ad hoc defense, leaving their flank exposed. An attack on Reims on the 26th split the Allied forces in two, Amiens fell on the same day. A wedge was driven between the French and British armies and all pretense of joint-leadership ceased as both communications and supply lines were cut. Ashamed by his own failure to repel the Germans, Foch resigned and was replaced by Philippe Pétain.

Pétain realized that it was crucial to act quickly if he wanted to stop the Germans before they would reach the Île-de-France. In May, he launched a small French counteroffensive at the Marne and managed to stop the German advance, stabilizing the front at some 50 kilometers off Paris. With the situation saved in the last minute, Pétain was celebrated as the "Hero of France", but the situation was still looking dire, as an Entente victory was now nothing more than a dream of the past; The only thing that could be still influenced at that point would be the terms of the inevitable peace treaty, and Pétain was determined to make the best out of it.

In early summer, the “Last Offensive” was launched by the French, hoping to push back the Germans from the Parisian region in the hope of getting a respectable peace. This yet another offensive was seen very badly by the soldiers, however, bucked up by the news of massive strikes and discouraged by their repetitive defeats. A miraculous counter-breakthrough performed by ad-hoc divisions of tanks and cavalrymen in the Oise region however deluded the French leadership into thinking that the offensive could reach the isolated British forces in Northern France and see success.

However, of course it was too good to be true. The biggest mutinies the Republic had ever seen started in June, forcing a stop of the offensive, which ended in a bloody disaster. A general strike was initiated by the CGT in all of France in July, production came to a halt and made the continuation of the offensive near impossible. In early August, the Italian Front collapsed and Italy signed an Armistice with the Central Powers, which led to the outbreak of the Italian Revolution a few days later.

The French, who, similar to Italy throughout most of 1919, still suffered from severe strikes and mutineers and did not make any real gains against the Germans, feared that the Revolution in Italy could swap over to their own country very soon and decided, further pressured by the British and Belgians in the north, to sign an armistice at Chateau de Chantilly on 12th August to prevent the situation from deteriorating even further. Coupled to the armistice was the demand to allow a German victory parade on Champs-Élysées in Paris and a 3 month ultimatum to fully end the war. If the ultimatum isn’t met, hostilities would restart.

Discussions about a peace treaty started soon after. Germany retreated from the surroundings of Paris but kept occupying northern France and lands in the East of France, as well as Belgium. Britain continued their occupation of the Middle East and German colonies, and kept the blockade going during this time. These were the bargaining chips for both powers. With winter approaching and the blockade showing no signs of ending, the timer had been set for the Germans, and also the Belgians, who suffered even worse from the British blockade and therefore were more than ready to negotiate with Germany, to press for a swift end to hostilities.

France however refused to sign the peace treaties first presented by Germany, deciding the conditions were too harsh to be agreed to. The ultimatum ticked down. Outraged at the unwillingness of the government to make peace, the French socialists started agitating for peace, including in the northern occupied regions, where the rebels were wholeheartedly supported by Germany.

Britain, fearing that France would collapse as a result of their own stubbornness, pressured Paris to immediately sign the German peace conditions to prevent a complete collapse of Western Europe into civil war. France eventually had to give in to Germany's demands and the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 6 November 1919 in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles, the same place where the German Empire had been proclaimed 48 years prior, by delegates of the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Third French Republic, the British Empire, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Portuguese Republic and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ending the Weltkrieg after more than 5 years.

Terms of the treaty

The Treaty of Versailles (6 November 1919)
  1. Annexation of the French territories of Longwy, Belfort, the Briey Basin and the western slopes of the Vosges by Germany
  2. Annexation of the Belgian territories of Verviers and Arel by Germany as well as the Belgian Congo.
  3. Annexation of Tourcoing-Roubaix into Belgium as compensation for the annexation of Verviers.
  4. Plebiscite in Luxembourg about whether or not the Grand Duchy should join the German Empire.
  5. Sale of the colonies of Ivory Coast, Dahomey, Gabon, French Congo, Ubangi-Shari, Madagascar, French Somaliland, the Comores, Reunion island, Indochina and the various French territories in the Indian and Pacific oceans including its Chinese concessions to Germany for the total amount of the indemnities demanded by Germany.
  6. Transfer of the Moroccan protectorate from France to Germany.
  7. Full demilitarisation of the Nancy region for 15 years.
  8. Annexation of the Belgian Concession in Tianjin, China, by Germany.
  9. German recognition of Belgian sovereignty and control over internal affairs.
  10. Destruction of French forts on the Belgian and German borders, including the Verdun fortifications, by the French forces themselves.
  11. Destruction of Belgian forts around Liége on the Meuse and around Antwerp, coupled with a sharp reduction in the size of the Belgian army. The Belgian army is to be replaced by a "Police Force" solely capable of maintaining defensive positions.
  12. German-Belgian Military Accords: In case of French hostility towards Germany or Belgium, both nations will cooperate. Full control over the Belgian railroads and fortifications is to be transferred to German command during war time.
  13. Complete absence of German military and/or naval bases on Belgian territory as to not endanger the British position in the Channel and maintain the Belgian neutrality in so far as possible.
  14. The territories around Givet, Maubeuge and Condé-sur-l'Escaut are granted to the German Empire to accommodate military necessities, access to be provided by the Belgian railways.
  15. Signing of a trade agreement between Germany and Belgium, accepting German labour legislation and favourable tariffs to improve the competitiveness of German industry.
  16. Creation of the Antwerpner Hafen-Gesellschaft, 50% of the shares held by German industrials, 50% by the city of Antwerp overseen by panel of 8, including 4 ethnic Germans.
  17. Creation of a Belgian-German resource company, overseeing the iron and coal deposits of the Sillon Industriel similar to the AHG.
  18. Belgian obligation to expand the Iron Rhine and accommodate German interests in the Rhineland and Ruhr
  19. Amnesty for the Flemish activists and recognition of the Von Bissing university.

Aftermath

While the war was now officially over, that did not mean that peace would finally endure. The Japanese for example, who had been invited to the peace negotiations as well, did not sign the treaty as Britain, their closest ally of all the Entente nations, had not supported the Japanese claims on the German colonies in Asia and the Pacific. Japan had occupied the German Kiautschou Bay Concession in Shandong and several islands in the Pacific since 1914 and they had suffered not one single defeat against the Central Powers; Relinquishing their gains therefore was no possibility. The war in Eastern Asia indirectly continued until late 1921, when the Tsingtao Accord was signed.

Another trouble spot was the situation in the Middle East. Britain was still nominally at war with the Ottoman Empire and was not willing to evacuate Mesopotamia and the Levant without any significant gains. When the situation threatened to escalate again, an international conference was called in Jerusalem, attended by the British and Turks and supervised by the Americans, Germans and Austro-Hungarians. A deal was only made in April of 1920, the so-called Jerusalem Accord, which established several autonomous zones within the Ottoman Empire, like the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, and heavily worsened the German-Ottoman relations, as the former had supported the British and American positions to improve their international reputation.

German-Ottoman relations already had been stained since the removal of the Young Turk government in late 1918 and severely deteriorated after the Caucasus Conference of November 1919, which led to Constantinople having to give up most of their influence in the Caucasus. The Jerusalem Accord now dealt the final blow and the Central Powers alliance would collapse in mid-1920 with the exit of the Ottomans, soon followed by Austria-Hungary, which had been betrayed by Germany over influence in Serbia and Ukraine and de facto had gained almost nothing from the war, as Italy had fallen into civil war, and eventually Bulgaria.

The most drastic impact however had the treaty on France: With the war-torn population outraged by the treaty's terms and having lost any faith in the Republican government, France soon found herself struck by another revolution, which would eventually lead to the bloody French Civil War.

WIP, more details will follow in the future!!!

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