Great Britain and the Treaty of Versailles: A Centennial Perspective

30. September 2019 18:00

Professor Alan Sharp

The peace settlement at the end of the First World War suffers today from a poor reputation: despite its lofty aim to settle the world’s affairs at a stroke, it is widely considered to have paved the way for a second major global conflict within a generation. The aspirational speeches of the American president, Woodrow Wilson, raised undeliverable expectations in Europe and beyond and the war and its settlement bear significant responsibility for boundaries and related conflicts in today’s Middle East. After almost a century, the settlement still casts a long shadow.

David Lloyd George was Britain’s chief negotiator at the Paris Peace Conference. Alan Sharp will examine his aims for Britain and the extent to which he achieved them in his encounters with Wilson and the French premier Georges Clemenceau and offer some thoughts on the legacy of the settlement in discussion with Rupert Graf Strachwitz, Vice-Chairman Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft.

Alan Sharp is Emeritus Professor of International History at Ulster University, from which he retired as Provost of its Coleraine campus in 2009. He is the author of ‚The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking after the First World War, 1919-1923‘ (Macmillan, 1991, third edition 2018) and was general editor of the 32 volume Haus series Makers of the Modern World to which he contributed ‚David Lloyd George: Great Britain‘ (2008) and ‚Consequences of Peace: The Versailles Settlement: Aftermath and Legacy 1919-2010′ (2010) revised and reissued as ‘Versailles 1919: A Centennial Perspective‘ (2018).

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