On June 28, 1914, the Archduke of Austria-Hungary, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by

Gavrillo Princip a Serbian nationalist, who had attempted earlier to assassinate him. Three

weeks later, Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum telling Serbia to hand over the assassin and his

followers. Serbia didn’t oblige causing Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia on July 28,

1914. Austria-Hungary allied with the Germans, and Serbia allied with the Russians causing

Russia and Germany to enter war with each other. On August 3, 1914, Germany invaded neutral

Belgium, and France declared war on Germany due to an allied treaty with Russia. On the next

day, August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany because it had a “moral obligation” to

defend France and Belgium. When Britain entered the war so did its dominion -Australia,

Canada, India, and South Africa. As the war went on Japan and Italy entered the war on the

allies’ side. The United States jointed the allies on April 6, 1917 because German U-boats were

constantly sinking commercial vessels in the Atlantic. President Woodrow Wilson wanted to stay

neutral but was pressured by Theodore Roosevelt to declare war. Russia was the first to

withdraw due to civil war in Russia, and they signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. This treaty

gave Germany three countries and several provinces. As the United States entered the war,

Germany began to fall apart internally. The United States pressured the German border and

drew closer to victory. On November 3, 1918 Austria-Hungary and Turkey withdrew from

combat. On November 11, 1918 a peace armistice went in to effect, the 11th day of the 11th

month and on the 11th hour (west coast time). This was not the end of World War I, it only

stopped the fighting. A treaty had to be made to resolve the conflict. Negotiations on a treaty

were held at the Paris Peace conference. The negotiations were between the five major allied

powers and their prime ministers; this group was called “The Council of Ten”. In the end, only

the "Big Four” had the most influence on the Treaty. They were President Woodrow Wilson,

Prime Minister of France Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of the U.K David Lloyd George,

and Prime Minister of Italy Vittorio Orlando, each had their own beliefs. The negotiation was

about how they would compromise on their ideas. The conference started on January 18, 1919

at the French Foreign ministry and ended on January 20, 1920. The Treaty of Versailles was the

peace treaty that ended World War I and was signed by the Germans on May 7, 1919. The

Paris Peace Conference covered more than just the Treaty of Versailles. It covered many

different international topics.

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Historical Background

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