IGCSE History: Big Three

Topics: History

IGCSE History: Big Three

The Big Three:

The fate of the losers (Central Powers – Germany, Turkey, Hungary, etc.) and Wilson's Fourteen Points were discussed in the Paris Conferences held in January 1919.
Referred to the Prime Ministers/Presidents of America, Britain, and France (the victorious countries of WWI) – remember, the formation of the Big Three changes after WWII, do not get confused.
All leaders had their own objectives, depending on their degree of hatred of Germany and their views.

Big Three's objectives often clashed, and usually, French and British would disagree with America's views – the Allies were scared that disagreeing with Wilson's views might limit American war effort, therefore they had only started to disagree after the war.
The Big Three also faced a lot of problems:
Germany nearly defeated the Allies – had to ensure Germany would not start another war.
Bolshevik Revolution wanted to destroy all capitalist governments by workers' revolution.
Alliances among them:

The United Kingdom and the United States saw themselves as individuals because they are isolated by the ocean.

France was allied with the US, and France expected Britain to agree with their ideologies:
Had a long political history of hatred with the Central Powers.
Had been allies for a long time.
Both needed military and particularly financial aid from the United States.
Fighting had occurred on French soil, and British coastal areas had been bombed, thus both had suffered structural damage.
However, France wanted a harsh peace, while the British wanted a just peace.

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Wilson was an idealist who desired world peace, while Clemenceau desired to punish Germany as severely as possible. As a result, their positions were at odds.
Clemenceau is described as 'the tiger' for his brutality against Germany – he ultimately wanted Germany to only be controlled by intimidation, however, it was justifiable:
¼ of all French men aged 18-27 had been killed, and 4 million injuries.
Much of North-Eastern France was devastated.
France was faced with a huge war debt mostly owed to the USA.
France wanted revenge for their defeat by Germany in the war of 1870-71 and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine.
Wilson is credited as 'Jesus' by Clemenceau; Clemenceau was unhappy with the Fourteen Points – 'if Jesus has Ten Commandments, why should Wilson have more?'
Lloyd George's objectives: just/compromise peace.
To punish Germany, but not so harshly.
Had to listen to the public opinion at home.
Keep Germany as a trading partner – Germany was still one of the main exporters of raw materials at that time.
Self-determination for parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Seek reparations after the war.
Protect and secure Britain's position in international trade.
Woodrow Wilson's objectives: idealistic peace.
Follow his fourteen points (which he announced in January 1918).
A just peace (he was religious and believed that God wanted him to make the world a better place and disliked Britain and France's approach to peace).
Self-determination for states that had been parts of European empires before 1914.
Create a League of Nations to prevent future wars that all countries would join – wanted to sweep away old-fashioned politics.
Make the world safe for democracy and abolish secret treaties.
A just and lasting peace for Europe.
He believed that Europeans caused WWI and believed that it was America's mission to stop the war.
Wanted Britain and France to pay war debts (refer to the 'Dawes Plan' triangle, mentioned later on the topic).
Clemenceau's objectives: harsh peace.
Punish Germany as harshly as possible – weaken the country to ensure no future attacks and take away the country's iron and coal resources.
Regain Alsace-Lorraine – taken by Germany in 1871.
Seek reparations to cover war debts and damages – to rebuild France using their reparations.
Create a buffer (small and neutral state between two rival countries) between France and Germany.
Prevent the spread of Russia's Bolshevism (a form of Communism).

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IGCSE History: Big Three. (2023, Aug 02). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/igcse-history-big-three/

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