World History 1919 Part 2

About the history of the world in 1919, the first triple crown winner, prohibition in the United States, Allies meet in Versailles for a peace treaty.



* Sir Barton, a chestnut colt, became the first horse to win the Triple Crown of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. In Windsor, Canada, the following year, Sir Barton lost the Kenilworth Gold Cup to the long strides of a ruddy three-year-old called Man o' War.

Jan. 18 Representatives of all 32 Allied powers convened in Versailles, France, to hammer out a workable peace treaty. Riding herd at the talks were the Big Four: Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Great Britain, French Premier Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando of Italy, and U.S. Pres. Woodrow Wilson. Wilson tried mightily to persuade his European allies to forget the past and concentrate on building a future free of war, but it proved too much to expect from people fresh from the brink of extinction. Instead, the victors cobbled up a compromise package which bore the seeds of the next world war. Under the main treaty, Germany returned Alsace-Lorraine to France, gave up territory to a reborn Poland with access to the sea, ceded the Sudetenland to newly formed Czechoslovakia, and lost a few parcels to Belgium and Denmark. France also acquired 15-year mineral rights to the coal-rich Saar Basin. And, because responsibility for the tragic war was placed squarely at the door of Germany, the victors levied reparations later set at $32 billion (less than $5 billion was ever paid). The German army was whittled to 100,000 men and the navy was stripped to a dozen warships. German submarines, aircraft, poison gas, tanks, heavy artillery-all were banned by the pact. The Rhineland became a demilitarized zone. Ironically, Germany fared better at the conference than did the other Central Powers, because boundaries were redrawn along linguistic and cultural lines. Thus, homogeneous Germany survived largely intact, whereas the many tongues of Austria-Hungary wiped the empire from the map. In its place rose Hungary, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. And the regions occupied by Poles, Romanians, and Italians were annexed to those countries speaking their languages, while Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes joined Serbia to become Yugoslavia. Bulgaria lost territory to Greece, and the once great Ottoman Empire was stripped down to Turkey alone. So the globe spun peacefully at last. To keep it that way, Wilson pinned his hopes on the League of Nations, a world organization to settle international disputes before they could erupt into war. The League was agreed to at the conference, and Wilson left Europe to sell the package to the American people.

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