World War 1: A Short Timeline 1919-20

Anti-Bolshevik Volunteers in 1918
Anti-Bolshevik Volunteers in 1918. Wikimedia Commons

The Allies decide upon the terms of peace, a process they hope will shape the future of post-war Europe... Historians still debate the consequences of these decisions, especially those behind the Versailles Treaty. While experts have dialed back from the idea that Versailles automatically caused World War 2, you can make a strong case that the war guilt clause, the reparations demand and the whole imposition of Versailles on a new socialist government wounded the new Weimar regime so greatly that Hitler had an easier job of subverting the nation, taking power, and destroying huge parts of Europe.


• January 18: Start of Paris peace negotiations. The Germans are not given a fair place at the table, as many in Germany were expecting given their armies were still on foreign land. The allies are deeply divided on their aims, with the French wanting to cripple Germany for centuries, and Woodrow Wilson's American delegation wanting a League of Nations (although the American people were much less keen on the idea.) There are a lot of nations present, but events are dominated by a small group.
• June 21: The German High Seas Fleet is scuttled at Scapa Flow by the Germans rather than allow it to come into possession of the allies.
• June 28th: The Treaty of Versailles is signed by Germany and the Allies. It is labelled a 'diktat' in Germany, a dictated peace, not the negotiations they were hoping to be allowed to take part in. It probably damaged the hopes of peace in Europe for many years after, and will be the subject of books for many more.

• September 10: The Treaty of St Germain en Laye is signed by Austria and the Allies.
• November 27: The Treaty of Neuilly is signed by Bulgaria and the Allies.


• June 4: The Treaty of Trianon is signed by Hungary and the Allies.
• August 10: The Treaty of Sévres is signed by the former Ottoman Empire and the Allies.

As the Ottoman Empire no longer practically exists, more conflict follows.

On the one hand, World War 1 was over. The armies of the Entente and Central Powers were no longer locked in battle, and the process of repairing the damage had begun (and in fields across Europe, continues to this day as bodies and munitions are still found in the soil.) On another hand, wars were still being waged. Smaller wars, but conflicts directly triggered by by the chaos of the war, and leading on after it, such as the Russian Civil War. A recent book has used this notion to study the 'end' and extended it into the 1920s. There's an argument you could look at the current middle east and extend the conflict yet further. Consequences, certainly. But the end game of a war that lasted much longer? It's a horrible notion which has attracted a lot of emotive writing.

Back to the Start > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8