Law, History & Politics: The Treaty of Versailles

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We'll continue the Second Season of Law History and Politics, discussing the Treaty of Versailles. This is a very timely subject matter because this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Great Armistice of World War One -- as the Great War came to a ceasefire, it ushered in the "diplomatic" efforts in brokering this post-war peace Treaty.

For this meeting, we will examine the Treaty by analyzing its three distinct components: Law, History and Politics. To that end, we'll discuss the following:

I. Law

Pres. Wilson's proposed League of Nations and the "Fourteen Points for Peace."

The severe reparations imposed on Germany.

The imposition of Article 231, commonly referred to as the "War Guilt" clause.

The territorial changes within the European continent, the remaking of borders and carving out new "Nation-States" in the Middle East and the loss of empire holdings by the losing side.

II. History

The historical factors that gave rise to the Allies' victory.

The eventual collapse of the Empires, namely the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires.

The emergence of the Weimar Republic in post-war Germany amid the crippling economic conditions.

The factors that eventually gave rise to the Axis Power, in a run-up to World War II.

The diplomatic aims and efforts by the delegates from the lesser-known Nations.

The economic collapse caused by the Treaty, as predicted by John Maynard Keynes.

III. Politics

The diplomatic failures in negotiating the Treaty and the attempted "shuttle" diplomacy.

The competing visions (and egos) in the post-war setting by the Allied powers.

The eventual rise of the "Nationalist" movement in Germany, due to the severe backlash from the Treaty.

The domestic political forces that prevented the U.S. Congress' ratification of the Treaty and the League of Nations.

Was the Treaty of Versailles ultimately a colossal diplomatic and political failure in an epic proportion?

Finally, the everlasting geopolitical consequence that still reverberate today -- even serve as the source of certain regional tensions.


You can view the entire Treaty at the link below:


Here's a soundtrack for this meeting:


More about LHP:

The LHP series explore the intersections of its namesake -- an in-depth study of a particular law, court decision, or a legal precedent that shaped the political forces and its historical ramifications.

Last year, the LHP series covered subject matters that directly related to the U.S. We read and discussed landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions, particular Constitutional Amendments, or an influential legislative body of work.

For Season Two, the advanced LHP series will explore international and comparative law from a historic perspective. These may include: Magna Carta, the Code of Justinian, the Code of Hammurabi -- to more recent selections, such as the Treaty of Versailles, the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights and the Geneva Convention.


LHP series (Season Two):

• Magna Carta (Jan. 2018):


LHP series (Season One):

• Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges (December 2017):

• Brown v. Board of Ed. (Sept. 2017):

• The Chinese Exclusion Act and Korematsu v. U.S. (July 2017): ( )

• Plessy v. Ferguson, (April 2017) -- a reading and critical discussion of the "Separate But Equal" doctrine:

• Federalist Papers Nos. 2 and 68, and the Dred Scott Decision (Feb. 2017):