FREE DELIVERY on all UK orders | Unconditional guarantee on every item
The Treaty of Peace | Versailles 1919 | Compass Library

Versailles Treaty of Peace (1919)

Price R 0.00 Sale


Signed at Versailles, June 28th, 1919

H.M.S.O, London, 1919

An original, 1919 1st edition of the Treaty of Peace, signed by the Allied Powers and Germany at Versailles in June 1919. This edition was published in London by HMSO in November 1919. A hugely significant document, the provisons of which would have far reaching consequences for the entire world. Many authorities argue that the treaty, far from securing the hoped for peace, actually led directly to the rise of Fascism and the outbreak of the Second World War. This volume includes the complete text of the treaty in both English and French versions, printed side by side. The signatures and seals of the representatives of all the powers are shown in a 16 page plate section. There are also five very large folding maps, showing the new international boundaries. The maps are: No.1 Allemagne Ouest, No.1 Allemagne Est, No.2 Saar basin, No.3 Danzig, and No.4 Schleswig. The maps are bound in next to the relevant passages in the text.

The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was the most important of the peace treaties that brought WW1 to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919.

Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required "Germany [to] accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage" during the war (the other members of the Central Powers signed treaties containing similar articles). This article, Article 231, later became known as the War Guilt clause. The treaty required Germany to disarm, make ample territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers. In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks (then $31.4 billion or £6.6 billion, roughly equivalent to US $442 billion or UK £284 billion in 2019). At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes (a British delegate to the Paris Peace Conference), predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a "Carthaginian peace"—and said the reparations figure was excessive and counter-productive, views that, since then, have been the subject of ongoing debate by historians and economists from several countries. On the other hand, prominent figures on the Allied side such as French Marshal Ferdinand Foch criticized the treaty for treating Germany too leniently.

The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was a compromise that left no one content: Germany was neither pacified nor conciliated, nor was it permanently weakened. The problems that arose from the treaty would lead to the Locarno Treaties, which improved relations between Germany and the other European powers, and the re-negotiation of the reparation system resulting in the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, and the indefinite postponement of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.

Although it is often referred to as the "Versailles Conference", only the actual signing of the treaty took place at the historic palace. Most of the negotiations were in Paris, with the "Big Four" meetings taking place generally at the Quai d'Orsay.


In good condition. The treaty has been rebound in green boards that are in fair to good condition, with general signs of use, bumping to the edges, and some marks. The original front and rear card covers of the treaty are bound in at the end of the text and are in excellent condition. The hinges and binding are very good and secure, The text is in very good condition. There is a university library bookplate to the front endpaper. The five large folding maps are in very good condition. The plates, showing the seals and signatures of the representatives of the Great Powers, are in very good condition.

Published: 1919
Green boards with gilt titling (with the original card covers bound in at the rear)
Illustrated with 5 folding maps, and b/w plates (signatures & seals)
Dimensions: 215mm x 330mm
Pages: 453