Europe Reacts to the Treaty of Versailles, in Photos

One hundred years ago, the news broke that World War I had officially ended.

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A group waits for news out of Versailles by a wireless Marconi radio, June 1, 1919. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
SMITHSONIAN.COM | June 27, 2019, 8 a.m.

When Germany agreed to an armistice on November 11, 1918, marking an end to World War I, all of Europe and its entangled colonies breathed a sigh of relief. But that was only the beginning. In the ensuing months, the Allied powers—France, Britain, the U.S., and Italy—gathered in Paris to hammer out the details of a formal treaty that, they hoped, would ensure peace for centuries to come. Germany was shut out of the negotiations.

The final deal, named the Treaty of Versailles, placed significant sanctions on Germany—including a provision that Germany pay billions of dollars in reparations and carve out 10 percent of its land for the Allied powers. Later historians like Michael S. Neiberg have noted that the treaty ultimately destabilized the region once again, but Germany formally agreed to its terms in Paris on June 28, 1919, the moment felt joyous. Europeans crowded around radio stations and old-school telephone systems in order to pick up news. When the Allied leaders finally announced that the treaty had been signed, celebrations erupted across the continent. The war to end all wars was finally, officially over.

Workers put the finishing touches on sewing the carpet inside the conference hall before the signing of the treaty, June 28, 1919. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
German politician Friedrich Naumann criticizes the Treaty of Versailles in the Museum of Berlin, June 15, 1919. (De Agostini / Biblioteca Ambrosiana / Getty Images )
French Premier Georges Clemenceau arrives at the Palace of Versailles for the signing of the treaty, June 1919. (Daily Mirror / Mirrorpix / Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
A group waits outside the Versailles Peace Conference, June 1919. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection / CORBIS / Corbis via Getty Images)
Crowds rush to the Palace of Versailles shortly after the signing of the treaty to celebrate the formal end of WWI. (Daily Mirror / Mirrorpix / Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Allied leaders walk through the streets after signing the Treaty of Versailles, June 28, 1919. (Photo12 / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Crowds gather outside the gallery of the Palace of Versailles just beyond where the treaty is being signed, June 28, 1919. (CORBIS / Corbis via Getty Images)
The three leaders of the major Allied forces—British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, American President Woodrow Wilson, and French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau—arrive at Versailles. (Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
Celebrations in Paris on the day of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, June 28, 1919. (Branger / Roger Viollet / Getty Images)
Parisians start a round dance in the streets to celebrate the signing of the treaty, June 28, 1919.
Crowds gather in a park in Versailles after the signing. (Photo12 / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
A school in London hosts a "children's tea party" to celebrate the news of the treaty, June 28, 1919. (The Print Collector / Getty Images)
About the Author: Michael Waters is an editorial intern at Smithsonian.com and a history major at Pomona College. Read more of his work at michaelwatersauthor.com. Read more articles from Michael Waters

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