The Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles
Access fees

A banner proclaiming ‘Honneur et Patrie’ (Honour and Fatherland) appears at the start of this newsreel footage. We then see the Treaty of Versailles, signed by the Allied powers.

The footage shows delegates departing the Paris Peace Conference prior to the treaty signing by Germany the following month. Leaders walking past the camera include US President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes (seen at the far right of the frame at the very start of the procession).

The Paris Peace Conference, also known as the Versailles Peace Conference, saw representatives of the victorious Allied powers meeting to set peace terms for the defeated Central powers after the end of the First World War. The Treaty of Versailles, signed on 28 June 1919, required the defeated aggressor Germany to disarm, offer significant territorial concessions, and pay substantial reparations to the Entente powers: France, Great Britain and Russia.

Hughes proved to be a vocal contributor to the terms of the treaty. His strong support of Australian interests, and emotive statement that he spoke for the ‘60,000 dead’, ensured his continued popularity back home.