The Treaty of Versailles was proposed to be a peace settlement between the victorious Allies and the defeated Germans at the outcome of World War I. The post-war reparations imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and the subsequent economic disaster that Germany faced at the close of World War I, left the country vulnerable and looking for new leadership. The Treaty of Versailles was a culmination of hostility and revenge and provided the perfect environment for Hitler to rise to power, and set the stage for a second World War.
World War I came to an end on November 11, 1918. Germany had surrendered and signed the Armistice agreement. The Allies set about to the devising of a peace settlement with the defeated Germany. In December of 1918, the Allied leaders met in the Versailles Palace, outside of Paris, France, to start on the peace settlement. Representing the United States, Great Britain, and France, were President Woodrow Wilson, Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and Premier George Clemenceau, respectively. The Allies hoped that writing a peace agreement would be a quick and easy process; however, once the process of writing the treaty started, the Allies found that they had many conflicting ideas and motives.
When World War I began in August, 1914, the United States was certain that it would remain neutral. President Woodrow Wilson emphasized the fact that he did not want to enter the war. As the war continued, though, it became increasingly difficult for the United States to maintain its neutrality. Several American tankers had been destroyed by German submarines. The Lusitania, a British ocean liner, also fell victim to German submarine assault in May 1915. Nearly twelve-hundred people, including one-hundred twenty-eight Americans, were killed in the attack. These attacks convinced Wilson to join the Allies in the war.