On January 18, 1919, thousands of heads of state and diplomats from 32 countries and regions, including Britain, France, the United States, Italy and Japan, gathered in the magnificent and magnificent palace of Versailles.
The palace of Versailles is located 15 kilometers southwest of Paris.
In front of it is a large garden of “French style” with unique style.
The park has verdant trees, red flowers and green grass, which makes people feel very beautiful.
This time, the heads of state and diplomats of the victors of World War I are here.
They will hold a peace conference here to discuss signing a peace treaty with the defeated countries, establishing an international alliance, and planning armed intervention in the Soviet Russian and Hungarian revolutions.
This is the first time in human history that the conference of the parties has been held on a world scale.
More than 1000 delegates from various countries participated in the Paris peace conference, including 70 plenipotentiaries, which was later changed to a “four person conference”, namely US President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Clemenceau and Italian Prime Minister Orlando.
While Britain played little role in the war, it was almost ignored by France.
In fact, this meeting has become a “three person meeting”.
They are the three giants and masters of the Paris Peace Conference.
The number and rights of delegations from 32 countries and regions are unequal.
Defeated countries such as Germany and Austria are not allowed to attend the conference, and Soviet Russia is also excluded.
Each victorious country has its own plans for the peace conference.
They all want to maximize their predatory ambitions and try to restrain their opponents at the same time.
France was the main battlefield of the first World War and suffered the humiliation of the defeat of the Franco Prussian War in 1870.
It deliberately tried to weaken and dismember Germany, prevent it, and establish its hegemonic position in the European continent.
Britain still holds the traditional “Continental balance of power” strategy, which not only greatly weakens Germany’s competitiveness in order to maintain its hegemonic position in the world, but also does not want Germany to be dismembered or excessively weakened, so as to help counter France and restrict Soviet Russia.
Britain and France were involved in the war from the very beginning.
They not only suffered heavy losses, but also suffered heavy losses to their entire national strength, which made them in a very weak position in the competition of imperialist powers after the war.
In 1913, the British native population was more than 40 million, and the French native population was also 40 million.
During the war, 908000 and 1537000 military personnel died respectively.
The number of wounded, captured and missing persons was 228000 and 4803000 respectively.
From 1913 to 1918, the national budget of Britain increased from 197 million pounds to 2579 million pounds, an increase of 12 times in five years.
The total war expenditure reached £ 12.
454 billion, equivalent to 44% of the national income in the same period.
France suffered material losses of 200 billion francs during the war.
The 10 northeastern provinces were occupied by the German army shortly after the war.
The occupied area occupied by the enemy for four years was originally an important mining, metallurgy and textile center, separated from the economic life of France, and the industrial products were completely lost.
During the war, despite the expansion of military industry, the whole industrial and agricultural production of Britain and France tended to decline.
From 1913 to 1918, the production of means of production decreased by 14.
3% and the production of consumer goods decreased by 23.9%. In addition, during the war, Britain lost 70% of its original ships, and the shipbuilding industry decreased from 1.
2 million tons of ships built in 1913 to 770000 tons in 1918.
The blockade of Germany, the reduction of merchant ships and the decline of civil industry have seriously affected Britain’s foreign trade.
From 1913 to 1918, the export trade decreased by half in terms of physical volume.
The trade deficit increased from 139 million pounds in 1914 to 784 million pounds.
In order to balance the balance of payments, Britain sold 10% of its overseas assets and changed from the main creditor country of the United States to its debtor country.
In 1919, Britain owed 850 million pounds to the United States, accounting for 45% of the United States’ loans to the allies.
At the same time, Britain has lost its position as the world’s major financial center, its dominant position in World Trade and its maritime monopoly of more than 200 years.
In 1919, the tonnage of British merchant ships was 14% lower than that before the war.
Over the same period, the number of merchant ships in the world has tripled, mainly due to the growth of shipbuilding in the United States and Japan.
France’s total foreign trade surplus reached more than 60 billion francs in five years, far exceeding its ability to pay.
It also became a debtor country of the United States and owed the United States $4 billion by the end of the war.
The suffering of the war mainly falls on the masses, who not only have to bear the pain of losing their loved ones, but also have a sharp decline in living standards and increasingly poor working conditions.
As a large number of workers were recruited into the army, the majority of women and children went to factories to engage in heavy labor, working for a long time, but the salary was very low.
All kinds of daily necessities are strictly rationed, and most people are in a state of semi hunger.
The real wages of British workers fell by 24% during the war, and the tax per resident increased from £ 5.
4 in 1913 to £ 19 in 1919.
The actual purchasing power of French workers is only 13% of that before the war.
The government also transferred the burden of war costs to the people.
Rely on raising taxes, issuing government bonds and money to make up for the huge fiscal deficit.
On the contrary, monopoly capitalists made huge war windfall.
British monopoly capital made a profit of £ 4 billion in the war.
The total investment in the mine was only £ 135 million, while the profit reached £ 160 million.
The Commission and interest on bonds issued by the Bank of France increased from 15.
23 million francs in the first quarter of 1914 to 33.
62 million francs in the first quarter of 1917.
The situations of people of different classes and strata are vastly different, which intensifies the class contradictions in China.
The struggle of the British working class for improving economic life and democratic rights has risen from wave to wave.
In 1914, 448000 people took part in the strike, reaching 1116000 in 1918.
The vast majority of strikes put forward not only economic demands, but also political demands.
The trade union movement has developed, and its members increased from 4.
135 million in 1913 to 6.
533 million in 1918.
In the army, soldiers refused to go to the front line, and violations of military orders occurred from time to time.
In 1917, the number of soldiers deserting increased to more than 21000, and there was even a mutiny within the army.
Italy also lost more than gained in the war.
It is far inferior to other European and American powers in terms of national strength, but it has also developed to the stage of imperialism, eager to expand its territory and market, and is ambitious.
Italy was originally a member of the German Austrian Italian alliance, which gradually differentiated after entering the 20th century.
When World War I broke out, both belligerents actively fought for Italy.
It remained neutral for the time being and negotiated with both sides at the same time to strive for the most favorable terms for it.