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Students will work through a simulation of the discussions leading to the Treaty of Versailles at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. After completing their unit on the First World War, the students will present the positions of country representatives at the simulated conference through the six months of 1919. In groups, they will present and argue their positions depending on their national perspectives (i.e. USA, UK, France, etc.). Each student will then write a brief article outlining his/her 10 key points to be included in the Treaty. These points will represent the student’s personal views after having heard the arguments during the simulation.
- Analyze and compare events of the past to the present in order to make informed, creative decisions about issues;
- Demonstrate understanding of the social, political, and economic forces that have shaped the past and present and apply those understandings in planning for the future;
- Acquire, process, and interpret information critically to make informed decisions.
Students will learn about the First World War and the significant events in a global sense during the unit. They will then learn about the key battles where Canadians were involved. Throughout the unit consideration for other national histories and perspectives must be made. For example: Belgium being invaded; France forced to push the Germans back beyond the Marne; the UK after Belgium is invaded; the US after the Lusitania and other ships are sunk; Canada’s contribution in munitions production and direct military participation.
Time Allowance: 3 classes, following larger unit on the First World War
For the simulation, students will be divided into study groups representing the different nations who were at the table in 1919. They will be provided with background information (populations, casualties, war damage to territory, war contribution, number of colonies, etc.) along with the chronological events of the war.
1. Armed with this information, students will discuss and then decide upon their 10 points to be included in the Treaty. Each point must be accompanied by a justification for its placement on the list.
2. The conference is set up in the classroom with France as the Chair. Each country presents its position according to the time allotted. The time allotments are to coincide with the power or leverage held at the time (i.e. France, UK and the US having more time than Italy, Japan, Germany).
- Was the Treaty a fair one?
- Did it actually, as some assert, lead to WWII?
- Were the terms imposed upon Germany justified, or were they too extreme?
- Was Canada’s role at Versailles a significant one? Explain.
- Prior knowledge of WWI events, social and political context.
- Fact sheets for the various countries at Versailles.
- Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World.
- First World War Collection – The Canadian Encyclopedia
- First World War Timeline – The Canadian Encyclopedia
- Treaty of Versailles - The Canadian Encyclopedia
- League of Nations - Paris Peace Conference