Four years of warfare should have convinced the world powers that
imperialism and militarism were poor substitutes for good diplomacy
and negotiation. Unfortunately, the desolation and world-wide
economic crisis spawned by the war left world leaders unwilling to
abandon traditional attitudes. Germany, the conquered foe, was
forced to accept blame for the behavior of all parties involved and
could not repay its financial obligations to France, Great Britain
or Italy. Left with a poor economy, fledgling democracy, and the
loss of raw materials from its now defunct colonies and territories,
resentment and revenge became motivators for electing a fascist
leader to resolve the ever growing problems present in the early
1930s. The United States, now the world's economic leader, refused
to join the League of Nations and abandoned the Fourteen Points of
Woodrow Wilson. Many historians feel this lack of participation by
the U.S. not only contributed to the death of its president, but
also the ultimate fate of the League of Nations. Without worldwide
acceptance of a global peaceful settlement of disputes, the world
was faced with yet another international crisis when Hitler claimed
most of Europe for Germany's humiliation at the signing of the
Lesson fundamental understandings:By analyzing the state of mind of the
participating nations at the Versailles Conference, it will become
apparent that the psychological profile of each nation led the way
to another world war which began on September 1, 1939. Shame,
revenge, bigotry and greed are examples of emotions shared not only
by individuals, but by the human institutions enacted by states to
solve their problems, in other words can there be national shame?
yes. Can there be national interest in seeking revenge? yes. Etc.
Since warfare is brought about by conflicts over resources, values,
or national security, it is natural to see countries behaving in
similar fashions as individuals do in conflict.
1. How did the provisions in the Treaty of
Versailles contribute to the events in WWII?
2. How was
Germany's treatment in the Versailles Treaty used by Hitler in his
quest for world domination?
3. How did WWI change American
4. How did WWI change U.S. participation in world
National Standards1. History Era
7-Standard 2: The changing role of the United States in world
affairs through World War I.
2. History 7-12:Evaluate Wilson's
leadership during the period of 1914-1917. Evaluate Wilson's
Fourteen Points, his negotiations at the Versailles Treaty talks,and
the national debate over treaty ratification and the League of
Nations. [Evaluate the implementation of a decision]
Technology Standards: 5.Technology research tools.
Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information
from a variety of sources.Students use technology tools to process
data and report results. Students evaluate and select new
information resources and technological innovations based on the
appropriateness for specific tasks.
State Standards1. History 2.12.1: Frame
and evaluate historical questions from multiple viewpoints.
History 2.12.2: Integrate, analyze, and organize historical
information from a variety of sources.
3. History 7:Political
and Economic Systems: Students explain the different political and
economic systems in the world
3. History 7.12.17 Describe the
causes, course, character, and effects of World War I, including: ·
imperialism · arms race and alliances · nationalism ·
weapons/tactics · Fourteen Points · Treaty of Versailles
History Performance Content Standard 2.0: Students will use social
studies vocabulary and concepts to engage in inquiry, in research,
in social studies analysis, and in decision-making.
8.12.6: Describe the causes, course, character, and effects of World
War II, including: -legacy of World War I -significant military,
political, and scientific leaders.
6. Language Arts 2.12.3:
Plan, monitor, and assess the strategies used to ensure
comprehension of a variety of texts.
7. Language Arts 3.6.1:
Analyze the influence of setting on characters and on how the
problem or conflict is resolved.
7. Language Arts 3.6.2: Make
logical predictions about characters' actions based on evidence from
This is lesson # 6 of 6 lessons. 1. As this is a closing
activity: students should have prior knowledge on the subject in
which they are debating. Students should have completed the
background information on World War I and the players involved in
this war(See lesson "Vocabulary Building" for suggested
2. Students should have basic forensics
3. Students should have basic knowledge of English
writing skills as they pertain specifically to persuasive writing.
(Students will be providing a write-up of their groups' findings and
position taken in the debate).
4. Depending on the instructor;
students may opt to provide more detailed information which can be
acquired from primary sources available on the Internet. (See a list
of suggested URL's attached to the Unit overview).
Information/Situations/Setting/Time· Time Frame: 1-2
class periods (50 minute period) for research, write-up and the
· Materials: student texts, internet resources if
available, unit notes.
1. The instructor will introduce
the objectives as outlined on the assignment sheet (instructions are
also provided on the powerpoint along with Mission Impossible sound
2. Students will be placed in cooperative groups of 3-4
students. Roles will be assigned in these groups (1 spokesperson,
and 2-3 advisors with one advisors also acting as a time keeper for
3. Students will be assigned national position.
Students will use materials outlined previously to research their
assigned national position, and complete a write-up on that
5. Students will each be allowed 3 minutes to present
their national position orally. After each national position has
been presented-groups will be allowed to question each others
positions and justifications for their role in the war.
6. At the
conclusion of the debate groups will write up their own version of
the Treaty of Versailles.
Assessment:Individual teachers can develop a rubric for grading
this activity taking into account the following criteria:
Student's participation in the group research activity.
Student's ability to accurately present their national
3. Student's ability to argue effectively.
Student's ability to produce a write-up which is evident of use of
materials resources and in-class information.
* Note that each
groups' rough draft should reflect evidence of a basic understanding
of the Treaty's provisions:
1. Responsibility for the war
payments for damages.
2. Division of territories.
3. Who will
4. What kind of agreement will we make about
5. What kinds of treaties will we allow in the
6. How many kinds of weapons will we allow each other to
stockpile and how large will we make our standing armies and
Student Activity/TasksStudents overall
task: "You are one of several diplomats attending the peace treaty
conference in Versailles after the armistice is declared in November
1918. Your job involves arguing the position of your nation at the
conference and gaining as much for it as possible within the wording
of the Versaille Treaty."
Teachers should ensure the
following during this cooperative activity:
1. Students will
research their assigned nation and write a draft of what they feel
their objectives will be at the Versailles Conference.
Students will work in cooperative groups for this section of the
activity. (Students will be given a short overview of their
country's position on the direction sheet provided by the
instructor, attached to this lesson).
3. Students will
present their nation's position at the conference. They may use
their written draft, but they are strongly advised to speak about,
rather than read from their paper.
1. Have students listen to comments from Library of Congress
website (see acknowledgements/resources outlined), in order to
compare and contrast the speeches of the Anti-league and Pro-league
leaders in the United States Congress.
· English/Language Arts · Forensics
1. Regular Classroom and or Computer Lab setting.
digital video camera (optional) to film debate.
resources (See resources outlined in acknowledgement/resources
1. American Leaders Speak: Recording from World War I
and the 1920 Election-list of speakers (Newton Baker Pro-league)
(Henry Cabot Lodge Anti-league)
2. Annal of America Volume
14 "Woodrow Wilson's perspectives on the 14 points".
3. Another great website
that has numerous resources-look in the source section "digital
History Debate: Renegotiating the Treaty of Versailles
Copyright © 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
All rights reserved.