June 28 - 1919 - The Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles officially ended World War I on June 28, 1919, with a negotiated settlement of Germany's territorial losses, reparations, and demilitarization. The fighting of World War I actually ended months earlier, in November 1918, but the desire of France, Britain, and the United States to seek a specific peace with Germany led to a great deal of debate and negotiation. Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France, wanted to punish Germany. UK Prime Minister David Lloyd George sought out a balance that would keep Germany as a trading partner. US President Woodrow Wilson had the lofty aims of his Fourteen Points. The Treaty of Versailles leaned more towards Clemenceau's view, as it made Germany pay reparations at an astonishing level and demilitarized the country. John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist who was on the British delegation, called it a "Carthaginian peace." Germany agreed, and wanted to not sign the Treaty, but they were threatened with an Allied invasion. So the Germans finally came to the table to sign the Treaty of Versailles five years to the day after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which sparked the war.