Delegates arrive at Luxembourg Palace for the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The accord they eventually reached, the Treaty of Paris, officially ended World War I.

Photograph by Maynard Owen Williams, National Geographic
  • On January 18, 1919, the Paris Peace Conference opened. The conference officially set the terms for the end of World War I. Negotiations involved diplomats from more than 30 countries. These officials came up with a number of treaties, which attempted to create a lasting peace throughout the world. Over the course of the month-long conference, the victorious Allies dealt harshly with the defeated Axis powers—dissolving empires, creating new nations, and redrawing national borders.

    Many of the countries in central Europe and the Middle East had their borders redrawn or were simply created outright at the Paris Conference. This solved the immediate problems of World War I but lay the groundwork for ethnic and political conflicts that continue to the present day.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Allies Noun

    alliance of countries that opposed the Axis during World War II. The Allies were led by the U.S., the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.

    Axis Noun

    alliance of countries that opposed the Allies during World War II. The Axis was led by Germany, Italy, and Japan.

    conflict Noun

    a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

    diplomat Noun

    person who negotiates important political and economic agreements, usually for a government.

    empire Noun

    group of nations, territories or other groups of people controlled by a single, more powerful authority.

    ethnic Adjective

    having to do with characteristics of a group of people linked by shared culture, language, national origin, or other marker.

    nation Noun

    political unit made of people who share a common territory.

    Encyclopedic Entry: nation
    negotiate Verb

    to discuss with others of different viewpoints in order to reach an agreement, contract, or treaty.

    treaty Noun

    official agreement between groups of people.

    World War I Noun

    (1914-1918) armed conflict between the Allies (led by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France) and the Central Powers (led by Germany and Austria-Hungary). Also called the Great War.