The Treaty of Versailles

Activities, Weimar Germany

The Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty directly or indirectly affected many aspects of German history throughout the period 1919 to the fall of the Nazi Regime. This post highlights some resources that make lessons about the Treaty interesting and accessible.

The above video is a really useful way of providing an overview of the Treaty of Versailles. Whether to use it at the beginning of a lesson or towards the end will depend very much upon how you want to teach the topic.

For example, one of the most enjoyable lessons I taught was based on John D Clare’s Treaty of Versailles Negotiation Game. It’s been around for a while (scared me when I realised how long!) but is still a really effective way of engaging learners and of getting them to understand the key points.

John explains the game far better than I can:

It is quite a simple game. I split the class into 3 teams (Fr, Br & US). Gave them a brief of what points they would score/lose depending on what was decided, then gave them:
– 5 mins to plot their strategy to do as well as they could for their own country.
– 15 mins to negotiate/horsetrade with the other two ‘countries’.
– then held a ‘Conference’, chaired by a pupil, which worked down a very directed agenda seeking unanimous decisions.

The aim of the game was to show them how difficult it was to negotiate the Treaty, and (particularly) how none of the Big Three got all the results they wanted

There’s a more detailed discussion about John’s activity on the History Teachers’ Discussion Forum. John’s resource pack is available here  (MS Word Document) and a recording sheet devised for the activity can be found here (MS Excel file).

The same discussion also highlights several innovative uses of ICT to deliver a series of lessons on the Treaty of Versailles. Sadly many of the sites have now vanished – though may be available via the Wayback Machine. The ideas are outlined in the discussion that I’ve linked to and can be replicated – probably easier to do given the advances in online technologies since the discussion first opened.

I have plenty of worksheets and powerpoints on this topic but they’re nowhere near as much fun as the above. If anyone wants me to, I can rummage through the hard drive and dig them out!