In early 1942, at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, the Nazi Party decided on the last phase of what it called the “Final Solution” of the “Jewish problem” and spelled out plans for the systematic murder of all European Jews. In 1942 and 1943, Jews in the western occupied countries including France and Belgium were deported by the thousands to the death camps mushrooming across Europe. In Poland, huge death camps such as Auschwitz began operating with ruthless efficiency. The murder of Jews in German-occupied lands stopped only in last months of the war, as the German armies were retreating toward Berlin. By the time Hitler committed suicide in April 1945, some 6 million Jews had died.
1. The treaties ending World War I were negotiated in Paris in mid-1919 by delegates of the victorious Allies.
2. There were many delegates but the negotiations were dominated by the leaders of France, Britain and the US.
3. French leader Clemenceau urged strong punitive measures against Germany, to prevent the prospect of another war.
4. The Treaty of Versailles, deemed Germany to be entirely responsible for the war and liable to pay reparations.
5. The terms of the treaty were severe, restricting Germany’s industrial production and military; this was widely supported in Britain and France but caused outrage in Germany.