The Paris Peace Conference convened in January 1919 at Versailles just outside Paris. The conference was called to establish the terms of peace after World War I. Though nearly thirty nations participated, the representatives of the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and Italy became known as the “Big Four.” The “Big Four” dominated the proceedings that led to the formulation of the Treaty of Versailles, a treaty that ended World War I.
The Treaty of Versailles articulated the compromises reached the conference. It included the League of Nations’ planned formation, which would serve both as an international forum and an international collective security arrangement. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was a strong advocate of the League as he believed it would prevent future wars.
Negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference were complicated. The United Kingdom, France, and Italy fought together as the Allied Powers during the First World War. The United States entered the war in April 1917 as an Associated Power. While it fought alongside the Allies, the United States was not bound to honor pre-existing agreements among the Allied Powers. These agreements focused on the postwar redistribution of territories. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson strongly opposed many of these arrangements, including Italian demands on the Adriatic. This often led to significant disagreements among the “Big Four.”