On June 28, 1919, the First World War officially came to an end when France and Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles with the Allies. The German delegation, which had been forced to sign the punitive agreement, signaled their attitude by breaking the ceremonial pen.
The treaty required Germany to pay such onerous reparations to the victors that the country was impoverished for the next two decades. The terms were regarded with such bitterness in Germany that many historians believe they were directly responsible for the rise of Nazism and World War II.
One little footnote that has been almost forgotten: President Woodrow Wilson, the most powerful person at that conference, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1920 for his efforts there. As Henry Kissinger could testify, it would not be the last time the “peace” prize had very little to do with achieving a just and lasting peace.