Treaty of Versailles

Lesson Plan

Ohio Content Standard:

Grade 9, History 7-D; Grade 10, History 6-C

Duration of Lesson:

1-2 Class Periods


  • Students will analyze the causes and effects of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Students will evaluate US Congressional opposition to the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Students will analyze arguments for and against the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Students will predict outcomes of the Treaty of Versailles.


Using political cartoons students will become familiar with the core issues and concerns of the treaty process, including President Woodrow Wilson's support of said treaty and US Congressional (mostly Republican) opposition.

Materials needed:

Printout of lesson plan

Copies of cartoons on paper and/or transparency.


Copies of Treaty_of_Versailles_Cartoon_Analysis_Worksheet.pdf


Define the following:

  • Reparations
  • Treaty of Versailles
  • Covenants

Identify the following:

  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Henry Cabot Lodge
  • Kaiser Wilhelm II

Instructional Steps:

  1. Divide the students into three topical groups. Assign each group one of the following topics: Stereotype, Symbol, or Caricature.
  2. Distribute copies of the cartoons to each member of the topical group so all cartoons are in use for each group. (example: Stereotype group will have all cartoons, as will Symbol, etc.)
  3. Distribute Cartoon Analysis Worksheet to each student.
  4. Students are to find examples of their assigned topic using each of the cartoons present in their group and fill in the appropriate space on the worksheet in Part I. (5-10 minutes)
  5. Students are to then arrange themselves in a group according to their individual cartoon, thus forming 6-8 new groups centered on one specific cartoon.
  6. Students are to complete Worksheet Part II using information from other members of their group.(5-10 minutes)
  7. Individual groups will briefly present analysis of their cartoon to the class (Note: an overhead copy of the cartoon will expedite this process)

Post-Assessment Activity:

As a class, students will answer and discuss remaining questions (Part III) on Cartoon Analysis Worksheet.

Extension Activity:

  • Using a pre-World War One and post-World War One map of Europe, have students assess winners and losers of the war based on land loss or acquisition. How did the post- war settlement lead to later conflict?
  • Find an example of an editorial cartoon portraying a recent/current treaty process.


Cloudy and Unsettled

Cloudy and Unsettled

In Order To Get the Sugar

In Order To Get the Sugar

Don’t Worry!

Don’t Worry!

The Train Pulls Off Without Us

The Train Pulls Off Without Us

The Art Student's Masterpiece and the Professor's Criticism

The Art Student's Masterpiece and the Professor's Criticism