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AP World History
Document-Based Question (DBQ)
Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying Documents 1-8. (The
documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise.) This question is designed to
test your ability to work with and understand historical documents.
Write an essay that:
Has a relevant thesis and supports that thesis with evidence from the documents.
Uses all of the documents.
Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as
possible. Does not simply summarize the documents individually.
Takes into account the sources of the documents and analyzes the authors’ points
of view.
Identifies and explains the need for at least three additional types of documents.
You may refer to relevant historical information not mentioned in the documents.
Based on the following documents, analyze the aftermath of the Treaty of
Versailles and the establishment of the League of Nations. Identify and
explain what additional type of document(s) or sources would help your
Historical Background: The Treaty of Versailles between Germany and the Allied
powers was signed on June 28, 1919, five years to the day after Franz Ferdinand’s
assassination in Sarajevo. Adopting U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s “fourteenth
point,” the treaty created the League of Nations. The United States, however, never
signed the treaty and did not join the league; it worked out a separate treaty with
Germany and its allies several years later. The Treaty of Versailles punished Germany
with war reparations, a loss of land, and demilitarization, among other things.
With Adolf Hitler as its dictator, Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939,
launching World War II in Europe. The war pitted Germany, Italy and Japan – the Axis
Powers – against the Allies, which included Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the
United States (after Dec. 7, 1941), among others. Earlier, an alliance called the RomeBerlin Axis had been established between Germany and Italy in October 1936. A month
later, Germany made a similar agreement with Japan.
Document 1
Source: Woodrow Wilson, U.S. president, “Fourteen Points” plan for achieving a just and lasting peace,
presented to Congress in January 1918.
The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program; and that program, the only possible program,
as we see it, is this:
I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international
understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war,
except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of
international covenants.
III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade
conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point
consistent with domestic safety.
V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict
observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the
populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to
be determined.
XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording
mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
Document 2
Source: David Low, British political cartoonist, London Evening Standard, Dec. 12, 1939.
Document 3
Source: Margaret MacMillan, historian and great-granddaughter of British Prime Minister David Lloyd
George, Paris 1919, 2001.
In the Berlin cabarets, they told jokes about the worker who smuggled parts out of a baby carriage factory
for his new child only to find when he tried to put them all together he kept getting a machine gun. All over
Europe, in safe neutral countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden, companies whose ultimate
ownership was in German hands worked on tanks or submarines. The safest place of all, farthest from the
prying eyes of the Control Commission*, was the Soviet Union. In 1921 the two pariah nations of Europe
realized they had something to offer each other. In return for space and secrecy for experiments with tanks,
aircraft and poison gas, Germany provided technical assistance and training.
* established by the Treaty of Versailles to monitor Germany’s compliance with its military terms
Document 4
Source: Adolf Hitler, Nazi dictator of Germany, speech to the Reichstag* on Feb. 20, 1938.
There are more than ten million Germans in states adjoining Germany which before 1866 were joined to
the bulk of the German nation by a national link. Until 1918 they fought in the Great War shoulder to
shoulder with the German soldiers of the Reich. Against their own free will they were prevented by peace
treaties from uniting with the Reich.
This was painful enough, but there must be no doubt about one thing: political separation from the Reich
may not lead to deprivation of rights, that is the general rights of racial self-determination which were
solemnly promised to us in Wilson’s Fourteen Points as a condition for the armistice. We cannot disregard
it just because this is a case concerning Germans.
* lower chamber of Germany’s federal parliament
Document 5
Source: Jerry Bentley and Herb Ziegler, Traditions & Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, 3rd
edition, 2006.
In (March) 1933, after the League of Nations condemned its actions in Manchuria, Japan withdrew from
the league and followed an ultranationalist and promilitary policy. … Seeing territorial control as essential
to its survival, Japan launched a full-scale invasion of China in 1937. … What became known as the Rape
of Nanjing demonstrated the horror of the war … Over the course of two months, Japanese soldiers raped
seven thousand women, murdered hundreds of thousands of unarmed soldiers and civilians, and burned
one-third of the homes in Nanjing. Four hundred thousand Chinese lost their lives as Japanese soldiers used
them for bayonet practice and machine-gunned them into open pits.
Document 6
Source: Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. senator (1893-1924) and leading Republican opponent of Wilson’s
postwar plan for peace.
The United States is the world's best hope, but if you fetter her in the interests and quarrels of other nations,
if you tangle her in the intrigues of Europe, you will destroy her power for good and endanger her very
existence. …We would not have our country's vigor exhausted or her moral force abated, by everlasting
meddling and muddling in every quarrel, great and small, which afflicts the world … (for) it is well to
remember that we are dealing with nations every one of which has a direct individual interest to serve, and
there is grave danger in an unshared idealism. … I have loved but one flag and I can not share that devotion
and give affection to the mongrel banner invented for the League of Nations.
Document 7
Source: Benito Mussolini, Fascist dictator of Italy, speech broadcast via radio on Oct. 2, 1933.
It is not only an army marching towards its goal, but it is forty-four million Italians marching in unity
behind this army. Because the blackest of injustices is being attempted against them, that of taking from
them their place in the sun. When in 1915 Italy threw in her fate with that of the Allies, how many cries of
admiration, how many promises were heard? But after the common victory, which cost Italy six hundred
thousand dead, four hundred thousand lost, one million wounded, when peace was being discussed around
the table, only the crumbs of a rich colonial booty were left for us to pick up. For thirteen years we have
been patient while the circle tightened around us at the hands of those who wish to suffocate us.
We have been patient with Ethiopia for forty years. It is enough now.
The League of Nations, instead of recognizing the rights of Italy, dares talk of sanctions, but until there is
proof of the contrary, I refuse to believe that the authentic people of France will join in supporting
sanctions against Italy. … And until there is proof to the contrary, I refuse to believe that the authentic
people of Britain will want to spill blood and send Europe into a catastrophe for the sake of a barbarian
Document 8
Source: United Nations Charter, signed in San Francisco on June 26, 1945.
Article 41: The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be
employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply
such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea,
air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic
Article 42: Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be
inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be
necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations,
blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations.
Article 43: All Members of the United Nations, in order to contribute to the maintenance of international
peace and security, undertake to make available to the Security Council, on its call and in accordance with
a special agreement or agreements, armed forces, assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage,
necessary for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security. …
Article 45: In order to enable the United Nations to take urgent military measures, Members shall hold
immediately available national air-force contingents for combined international enforcement action.