On this week in history, the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution which prohibited the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes” was ratified on January 16, 1919. Prohibition was supported and enforced (there was even a special unit of the Treasury Department devoted to prohibition) for the next 14 years until the 21st amendment was ratified, repealing prohibition. Also in 1919, on January 18, many of the world’s most powerful people met at Paris, France to begin negotiations to end the First World War. United States President Woodrow Wilson debated the leaders of France, Great Britain, and Italy for 6 months over whether to punish Germany harshly or not until Wilson finally compromised with the other dignitaries on Germany’s treatment in order to push his new project, the League of Nations. The Treaty of Versailles, signed in the summer of 1919, forced Germany to give up a large amount of territory, pay reparations, and accept all blame for the war; this invoked frustration and anger in the hearts of many Germans that would spill over into the ensuing and equally devastating Second World War.
By: Logan Norris