Remembering the End of World War I

Tech Students Attend the Centennial Commemoration of the Signing of the Treaty of Versailles

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Andrea Gappell

Georgia Tech-Lorraine - Marketing and Communications

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Georgia Tech students studying in France attended the centennial commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 2019, in Versailles, France.  

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Georgia Tech students studying in France attended the centennial commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 2019, in Versailles, France.  

Students in Tim Stoneman's HTS 2801 class were joined by Vicki Birchfield's EU study abroad program students. Together, they visited the Museum of the Armistice in Compiegne and the Chateau de Versailles, attended a day-long symposium at the Chateau (organized by the WWI Centennial Commission and Dr. Monique Seefried), participated in a ceremony to honor Generals Pershing and La Fayette by giving a speech and laying flowers, and visited the rare book room of the Versailles municipal library.

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  • Tech students attend the centennial commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Tech students attend the centennial commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
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  • Tech students visit the rare books room at the library at Versailles in France Tech students visit the rare books room at the library at Versailles in France
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On Thursday, June 27, 2019, a group of twenty students in HTS 2801 (Special Topics, Treaty of Versailles) at Georgia Tech Lorraine traveled from Metz to Compiègne, France to undertake an historic visit. In Compiègne, they were joined by twenty students from Dr. Vicki Birchfield’s EU study abroad program. Together, the two groups visited the Glade of the Armistice where two railcars met in November 1918 and the agreement to end four years of fighting in World War One was reached.

From Compiegne, Dr. Stoneman’s and Birchfield’s classes traveled on to Versailles, the site of the signing of the ensuing peace treaty on June 28, 1919. Here, students had the opportunity to tour the famous chateau and gardens of Louis XIV and enjoy a restaurant dinner in a private room next door.

The next day, June 28, Georgia Tech’s students had the privilege of participating in a symposium at the palace organized by the WWI Centennial Commission to mark the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Participants included leading scholars from the US Army War College, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia, as well as the Pritzker Museum (Chicago), French lycée students, and a select group of American high school history teachers. Topics covered included lessons and global repercussions from the peace conference, as well as American philanthropy and humanitarian aid.      

Following the day-long symposium, Georgia Tech’s students participated in an official ceremony at the Pershing – La Fayette monument at Versailles to commemorate nearly two and a half centuries of Franco-American friendship. Alongside the mayor of Versailles and the government prefect, Tech students gave a moving speech, honoring “our nations’ historical bond,” and laid flowers at the feet of the statue of La Fayette. 

The eventful day ended with a visit to the municipal library of the city of Versailles, housed in the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Louis XVI. Here, Benjamin Franklin negotiated the Treaty of Paris that ended America’s War of Independence from Great Britain. 

The library’s curator opened the rare book room and regaled the students with selections from the royal library, including royal funerary speeches, the king’s “Facebook” from the Estates General in 1789, and, most specially, Louis XVI’s copy of the first constitutions of the thirteen colonies.

All in all, the two days of visits to Compiègne and Versailles brought to life the events that ended World War One in a unique way that students will not forget -- Said one student, “... the whole trip was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The treaty of Versailles only turns 100 once. I am so grateful that I got to be part of this historic moment.”

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Georgia Tech Global, Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL)

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Institute and Campus
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Keywords
Dr. Tim Stoneman, Dr. Vicki Birchfield, GTL, Georgia Tech-Lorraine, Versailles, france, Treaty of Versailles, Centennial Commemoration, IAC, ivan allen college, Study Abroad, EU Study Abroad Program
Status
  • Created By: Andrea Gappell
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jul 8, 2019 - 4:50pm
  • Last Updated: Jul 8, 2019 - 4:54pm