• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent was the Treaty of Versailles harsh and short-sighted?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Caroline Sims To what extent was the Treaty of Versailles harsh and short-sighted? The peace treaties of 1919, were an attempt to come to an agreement with the losing powers that they accept their blame and peace would be resolved while they pay the consequences. As Germany was a losing power of the war, she was made to sign the treaties and accept their consequences. This essay will examine the extent to which the Treaty of Versailles was harsh and short-sighted. I will begin with the reasons why the Treaty of Versailles can be justified. Firstly, there were three victorious powers who negotiated the peace treaties; David Lloyd George, for Britain, Woodrow Wilson, for America, and George Clemenceau, for France. The French suffered the most war damage, with the most brutal battles being fort there, including thousands of square miles of trenches dug up and 1.5 million casualties. Therefore, George Clemenceau opted for a considerably higher amount of reparations than the other two winning powers. However this was compromised and ended up at 6.6million, which was substantially lower than Clemenceau's original proposal. ...read more.

Middle

On the other hand the previous point that the allies gave up on implementing the Treaty could aid the opposing view that the terms were short-sighted because the fact that Britain, America and Italy gave up shows the Treaty to be one of which was doomed to fail. Henig argues that 'the victorious alliance, which had defeated Germany and negotiated a set of peace terms, had crumbled away. It was this critical collapse, rather than the provisions of the peace terms themselves, which ensured that the Treaty of Versailles was never fully accepted or enforced. Negotiations at the peace conference exposed the divisions between the victorious powers and opened the rifts.' This agrees with the statement that the Treaty of Versailles was shortsighted as the allies weren't strong enough to initiate it's terms. Furthermore as stated in 'The Treaty of Versailles 80 Years On', 'Britain, the United States and Italy, had little stomach to enforce the resulting settlement on a resentful and protesting Germany.' France was the only power willing to punish Germany fully and Britain was more interested in securing military budget than aiding France. ...read more.

Conclusion

Historian Anthony Wood demonstrates the extend of its impact: 'the fundamental significance of Versailles was emotional rather than rational'. He goes on to state that it indicated the desire to achieve 'national humiliation of Germany' and that Germany must 'alone suffer as a result of the hated Treaty'. From evaluating the works of several historians and my own research, I have discovered that at the time of the Treaty of Versailles, it's terms were seen as emotionally and physically punishing on Germany, who was forced to give up most economic resources, pay mass reparations and lose population. However, I feel that the terms, although already quite harsh, could have been greater. Clemenceau could have had his way in the Conference and Germany as a country would have found it much harder to recover. The Allies could have collectively pushed the terms through so that Germany couldn't limit them, meaning the terms would have had a significantly harsher effect. Then again, unable to effectively enforce this treaty, a harsher one would not have been able to lead Europe any closer to peace. Therefore I feel the Treaty of Versailles was as harsh as it could be given the circumstances of disharmony between the powers, but Germany could have faced much worse. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a well balanced essay that stays focused on the question asked and uses a good range of available historiography. At times, the author's ideas get lost compared to those of historians. Ensure these are always the driving force of an essay. 4 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 26/07/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent was James I responsible for his financial problems?

    Not only did this make the gifts worth less but it also made the subsidies by parliament worth less. Parliament had failed to alter the amount given in one subsidy and therefore James had to ask for two subsidies instead of one.

  2. Describe how Cavour, Garibaldi, Mazzini and Victor Emmanuel II helped to bring about the ...

    To avoid civil war, Garibaldi handed over his conquests in the Southern Italy to Victor Emmanuel II when the two met near the Volturno on October 26. Angered at not being named viceroy in Naples, however, Garibaldi retired to his home on Caprera, off Sardinia.

  1. Intertextuality in John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman.

    Contrary to the theory behind social Darwinism, cultural selection is far more tolerant of variant/deviant behaviour among the lower classes. The vicar reminds Mrs. Poulteney: "The lower classes are not so scrupulous about appearances as ourselves" (33). By returning to the concept of existentialism in the novel, Fowles' notion of

  2. To What Extent Was Henry Vll Secure?

    by John de la Pole crossed to England and were defeated by Henrys forces. Margaret of Burgundy also supported Simnel as she was brother of Richard III and wanted to see the Lancastrians defeated. When Simnel was caught he was pardoned, this suggested he was just a puppet in the hands of the Yorkists.

  1. To what extent did Tudor rebellions have similar causes

    They had a divide and rule policy. The most common theme that ran throughout all the politically motivated rebellions was resentment of lowborn ministers, for example, Wolsey in 1525, Cromwell in 1556 and Essex in 1601 wanted to rid parliament of Cecil 'the caterpillars of the common wealth.'

  2. Why did the Chartists fail?

    However, Parliament rejected it by 235 votes to 46. So, John Frost turned to violence in November 1839. He led 1000 people armed with clubs in the Newport Rising. It very quickly turned violent and 22 men were killed when soldiers turned up, and a further 50 were injured.

  1. Constitutional Nationalism succeeded in achieving its aims whereas revolutionary nationalism failed and cultural nationalism ...

    It was a disaster for the Irish Confederation which led to their swift exit form the nationalist scene and thus it is difficult to view their time as anything but a humiliating failure. The final revolutionary nationalists that I wish to consider are James Stephens & John O'Mahony and the Fenians.

  2. To what extent was Mary I successful in her attempt to re-impose Catholicism in ...

    On the other hand, an effort to impose penalties on those who didn't attend Catholic Church services was overpowered and there was no early return of laws against heresy. The next point in Mary's Catholic Restoration was the return of the papal headship, which was successfully carried through by Mary.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work