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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: History
  • Essay length: 2563 words

Analyse the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Versailles Settlement.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Analyse the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Versailles Settlement. Chronological transportation doesn't allow us the ability to look at thoughts of an individual or group conciousness. We project ourselves into the Hall of Mirrors, catch a glimpse into the static eyes of the delegates there. In areas of Germany historical evidence shows that democracy was embraced: J W Hiden relays the parliament was full of 'responsible and meticulous discussion'. It is fair to believe these new Western notions had reached German eyes and ears long before Woodrow Wilson arrived on the scene. Ruth Henig backs up the viewpoint and provides a more optimistic element of closure to the relationship between Germany and co-advocates of self-determination through the character of Lloyd George and what is known of his beliefs. (That Germany would help rebuild, contain itself and act constructively in the post-war years). However, Hiden does go on to mention the suspect manoeuvring of Weimar President Friedrich Ebert when the enlisting of the Friekorps through his Ministry of Defence quelled a Spartacist mutiny. The final morturary numbers, were in four figures from that incident, including Luxemburg and Liebknecht who at the time maintained strong moral and political connections. (At the time of their deaths they had ties with the Social Democrats.

Middle

This historian certainly suspects that essentially years of positive German history were being rewritten by the entente powers. Although Germany may have been able to meet these debts adequately and remain strong6, resumption of foreign trading was prevented by a five-year ban on protective tariffs. Germany's exclusion from the League made the ideology of nationalism easier to believe in for those in the Weimar Republic. As it turnedd out the US came out of the war and treaties the economic victor, a position maintained by the supply of war loans, which kept them healthy until the crash of '29. Versailles also saw the end of Prussian militarism and in some quarters this is viewed as quite a good thing. "The pernicious effects of the Weimar Treaty lie thus in the way it was created added dimensions to existing internal conflicts and contradictions which had, to some extent, survived the revolution." J W Hiden Of war reparations and the re-structuring of Germany, although harsh, Fritz Fischer suggested the modifications were perhaps not harsh enough. Fischer maintains Germany had been a major power and the Allies were aware that it would be again.7 The Treaty of Versaillles replaced Germany with much of the same form of 1870, and Jeremy Fazli points out that the French may have wished to punish them for the Franco-Prussian War.

Conclusion

It was a compromise peace all had misgivings about. Fischer maintains Germany should take most of the blame for issuing a blank cheque to Austria. This direction was formed from research into The Schlieffen plan and analysis of previously low visibility diaries10 that made mention of a war council. (This theory was later dismissed by HW Koch11 claiming nothing came of it.) Fischer laid down words in favour of the Allies actions at Versailles in concluding German leaders deliberately provoked war. While examining archival sources and historians' records over the years, I had detected some unusual phenomenona. Although the widely related date for the end of The First World War was 1918 and is indeed, mostly always referred to same in headings, an examination of body text in a number of sources has seemed to indicate that the war ended in 1919. Ruth Henig in context of the World War writes of, "over four years of intensive fighting not all of which had stopped by 1919" "We taught them a lesson in 1919 and they've hardly bothered us since" remarked Tom Lehrer. The Manchester Guardian of May 29 of that year states, "the war formally ended June 30, 1919". A case of mere formality and informality? Or a case of subjectivity and objectivity? And if it is objectivity, well these proofs and anomaly are a serious warning about what we can learn from history.

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