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The Treaty Of Versailles

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Introduction

October 03, 2004 The Treaty Of Versailles Julie Nelson On June 28th, 1919, Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in the hall of mirrors, within the palace of Versailles, practically against her will. The Treaty, having been made up by the Triple Entente leaders Lloyd George and George Clemenceau, and Woodrow Wilson of the USA, was unfair to Germany, but she had no choice. Germany's options were to sign the treaty within 48 hours or be invaded, but years of war had taken a toll on Germany and it could not afford to defend itself. It was Germany who called for an armistice on the day we know as Rememberance day and yet it was Germany who took all of the blame for the first world war, and would end up starting the second one. It is my belief that the three major powers behind the Treaty of Versailles, were unjust in the terms of the treaty. Many people were concerned about the harshness of the treaty and were worried that the Germans would become bitter and fall into a deep depression, and it was not far from the truth. One of the most infuriating things about the whole situation, was that Germany was not invited to the conferences and therefore was only able to sit and wait until an agreement was presented to them. ...read more.

Middle

The blame was pinned on the German government and there was an attempted communist overthrow in 1919 and the "friecorps," also tried to take over in 1920. Germany's government was more vulnerable than ever at this time, which lead to Hitler's rise later on. Another good example of how the Treaty of Versailles was unfair, was the "War Guilt Clause," which wrongfully held Germany soley responsible for the devastating world war. There were definitely reparations that needed to be paid in order to rebuild Europe after years of war, but Germany was certainly not fully responsible for all of the damage. The obscene amount totalling 6,600 million pounds in gold and goods was to be paid in full by Germany to the Allies. An amount that large almost guaranteed that Germany was going to fall into a depression, which wasn't going to help the nation's attitude towards the Triple Entente. People who have nothing to lose are more likely to wage war, which is probably why Hitler became so popular. As well as gold and goods, Germany was to ship all of the coal produced in Saar to France, for five years. Along with all of the territory that Germany lost, were the industries within it. For example, Alsace-Lorraine was a huge iron-ore producer which could have helped Germany repay her debt, but it was given to France. ...read more.

Conclusion

A once prosperous and highly militarized country was almost helpless and it only helped to gather followers for Hilter when he began his climb to power. There was definitely some punishment due, but the treaty went too far in every possible way, hence the name "Diktat," given to it by the Germans. Wilson's 14 points was basically forgotten as the Triple Entente finally got their chance at revenge in every possible way against Germany. Even though it was Germany who finally proposed a cease-fire on November 11th, she was made militarily helpless with 100,000 men and hardly any equipment to speak of, and there was nothing that they could do about it. With no say in the amount of reparations, the impossible amount of 6,600 million pounds was to be paid by the Germans for the damages as a result of the war. The depression that followed was probably the reason Hitler was able to get people to believe in him and follow him. Politically, Germany was as weak as she ever had been, making it easy for extreme groups to come into power. The Treaty of Versailles would inevitably fuel the anger needed for Germany to rise up and take back their dignity, eventually causing WW2. I do believe whole-heartedly that the Treaty of Versailles was cruel to the German people, whose government was the one to blame for the war, and that the " Big Three" could have been more lenient in their decisions. ...read more.

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