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"The treaty of Versailles represented neither a Wilson peace nor a Clemenceau peace, but a witch's brew concocted of the least palatable ingredients of each". To what extent is this judgment of the Treaty of Versailles appropriate?

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Introduction

22-January-2003 Roham Gharegozlou, 1oIB Versailles Treaty Controversy History Essay The Versailles Treaty Controversy "The treaty of Versailles represented neither a Wilson peace nor a Clemenceau peace, but a witch's brew concocted of the least palatable ingredients of each". To what extent is this judgment of the Treaty of Versailles appropriate? Language: English Subject: History Teacher: Mme Therrode Institution: EABJM One of the most controversial and debated topics in modern history today is the issue of the Versailles Treaty: an admitted compromise by several Great Powers with vastly different aims, there is no question of its being with at least a few faults. However, there are many who maintain that the Versailles Treaty was an unacceptable treaty exactly because of its compromising nature, which weakened its impact and indeed rendered its original aims redundant. The Treaty of Versailles was viewed by many as a treaty to the "War to end all Wars", and therefore it was expected to prevent any further wars from taking place in the world at large and in Europe in particular. Such was the aim that the most important Powers present at the Treaty conference had in mind. All, however, disagreed strongly on the ways to implement this peace. Therefore, "The treaty of Versailles represented neither a Wilson peace nor a Clemenceau peace, but a witch's brew concocted of the least palatable ingredients of each" As stated by medieval war philosopher and statesman Niccolo ...read more.

Middle

Public opinion in the aforementioned countries (Britain and France) was very much in favor of an extremely harsh peace, with cries of 'lets squeeze the Germans 'till their pips squeak' being echoed by the people. Lloyd George, as mentioned before, was not prepared to take such a hard stance against Germany, if only because he realized that Germany's economic benefits to Britain would be greater in the long term than any immediate spoils the Allies could reap from the war. He did, however, have to at least partially reflect the wishes of his people, and indeed wished for complete German naval inability and also German reparations to be paid. This put him in the same camp as Georges Clemenceau in certain matters, and thus strengthened the latter's position greatly. Clemenceau was about as far from Wilson in terms of policy towards Germany as you could get at the conference. He represented a peace of vengeance, and meant to destroy Germany so absolutely so as to completely remove her as a future military danger to his country. France advocated as harsh a peace as they thought they could get away with. Clemenceau wanted a separate Rhine state to be created as a buffer state to France, Danzig to be annexed, the Saar to be annexed, and heavy reparations to be set upon Germany, in addition to the practical extinguishment of Germany's military prowess. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus it came to be that one of Clemenceau's worst fears came to be realized: he said, during the conference, that he would be adamant about the creation of a new Rhine state as demilitarization alone would not suffice to keep Germany in check. As it turned out, he gave in, and this came back to haunt France twenty years later, before World War II. Also, the war-guilt clause, put there for an added punch to the humiliating blow the French were dealing the Germans, caused truly an anger and indignation among the Germans that virtually guaranteed their non-comitance to the treaty. Despite all this 'giving ins' the French made, the Americans also had to completely change their view of a peace in Europe. It was this also that made the American senate refuse the treaty, putting additional burden on the French and the English and meaning that the Germans would have one less very powerful country looking over their shoulder. The lack of American support also took away from the Treaty's credibility and re-enforced the view that it was based on vengeance and not justice. In conclusion, it can be said that the Versailles treaty both angered the defeated, and gave them the means with which to express their anger. It is this that made the Versailles treaty a "witches brew": in effect it was like shooting someone in the leg and then giving the loaded gun back to them for them to do as they pleased. ...read more.

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