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To what extent can the Treaty of Versailles be described as fair.

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To what extent can the Treaty of Versailles be described as fair. The Treaty of Versailles was a disaster. This is because it left Germany demoralised, weakened and ready to be led by some one like Adolf Hitler. Both primary and secondary sources will be considered as to the question of whether the Treaty of Versailles was fair or not. Firstly the arguments that say that the treaty of Versailles was a disaster. The War guilt clause (article 231) was unfair as Germany was not totally to blame for starting the war. Many say that war was inevitable as the major European powers had built up into two hostile alliances the Triple Entente (Britain, France and Russia) and the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) and as this system involved all of the European powers and not just Germany how can they be solely to blame for starting the war. Another possible cause of the war that did not directly involve Germany was the murder in Sarajevo of the Archduke Franz-Ferdinand by the Black Hand gang from Serbia. The Austrians blamed Serbia although there was no proof that the murderers were acting on orders of the Serbian government. They gave Serbia an ultimatum that the Serbians could not accept so Austria declared war on them; this started the slide to all out war. So although Germany were not blameless for the start of war they should not be the only country to accept blame for the war. ...read more.


This was an even bigger Diktat than Versailles as when the Russians refused the first treaty, the German army restarted the war. When the Russians again surrendered the Germans forced them to sign an even harsher treaty than before. Another reason that the war guilt clause was fair was that if you lose a war you have to take the consequences. The Germans got involved in the war so they can't whinge when they get punished. Also as they showed with their treatment of Russia the Germans would not be fair to Britain or France if they had won so they cannot expect them to be fair on them. The reparations are not totally unfair because the French Prime Minister George Clemenceau would have made the Germans pay ten times as much, so the Germans may think that they have got off lightly. The Germans were made to pay a lot by the allies but also they did cause a lot of damage. Many French villages were totally destroyed everything flattened with all their men dead. Also it is not just the massive physical damage that the Germans should have to pay for, millions of French, Belgian and British workers were killed in war. This will knock millions off their respective economies without men to work in the factories, offices etc. The redistribution of German land and colonies was good as many countries had a chance to gain their independence such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. ...read more.


The Germans were unhappy as this left them in their opinion defenceless and also as none of the other powers involved in the war had to disarm. Territorial restrictions on Germany were greeted with happiness from the French as they regained the area of Alsace-Lorraine as well as gaining more land in Africa. But they wanted this part of the treaty to go further and break Germany in to a selection of small states. The British liked the territorial restrictions as this increased the size of their empire. The Americans liked that there was self determination but felt that Britain and France should not take land for themselves. Germany is upset that its land has been taken away as some of this land was rich and industrial so would help them to pay reparations. The League of Nations was not liked by any of the four major countries. Firstly the league was the American president Woodrow Wilson's idea but the American public did not want the USA to get into other peoples wars. This affected both Britain and France as they were happy when they signed up for the league to just let the Americans run it. But when the Americans pulled out they were left to run the league. Germany liked the idea of the League of Nations but when they were told that they could not join they were outraged. In conclusion the Treaty of Versailles was a failure and unfair on Germany. The main reason for this was that the treaty was too hard on Germany leaving the German people demoralised impoverished and ready to be led by Hitler; therefore this treaty caused the Second World War. Brendan Thorne ...read more.

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