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Was the Treaty Of Versailles a Harsh Treaty?

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Introduction

Was the Treaty Of Versailles a Harsh Treaty? When the peace armistice was signed on 11th November 1918, no plans had been made for a peace settlement so it was decided that one would be drawn up in the New Year. Representatives from Great Britain, France and USA were among those attending. Each had different ideas of how to treat Germany, and to what extent she would pay for the war. After the treaty of Versailles was agreed, the Germans were upset by the terms; as they felt it was too harsh. The treaty was harsh but could have been a lot worse. Who can say for sure whether the Treaty of Versailles was fair or not? The answer depends on your point of view. From the French perspective, the Germans deserved to give up everything in order to make amends for the destruction they caused in France. Therefore, the treaty wasn't punishing them enough. From where the American and British point of view, it seemed impossible to place the entire blame on one country, so the Clause 231, which stated Germany must except the blame for the war must have seemed quite harsh, but the treaty was a compromise - no one got everything they wanted, but more importantly, no one was completely short-changed, not even Germany. ...read more.

Middle

They had also forced the harsh peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk on Russia in 1918 without worries. It could seem that, in their rage about having all the guilt on them, the Germans set out to make the treaty look much worse than it really was. Clemenceau's wishes for revenge had only been halfway fulfilled. He had wanted Germany broken up into small states and to pay much more in compensation for the destruction and death which had taken place in France. Of course, one must consider that he had to negotiate with Wilson, who was much more concerned with a 'just peace' and self-determination. The treaty weakened Germany more than Wilson had wanted, but the American president had been forced to negotiate in a position of weakness and to make far-reaching concessions to his allies in order to secure a peace treaty at all. He tried to conceal his failure to the American public by condoning the peace treaty as a just punishment for a bad criminal. Wilson first of all wanted to make sure that Germany would not succumb to Bolshevism; in the long run, he wished for an integration of republican Germany into a liberal community of nations. ...read more.

Conclusion

All three British historians have different views as the sources written earlier may not have had as much information to research from. I don't believe that the Germans can blame every failure on the Treaty of Versailles, Germany's economy was weakened by the reparations and the army was limited and the Weimar republic was not as good as it should have been but Germany was still a large country and had the potential to become economically strong again. It depends from which point of view you look at it though the Germans will always say the treaty weakened them which it did, but was probably blow out of proportion, if you look at it from a British point of view it doesn't seem harsh enough and the Germans just wanted something to complain about. If the German government had not been so insecure and ineffective Germany may have been able to re-build itself a lot quicker. In the short run, the treaty significantly weakened Germany and gave the victors economic benefits and more power. In the long run, however, nothing spoke against a German recovery at least in economics. After the ?? ?? ?? ?? Minh Pritchard ...read more.

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