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was the treaty of versailles fair?

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Introduction

Was the treaty of Versailles a just peace settlement? The treaty of Versailles was a peace settlement signed after world war one had ended in 1919. It was signed at the Versailles palace near Paris between Germany and the allies. The three main powers were all present- David Lloyd George representing Britain, Georges Clemenceau representing France and Woodrow Wilson representing America. Nobody from Germany and Austria was allowed to take part in the negotiations. Each of the big three had its own ideas about what it wanted to achieve. This caused controversy because there was no unanimous decision on its aims or its success, and nothing to support its implementation. The USA had suffered a great deal less then Europe in the war and Wilson believed that punishing Germany would only make them want revenge. He was more interested in preserving world peace. He suggested fourteen points which he felt would bring world peace. He wanted countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia, which were neighbours of Germany, to become strong and independent. ...read more.

Middle

Also, these people would be the ones that would experience world war two and realised that they had provoked the Germans too much. Historians today think that the treaty was quite harsh towards the Germans. The justness of the treaty was hotly disputed. The Germans thought the treaty was unjust. They thought that all the terms of the treaty were designed to weaken and humiliate them. They were mostly annoyed with the war guilt clause (clause 231) that forced Germany to admit to sole blame. The Germans argued that they had not started the war but had fought a defensive war against Russia and France. To an extent this was true as although they had caused a lot of damage, the war had started due to the Serbs and Austrians. While the archduke of Austria was driving along the riverside, a Serbian in the crowd shot him dead along with his wife. The Austrians wanted war with Serbia so the Russians threatened them to not attack. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Germans formed the schlieffen plan and invaded a neutral country (Belgium) to get to France. They fought for four years and many people died trying to get rid of them. The French suffered the most losses- 800,000 homes destroyed, 28,000 factories demolished, 10 counties ruined and all the farmland polluted. All the damage totalled up to 36 million francs. In 1914 the French governor promised the public that "they will pay" so all who suffered from the war claimed more than necessary as they knew the French would support them. The French thought the treaty was much too lenient towards the Germans It was not that the treaty was either just or unjust but rather it was not effective in keeping peace. The allies did not effectively enforce it. When Hitler announced that Germany would not pay in 1933, the allies did nothing. It was the total failure of the three powers to work closely together after 1919 that was one of the contributing factors to the outbreak of the Second World War 20 years later. ...read more.

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