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Were the Peace Settlements after World War One Justified?

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Introduction

Were the Peace Settlements after World War One Justified? The end of 1919 saw several peace treaties. Designed by the Allied leaders, the 'Big Three'- Georges Clemenceau of France, David Lloyd George of Britain and Woodrow Wilson of the United States, they dealt with the nations defeated in World War One. They were created to ensure a lasting peace, and to reward the victors of the war; however, were they justified? The Treaty of Versailles. This was accompanied by several controversies, for it was considered to be the harshest of the post-war treaties. It was a peace settlement designed to deal with Germany, and it imposed several unsympathetic restrictions and burdens upon her already frail shoulders. For example, the 'war guilt' clause that infuriated so many Germans. Germany was obligated to accept sole blame for initiating the war. This term was unfair; it was preposterous to blame a single nation for such a huge iniquity, especially a new government that was trying to replace the old Kaiser's regime with a democratic rule. Furthermore, several countries had shown signs of aggression during events leading up to 1914. Thus, it was unreasonable to accuse Germany for exclusively beginning the war which ravaged the lives of so many. Germany's disarmament was another term of the Treaty of Versailles. Her army was limited to a mere 100 thousand and her armored vehicles, aircraft and submarines were seized from her. ...read more.

Middle

Hence, Germany was outraged that, whilst her empire was no longer in existence, Britain's empire was expanding. This is seen as unjust by most, as Britain was thriving on Germany's losses. Perhaps the severest term of the peace settlement was the 'reparations' clause. Without consulting her, the Allies agreed to have Germany compensate France with �6.6 billion in reparations- a colossal amount that she could not afford. Her economy was already crippled; people did not have enough food or drink, and many were homeless. Furthermore, because she no longer controlled the Saarland or her overseas empires to support her finance, it was inequitable for the Allies to demand such ludicrous amounts of money. However, perhaps there were some justifications for Clemenceau's wish for such a large amount. It must be considered that France had been ravaged by four years of war; her industrial and residential areas wrecked and her landscape reduced to debris. Along with the Treaty of Versailles, four other treaties were created. The Treaty of St. Germain-this dealt with Austria-was formed in 1919. It proclaimed that Austria and Hungary would now be separate nations; this was to the joy of many. It forbade a union between Germany and Austria; this was not justified, because there were German speakers in Austria. Several Austrian territories were handed to the new states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, as well as to other countries. ...read more.

Conclusion

There were several positive outcomes of the peace settlements after World War One. The most significant one was the establishment of the League of Nations. This was the first-ever world organization of its kind; it aimed to discourage aggression for any nation, to encourage nations to disarm, and to improve the general working and living conditions of people. Britain, France, Italy and Japan were permanent members of the League. Surprisingly, USA was not involved in the League, although it was Woodrow Wilson who preliminarily mentioned such an organization in his 'Fourteen Points.' However, Germany was not invited to any meetings of the League, and therefore this incensed her. Other positive outcomes of the treaties include the self-determination of several countries, once again initiated by Wilson. The dreams of peoples who had been part of former empires finally came true; they gained independence. For example, the Czechs were overjoyed to finally be liberated, free from the clutches of the former Austrian Empire. The new state of Czechoslovakia was especially significant because it was created by the Allies for the future security of Europe. Although the Treaty of Versailles is usually depicted as relentless, it must be taken into account how challenging it was for Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Wilson to create an impartial treaty whilst meeting public demand for revenge. In conclusion, it is evident that the peace settlements after World War One can be perceived as both just and unjust. Reja Nadeem 10A Tuesday 14th October 2003 ...read more.

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