Treaty of Versailles

Authors Avatar

In 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, those who signed it had been referred to in Germany as the ‘November Criminals’, for agreeing to a treaty that was far too harsh: it made Germany accept all the blame for the war, stripped it from its land, colonies, entire navy and merchant navy, and limited it to a tiny 100,000 men and six battleships, with no tanks, submarines or aircrafts. The French Prime Minister however, was criticised by his own people for not making the Treaty harsh enough, and was soon voted off power. Yet meanwhile, in Great Britain, David Lloyd George receives a hero’s welcome upon his return, for treating Germany fairly in the eyes of the British public.

The Treaty of Versailles does not necessarily have to be viewed as a harsh treaty. The war guilt clause, for example, was particularly insulting for the German people, yet they had after all, encouraged Austria to declare war on Serbia after Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination. By sending them a ‘blank cheque’ and promising full support against a war with Russia and Serbia, Germany was the driving factor behind Austria’s decision to declare war on Serbia. It was also Germany that spread the war into western Europe, and eventually, the world, by following their ‘Schlieffen Plan’. The Schlieffen Plan, forced the involvement of Belgium and France into the war, and consequently, Britain was now also involved (as it wanted to protect Belgian neutrality throughout the war). Furthermore, the entrance of Britain and France undoubtedly meant that their colonies will now be involved in the war also, thus creating a World War, all created by Germany’s ‘Schlieffen Plan’.

Join now!

The reparations clause, too, can be justified. The fighting on the Western Front (which was, as previously stated, a direct result of Germany’s Schlieffen Plan) had caused severe damage in France. Roughly one million soldiers had died, and countless numbers of homes, roads, and railways had been damaged or destroyed completely. It is therefore reasonable for France to demand reparations, especially as they were fully aware that the requested sum of £6.6 billion would never be paid fully. The Treaty also granted Alsace-Lorraine back to France, which was also, justifiable. It was the only region that was taken away ...

This is a preview of the whole essay