Was the Treaty of Versailles Unfair to Germany?

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Rebecca Neumann 9B

Was the Treaty of Versailles Unfair to Germany?

        The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28th, 1919. It took David Lloyd-George, Prime Minister of Britain, Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France, and Thomas Woodrow Wilson, president of the United States of America, six months to negotiate this peace treaty. I believe that the Treaty of Versailles was reasonable, mostly fair but sometimes unfair as well, as Germany had annexed parts of other countries and it was only fair to give those parts back to their original country, also Germany invaded Belgium, a neutral country, destroying it. However, it was unfair that Germans who lived in parts of Germany, such as Posen and near Danzig, were not allowed to be German or a part of Germany, while for example Poles who had been living in Germany before the Treaty of Versailles, now had their own country, Poland.

        According to the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had to lose 10 percent of its land and all of its colonies. Germans did not like this; however, Germany had annexed Alsace- Lorraine, two rich industrial parts of France after the Franco- Prussian wars in 1870 and 1871, and in 1918 after Russia had signed the Treaty of Brest- Litovsk, Germany took 35 percent of Russia’s land together with most of its industry. Germans were now thinking that losing 10 percent was a lot, when before they had had no problem with forcing Russia to lose 35 percent of its land, especially most of its industrial land. The Treaty of Versailles now simply commanded Germany to return Alsace- Lorraine to France, the 35 percent of Russia was partly given back to Russia but was also use to form new countries, Schleswig was given to Denmark, West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia were given to Poland just to name a few. Article 116 of the Treaty of Versailles states: “Germany acknowledges and agrees to respect as permanent and inalienable the independence of all the territories which were part of the former Russian Empire on August 1st, 1914.” And article 51 says that: “The territories which were ceded to Germany in accordance with the Preliminaries of Peace signed at Versailles on February 26, 1871, and the Treaty of Frankfurt of May 10, 1871, are restored to French sovereignty as from the date of the Armistice of November 11, 1918. The provisions of the Treaties establishing the delimitation of the frontiers before 1871 shall be restored.” These article states that Germany shall respect the parts of the former Russian Empire, which it annexed, now to be free and no longer a part of Germany. The second article states that Alsace- Lorraine shall be returned to France, and that the German and French boundary is to be just like it was before the Franco- Prussia wars. Also articles such as, 83, 87 and 109 command Germany to give land to Poland, Czechoslovakia and Denmark and establish the new German boarders.                                                                                                                            On August 4th, 1914 Germany invaded Belgium, which up till then had been a neutral country just like the Netherlands. With this act Germany broke article seven of the 1839 Treaty of London, which stated that: “Belgium, within the limits specified in Articles I, II, and IV, shall form an independent and perpetually neutral State. It shall be bound to observe such neutrality towards all other States.” However, the German army went through Belgium plundering and terrorizing— they shot civilians, burned down towns, raped women and children, while trying to full fill the Schlieffen Plan. The German army did not only do this to Belgium, but to all other countries they invaded, but Belgium is simply one of the most known as it marked the begin of World War One. As a result it is quite fair that Germany had to pay 132 billion German marks for the reparations of World War One, after they went through a country destroying it and its people, invaded other countries such as Russia and France, doing the same there. However, you can also look from the other side, Germany didn’t only have to pay for the damage it made, but also for the damage the British, the French, the Russians, the Americans and everyone else who fought in the war made. But Germany was one of the strongest, on of the richest country and the USA, Britain and France could not let Germany stay too powerful. I still believe that this was not too harsh on Germany, as Germany caused a lot of damage and started the war, and now had to pay.  

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        One of Woodrow Wilson’s fourteen points was self- determination. This meant that he wanted every nationality to be able to rule themselves, in their own country. As a fact, this point was incorporated in the Treaty of Versailles leading to the creation of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and to the recreation Poland. Czechoslovakia was mostly made up of mostly Czechs (seven million) and Slovaks (two million). However, there were also seven hundred thousand Hungarians, four hundred fifty thousand Ukrainians and three and a half million Germans living in Czechoslovakia. Yugoslavia was mostly made up of Serbs, Macedonians, Croats, Slovenes and Bosnians. ...

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