The Paris peace settlement was criticized by both winners and losers. To what extent was this criticism justified?

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Essay – The Paris peace settlement was criticized by both winners and losers. To what extent was this criticism justified?

The gathered tension and aggressive competition between the major powers in Europe eventually led towards the outbreak of the First World War, where the Allied powers were victorious after a total war of attrition; where millions of people lost their lives. On October 4th, Germany, the last one standing of the Central powers requested an Armistice based upon Wilson Woodrow’s “Fourteen Points”. When the Allied powers met in Paris in January 1918 to determine how they would approach peace, it was later on proved that they would reach the opposite of what they primarily aimed for; the winning powers let their desire for vengeance and territories come before the attempt to move towards peace. Significant criticized issues were the tremendous reparation fees the Central Powers, especially Germany, had to pay, the fact that the Germans got blamed for the entire war and France’s strong desire for revenge were vigorously condemned by both sides.

When the Paris Peace Conference opened on the 18th January 1919, the winning powers met to decide what to do with the Central powers to move towards ‘peace’, however only the winning powers. With such a tactic they couldn’t reach a reasonable solution that was reasonable for Germany and the other loosing powers. For instance, the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau’s main goal was to weaken Germany military, strategically and economically. He was adamant that Germany should not be allowed to attack France again, since he had personally witnessed two German attacks on French territories in the last forty years. This came to be a compromise with several weaknesses. France got through almost all their requirements in relation to Germany. The American president Woodrow Wilson had the ambitions of creating and maintaining peace without damaging Germany too much. The others did not support him on that at all. Britain and France wanted to treat Germany harshly and wanted them to pay. Despite the difficulties, Wilson managed to get some of his ‘Fourteen Points’ to become parts of his treaty. Clemenceau uttered skepticism and annoyance with Wilson's Fourteen Points: "Mr. Wilson bores me with his fourteen points", he complained. "Why, God Almighty has only ten”. France’s bad attitude and desire for vengeance was criticized from both sides.

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Article 231 in the Treaty of Versailles, also known as the “Guilt clause” was the one explaining where Germany was completely responsible for the First World War. The article also serves as a justification for the requirements put upon Germany in the remainder of Articles 233 through 247, which was concerned with reparations. The claim that Article 231 implies "war guilt" was the work of various German politicians and supporters who misunderstood Article 231 as saying that as a way of gaining international sympathy.

"The English public like the French public, thinks the Germans must above all acknowledge their obligation ...

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