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The Treaty of Versailles

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  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1289
  • Category: War

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Explain why The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was a poor treaty settlement and unsatisfactory for both the victorious and defeated nations. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was a crash of interests, distinguishing themselves dramatically from one another. This alliance occured between the nations of France,Great Britain and USA -the winners from The First World War and Germany- the defeated country, which was not given the chance to take part in the negotiations. This event is accepted to be as one of the most detereorating treaties, designed to create peace within Europe. However the settlement was disaffected, due to the fact that not only it lacked to satisfy the needs of the victorious nations,but it caused economic and political instability in the Old Continent. As a concequence of this only 20 years later Europe went through its most tremendous conflict- The Second World War. When looked from the side of the trimphant countries The Treaty of Versailles did not fufil any of their demandings. France’s hatred towards Germany spured the desire of economically destroying the country to a point of not having a chance for future revenge.

Indeed, Clemenceau stated: “The Germans may take Paris, but that will not prevent me from going on with the war. We will fight on the Loire, we will fight on the Garonne, and we will fight even in the Pyrenees. […] We shall insist on the imposition of penalties on the authors of the abominable crimes committed during the war.” At that state the negotiator wanted to recieve the French territory, taken in the 18th century back from Germany. His wish was also the defeated country to struggle in recovering. However, when looked at the years before the Second World War Germany stabalized its condition – “[…]Exports increased by 40 cent between 1925 and 1929. The fact remains that Germnay’s economic performance compared favourably with the economic performances of England and France between 1925 and 1929 .”, linking to the fact that Clemencau’s plans were not achieved. Great Britain, on the other hand did not manage to accomplish its aim as well. The prime minister of England- David Lloyd George planed a reasonable punishment for Germany, but at the same time wanted to give the defeated country a chance for later restarvation in the indsutrial area. David Lloyd George declared: “I would make great sacrifices to preserve peace.

I conceive that nothing would justify a disturbance of international good will except questions of the greatest national moment.” The quote shows that the prime minister’s intentions were for a decision, which will not cause a future conflict and at the same time Great Britain would benefit from it. However, whilst David Lloyd was seeking the best outbreak, Germany was only gaining the feeling of revenge, meaning later Great Britain would fail at continuing the relationship with its industrial partner. At the same time America’s ambitions for say in the treaty were not taken under importance as well. Woodrow Wilson- the president of the United States prepared “The Founrteen Points” (apendix 1), representing United States’ “…attempt to revitalize leftist and liberal elements in the Allied countries…” Wilson believed he had the strenght to take France and England on his side. When looked at his personal notes his plan was obvious: “When the war is over we can force them to our way of thinking because by that time they will, among other things, be financially in our hands.” Wilson’s attempts, however, did not come to realization, eventhough he had the economical and political power to control Europe. Politcally speaking the Treaty of Versailles did impact positively neither the victorious countries, nor Germany.

During the negotiations for the settlement, the French nation continued demanding their wish for bitter punishment on Germany. After the Treaty was signed, Celenceau’s say in the crucial settlement did not fufil the French nation. Later on “Clemenceau failed to win the post-war election…”, proving the dissatisfaction of the peoples. Across the Atlantic Ocean, Woodrow Wilson was not welcomed gratefully by the Americans after almost one year of bitter negotiations in Paris. The Fourteen Points, prepared by the US government earlier were the least taken under attention. According to appendix 4 the League of Nations was the only American addition in the Treaty of Versailles and as mentioned in the book by Dr. Spencer C. Tucker “World War I, a student encyclopedia” this was a “…certain irony for the US […], as it was the only part of Wilson’s 14 points to make it onto the Treaty.” This was a major disappointment in the US, because Wilson carried the reputation of one of the best negotiators. After this event it was crucially lowered, meaning on the next president elections he was not chosen for the post. From all countries Germany suffered the most.

Towards the end of the war the Kaiser was replaced with a new democratic government, due to the fact that the monarch refused to accept the treaty, which would have lead to continuing the war. The politicians were not given time or opportunities to choose from, so they had to make an instant decision. The people, however, were informed neither about the fact that Germany was losing the war, nor about the political change. As mentioned in “Modern World”: “…many of them only accepted the establishment of a republic because they thought that this would lead the Allies to give Germany a better deal.” As a consequence of this, the politicians won a new nickname- “The November Criminals”. On the other hand the new government failed at organizing a referendum. This, together with the economical pressure the nation was already under, caused even more frustration. When looked from financial prespective, The Treaty of Versailles worked as a distructive economical power among the European nations.

The Weimer Republic had a bitter start because it had to pay the figure of 6600 million pounds as reparations. Followed by this, in 1923 the Great Hyperinflation took place, caused by the great amount of loans the banks owned. As seen on apendix 2, the client price loss raged dramatically and apendix 3 clearly expresses the “significance” of the German marks- a proof for the atrocious economical state of the Weimer Republic. Concurrently, even Great Britain and France, as triumphant nations were struggling for their economical recovery. The United Kingdom was financially weakened, due to the torn partnership with Germany in the industrial areas. In accordance with the book “The First World War” (Hew Strachan), stating that: “Unemployment in 1921 reached its highest point (11.3%) since records had begun. Staple wartime industries – such as coal, ship-building and steel – contracted dramatically.” Great Britain’s world’s strongest economy was now replaced by the emerging one of the USA.

France, on the other hand was enduring major devastation by the warfare. Not only that France’s most productive industrial regions were completely destroyed, but the country faced the problem of achieving a certain level of national security against future German aggression. (“Thus the nation entered the post-war era with a serious labour shortage and with a gravely unbalanced distribution of population.”), meaning the country was desperately fighting to bring itself back to its old economical condition. The Treaty of Versailles, expected by the allies to bring eternal peace and stability to Europe failed at doing so, resulting in terrible future consequences, such as times of miserable living conditions and unbearable misunderstandings in the governments. These unsettlements, the unfulfilled demanding of the victorious countries, together with the bitter feeling of vengeance the Weimar Republic was collecting after every reparation payment, brought the world to the year 1939- the fatal outbreak of the world’s most discussed political conflict- The Second World War.

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