Was the Treaty of Versailles Fair?
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The treaty of Versailles was signed in 28th June, 1919. this treaty involved lots of requirement for Germany. Despite Woodrow Wilson’s will to make the world a safer place, it only provoked German’s anger and eventually became the motive of World War two. In my opinion, the main reason for the failure was the unfairness of the treaty. German was guilty for the world war one. But we should know that each countries who involved in the world war one are guilty for it .and is unfair to just giving punishment to the countries who’s lose in the war, and the countries that win on the war never get any punished. Allies was as guilty as Germany. bothBoth of them are already had lot of damage from the war. This treaty was not equal treated each country as it aimed. It might fair for the victors countries because they got lots of profit from this treaty but not for the Germany and the countries that lose from this war.
Firstly, the Treaty of Versailles was economically unfair. The reparation was unreasonably high. The treaty of Versailles forced Germany to pay enormous amount of money- $6,600 million. Also in each 5 years, Germany needed to build about 200,00 ? tons of shipping for the victor’s nation. They also needed to supply livestock to France and Belgium. But there were no way for Germany to supply that much. Because most of German’s land is taken away and 90%was possessed by other countries. Most of the valuable farmlands had been taken and were used for Germany’s industry. If they taken away that, Germany will hard to rebuild what they damaged from the war and without this valuable land are even hard to collect the money they needed to use, because land was the main resource which earn money for the German.
Germany already lost a lot from the war, and they are busy to rebuild but the treaty of Versailles which make them impossible to do anything. In addition, they were already severely damaged economically during the War, so again, it was impossible for them to pay that much. The following was reported by British Foreign Office in 1918 showing Germans’ lives during the war. “The German public is threatened this winter with and almost complete absence of …electric light, gas, lam oil and candles. The lack of soap and washing powder makes personal cleanliness impossible and assists the spread of disease.
Drugs are difficult to obtain…For the general public the most pressing question is said to be the provision of warm clothing … Many of the women have the hardly any clothing and are going about clad in a thin blouse and skirt .”(1) All these shows that the size of the reparations was being decided emotionally. Indeed, George Lloyd, the main member of the Big 3, said that he would make Germany pay because that was what British people wanted to hear.* Unreasonably high amounts of reparations provoked Germans’ anger and this became one of the important reasons of the failure of the treaty.
From the information, it shows that Germany cost almost 40billion dollar for the war. Many of men workers joined for the war, and also as the allied blockade the Germany, the unemployment of Germany was stood at between 20% and 40% .Lacked of the worker caused the lacked of food produced, and the food price increased rapidly. In result, industrial output fell by about 40% between 1914 to the 1918. (2)France wanted the Germany to pay because he wanted to revenge. British and France let Germany to pay for their own opinion and selfish but not for reasonable. For German, to win on the war was the last hope for them .they spend all they could and invested on this war. But what they got back is lose in the war and should also pay the large amount of reparation.
Secondly, getting away too much territory and over restricting the armed force made Germany very weak. This not only gave Germany a huge humiliation but getting away territories was also opposing self determination. Germany is a big country. They need to have the military to protect themselves from invading of others countries. But to prevent from having another war, Germany was not allowed to have submarines and air forces. They could have the navy but only six battleships, and no more army than 10000men. They can’t even have troops in Rhineland. In this condition, if Germany is getting in a war with other county, they probably are going to lose on the war. Because this kind of rules is reducing the military too a lot, this could make other countries to despise of German. “meant Germany could not defend itself against even small countries” this was the sentence said by the Dungervolker – Dung people(3) it shows the conditions of people during the time, they were dissatisfied on this rules. Germans people were always proud of their nation before .they think they were the strongest.
But this rules make them anger to lose their power. Losing the 13% of territory which included Alsace Lorraine, Eupenet-Malemedy, North Schleswig and etc,, also, they lost all their colonies .and this made it worst. It was almost weakened than the other small, weakness countries. Treaty of Versailles established the self determination, many countries could rule theirs own country, but except Germany. German people were forced to live in other countries such as Poland and Czechoslovakia and also, many of Germany’s lands were taken over and controlled by other countries.
Politically, Germans were not even allowed to join the treaty. They got all the blame from this clause and had to accept the punishment. France, the main member of the Treaty of Versailles, wanted revenge, wanted to destroy and weaken Germany so that it will not invade France again. Clause 231 makes them feel more unfair because they said Germany was the country that started the war first but they were not allowed to reject this idea. Once, Count Brockdorff-Rantzau speaking in Germany said “It is demanded of us that we shall confess ourselves to be the only ones guilty of the war. Such a confession in my mouth would be a lie.”(4) This evidence could clearly feels of resented for this guilt clause. All they could do was to accept what the victors request for. No one was listened for theirs idea, and victors countries only thinks of their profits.
In conclusion the treaty was a failure. From the newspaper Deutsche Zeitung in 1919 it wrote that “Today in the hall of mirrors, the disgraceful treaty is being signed. Do not forget it. The German people will with unceasing labor press forward to reconquer the place among nations to which it is entitled. Then will come vengeance for the shame of 1919…”(5) Words was kind of foreshadowed that they wanted to have revenge. If treaty of Versailles required not too harsh, Germany will not be angry. Treaty was to harsh .and they have to sign the treaty because it was ultimatum. also they don’t have the right to joined on the treaty. Germans people called this treaty as Versailles Diktat as the terms was made public. Diktat is means being forced and no choice but to sign it. It was Treaty of Versailles made Hitler get power because he promises to destroy the treaty and this shows how Germans people were angry on this unfair treaty. Treaty of Versailles was the road to open the World war two. If each countries are not that selfish, they will not having the world war two.
1) Book “the twentieth century world” -EconimicEconomic situation of Germany and is reported by British foreign Office in 1918.
-after the guilt clause been accept by German, resented words by Count Rantzau’s
5)http://www.ousedale.org.uk/cw/ousedaleschool2/Treaty%20of%20Versailles%205c1.htmthis -in the newspaper. After Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles