How Harsh Was The Treaty Of Versailles?

976 words - 4 pages

The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was the peace treaty, which officially ended World War I between the Allies and the German Empire. After six months of negotiations, which took place at the Paris Peace Conference, Germany was "forced" to sign the treaty and accept therefore the full responsibility for causing the war. The German empire was punished militarily, territorially, and had also to finance the reparations of France and Belgium after the war. But was it to harsh on Germany and was she really the only responsible country for causing the war?Firstly, it is important to know how the treaty was ratified. In January 1918, President Wilson of the USA proposed to Germany fourteen points to end up the war such as: no secret alliances, free trade... and he also suggested creating a league of powerful United Nations called The League of Nations. This is the predecessor to the United Nations created after World War II. The League's goals included disarmament; preventing war ;settling disputes between countries through negotiation; and improving global welfare. However, this way of treating Germany after all the troubles she caused was seen as too soft and idealistic by the French and English governments who wanted to punish severely the German Empire. The league of Nations did not have the purpose to condemn the German Empire but as the United States did not want to be part of it (because they thought they were already too much involved in European conflicts), the countries remaining in the league were all rather in favor of a harsh treatment of Germany particularly France led by Clemenceau (France had suffered very heavy casualties during the war; some 1.24 million military and 40,000 civilians dead;, and much of the war had been fought on French soil leaving much of the country in ruins) and to a certain extent England led Lloyd George. The treaty of Versailles was mostly written by Clemenceau. His intentions were therefore simple: he wanted punitive reparations and Germany's army to be not only weakened for the time being, but permanently weakened so as never to be able to invade France again. Clemenceau was old enough to remember the invasion of Prussia in the 1870's and the humiliation which France suffered. Lloyd George was a bit between Wilson and Clemenceau but his aim was to defend British interests, the rest did not really interest him this is why he was not really against a harsh treatment of Germany as soon as England took advantage of it.The treaty of Versailles was based on the fact that Germany had to accept the total responsibility for causing the war. The Austrians, the Hungarians, and the Bulgarians were not found as guilty as Germany and therefore the sanctions on these countries were much less severe. Of course Germany played a great role in causing the war by helping Austria in the...

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