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The Failure Of The Treaty Of Versailles

2050 words - 8 pages

Imagine this: a child starts a fight on the playground in elementary school. After a nasty scuffle he is caught and brought into the principal’s office for punishment. Present in the office is the mother of a child whose arm was broken in the fight. She wants the child punished severely as restitution for hurting her son. Next is one of the children who stepped in to defend the victim. He wants the child punished, but not as harshly as the mother. And, of course, the principal. He stepped in at the end of the fight and broke it up. His only goal at this point is to make sure another fight does not occur. Welcome to the situation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 at the close of World War I. Germany had started a major war, and it was up to the leaders of France, the mother country whose children were hurt the worst in the war; Britain, a major player in the fighting; and America, the authoritative party that stepped in at the close of the war to end it, to determine what punishment to inflict upon the aggressor. The result of these differing views is the Treaty of Versailles. But the results of the Treaty of Versailles were less than successful at promoting peace, to say the least. The effects of the treaty on Germany coupled with the American policy of isolationism at the time resulted in the rise of a terrible dictator and the beginning of a war even worse than the first. The United States’ approach to the Treaty of Versailles was shortsighted.
At the Paris Peace Conference, leaders’ differing views caused President Wilson to make a shortsighted compromise. Prime Minister of Britain David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau of France, and President Woodrow Wilson of the United States formed the “Big Three”, the world
leaders who were most influential in the drafting of the Treaty of Versailles (Treaty of Versailles Ends WWI). Clemenceau was pushing to include severe punishments for Germany in the treaty. He firmly believed that Germany should be crushed so it could not start another war such as the one they just ended. (Lentin 22). George of Britain, under the pressure of his voting public, supported a revenge policy towards Germany, but not one as severe as the policy France was proposing. He also had ideas of using Germany as a buffer to stop the spread of Communism in the region (“The Treaty of Versailles,” History). Wilson on the other hand had no thoughts of revenge; his goal was simply to try to reach a lasting peace. His plan for this was set out in his Fourteen Points plan to encourage an end to fighting and the spread of democracy. This plan included opening trade, slowly disarming all countries, and putting a stop to secret diplomacy. The points also included the creation of the League of Nations, a coalition that was to include the major nations of the world that would meet with the common goal of avoiding another world war (Gay and Gay). If Wilson had actively stuck to this plan, the future most likely would have been a...

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