The Treaty Of Versailles Essay

1802 words - 7 pages

World War I brought about unprecedented suffering in European history. The goal following World War I was to restore European stability and maintain everlasting peace. The Versailles Treaty did little to shape any sort of long-term peace from the results of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was put together at the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919. The Paris Peace Conference began on January 18, 1919, with 21 nations in attendance. The representatives of Germany and the other defeated Central Powers were not allowed to sit at the conference table. The "Big Four" - President Wilson of the United States, Prime Minister Lloyd George of Great Britain, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France and Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando of Italy - dominated the conference and made the important decisions. The Treaty of Versailles reflected outdated, nineteenth century conceptions of the criteria of power and how to prevent war. . In addition, the balance of power required a policeman to monitor the smaller states and smaller conflicts. The Treaty of Versailles should have made the victors to either conciliate the enemy or destroy them. The Treaty of Versailles did neither. It did not pacify Germany, still less permanently weaken her, appearances notwithstanding, but left here scourged, humiliated and resentful. In that sense, it was not a "peace treaty" but a truce in a European thirty-year civil war.The Treaty of Versailles disarmed Germany, demilitarized the Rhineland (the German territory west of the River Rhine), and shrank German and Austro- Hungarian territory to make room for a series of new states aimed at buffering Germany to the east. It imposed blame for the war on Germany in the famous War Guilt Clause and, by extension, forced it to pay over thirty billion dollars in reparations to the Allies. AllGerman colonies were to be handed over to the League of Nations, the German navy was to be ripped apart, and German industrial resources were to be transferred to France and Britain. The clauses were harsh, but the British and French were not interested in mere apologies from Berlin, they wanted to punish the Hun and guarantee their own security. As for Austria-Hungary, the empire was dissolved and the new states of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, combined with landlocked and separate Austria and Hungary, emerged. Romania also received some Austrian lands.The Treaty of Versailles was a complex document that had many consequences for the people of Germany and the World. The loss of vital industrial territory severed a huge blow to any attempts by Germany to rebuild her economy. Coal from the Saar and Upper Silesia in particular was a vital economic loss. Before the terms of the Treaty of Versailles being introduced, Germany was already devastated and when the reparation debt was introduced, they could not believe it. Combined with the financial penalties linked to the reparations worth £6600 million, it seemed clear that the Allies wanted...

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