Heading Towards Ww2 Essay, Research Paper
Heading Towards WWII
World War II was a result of how World War I was resolved. The Treaty of
Versailles, signed at the end of the Great War, was supposed to bring about change and
peace. The League of Nations, a part of the Treaty, was an international alliance for the
preservation of peace. Although it did change world politics, the Treaty did not bring
about peace, but ironically led to a more violent and deadly war, World War II.
Signed on June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles aimed to punish the Central
Powers for causing the war by forcing financial reparations be paid to the Allies. These
reparations were imposed on Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, but mostly on
Germany. Payment in the form of trains, ships, natural resources, and even livestock was
accepted, but mostly in the form of gold. This was to cover the cost of the loss the Allies.
Germany promised to pay for civilian losses, as well as $5 billion a year until a final sum
could be totalled. The Treaty also called for the disarmament of Germany. This
involved both reducing it’s military, nearly stop all production of war material, and
demilitarizing it’s posts. With the reparations and disarmament in place, the final blow
came in Article 231 of the Treaty which stated that Germany must admit that they, with
the Central Powers, were solely responsible for starting WWI.
Territorial changes occurred at the end of the war as well, due not only to the
breakup of the Turkish, Austrian, and Russian empires, but because of the land claimed
by the Allies. The unconditional sovereignty of Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Austria, and
Poland was recognized by Germany. In total, Germany lost thirteen percent of it’s
European land. Alsace-Lorraine was once again a part of France. The Saar Basin was in
the hands of the League of Nations for fifteen years. Belgium received land along the
German border. With many more land transfers, including the complete loss of the
German colonial empire, the map of the world had taken on great change.
With reparation costs in the billions of dollars, the German economy took a strong
hit. This, with losing much of it’s land, caused great resentment and anger because
Germany was not given a chance to represent itself in the League of Nations. Because of
the magnitude and manner of these resolutions, there was a rise of Adolf Hitler and
eventually war as Germany geared up for WWII.