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Treaty Of Versailles Essay Research Paper Before

Treaty Of Versailles Essay, Research Paper Before the First World War had finished, the groundwork for the early stages of another world war was beginning to take place in Germany. By the end of

Treaty Of Versailles Essay, Research Paper

Before the First World War had finished, the groundwork for the early stages

of another world war was beginning to take place in Germany. By the end of

World War I, the economic and social foundation of European society was

shaken. France had lost twenty percent of its young to

middle-aged men, and Germany had also lost well over 15 percent. A Treaty

was being proposed by President Woodrow Wilson in hope to finally end the

bloodshed brought on by the first World War.

The victorious Allied Powers met in Paris in January 1919 to speak of

peace treaties to finally end the devastating war. President Woodrow Wilson

had drawn up a series of proposals that he hoped would mark the beginning

of a lasting era of peace and prosperity. These proposals came to be known

as the Fourteen Points. The first five proposals would help set general goals

for the postwar and aftermath. They included the following:

1. Ending Secret treaties

2. Agreeing to freedom of the seas

3. Removing economic barriers to trade

4. Reducing the size of national armies and navies

5. Adjusting colonial claims with fairness toward the colonial peoples

The sixth through the thirteenth propositions implied changing national

borders and creating new nations. Throughout all fourteen points, Wilson s

main idea was self-determination; allowing people to decide for themselves

under what government they wish to live. Finally, the fourteenth point in

Wilson Woodrow s proposals was a general association of nations, made to

protect great and small states alike. This was Wilson s most important

point of all. His plan was for an organization that would keep peace by

encouraging its members to solve problems and conflicts through negotiation

instead of war. This fourteenth point eventually led up to the formation of the

League of Nations.

The Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires were eager for the

peacemakers to grant them their own independent nations. This posed a

problem since many other groups claimed the same lands. There were other

problems which posed a threat to the entire treaty. Originally, both France

and Britain had agreed to Wilson s terms of agreement for peace. Now, both

countries insisted that Germany pay for the pain and death caused by the

war. In addition to this, Italy had its own demands. The Allies had lured Italy

into the war by promising it parts of Austria-Hungary where many Italian

speaking people lived. Meanwhile Russia, which had suffered possibly the

greatest losses of all the Allies, now had a civil war on their hands and was

not invited to attend the conference.

The treaty fell short of a just and lasting peace which President

Woodrow Wilson had been aiming for, these were its terms:

Germany lost thirteen percent of its land, where nearly ten percent of its

people lived. France, Poland, Belgium, and Denmark all received equal

shares of this territory ceded to them. In addition to this, France also

reclaimed Alsace-Lorraine, which Germany had taken from them in 1871.

France also won the right to work the rich coal mines of the Saar Basin for

fifteen years. Once the fifteen year term ended, the people of the Saar region

were to have the right to rejoin Germany if they indeed wanted to. Poland

became an independent nation once again. The new Poland received a large

strip of German land called the Polish Corridor. This strip cut off East

Prussia from the rest of Germany and gave Poland much needed access to the

Baltic Sea. The territories in Africa that Germany had once seized were given

as mandates to Britain, France, and Japan.

The military restrictions were especially harsh on Germany and its

forces. The treaty had many clauses made especially to keep Germany from

ever regaining the power they once had and threatening the peace. The size

of the German army was strictly limited. Germany could not manufacture

any more war materials. This ban included such war machines as submarines

and airplanes. Furthermore, they were not allowed to position any troops in

the Rhineland, which was located in western Germany between the Rhine

River and the French border.

Article 231, the war-guilt clause was possibly the most severe

punishment dealt out by the Treaty of Versailles. This clause placed sole

blame for World War I on Germany. The result was Germany having to pay

money to compensate for the enormous costs of the war. The final sum

Germany was obliged to pay was well over thirty-one billion dollars, to be

paid over the next thirty years. This infuriated and humiliated the Germans,

wrecking their economy and causing widespread poverty and misery in a

once proud nation.

The Treaty of Versailles was flawed. It did not address all the issues it

needed to in order to secure a lasting peace. Nationalism was a serious

problem among the Germans. In fact, the intense pride for their country

drove them forward to be the antagonists and the main trouble makers in

W.W.I. Also, the Treaty compromised the principle of national

self-determination, Wilson s main goal in the Fourteen Points and key

proposition to end W.W.I. In addition to Germany, other countries also felt

betrayed by the terms of the peace settlement. The Allies did indeed dictate

harsh peace terms to the defeated powers, causing extreme anguish and

hatred from Germany. The Germans bitterly resented the treaty, and many of

them listened approvingly to politicians, such as Adolf Hitler, who promised

to tear it up and lead Germany once more down a path of military glory.

In the end, the Treaty ultimately failed because of the harsh punishment

Germany received after losing such an important war. It was obvious the once

powerful country would rise up again out of its bitterness with strong nationalism

and begin to attempt world conquest once again.

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