6 May 2012
The Treaty of Versailles The Versailles Treaty, which marked the end of World War I was a treaty that was intended to create everlasting peace but actually had the opposite effect and has been the cause of every major conflict over the past ninety years. Germany was forced to sign the Treaty, they could either sign it and make peace or refuse to sign it and get invaded and be defeated. However the Treaty did not create peace at all. Germany hated having to take complete blame for the war, their economy was ruined, they were bankrupt, and lost all their power so they elected someone who promised to make the situation better, thus Hitler rose to power (Wheeler).
Many people argue that the fact that the Treaty was either too harsh or not harsh enough. Some countries were angered because they thought the Treaty was too harsh because the treaty commanded that Germany reduce its military, revoked some of its best land, and made them pay huge reparations to its war enemies, which led to the fall of Germany’s economy. Some countries thought it wasn’t harsh enough because it didn’t complete destroy Germany completely and they could still rebuild from it. (unknown)
After fighting World War I all of the countries in Europe were suffering from weak economies. The Treaty did not find a solution for the allied war debts, and no economic questions were dealt with directly except for reparations from Germany which they couldn’t pay (MacMillan). The weakness and short sightedness of the Versailles Treaty was the main factor for the economic conditions in Europe between World War I and World War II and was the cause of all the totalitarian regimes during that time period. In a little over a year one man completely manipulated the government and legal system to gain complete power. Adolf Hitler gained complete control of the Nazi party and gained a lot of support by blaming the Jews for Germany’s defeat in World War I and also blaming the Jews for the country’s economic downfall. Hitler used the threat of a communist party to gain power over the people. Hitler used the Treaty of Versailles to build a complete totalitarian state in Germany (Wheeler)
The “big three” made the Treaty of Versailles. The big three consisted of David George of Britain, Georges Clemenceau of France, and Woodrow Wilson of America(Unknown The Impact..). After months of arguing and negotiating they created the Treaty of Versailles. The British public was seeking revenge after World War I ended and wanted Germany to pay for the damage inflicted on Britain during the war, which was considerable. Lloyd George wanted to appease the people so he agreed that Germany should pay massive reparations in order to win over the British public. Lloyd George was worried that after the war communism would be spread from Russia to Western Europe, he believed that the rise of communism would be a far greater threat to Europe than Germany would ever be and he felt that if Germany still had some standing in Europe they wouldn’t resort to communism(Unknown The Impact..). Lloyd George believed that Germany would be the only country strong enough in central Europe to halt the spread of communism. Lloyd George knew that admitting this to the people of Britain would be political suicide and he wanted to be re-elected so he kept these thoughts very quiet. Clemenceau wanted only one thing; for Germany to be completely destroyed so they would never be able to start a war again. Wilson created the League of Nations after World War I so that the countries could meet and discuss any issues they may have and not have to go to war to work things out. Germany was not permitted to join the League of Nations. Wilson wanted America to focus on itself and keep its involvement in Europe to a minimum. The Treaty of Versailles made everyone in the “Big Three” content. For Clemenceau it appeared that Germany had been destroyed. For Lloyd it seemed that