TREATY OF VERAILLES
Mar 02, †Ј The Treaty of Versailles held Germany responsible for starting the war and imposed harsh penalties in terms of loss of territory, massive reparations payments and demilitarization. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was among the statesmen who gathered in France in June to sign the Treaty of Versailles, an agreement that did little to heal the wounds of World War I and set the stage for World War II.
However, its treatment of Germany laid the foundation for many of the problems that led to World War II. While Lloyd George publicly advocated strict sanctions against Germany, privately he felt that Germany should be left strong enough to stand as a wall against Communism, which many thought would spread like a flame across Europe after its success against the tsars in Russia.
However, suggesting any mercy for the Germans would have been politically suicidal. Clemenceau represented the French view that Germany should be so handcuffed that it could never instigate another war. The utter destruction of northeastern France was a testament to the cruelty of German warfare, and his belief was that Germany should never have the tools of war at its disposal again.
Wilson had been shocked at the outright savagery of the Great War, and while he wanted Germany to be punished, he also wanted ultimate European reconciliation.
As a result, the treaty limited Germany's army toand forbade tanks or an air force. Some of the territory that Germany lost took away vital natural resources for its economy. Most importantly, Germany was ultimately ordered to pay 6. The Germans had no part in the negotiations, but since their military was in a shambles, it had to sign.
What Did how to adjust underground sprinkler heads Treaty of Versailles Do? More From Reference. What Is Aristocracy? What Do Stars Symbolize?
May 31, †Ј Known as the Treaty of Versailles, it formally ended World War IЧand at the same time laid the foundation for the Second World War. Though it was preceded by a . Aug 04, †Ј The Treaty of Versailles brought an end to World War I, making peace between Germany and the Allies. However, its treatment of Germany laid the foundation for many of the problems that led to World War II. Germany - Germany - The Treaty of Versailles: In its final form, the Treaty of Versailles contained many provisions that the Germans had fully expected. That Alsace-Lorraine was to be handed back to France was no surprise; nor were the small territorial adjustments along the border with Belgium. The plebiscite allowing the Danish population of northern Schleswig to choose between joining.
European countries dealt a harsh punishment to Germany for its role in the First World WarЧa move that would soon come back to haunt the world. Though it was preceded by a peace conference that lasted over a year, the treaty was disliked by every nation that signed it. Over 65 million people had fought in World War I, and more than 8. The war decimated farmland, towns, and battlefields around Europe.
And according to many, Germany was to blame. Though contemporary historians are still split on who should be held responsible for World War I, the treaty blamed and punished Germany. Much of that idealistic plan was scuttled during negotiations when the other Allied nations shifted their priorities toward reparations.
The document stripped Germany of 13 percent of its territory and one tenth of its population. The Rhineland was occupied and demilitarized, and German colonies were taken over by the new League of Nations. The German army was diminished to , men and the country was forbidden to draft soldiers. Its weapons were largely confiscated, and its navy stripped of large vessels.
Germany was forced to put Wilhelm II, its emperor, on trial for war crimes. The United States did not ratify the treaty due to political division between Democrats and Republicans. Though there was a real desire for peace in the wake of the disastrous war, the treaty did not achieve its intended effects. In , ninety years after the Treaty of Versailles went into force, Germany finally paid off the last installment of its war debt. By then, another world war was behind it.
Today, the Treaty of Versailles lingers as a study in how, when it comes to war, unintended consequences can negate even the best intentions. All rights reserved. Culture Explainer. United States president Woodrow Wilson smiles as he leads the procession that followed the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Although Wilson personally negotiated the treaty, it was never ratified by Congress.
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