Germany disliked the "Treaty of Versailles" only because of the following reasons: a) Loss of land b) Cuts in their armed forces c) Reparations Do you agree with this statement?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 132
  • Published: April 3, 2004
Read full document
Text Preview
By 1918 Germany was being defeated on most fronts and the Russians had negotiated a peace. The German people were hungry, war weary and demanded peace. The German government eventually asked for an armistice, and at the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, a cease-fire began. But still the problem of peace remained. Many people hoped that a peace settlement would prevent war from happening again; President Woodrow Wilson thought that he had the answer to all Europe's problems. He stated his views in "Fourteen Points". In answer to this a conference was held in a Parisian suburb, called Versailles, to discuss the peace. This was the Paris Peace Conference.

The conference was attended by thirty-two states, but four major powers dominated the conference, France represented by Georges "The Tiger" Clemenceau-the French Première, Britain represented by David Lloyd George-the British Prime minister, America represented by Woodrow Wilson-the American President and Italy represented by Vittorio Emmanuel Orlando-the Italian Prime minister. The above Leaders were considered to be the major powers. This group, 'The Big Four', made major the decisions at the conference and in the drawing up of the treaty.

At the Conference many political conflicts started for example Italy had entered into this war on the side of the allies to gain territory along the Adriatic coast, which was decided upon in a secret treaty with Britain and France, behind Wilson's back. This did not happen at Versailles, as it didn't agree with Wilson's point on national self-determination, as many Croatians, Bosnians and Yugoslavians would be under Italian rule. The area of land Italy was given they believed was pathetically small. This was also the case for Japan, who although not one of the "Big Four" were a strong member of the alliance, came into the war in the hope of gaining territory in the Pacific. They too gained very little as they were only given a few islands. Also Clemenceau who wanted a very harsh treaty felt that Germany should have lost the Rhineland altogether and that the Saar district should be given to France permanently. He also felt that when the reparation payment amount was settled that it was too low and that Germany should pay more. This angered the French people and within months Clemenceau's government had been overthrown and replaced by that of the left wing politician Aristade Briand. He had been prime minister twice before for short periods of time and was Clemenceau's long-time rival.

Germany and the defeated states were not invited to attend the conference. This made Germany angry, as they had no say in the future of their country. They felt that this was an enforced peace or diktat. This made Germany bitter towards the allies, especially France, who were in to punish the Germans severely but the Germans were more trusting towards America, whom they felt would make this a fair treaty and let the defeated nations have their say. They agreed with Wilson's points and saw him as a "wise man from the west."

Peace was difficult to make because of the wide scale disruption to Europe during the war and the general unrest that existed while the peace conference sat. When the Versailles Treaty was signed, few of Wilson's fourteen points were adhered to, though a 'League of Nations' was set up. The League of Nations was set up as a peacekeeping force to prevent future war. But when Wilson put to the senate to join they refused. The election of 1918 had shifted the balance in Congress to the Republicans. Wilson had noticed this being away in Paris. By seven votes the Versailles Treaty failed in the Senate. The President, against the warnings of his doctors, made a national tour to mobilize public sentiment for the treaty and the League. On 25th September 1919 exhausted after two months of touring, he suffered a stroke and nearly died. He died in 1924 many say from a broken heart from his people refusing to join the League....
tracking img