Were the Peace Treaties fair 1919-1923?
What were the motives and aims of the Big Three at Versailles? Why did the victors not get everything they wanted at Versailles? What was the impact of the Peace Treaty on Germany up to 1923? Could the treaties be justified at the time?
Background to Versailles
War was fought between two Alliance Groups:
a) Triple Alliance: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Bulgaria b) Triple Entente: Britain, France, Russia and USA.
The War generated massive bitterness and hatred on both sides. This bitterness was to carry over into the public expectations of what should happen at Versailles. There was massive economic and social damage done to France and Belgium in particular on the Western Front. On the Eastern Front, Russia suffered heavily at the hands of the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians. Many Germans were bitter that their Government decided to give in to the Allies. This confusion plays an important part in shaping German attitudes to the peace process. On the British side it was clear that Germany had started the war (Sarajevo incident creates the pre-conditions for war) when German troops invaded France through Belgium. The Germans on the other hand argued that they were encircled by France and Russia and that encirclement threatened German security. In 1917 Russia became communist under the Bolsheviks and their leader Lenin. They signed a peace with Germany to get out of the war. The Treaty of Brest Litvosk imposed on Russia was harsh. In 1917 the USA joined the war on the side of the allies having been reluctant to become involved. In 1917 Wilson outlined his 14 Points which were supposed to provide a basis for future international relations
Problems for the Winners
Germany had nearly defeated Britain, Russia and France single-handed. Communists had seized power in Russia. What about the communist threat?? Central and Eastern Europe...