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The Result of the Treaty of Versailles

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The Result of the Treaty of Versailles
The Result of the Treaty of Versailles
I.
With the end of World War I, the old international system was torn down, Europe was reorganized, and a new world was born. The European nations that had fought in the Great War emerged economically and socially crippled. Economic depression prevailed in Europe for much of the inter-war period, and debtor nations found it impossible to pay their debts without borrowing even more money, at higher rates, thus worsening the economy to an even greater degree. Germany especially was destroyed economically by World War I and its aftermath: the compensations that Britain and France had forced on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles were impossibly high. This is what the book; The Economic Consequences of the Peace is about. In this book, John Maynard Keynes has proposed his point of view to several occurrences that had taken place against Germany mainly after the war, which were caused because of The Treaty of Versailles. Before the Treaty was set, there was a conference in which the terms were being discussed and Keynes played as an advisor to the British Government. In preparation for the conference, he argued that there should be no reparations or that, at worst, German reparations should be limited to £2,000 million. He considered that there should be a general forgiveness of war debts which he considered would benefit Britain. Lastly, Keynes wanted the US Government to start a vast credit program to restore Europe to prosperity as soon as possible. Keynes general concern was that the Versailles conference should set the conditions for an overall European economic recovery. However, the conference focused on borders and national security. Reparations were set at a level that Keynes perceived would ruin Europe, Woodrow Wilson, the president of the United States at the time, refused to tolerate forgiveness of war debts and Wilson would not even let the US Treasury officials discuss the credit program. And voila, the terms were set leaving Germany with no choice but to agree to them. The main terms that were listed for Germany in the reading were some of these:
1. They surrender all of the German colonies as League of Nations mandates.
2. The return of Alsace-Lorraine in France.
3. A ban on the union of Germany and Austria.
4. An acceptance of Germany's guilt in causing the war.
5. Provision for the trial of the former Kaiser and other world leaders.
6. Limitation of Germany's army to 100,000 men with no conscription, no tanks, no heavy artillery, no poison gas supplies, no air crafts as well as no airships.
7. The limitation of the Germany navy to vessels under 100,000 tons, with no submarines.

II. The primary purpose of a peace treaty is to cease hostilities between nations. I believe the contents of The Treaty of Versailles were harsh and solely designed to disable the nation of Germany. The Treaty of Versailles was the only real option given to Germany after they surrendered steps away from Paris on November 11th, 1918. The defeated nations of World War I should have been given a chance to re-establish themselves socially, politically, and economically before handing over their money and natural resources. If a proper and rational offer of peace had been presented to Germany, it may have changed the course of world history. The Peace Treaty of Versailles created by the Allies signified the results of hostility and revenge. The Treaty of Versailles would give the Allies the chance at revenge that they were looking for, leaving Germany as a small, secluded nation. The treaty went on to forbid the German's from defending themselves by stripping away their right to an army. Along with the right to maintain an air force, Germany was also forbidden to ever own submarines, tanks, boarder guns, heavy fortifications, and heavy artillery. All of the precautions taken were to ensure the defeat of the German military and to prevent Germany from ever challenging the Allies again. The treaty also covered the subject of reparations. By signing the treaty, Germany took full responsibility for World War I, leaving them accountable for all damages. This would hold back the economy of Germany for years to come, leaving their country broken and shattered in a cloud of uncertainty. The German position in June, 1919 was indefensible and vulnerable as the country's representatives were forced to bitterly sign the hated document of The Treaty of Versailles. Germany had come to Versailles with the expectations of receiving an offer of peace, a document to end the inhumane and vicious attacks that had encompassed the world since the beginning of the war in 1914. Instead, Germany was offered a document that demanded territory, weapons and military, and reparations that filled Germany with anger and questions and a break down of nationalism throughout the country. This was an invitation to the open door for a dictator, who could answer these questions and lead Germany to success again, which in turn would lead to World War II. And that was exactly what had happened. Hitler had mastered demagoguery, practicing his oratorical skills in front of the mirror for hours at a time. A skilled manipulator, he played the masses, the government, and the media perfectly, creating a party that reached into every aspect of German life. Germans were deeply ashamed of their loss in World War One, and the German state was devastated by the war and the Treaty of Versailles, which mandated vast reparations payments. Soldiers returned from the war to out of controlled unemployment and general misery. Because of these factors, the Germans were easily deceived by Hitler's words and they believed that the only way that Germany will ever be back on her feet again will be because of Hitler. Hitler offered not freedom, but rather security. He promised to take action to improve the economy, and return German national pride, and the masses, in most cases, were happy to grant him the ultimate power he needed to do so. Ultimately one wrong had caused and ultimate amount of wrongs in reaction, and for all this there are multiple countries to blame, but the ending result which had caused World War II should have been considered while the conference in Paris was taking place.

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