Were the Peace Treaties Justified at the Time?
On August 4th 1914 one of the most hideous events in history started – the first world war. The war was caused by many things that caused tensions between the two opposing groups within Europe (the allies and the central powers) to become strained but the assassination of the archduke of Austria (Franz Ferdinand) was what caused the fighting to start. This event took place on the 28th of June 1914 and the war began of the 4th of August that same year. It started between Austria and Serbia but it escalated until the majority of Europe (and some countries from Asia and North America) are involved. This resulted in the deaths of 20 million soldiers and the total destruction of millions of lives around the world. The Allies (Britain, France and the USA) and the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey) expected the war to be over within a few months but instead it dragged on for over 4 years until it ended at 11.am on the 11th of November 1918 when the Armistice was signed marking the end of the war. The next year was spent creating the peace treaties that would prevent a war like it ever happening again but obviously we know that they failed as WWII started only 10 years later. The main treaty was the treaty of Versailles which dealt with Germany, who were blamed for the war, but four other treaties were created which dealt with Germany’s allies . These were: the treaty of St Germain which dealt with Austria, the treaty of Neuilly which dealt with Bulgaria, the treaty of Trianon which dealt with Hungary and the treaty of Servres which dealt with Turkey. They all had very similar aspects- they all included the loss of territory, the loss of arms and lots of reparations to pay and obviously no one liked the terms of the treaties as they believed they were far too harsh however Turkey was the only country to refuse to sign their treaty. They were the only member of the central powers who had enough power left to fight back and they demonstrated their displeasure at being forced to sign a treaty they didn't agree with by driving the allied forces out of turkey. The big 3 responded by creating a whole new treaty -the treaty of Lausanne- which the Turks accepted and signed in 1923.
“The allied government affirm, and Germany accepts, the responsibility of Germany, and her allies, for causing all of the loss and damage which the allied governments and their people have been subjected to as a result of the war.” The treaty of Versailles, Article 231
The treaty of Versailles was probably the harshest treaty created by the big three (Georges Clemenceau - the prime minister of France, David Lloyd George - the prime minister of Britain and Woodrow Wilson – the president of the USA) and, in my opinion, it was defiantly the most unfair. Germany was crushed after the war – it had spent so much money funding its troops and had lost a large chunck of it's enconomy afterwards due to the treaty. They were expected to pay £6.6 billion in reparations and they couldn't afford it. They managed to pay one installation before they couldn't afford to pay any more. Many of the people who helped make the treaty how ridiculous this idea was – Sir Philip Gibbs (a British journalist) expressed his disbelief at how much they were expected to pay by saying “The absurdity, the wild impossibility, of extracting that vast tribute from the defeated enemy ought to have been obvious to even the most ignorant schoolboy”. Germany also lost all of their overseas empire, a large chunk of their armed forces – were only allowed to have 10000 men, 6 battleships and were not allowed any armoured planes of vehicles – and they were forbade from joining with their former ally – Austria. Also a large section of their home land was taken and turned into new countries or given to members of the allied forces. This had a huge effect on Germany economy as the land that they lost contained an immense...
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