Why the Versailles Treaty failed to bring peace and stability On June 28th 1919, the “Big Three”, Georges Clemenceau, Woodrow Wilson, and David Lloyd George, on behalf of Great Britain, the United States, and France, had formulated a peace treaty called Versailles Treaty to end the four-year-long First Word War, establishing the famous “Versailles System”. The purpose of the system is to build a peaceful world dominated by the victor countries, such as Great Britain, the United States and France. Therefore, the treaty harshly punished the losing countries, like Germany, Austria, and Hungary, making them decline in power. Every country participated in the Paris Conference with its own goals, and all countries, especially the three biggest victor countries, want to maximize their own interest. In this case, conflict was inevitable. Unfortunately, the treaty failed to make a perfect negotiation to solve problems, such as the placements new borders between countries, the amount of reparations the losing powers had to pay, and therefore, the treaty finally could only build a kind of illusive peaceful system, which was instability, and directly led to the Second World War. Why the Versailles treaty failed to bring peace and stability after the First World War? It’s no denying a fact that only when the most of delegation countries feel satisfied about an international treaty, or there are some powerful dominant country both have the willing and ability to sustain the treaty, the treaty can really take effect in a long term. However, in my opinion, all countries involved in the system, included the losing powers, the colonial countries, and even the victor powers, felt disappointed about the Versailles Treaty more or less, and unfortunately, at that time, the world system was an unstable one. The leading countries neither had the willing to protect the system in long term, nor had the ability to maintain it. Consequently, the collapse of the Versailles System was only a matter of time. In other words, the unwise goals that set for the Paris Conference with the unrealistic item of the treaty, was too shortsighted to establish a lasting peaceful system. In the first place, the Versailles Treaty punished the losing powers harshly from all aspects, such as economy, territory and colony and throne, making those countries abominate this unfair system. In the peace settlement Germany was forced to accept sole responsibility for causing World War which was totally justifiable demand on the part of the victorious powers. Nevertheless, the basic reason for the outbreak of the First World War was the imbalance between economic power and political status of those old and new capitalistic countries. Hence, it was unjustified that the victorious powers insisted that Germany should accept total blame for the cause of war. The treaty imposed harsh penalties upon German and to make reparations, asking German to pay 226 billion Reichsmarks in gold (around £11.3 billion) to Allies. Although In 1921, it was reduced to 132 billion Reichsmarks (£4,990 million) , the German people finished the war in a state of near starvation for British blockade, let alone to pay for the pricey compensation to victor powers. Additionally, Germany lost its colonial empire and heavy restrictions were placed on their army, limiting the number of troops and equipment that could be present. German people felt extremely angry about the unfair treaty, and they want to make revenge. So once they got an opportunity, they immediately launched another world war. In the same way, other defeated countries that are ill-treated by the agreement, were all felt dissatisfied, and want to reverse the system. The serious conflict between the losing powers and victor powers was one of the main reasons contributed to the failure of Versailles Treaty. It was a rather ironic consequence. The purpose of Entente Powers was to eliminate the possibilities of the causing of war. However,...
References: 1. The Treaties of Peace 1919-1923. New York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1924.
2. World War I - Treaty of Versailles, January 24, 2008, http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/916.html
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4. Michael DiNatale: The Second World War: An Examination of Failed Peace, Aug 21, 2005, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7175/the_second_world_war_an_examination.html
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