The Pros And Cons Of The Treaty Of Versailles

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World War I was one of the bloodiest wars in the modern age, with millions of dead soldiers and civilians and enormous losses on all sides (Chapman). After the war, the Allied nations looked for vengeance from the Central Powers and imposed a series of harsh treaties upon them, stripped them of substantial amounts of land and requiring significant repatriation payments (Mendum). The many of the Allied nations saw Germany as the chief instigator of the war and wanted to protect Europe from another war with Germany by crushing the country with retribution payments and severe obligations (Baker). Their solution was the Treaty of Versailles, negotiated at the Palace of Versailles during the Paris Peace Conference and included 440 clauses that hoped …show more content…
In the United States, many people felt that the treaty was too harsh on Germany and many people thought that France and Germany were making themselves rich at Germany’s expense and that the US was helping them (McConnell). In addition to the public anger, Congress, primarily Republican, used the treaty to criticize President Wilson, who was a Democrat (McConnell). The longstanding American tradition of isolationism made Americans weary of the League of Nations and Congress ended up rejecting the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations along with it (McConnell). The French thought that it was too lenient on Germany (Baker). Georges Clemenceau worried that the Germans would be resentful and invade France once again (Baker). In Great Britain, there were mixed reactions, but the general opinion was that the terms of the treaty were fair, but could have been more severe (Lentin). Many countries that had fought in the war believed that they would have a serious voice in the peace discussions and they didn’t understand they weren’t considered powerful enough to be included in discussions (Baker). One prominent example of this was the Arab representative, Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashimi, who, along with his father, lead the Arab Revolt and assisted the decline of the Ottoman Empire (Baker). Faisal believed that the Western leaders would agree to an independent Arab emirate (Baker). However, …show more content…
The League of Nations, which was supposed to ensure that future wars would be avoided, was a failure, mostly because the US was unable to join (Mendum). As with the League of Nations, many of the terms in the treaty were not enforced, with the three leading powers of the US, Britain, and France unwilling to take the necessary actions to impose these terms through the 1920s and 1930s (Chapman). As a result of conflicting views on the treatment of Germany, the treaty ended up being harsh enough to the Germans that they resented it, but not harsh enough that the Germans were still strong enough to seek revenge (Baker). Because of the continuation of the Allied blockade of Germany even after the armistice, hundreds of thousands of Germans died of malnutrition, augmenting German anger towards the Allied powers (Baker). Many Germans hated the new democratic government and the German Nationalists, or the Nazis as more commonly known, gathered support from the Germans and found a leader in Adolf Hitler (Baker). The Treaty of Versailles, which was supposed to enact lasting peace, ended up being considered the “eye of the storm” among historians, ensuring the chaos that took place in World War II

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