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The Treaty of Versailles
In 1914 a world war broke out. A war that would crush millions of lives, obliterate lifetimes of work and cause abhorrence that lasted for generations. On 1918, an armistice was signed. Although the peace agreement put an end to the actual fighting, it took six months of debate at the Paris Peace Conference to create a peace treaty. In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed and officially finished World War I between. The Peace Treaty of Versailles very penalizing against Germany and as an outcome opened the entry for a dictator and World War II.
The assignment of forming a peace agreement was now in the hands of the Allies. In December of 1918, the allies met in Versailles to begin on the peace agreement. Three countries out of the “big four” were greatly affected by the war causing them to have a vengeful intention whilst drawing up the treaty. The big four being the countries that drew up the treaty. The main countries and their individual representatives were: The Great Britain, David Lloyd George; France, George Clemenceau; United States, Woodrow Wilson. “In the beginning, it had seemed the mission of making peace would be trouble-free” (TARDIEU, 131). However, once the course started, the Allies found out that they had differing thoughts and motives surrounding the reparations and wording of the Treaty of Versailles. “It seemed the Allies had now set themselves up in another battle” (TARDIEU, 131).
Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924), was the twenty-eighth President of the United States (1913 –1921). As the battle continued, Wilson outlined his peace agenda, which was centered on fourteen major points. The fourteen points were straight and plain (Duffy, The fourteen points). The fourteen points gave inhabitants a hope of tranquility and lay the foundation for the armistice that Germany finally signed in November 1918. However, as the Allies began negotiations of the peace treaty, the European allies discarded Wilsons idealism and way of thinking. It soon became more and more obvious that the associates were seeking vengeance and Germany was destined to be crippled economically and socially by its enemies.
David Lloyd George (1863 – 1945), who was the Prime Minister of Great Britain (1916 – 1922), governed through the concluding part of the war and near the beginning post war years. Britain and Germany were, historically, constantly rivals. In terms of losses, Britain engaged thirty-six percent of the debt incurred by the allies and forty four percent of the wars total fatalities (Colin, 248). After the war, Britain faced rough economic problems. Britain had its pride and nationalism stripped. They were also were looking for annexation of German colonies in Africa. The Treaty of Versailles would provide an opening to seek revenge for their losses.
Georges Clemenceau (1841 – 1929) was the Premier of France through 1906-1909 and 1917-1920. As Britain, France also had an opposition with Germany but the Frenchs ill feelings were even more rigorous. Nationalism fashioned tensions between France and Germany. The French were impatient to seek revenge. During the war, Frances portion of the war balance amounted to twenty percent. Their loss, in conditions of war casualties, was seventy five percent (Colin, 248). Most of the battles were fought on French ground. This resulted in the devastation of much of Frances own terrain. After the war, France suffered dreadfully. Inflation and a deflated French Franc repulsed the French to take advantage of the treaty. Clemenceau also wanted an enormous amount of reimbursement, to take possession of the coal rich Sara Basin, the return of Alsace – Lorraine and a self-governing Rhineland for a buffer region between Germany and France.
All the leaders had different opinions and motives about the Treaty of Versailles. Coming to an agreement was difficult. The Treaty had to be revised several times before the absolute copy was signed on January 18, 1919. The Germans were unenthusiastic to agree to such tactless terms but had no choice. France and Britain were both impatient to have retribution on Germany but inconsiderately wanted each others benefits. They presented no proposals to lessen the number of German ships to be handed over, to return Germanys colonies, to restore the German Navy, and to remove the limits on Germanys overseas trade. The allies used Wilsons Fourteen Points program to encourage Germany to sign an armistice. However, once Germany complied, these points were disregarded. As a result, the European Allies received what they wanted.
There were many territorial changes to Germany after the war due to the treaty of Versailles. The Versailles treaty deprived Germany around 13.5% of its territory and all of its overseas assets (Duffy, “Primary Documents: Treaty of Versailles, 28 June 1919.”). There were other parts of the treaty that affected and disgraced Germany. The German militia was limited to a maximum of 100,000 men, and a ban was placed upon the use of intense artillery, gas, tanks and aircraft (Encyclopedia Britannica, Germany). The German navy was likewise restricted to shipping less than 10,000 tons, with a ban on submarines (Encyclopedia Britannica, Germany). This humiliated, damaged and enraged the Germans. Another term of the agreement was that Germany also had to reimburse ÐÐˆ6.6 Billion in reparation to the winning countries; this badly affected their