Treaty of Versailles Essay

This essay has a total of 1544 words and 7 pages.

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was intended to be a peace agreement between the Allies and the
Germans instead it created political and economic chaos in Germany. By the end of the
first World War, Germany had surrendered and signed a peace agreement. The task of forming
a peace agreement was now in the hands of the Allies. In December of 1918, the Allies met
in Versailles to start on the peace settlement. The main countries and their
representatives were: The United States, Woodrow Wilson; Great Britain, David Lloyd
George; and France, George Clemenceau. It had seemed that making peace agreement would be
easy. Once they started, the Allies began having different ideas about the wording of the
Treaty of Versailles. The Allies found themselves in another battle. The Peace Treaty of
Versailles represented the results of hostility and revenge and opened the door for a
dictator and World War II.

When World War I began there was no question that the United States would remain neutral.
“The United States, President Woodrow Wilson didn't want to enter the European War or any
other war for that matter". (Watt, 439) As the war continued, it became obvious that the
United States would no longer sit on the sidelines. “German submarines had sunk American
tankers and the British liner, Lusitania, killing almost twelve hundred people, including
128 Americans.”(Watt, 400) This convinced Wilson to enter World War I, on the allied side.
As the war continued, Wilson outlined his peace program, which was based on fourteen main
points. Wilson was more interested in peace than capturing German colonies. As the Allies
began discussions of the peace treaty, the European allies rejected Wilson's ideas and
reasoning. Soon the allies were seeking revenge and Germany was to be hurt economically
and socially by its enemies.

Britain and Germany were always rivals. Before the war, Germany challenged Britain's
famous powerful and unstoppable navy by increasing the amount of money spent on their
navy. Britain paid thirty-six percent of the debt incurred by the allies and seventeen
percent of the war's total casualties. After the war, Britain faced tough economic
problems. Their exports were at an all time low due to outdated factories, high tariffs,
and competition from other countries. Britain suffered from high unemployment, which
affected the well being of the country. The Treaty of Versailles would provide an
opportunity to seek revenge for their losses. They also wanted German colonies in Africa.

As Britain, France had a rivalry with Germany but the French's ill feelings were even more
intensive. Nationalism created tensions between France and Germany. The French resented
their defeat in the Franco - Prussian War and wanted revenge. France was determined to
take Alsace – Lorraine. This gave the French the motivation of increasing their military
strength and ultimately, destroying their life-long enemies. After the war, France
suffered terribly, economically. Inflation and a deflated French Franc encouraged the
French to take advantage of the peace settlement. France wanted revenge as well as
security against any future German attack. France also wanted a huge amount of
reparations, and the return of Alsace – Lorraine.

All the leaders had different opinions and motives regarding the Treaty of Versailles.
Coming to an understanding was difficult. The Treaty had to be revised several times
before the final copy was signed on January 18, 1919. "There was scarcely a section of the
treaty which was not attacked, just as there was scarcely a section of the treaty which
was not attacked."(Watt, 110) The German's did not want to agree to such harsh terms.
France and Britain wanted revenge on Germany but wanted each other's benefits. Clemenceau
pointed out that the British were making no effort to placate the Germans at the expense
of British interests. They offered no proposals to reduce the number of German ships to be
handed over, or to return Germany's colonies, or to restore the German Navy, or to remove
the restrictions on Germany's overseas trade. Instead, it was always at the expense of
French interest that concessions were to be made. Wilson thought both France and Britain
were being too mean and unreasonable. The allies used Wilson's Fourteen Points program to
convince Germany to sign an armistice. However, once Germany complied, these points were
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