From IBefore the Treaty of Versailles and the

From Conflict to Compromise and Back Again: World War I and the Treaty of Versailles.By: Kavin ShuklaWord Count: 2,499 wordsIntroductionIn the 20th century, a war erupted all over Europe, with so many casualties and debt, that it was called the “the Great War.”  After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a chain of events eventually started a conflict, World War I (Army War College). This war progressed for about four years, and finally ended with Germany and the Central Powers surrender (Army War College). After starting such a devastating war, a punishment for Germany and the Central Powers was inevitable. Therefore, the leaders of the Allied Nations met in Versailles, France to determine the conditions of surrender. After months of compromise and discussion, the Treaty of Versailles was constructed and the League of Nations was created to ensure that such an international and destructive war would never happens again. These terms stemmed all the way back to the Franco Prussian war. Though one of the goals of the Treaty of Versailles was to prevent another “Great War” from happening, the treaty failed to maintain peace and World War II resulted 20 years later. Start of World War IBefore the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations were created, a tragic and devastating war took place around the world, in Europe. One of the bloodiest wars in history, the war was called World War I. A number of alliances involving European powers, the Ottoman Empire, Russia and other parties had existed for years, but political instability in the Balkans (particularly Bosnia, Serbia and, Herzegovina) threatened to destroy these agreements (Walesonline.co.uk). The finger that actually pulled the trigger in World War I was when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated, along with his wife by a journalist, Gavrilo Princip and other nationalists who wanted Austro-Hungary to end its rule over Bosnia and Herzegovina (“Assassination of Archduke”). Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian Government for the assassination, giving them the opportunity to question Serbian Nationalism (History.com). Russia said that they were on Serbia’s side on this. The government of Austria-Hungary waited to declare war until they were assured of Germany alliance (History.com). Austria-Hungary feared that since Russia was on Serbia’s side, France and Great Britain would rush to aid them too. Germany’s leader Kaiser Wilhelm, secretly pledged his support on July 5th (Britannica.com). The Austria-Hungary monarch, Franz Joseph sent an ultimatum to Serbia, with terms that were so harsh, that it was impossible to accept (wwi.lib.byu.edu). Serbia was readying for war, and on July 28, Austria-Hungary and Germany declared war on Serbia and Russia(iwm.org.uk). Within a week, Serbia, Russia, Belgium, France, and Great Britain had lined up for war against Germany and Austro Hungary. The End of World War IWorld War I was the biggest, and the most destructive war during its time in the 20th century (Time.com). The two sides, the Central Powers, and the Allies fought against each other. The Allies included Britain, France, Russia, Italy and the United States (iwm.org.uk). The Central Powers included Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria (iwm.org.uk). Russia left the war in 1917 when they elected a new president. New technologies, like the machine guns and tanks, caused more damage for previous wars (historyonthenet.com). Making these weapons, the Allies had an advantage throughout the beginning of the war. There were about 37 million casualties in the duration of the entire war, which was about 3% of the entire population of the world. The war lasted about four years, from 1914-1918 (History in Dispute). This conflict was very big, and it concerned many countries that were fighting. At first, the United States did not seek to fight in such a great war. They wanted to stay neutral knowing that the war was going to be devastating (Britannica.com). Even though they weren’t a part of the war, they gave supplies, such as food and weapons to the Allies throughout the war. Woodrow Wilson, the Commander in Chief and the president of the United States at the time of the war, attempted to convince both, the Central Powers and the Allies, to peacefully end the war and compromise (World War 1). Woodrow Wilson failed to convince the sides, and when Germany started an “unrestricted submarine warfare campaign” that sunk all the ships that were coming to Britain, including ones that had supplies, food, and weapons, the United States declared war on the Central Powers to maintain peace in Europe (World War 1). The United States not only came with fresh soldiers that were ready to fight, but also, they brought new technologies such as tanks and machine guns. Soon, the United States joined the war in April of 1917, which finally ended the war and destroyed the Central Powers. Finally on November 11, 1918, 11:00 AM, Germany and the Central Powers surrendered the war by signing the Armistice of Compiègne. A punishment was inevitable for the Central Powers, and both sides knew that it was not easy to compromise the outcome of this damaging war. Fourteen PointsBetween January and June of 1919, the Central Powers and the Allies met in Versailles, France to compromise and negotiate the end of the war (Britannica.com). France, United States, Britain and Italy discussed how to punish the Central Powers and how to prevent this war from happening again (Figure 2). Russia was not invited since it withdrew from the war. The world called the leaders of these four countries the “Big Four” because they were very important not only in the war, but also in the negotiation. Woodrow Wilson, the president of the United States, wrote a very important document called “Fourteen Points” which talked about 14 rules that not only Germany, but also the rest of the world should follow (Britannica.com). On January 8, 1918, Woodrow Wilson argued (Link et al. 536) in his Fourteen Points that:Countries should not be having secret treaties.Countries must seek to reduce their weapons and their armed forces.National self-determination should allow people of the same nationality to govern themselves.One nationality should not have the power to govern another.All countries should belong to the League of Nations.Countries should not be worried that their ships are going to be attacked. Nothing written in the Fourteen Points was a punishment for Central Powers. However, the Treaty of Versailles had many more harsh terms (“Wilson’s Fourteen Points”). The Treaty of VersaillesAs the Treaty of Versailles was being created, many arguments erupted between the Big Four (Figure 1). Compromise wasn’t very easy when making this treaty. The treaty mainly focused on Germany because Germany had been the main opponent of the allies (history.com). France had already fought a war against Germany in 1870. Britain had lost a lot of commerce and weaponry because of Germany’s submarine warfare campaign (Atkinson). The United States brought many weapons, men and supplies to the war, doing a lot of damage to the war. For there reasons, Britain, France, and The United States had the most say on what the treaty said (“Treaty of Versailles”). These terms were also fought for during the signing. The terms of the war erupted great arguments between the countries. David Lloyd George, the prime minister of Britain, did not want to destroy Germany with the treaty; instead he wanted to make it unified and wanted it to be part of the reconstruction of Europe (Britannica.com). The prime minister of Britain not only had been a soldier in the army, but also was a war minister, and he had faced countries that had been destroyed because of harsh treaties (Kaiser, “Treaty of Versailles”). Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States, gained a lot of power during the war. The European countries owed the United States more than seven billion dollars. Wilson wanted democracy in Germany and so he drafted the Fourteen Points, and eventually Germany accepted it (“TREATY OF VERSAILLES, 1919.” ). “France had suffered more than any other country during the war: one quarter of Frenchmen between 18 and 30 died; coal mines and factories were destroyed; 20% of crops, 90% of iron ore and 65% of steel were ruined (Treaty of Versailles).” France wanted to punish Germany in the worst way so that they could get revenge for the war and their losses (Encyclopedia.com). They convinced the leaders to add that Germany must pay all the damages due to the war. This term was argued for months, until finally the leaders gave in to France (“Breaking the Versailles Treaty – 1934-1937”). In total, Germany would have to pay 33 billion dollars, money that they did not have after the war. Why was France so harsh to the Germans?A History of French Hostility About 40 years before World War I began, a war broke out between Prussia and France. Prussia was an individual country back then, but the chancellor of it, Otto von Bismarck, wanted to make a more stable and a unified Germany. This threatened France’s dominant power in Europe(Steefel 73). France declared war on Prussia when it wanted the throne in Spain. In just one year of fighting, France surrendered, and the Treaty of Frankfurt am Main ended the war and it gave Prussia the power of all the small countries in Europe. This humiliating defeat lasted and thus France was very harsh on Germany for revenge.Treaty of Versailles Signed The Treaty of Versailles had many terms that may have been harsh or even not cruel at all. In all, the Treaty had fifteen parts and 440 articles. Many of these terms were (“TREATY OF PEACE WITH GERMANY.”): Terms of the TreatyLeague of Nations was created so problems around the world would be discussed and negotiated. Germany wasn’t allowed to join the League of Nations until 1926 (Section 1). Germany had to give back a lot of land to France. These included giving Eupen-Malmedy back to Belgium, and giving Alsace-Lorraine back to France (Section 2). Saarland, a big part of Germany, was put up for supervision by the League of Nations for about fifteen years, until 1935 (Section 3). This took away all of the colonies of Germany. Germany protested against this, but they had no decision in the writing in the treaty(Section 4). Germany’s army was reduced, so that they wouldn’t have enough men to fight a massive war. The Allies took away many weapons, 100,000 men, and many training places (Section 5). Many high levels of military weapons such as tanks, and machine guns, were taken away (Section 6). Germany is forced to give up Austria. Germany had won a war against them, and took over their land (Section 7). The Czechoslovak territory is to be given back, and all rights of being an independent nation is restored. Also this section talked about how Germany will receive all blame for the war. (Section 8). Section Nine started the guilt clause in which germany took responsibility for the war. They had to pay in full for all the reparations to the Allied Nations. They had to pay an immediate sum of five billion dollars in cash. The allies had all control over Germany’s ariel space (Section 11). “Voluntary Default” was a section filled with clauses that gave the Allies the permission to take measures on Germany and take private property. This was the summary of the Treaty of Versailles.When Germany saw this Treaty, it was surprised at the cruelty of the terms. It did not agree to many of them, but then Germany saw were reminded that they had no choice in the severity of the terms. On June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles, ending the World War I.United States’ Rejection When the Treaty of Versailles reached the United States, it was rejected by the US Senate. The United States did not join the League of Nations, even though it was Woodrow Wilson’s idea. The Senate thought that by signing the treaty, the United States would be giving away so much power, that they it gained in the last 150 years. Senate leader, Henry Cabot Lodge, created the 14 reservation similar to Wilson’s fourteen points, but the Senate did not approve them. The Fourteen Points was not approved either. After considering the Treaty of Versailles, the final vote came out to be seven points shy of the signing. Instead, the United States signed another treaty in Berlin on July 2, 1921. This disapproval of the treaty made them look unreliable to other countries.The Start of Another War World War I was a war that was called “The War To End All Wars” however it was unsuccessful. The goal of the Treaty of Versailles was to prevent war from happening again in the world. However, only 25 years after World War I, World War II erupted again. Many historians and scholars have argued about the causes of World War II. However, it has been believed that the rise of Adolf Hitler, a man who was responsible for much of World War II. Hitler is now considered the one of the most powerful person that ever lived. After imposing so many punishment, and restriction, Germany was getting poor from economical issues. When Adolf Hitler became chancellor; he blamed Jewish people for the loss of World War I, and imprisoned them. Then, he declared war on the rest of the world. World War II was the bloodiest and the most devastating war in the world. With more than 30 countries that fought, there were more than 80 million deaths. Why did World War II start? After having economical and political instability in Germany for 25 years, Adolf Hitler rose to power, representing the Nazis. He wanted to take revenge on the Allies, and thus he planned to take over the world (History.com). The Treaty of Versailles was too harsh and should have been much more gentle. Taking away military and money from Germany, created unbalance and instability. Conclusion Though the Treaty of Versailles was a document that ensured that this level of war would never happen again, another World War erupted twenty five years later. World War I was called “The War To End All Wars” Not only did many people die, but also newer technologies caused a lot of destruction in the world. The Treaty of Versailles was a treaty that may have destroyed Germany, not only economically, but also physically and politically. Germany would have to pay 33 billion dollars, money that it didn’t have especially after the war. Would the Treaty of Versailles not have been so harsh if the Franco-Prussian war didn’t take place? Would World War II not have resulted if the Treaty of Versailles was not so harsh? 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