Treaty of Versailles Essay During World War One, there was massive devastation done to the Allies and the Central Powers and will be remembered for many years to come. The peace treaty that ended the war was called the Treaty of Versailles and its consequences would have far reaching impact. The Great War was fought using trench warfare and a stalemate was created. On the Western front France was fighting Germany, there were many casualties, 15 million soldiers were seriously injured, 7 million were permanently disabled and 8 million were killed.
There was major destruction to land, property and empires were destroyed: The German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian. It was a total war; it took all resources from countries and caused food shortages. By the end of the war, famine had killed millions of people and diseases flourished in the wartime conditions. In 1917 the Americans came into the war and the Russians left. Finally the stalemate is broken and Germany made an extremely harsh treaty with Russia. The victorious countries were furious, they blamed Germany for starting the war and causing so much devastation to their countries.
They wanted Germany to pay, so the Allies created a treaty which held Germany responsible for WW1. The second cause of the Treaty was the Big Three setting the stage for the treaty with their aims and attitudes. Woodrow Wilson (President of the U. S) wanted to end war by making a fair peace. He wanted disarmament and a League of Nations set up, where countries could settle their problems without war. David Lloyd George (Prime Minister of Britain), wanted justice, not revenge. He said the treaty must not be harsh because that in return would just cause another war in a few years time.
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By far the harshest of all the Big Three was George Clemenceau the Prime Minister of France. Most of the war had been fought in France, so he wanted revenge and to punish the Germans for the massive destruction they had done to France. He also wanted Germany broken up (weakened), so that France couldn’t be invaded again. Basically Clemenceau’s aim was to completely shatter Germany. The terms of the treaty include - blame for the war (cause 231, war guilt), high reparations, army restrictions and loss of territory.
In addition to the huge loss Germany had already suffered, the worst of it all had to be the extreme amount of reparations. A figure was set in 1921 of ? 6,600. 000 million. Germany was seriously disadvantaged, because reparations economically crippled them. The first of the payments were made in 1922 (only just), and in 1923 Germany falls behind on payments. France gets angry and invades the Ruhr, in the Ruhr the German workers go on strike and to pay them the government prints more money, which creates hyperinflation. This meant it was cheaper to burn money than firewood.
The economy was hugely suffering and as a whole so the country. The Germans were angry for having to take blame for starting the war. Another consequence of the treaty was the League of Nations, which was apart of Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points. The league was very weak because the three big powers were not involved and they needed the big, powerful nations to strengthen the league. This was so they could have more authority, because hardly anybody listened to the League. It was pointless because there weren’t very strict penalties and if countries didn’t agree with the League they would just drop out.
However the League did have a few successes, such as when they freed 200,000 slaves in Africa and Burma after they attacked slave traders. The League also worked to prevent malaria and leprosy as well as taking home half a million World War One prisoners of war. In addition to those successes the league also set up camps and fed Turkish refugees and sent economic experts to help Austria and Hungary. Although the League was relatively weak, they had a number of successes, but even the successes didn’t seem to overcome the failures of the League.
Eventually when war broke out in 1939 the League closed down and ultimately failed to prevent war from happening. In conclusion World War One was the major cause of the Treaty of Versailles, along with the aims and attitudes of the Big Three, which caused an awfully harsh treaty to be created. This in turn economically crippled Germany, because of the huge reparations and also left the Germans feeling angry for having to take the blame for starting the war. The final consequence of the treaty mentioned in this essay was the formation of the League of Nations, which in time closed down because of more failure that success to prevent war.
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