THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES AND WORLD WAR II

THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES AND WORLD WAR II

After the First World War everyone wanted peace, even Germany. The Germans had no reason to fight; they had admitted defeat and began to rebuild their society. But the Treaty of Versailles changed all that. It had diminished Germany’s land, economy, military, and most importantly, honour. The (arguably) unjustified accusations of the League of Nations were enough to revive the anger of the German people, which eventually gave rise to World War 2. Signed on the 28th of June 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was designed after the First World War, when the atrocious experience was still fresh in everyone’s minds. The diplomats that participated in the event declared that its purpose was to prevent such a battle from ever occurring again. However, some of the dominating powers had hidden agendas. In their “discussions”, Britain, France and (to a lesser extent) America had decided to place all of the blame of WW1 on Germany. While Britain simply wanted to punish Germany, France wanted to destroy her economy and incapacitate her military forces. The German people felt betrayed from the very beginning. They had accepted the Treaty of Versailles because they were led to believe that it would entail Wilson’s 14 points, which Germany agreed with. However, once Germany was signed up these points were, for the most part, ignored by the Allies. She had no choice or say in the matter; if she had not surrendered, the Allies would attack. The objection of the German public can be seen in their quick change of attitude, at first they even refused to sign. They were being unfairly accused of carrying out such a dishonourable act. The Weimar Republic was quickly held responsible for disgracing Germany, and this created the proper environment for groups like the Nazis to take over. Disarmament was also a huge issue. The Rhineland was declared a demilitarised zone and allied troops were sent in to occupy it for 15 years. Also, massive …


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