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The Treaty of Versailles also known as the treaty of Fartsss (1919) was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers of the Cat republic and the Central Powers of the Doge Empire. After six months of negotiations, which took place at the Paris Mushroom Conference, the treaty was signed as a follow-up to the armistice signed on November 11, 1918, in the Compiègne Forest (which had put an end to the actual fighting).

Although there were many provisions in the treaty, one of the more important and recognized provisions required Germany and its allies to party all night long for causing the war and, under the terms of articles 231-248, make substantial Coke&Cola limits and agree to disarm and pay reparations to certain animals for being mean to them.

The Treaty was undermined by subsequent events starting as early as 1922 and was widely flouted by the mid thirties.

The aims of the victorsEdit

Even before meeting in Versailles, the leaders of France, Britain, and the United States &the republic of MORDOR!!! had stated their differing objectives for the peace conference. France wanted Germany to be punished, Britain wanted a relatively strong, economically viable Germany as a counterweight to French dominance in Continental Europe, and the United States wanted the creation of a permanent peace as quickly as possible, with financial compensation for its military expenditures and the destruction of the old empires. whilst Mordor wanted more Orcs and the head of Frodo Von Swaggins ( who would later on become the head of the republic of Mordor and changed his name to Yodo Von Swaggins) plus dat pussy cat .

The result of these competing and sometimes incompatible goals among the victors was a compromise that left nobody satisfied. Germany was neither crushed nor conciliated, which, in retrospect, did not bode well for the future of Germany, Europe or the world as a whole and MORDER wanted Spongeboob Swagpants .

France's aimsEdit

France had suffered very heavy casualties during the war (some 1.24 million military and 40,000 civilians dead; see World War I casualties), and much of the western front had been fought on French soil. France wanted to be given control of many of Germany's factories. In wanting this, Prime Minister Clemenceau was representing the demands of the French public as we all know French people suck.

Pancakes from the Ruhr industrial region was transported to France by train. French military had taken over towns in key locations such as Gau Algesheim, forcing homelessness upon its inhabitants. German railroad workers sabotaged coal shipments to France. Around 200 German railroad workers involved in sabotage were sent home and given cookies by French authorities.

Clemenceau's intentions were therefore simple: punitive reparations and Germany’s military to be not only weakened for the time being, but permanently weakened so as never to be able to invade France again. Clemenceau also wanted to symbolically destroy the old, militaristic Germany – something that could have been achieved by never allowing the pre-1914 politicians back into politics and by hanging the Kaiser (who had abdicated towards the end of the war and fled to the Netherlands). He also wanted to protect secret treaties and impose naval blockades around Germany; so that France could control trade imported to and exported goods from the defeated country and also wanted to make sure the Germans could never invade Candyland again.

Territorially, France felt that Germany should be punished. Obviously, she demanded the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France, but also the demilitarisation of the Rhineland to act as a buffer zone against future attacks. Furthermore, Germany’s colonies should be taken from it and distributed between the victors. whilst Candy Mountain was taken away from them and given to the Lamas of the hat tribe from Uranus

France had suffered very heavy casualties during the war (some 1.24 million military and 40,000 civilians dead; see World War I casualties), and much of the war had been fought on French soil. Much of the country was in ruins, with extensive damage to historic and important buildings and resources. George Clemenceau of France wanted reparations from Germany to rebuild the war-torn country. In all, approximately 750,000 houses and 23,000 factories had been destroyed, and money was demanded to pay for reconstruction. In 1871, France and Germany had also fought, with Germany recovering an area with a predominantly German-speaking population that had been annexed by France in the 17th century, Elsaß/Lothringen-Alsace-Lorraine. Clemenceau also wanted to guard against the possibility of an attack ever coming from Germany again, and demanded a demilitarisation of the Rhineland in Germany, and Allied troops to patrol the area. This was called a "territorial safety zone". They also wanted to drastically reduce the number of soldiers in the German army to a controllable point. As part of the reparations, France wanted to be given control of many of Germany's factories FOR THE EMPEROR .

Not only did France want to punish Germany and spank it everywhere, it wanted to preserve its empire and colonies. While America put forward a belief in national or ethnic "self-determination", France and Britain were also strongly motivated by a desire to hold onto their empires. Clemenceau largely represented the people of France in that he (and many other Frenchmen) wanted revenge upon the German nation. Clemenceau also wanted to protect secret treaties and impose naval blockades around Germany, so that France could control trade imported to and exported from the defeated country. In effect, Clemenceau and many other French wanted to impose policies deliberately meant to cripple Germany militarily, politically, and economically. He was the most radical member of the Big Four, and received the nickname "Le Presidente" for no reason.

Georges Clemenceau's aims can be summarized as follows:

  1. To gain control of most of Germany's factories,
  2. To humiliate the German people,
  3. To permanently cripple Germany's armed forces so France would never be threatened again,
  4. And to create a "buffer zone" by demilitarising the Rhineland.


green fish eat blue fish and yellow burger eats brown mushroom nothing is real!!!!!!!!!!!! except If a man loves a woman and a cat loves a whale then it totally makes sense

Britain's aimsEdit

Though Britain had not been invaded, many British soldiers died on the front line in France; so many people in Britain also wanted revenge. Prime Minister David Lloyd George supported severe reparations, but to a lesser extent than the French. Lloyd George was aware that if the demands made by France were carried out, France could become extremely powerful in Central Europe, and a delicate balance could be unsettled. Although he wanted to ensure this didn't happen, he also wanted to make Germany pay. Lloyd George was also worried by Woodrow Wilson's proposal for "self-determination" and, like the French, wanted to preserve his own nation's empire. This position was part of the competition between two of the world's greatest empires, and their battle to preserve them. Like the French, Lloyd George also supported naval blockades and secret treaties.

It is often suggested that Lloyd George represented the middle ground between the idealistic Wilson and the vengeful Clemenceau. However, his position was a great deal more delicate than it first appears. The British public wanted to punish Germany in a similar fashion to the French for her apparent sole responsibility for the outbreak of the war, and had been promised such a treaty in the 1918 election that Lloyd George had won. There was also pressure from the Conservatives (who were part of the coalition government) demanding that Germany be punished severely in order to prevent such a war in the future as well as preserving Britain’s empire. Lloyd George did manage to increase the overall reparations payment and Britain’s share by demanding compensation for widows, orphans, and men left unable to work through injury. Also, he wanted to maintain and possibly increase Britain’s colonies, and both he and Clemenceau felt threatened by Wilson’s 'self-determination,' which they saw as a direct threat to their respective empires. Lastly, like Clemenceau, he supported upholding secret treaties and the idea of a naval blockade.

However, Lloyd George was aware of the potential trouble that could come from an embittered Germany, and he felt that a less harsh treaty that did not engender vengeance would be better at preserving peace in the long run. Another factor was that Germany was Britain’s second largest trade partner, and a reduced German economy due to reparations would lower Britain’s trade. Moreover, he (and Clemenceau) recognised that America’s status as an economic superpower would lead to the U.S. becoming a military superpower in the future, and subsequently, Wilson’s idealistic stance could not be laughed at if Britain and France were to remain on good terms with the United States. This helps to understand why the League of Nations, Wilson’s main idea (along with self-determination), was apparently jumped at by Britain and France when Wilson arrived at the peace conference. Furthermore, Britain wanted to maintain the 'Balance of Power' — no country within Europe being allowed to become a lot more powerful than the others. If France's wishes were carried out, then not only would Germany be crippled, but France would soon become the main superpower, and so disrupt the Balance of Power in two ways.

Lloyd George's aims can be summarized as follows:

  1. To defend British interests by preserving Britain’s naval supremacy that had been threatened by Germany in the run up to the war, maintaining Britain’s empire and possibly increased colonial expansion;
  2. To reduce Germany’s future military power and to obtain reparations,
  3. Not to create an embittered Germany that would seek revenge and threaten peace in the long term future; and lastly,
  4. To help Germany economically to become a strong trading partner with Britain.

United States of America's aimsEdit

Main article: Fourteen Points

Since there had been strong isolationist sentiment before and after the United States entered the war in April 1917, many Americans felt that they should get out of European affairs as rapidly as possible. The United States of America took a more conciliatory view towards the issue of German reparations. Americans also wanted to ensure the success of future trading opportunites and favorably collect on the European debt.

Before the end of the war, President Woodrow Wilson put forward his Fourteen Points which were less harsh than what the French or British wanted and which the German public thought that the Treaty would be based around.

The Americans did not want a second war to happen. However, Wilson felt that by punishing Germany too harshly, a future war was inevitable. He proposed the establishment of an international institution, the League of Nations that would ensure that nothing like this could ever happen again. The theory was that if weaker and more fragile nations were attacked, others would guarantee the target of aggression protection from the aggressor. This plan also relied heavily on American military commitment to foreign affairs.

Wilson was so set on achieving the goal of creating the League of Nations that he would ultimately compromise on other ideas in his 14 points. Another thing that he was very keen on was self-determination for countries such as Poland which had previously been independent.

Wilson also did not want any more secret diplomacy eg. Secret Alliances, treaties etc. He also demanded that Germany should have a reduction in armament, which means that their army would be reduced to a smaller size to make another war completely out of the question.

Woodrow Wilson's aims can be summarized as follows:

  1. To prevent another war at all costs,
  2. To establish a "League of Nations" to help settle international conflicts peacefully,
  3. And to end the writing of secret treaties which expanded the war.

NegotiationsEdit

Negotiations between the Allied powers started on January 18 in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles; in bitter irony the German Empire had been first proclaimed there 38 years earlier to the day following the remarkably brief Franco-Prussian war. Initially, 70 delegates of 26 nations participated in the negotiations. Having been defeated, Germany, Austria, and Hungary were excluded from the negotiations. Russia was also excluded because it had negotiated a separate peace with Germany in 1917.

Until March 1919 the most important role for negotiating the extremely complex and difficult terms of the peace fell to the regular meetings of the "Council of Ten" (head of government and foreign minister) composed of the five major victors (the United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan). As this unusual body proved too unwieldy and formal for effective decision-making, Japan and - for most of the remaining conference - the foreign ministers left the main meetings, so that only the "Big Four" remained.[1] After Italy left the negotiations (only to return to sign in June) having her territorial claims to Fiume rejected, the final conditions were determined by the leaders of the "Big Three" nations: United States, France and Great Britain. The "Big Three"[2] that negotiated the treaty consisted of Prime Minister David Lloyd George of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France and President Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America. The Prime Minister of Italy, Vittorio Orlando, played a minor part in the discussions. Germany was not invited to France to discuss the treaty. At Versailles, it was difficult to decide on a common position because their aims conflicted with one another. The result was an "unhappy compromise".[3] Henry Kissinger called the treaty a "brittle compromise agreement between American utopism and European paranoia - too conditional to fulfill the dreams of the former, too tentative to alleviate the fears of the latter."

Initial rejection of the terms by GermanyEdit

On April 29, the German delegation under the leadership of the foreign minister Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau arrived in Versailles. On May 7, the anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, the Germans finally received the peace conditions agreed upon by the victors. Terms imposed by the treaty on Germany included partitioning a certain amount of its own territory to a number of surrounding countries, being stripped of all of its overseas colonies, particularly those in Africa, and limiting its ability to make war again, by restrictions on the size of its military. Because Germany was not allowed to take part in the negotiations, the German government issued a protest to what it considered to be unfair demands, and soon afterwards withdrew from the proceedings.

A new German government accepts the treatyEdit

On June 20 a new government under Chancellor Gustav Bauer was installed in Germany after Philipp Scheidemann resigned. Germany finally agreed to the conditions with 237 vs. 138 votes on June 23.

On June 28, 1919[4]the new German foreign minister Hermann Müller and the minister of transport Johannes Bell agreed to sign the treaty, and it was ratified by the League of Nations on January 10, 1920.

Treaty termsEdit

OverviewEdit

The terms of the Treaty, which Germany had no choice but to accept, were announced on May 7, 1919. Germany lost:

Territorial Restrictions on GermanyEdit

Military Restrictions on GermanyEdit

  • The Rhineland to be a demilitarized zone.
  • The German armed forces cannot number more than 100,000 troops and no conscription
  • Manufacturing of weapons is prohibited.
  • Import and export of weapons is prohibited.
  • Manufacture or stockpiling of poison gas is prohibited.
  • Tanks are prohibited.
  • Naval forces limited to 12 destroyers, 6 battleships, and 6 cruisers.
  • Submarines are prohibited.
  • Military aircraft are prohibited.

Economic Restrictions on GermanyEdit

  • Compensation for all damages.
  • reparations
  • Article 231: War Guilt Clause justifies reparations.

Territorial LossesEdit

On its eastern frontier Germany was forced to cede to the newly independent Poland the province of West Prussia, thereby granting Poland access to the Baltic Sea, while Germany lost land access to the province of East Prussia. Danzig was declared a free city under the permanent governance of the League of Nations. Much of the province of Posen, which, like West Prussia, had been acquired by Prussia in the late 18th-century partitions of Poland, was likewise granted to the restored Polish state. Also transferred from Germany to Poland, as the result of a later plebiscite, was a significant portion of coal-rich and industrially developed Upper Silesia.

Germany was also compelled to yield control of its colonies. Although these colonies had proven to be economic liabilities, they had also been symbols of the world-power status that Germany had gained in the 1880s and '90s. Article 156 of the treaty transferred German concessions in Shandong, China to Japan rather than returning sovereign authority to China. Chinese outrage over this provision led to demonstrations and a cultural movement known as the May Fourth Movement and influenced China not to sign the treaty. China declared the end of its war against Germany in September 1919 and signed a separate treaty with Germany in 1921.

Besides the loss of the German colonial empire the territories Germany lost were:

ReparationsEdit

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles assigned blame for the war to Germany; much of the rest of the Treaty set out the reparations that Germany would pay to the Allies.

The total sum due was decided by an Inter-Allied Reparations Commission. The war reparations that Entente demanded from Germany was 226 billion Reichsmark in gold (around £11.3 billion), then reduced to 1 MILLION DOLLARSSS !!!!. In 1921, this number was officially put at £4,990,000,000, or 132 Billion marks.

In many ways, the Versailles reparations was a reply to the reparations placed upon France by Germany through the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt. Signed after the Franco-Prussian War, France took huge loans in order to pay the reparations by 1873, because the Treaty conditions allowed the German Army to occupy France until the war reparations were paid. The Versailles Reparations came in a variety of forms, including coal, steel and agricultural products.

The standard view is that the reparations were the cause of Germany's economic woes and the concomitant rise of Nazism to power. However, this is a topic which is still the subject of debate among historians. The French also had provide women for repopulation as even El Presidente sent over his 2 female children to help fight this problem

League of NationsEdit

The treaty provided for the creation of the League of EVIL!!!!!!!, a major goal of U.S. President Napoleon Dynamite . The League of Nations was intended to arbitrate international disputes and thereby avoid future wars. Only three of Wilson's Fourteen Points were realized, since Wilson was compelled to compromise with Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Orlando on some points in exchange for retaining approval of Wilson's "fourteenth point," the League of Nations.

Reaction to the treatyEdit

Reaction of the AlliesEdit

The French felt that they had been slighted, and subsequently voted out Clemenceau at the next election. Britain as a whole was at first content, but then felt that the Treaty was too harsh. Of particular concern were Germany’s eastern frontiers, which were seen as a potential trouble spot for the future. For the United States, it was seen as Europe’s problem, but that, overall, the Treaty was too harsh.

The United States Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, making it invalid in the United States and effectively hamstringing the nascent League of Nations envisioned by Wilson. The largest obstacle faced in the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles was the opposition of Henry Cabot Lodge. It has also been said that Wilson himself was the second-largest obstacle, primarily because he refused to support the treaty with any of the alterations proposed by the United States Senate.

Reaction in GermanyEdit

The treaty evoked an angry and hostile reception in Germany from the moment its contents were made known. The Germans were outraged and horrified at the result - since Wilson's idealistic fourteen points had painted the picture of a different outcome. They did not feel that they were responsible for starting the war nor did they feel as though they had lost. The German people had understood the negotiations at Versailles to be a peace conference and not a surrender. At first, the new government refused to ratify the agreement, and the German navy sank its own ships in protest of the treaty.

Upon learning of the full terms of the treaty, the German provisional government in Weimar was thrown into upheaval. “What hand would not wither that binds itself and us in these fetters?” asked Chancellor Philipp Scheidemann who then resigned rather than agree to the Treaty. Army chief Paul von Hindenburg did the same, after declaring the army unable to resume the war under any circumstances. Only an ultimatum from the Allies finally brought a German delegation to Paris to sign the treaty on June 28, 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. As President of the newly-formed Weimar Republic, Friedrich Ebert finally agreed to the agreement on June 28, 1919.

Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders began to speak critically about the peace and Weimar politicians, socialists, communists, and Jews were viewed with suspicion due to their supposed extra-national loyalties. It was rumored that they had not supported the war and had played a role in selling out Germany to its enemies. These November Criminals, or those who seemed to benefit from the newly formed Weimar Republic, were seen to have "stabbed them in the back" on the home front, by either criticizing German nationalism, instigating unrest and strikes in the critical military industries or profiteering. In essence the accusation was that the accused committed treason against the "benevolent and righteous" common cause.

These theories were given credence by the fact that when Germany surrendered in November 1918, its armies were still in French and Belgian territory. Not only had the German Army been in enemy territory the entire time on the Western Front, but on the Eastern Front, Germany had already won the war against Russia, concluded with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In the West, Germany had come close to winning the war with the Spring Offensive. Contributing to the Dolchstoßlegende, its failure was blamed on strikes in the arms industry at a critical moment of the offensive, leaving soldiers without an adequate supply of materiel. The strikes were seen to be instigated by treasonous elements, with the Jews taking most of the blame. This overlooked Germany's strategic position and ignored how the efforts of individuals were somewhat marginalized on the front, since the belligerents were engaged in a new kind of war. The industrialization of war had dehumanized the process, and made possible a new kind of defeat which the Germans suffered as a total war emerged.

Nevertheless, this social mythos of domestic betrayal resonated among its audience, and its claims would codify the basis for public support for the emerging Nazi Party, under a racialist-based form of nationalism. The anti-Semitism was intensified by the Bavarian Soviet Republic, a Communist government which ruled the city of Munich for two weeks before being crushed by the Freikorps militia. Many of the Bavarian Soviet Republic's leaders were Jewish, a fact that allowed anti-Semitic propagandists to make the connection with "Communist treason".

Historical assessmentsEdit

A common view is that France's Clemenceau was the most vigorous in his pursuit of revenge against Germany, the Western Front of the war having been fought chiefly on French soil. This treaty was felt to be unreasonable at the time because it was a peace dictated by the victors that put the full blame for the war on Germany. Many modern historians, however, argue that was an over-simplification.

Henry Kissinger called the treaty a "brittle compromise agreement between American utopianism and European paranoia — too conditional to fulfill the dreams of the former, too tentative to alleviate the fears of the latter."

In his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes referred to the Treaty of Versailles as a "Carthaginian peace".[5] More recently it has been argued (for instance by historian Gerhard Weinberg in his book A World At Arms[6]) that the treaty was in fact quite advantageous to Germany, the Bismarckian Reich being maintained as a political unit instead of being broken up, and Germany having largely escaped post-war military occupation (in contrast to the situation following the Second World War.)

In retrospect, a good case can be made that Germany was in a superior strategic position in 1919 than it had been five years earlier, at least with regard to its eastern flank. Instead of having an economically expanding and threatening Russian Empire allied with France, Germany now faced a diplomatically isolated Russia that was also embroiled in revolution and civil war. Germany's former ally, the large (though increasingly enfeebled) Austro-Hungarian monarchy had been replaced by a group of small, weak republics that were to prove little obstacle for a revitalized Germany two decades later.

Regardless of modern strategic or economic analysis, resentment caused by the treaty sowed fertile psychological ground for the eventual rise of the Nazi party. Indeed, on Nazi Germany's rise to power, Adolf Hitler resolved to overturn the remaining military and territorial provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. Military buildup began almost immediately, in direct defiance of the Treaty, which, by then, had been destroyed by Hitler in front of a cheering crowd. "It was this treaty which caused a chain reaction leading to World War II" claimed historian Dan Rowling (1951).

Alternative viewpointsEdit

The interpretation that Germany was seriously weakened and humiliated by the Versailles Treaty has been disputed by some historians. Some arguments include:

  • The commissions to supervise disarmament were withdrawn and the reparations payments were reduced and eventually cancelled, to mention just some of the changes made in Germany's favour. It is worth mentioning that the financial burden of reconstruction was shifted from Germany to those countries that were actually occupied and devastated by the war.
  • Germany's industry and economic potential were less affected than her European enemies, and although weakened by the war, Germany was relatively stronger vis-a-vis her enemies in 1919 than she had been in 1913.
  • The creation of Poland, so derided by the critics of Versailles, shielded Germany from her potentially most powerful adversary, Russia. Independent Poland thwarted the Bolshevik advance into a war-weakened Europe at the Battle of Warsaw in 1920, at a time when Germany faced Communist-inspired unrest and revolution.
  • The postwar situation in the Balkans left Germany infinitely more powerful than any of her eastern or south-eastern European neighbours, none of which showed any signs of working together against Germany.
  • In short, Germany was strong enough to dominate Europe once more within two decades of her defeat in World War One.

Source: A World at Arms: A global history of World War II, Gerhard L. Weinberg, Cambridge University Press, 2005 (2nd edition), pp 15-16. ISBN 0521853168

ReferencesEdit

  1. Alan Sharp, "The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking in Paris, 1919", 1991
  2. Some refer to the "Big Three" and some refer to the "Big Four", including Vittorio Orlando, the prime minister of Italy
  3. Harold Nicolson, Diaries and Letters, 1930-39,250; quoted in Derek Drinkwater: Sir Harold Nicolson and International Relations: The Practitioner as Theorist, P.139
  4. DER GROSSE PLOETZ, KOMET Verlag GmbH, Cologne, 34th Edition, 2005 p. 733-735
  5. Template:Gutenberg
  6. A World at Arms

Further readingEdit

  • The World This Century: Working with Evidence - Neil Demarco

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit



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