The Treaty Of Versailles

Essay by darkness_kitten June 2004

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Charlotte Gallagher

Was the Treaty of Versailles fair or not?

I think that the Versailles treaty was unfair to the Germany. Though Germany expected to be invited, but they were not invited into the discussion of the Versailles treaty. The German government were given just two weeks to consider the terms of Versailles Treaty, on top of this, most of their comments were being ignored and they were forced to sign the treaty or Germany will be invaded. The Versailles treaty showed that the Big Four: (The USA, Britain, France and Italy) would never want Germany to make a comeback. Furthermore, Germany should be given a chance as the government did try to have a peace settlement to end World War I. Also, Germany did pay a huge price as they lost 2 millions of people, compared to other countries like the Great Britain, 761 213 people. The main aim of the Treaty of Versailles was to make sure that Germany would be punished for the war.

Each of the countries in involved had different ideas of how to punish Germany. The USA was the only country who didn't seek revenge from Germany. They had joined the war late and had not lost nearly as many soldiers in battles as other nations had. President Wilson of the USA called for "peace without victory." He didn't want Germany to fall into an economic crisis. This, Wilson felt, would make Germany seek revenge for the treaty. The only way to make sure that the treaty stayed in place and was followed by all countries to be involved was to make sure it was fair and that all countries accepted its terms without resentment

Great Britain agreed with the idea of a fair treaty, but wanted reparations from Germany in order to rebuild after the war. Lloyd-George demanded the whole cost of the war in reparations. He didn't see this as selfish because he saw that Germany had started the war, therefore they should pay the price.At the same time, there was no wish to destroy Germany or cripple Germany economically, for she was an important trading partner and a shattered German economy would affect Great Britain as well. Great Britain was in the position in which she could change how harsh the treaty was. Lloyd-George's decision could change whether the treaty was lenient, following the USA, or extremely harsh as called for by the French.

France wanted full on revenge from Germany. An ideal outcome as seen by the French would be Germany crippled by the Treaty. The French felt unsafe being so close to the Germans. They obviously shared a border. They had absolutely no barrier from the full force of Germany, unlike Great Britain who had the channel and USA who had the Atlantic. A crippled Germany would be no threat to France in the future. They also wanted revenge from the war, because they lost many lives and spent a fortune on fighting..Perhaps another reason for the French wish for revenge was memories of the Franco-Prussian war of 1871.