Treaty of Versailles

Essay by mysterygirl_dangerUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, September 2007

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The Treaty of Versailles was the peace treaty settlement that officially ended World War I in 1918 between the Allied and Central Powers and the German Empire (Wikipedia 2007). The treaty was signed at the vast Versailles Palace near Paris between Germany and the allies on June 28, 1919, after months of negotiations among the Big Four. The drawing up of the treaty was an attempt to reconcile the conflicting ideas amongst the Big Four: Britain, France, United States, and Italy on how severely the Germans were to be treated. "While the British representative, David Lloyd George, for both political and economic reasons, favored moderation, the French Prime Minister Clemenceau firmly advocated a "peace of revenge" so that Germany would never again be in a position to threaten his country" (Professor O'Brien n.d.) and Woodrow Wilson believed that Germany should be punished but in a way that would lead to European reconciliation as opposed to revenge.

This treaty held Germany solemnly responsible for World War I. "Germany was forced to pay reparations totaling 132,000,000,000 in gold marks, they lost 1/8 of its land, all of its colonies, all overseas financial assets, and a new map of Europe was carved out of Germany, and the German military was basically non-existent"(Zapotoczny 2005). To the German people they were being ruthlessly punished for a war not only was they not responsible for but also had to fight.

"The main terms of the Versailles Treaty were:(1)the surrender of all German colonies as League of Nations mandates(2) The return of Alsace-Lorraine to France(3) Cession of Eupen-Malmedy to Belgium, Memel to Lithuania, the Hultschindistrict to Czechoslovakia, Poznania, parts of East Prussia and Upper Silesia toPoland(4) Danzig to become a free city(5) Plebiscites to be held in northern Schleswig to settle the Danish-Germanfrontier(6) Occupation and...