The Versailles Treaty

Essay by hanno April 2005

download word file, 7 pages 4.0 2 reviews

Downloaded 57 times

It is much easier to make war than to make peace. War can be brought about by mindless violence, but peace can be brought about only through diplomacy, understanding and compromise. Many people would consider the current attitudes of the USA and of, for example, of Germany towards making war on other countries as cases in point-viewing the former as a stupid, ignorant and naïve approach; the latter as a more suitable, tolerant and practical approach. Enough study is carried out on the art of war, but more people want peace than war, so maybe what is needed, rather than a further understanding of war is an understanding of how to make peace. The Treaty of Versailles was intended, and expected by many, to bring about a lasting peace. Yet just two decades later an even longer and even more apocalyptic world war started. The peace was supposed to be ideal, but as it is, the Treaty of Versailles has repeatedly been cited as the main cause of the Second World War.

Hence, debate about the Treaty of Versailles is essential in order to further our understanding of how to bring about lasting peace, or perhaps how not to bring it about.

Criticism of the Treaty of Versailles is as old as the Treaty itself. Writing in 1919, the Briton Harold Nicolsan called the Treaty a "botched peace", while Ray Stannard Baker criticised the "vindictive French" for being too harsh on Germany. On the other hand Frenchman Jacques Bianvilles judged the Treaty "too gentle for all that is in it which is harsh". The generally accepted verdict among commentators however, can be summed up in the words of the economist J. M. Keynes, that the Versailles Treaty was "a peace of self-defeating vindictiveness" .

After decades of debate, and...