Versailles Treaty And WWII

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade June 2001

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Analyze why the treaty of Versailles produced a Second World War.

When the Big four consisting of French Premier Georges Clemenceau, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando, and United States President Woodrow Wilson met at the Paris Peace conference, their main goal was to punish Germany for the War. The treaty signed on June 28,1919, forced Germany to surrender territory, pay massive reparations exceeding 30 billion dollars and to limit Germany's future armaments. Germany was forced to accept their guilt in causing the war (outwardly contradicting Woodrow Wilson's idea of "peace without victors" and his 14 points) and was forced to succumb to the conditions of the treaty without the ability to ratify it. The League of Nations tried to ensure that Germany would honor the treaty by threatening invasion and an even greater loss of land if they did not agree to the conditions.

The German people were humiliated by the treaty and were undergoing a great depression worsened by the inconceivable debt. The loss of land left Germany with few sources of income, and in an even greater dilemma. For Germany these were just causes to regain their lost armaments and to retake their surrendered land. They needed the land lost for a source of income, and to repay the debt assigned by the League of Nations and by the Versailles Peace Treaty. The German people, under torment by harsh circumstances, were willingly ready to accept Adolf Hitler and his outlandish ideas in hopes of regaining their pride and renewing Germany's economy.

With help from the German people, Hitler continuously defied the treaty and built up armaments with the intent of expanding Germany's Empire. The League of Nations were unable to halt Germany's aggression and were forced to resort to...