The Treaty of Versailles which was signed at the palace of Versailles in the hall of Mirrors in France marked the end of World War I, which was between the German and the related nations. The leaders who spear headed the signing of the treaty were; British Prime Minister Lloyd George, United State president Woodrow Wilson, and France Prime Minister George Clemenceau. The Treaty demanded that the German officials to remain a countable for the destruction caused by the war, and they were to compensate the affected territories. (John 1968)
The treaty was a document of hate, even though it leads to the formation of some peace organization. It resulted to the establishment of League of Nations whose main objective was to endorse international collaboration, international security and peace. There was also the establishment of International Labour Organization a special agency to spear head the improving labour environment and improving living standards around the globe. The establishment of Permanent Court of International Justice also resulted due to the signing of the treaty. (Duff 1968)
The attitude of the nations that were involved in the signing of the treaty was clearly seen as revenge to the German officials. For instance, George Lloyd David represented the views of the Great Britain. The British republic was for revenge to Germany because Germany started the war that leads to the death of many British soldiers. George Clemenceau from France had a belief that the German was to be brought to their knees so that they will not trigger any war. The north-east corner of France was destroyed during the war, and he was determined that the repeat should not take place.
The American representative Woodrow Wilson represented the views of the Americans who wanted to isolate themselves. He also negotiated for the punishment of Germany but in a way that was to result to European reconciliation as opposed to revenging. He wrote the “Fourteen Points” to help in the reconciliation. The four main ones were; no secret treaties, countries disarmaments, self reliance, and formation of League of Nations.
The terms of the treaty were cruel to the German. The treaty was divided into sections i.e. military, territorial, financial, and general. Some of the German lands were seized. For instance, Eupen and Malmedy was given to Belgium, Northern Schleswig given to Denmark, the German army was reduced to 100,000 men, the manufacture of armoured cars, submarines, airplanes, tanks, and poison gases was banned, and only a small number of particular factories could manufacture armaments; also, the industrial territories were seized which affected their economy (Boemeke 1998)
They were also to admit the responsibility of starting the war as contained in the clause 231 “War Guilt Clause”. They were to pay reparations, the amount that was to go to Belgium and France to compensate for the damage caused by war. The amount of reparation was not reached during the signing of the treaty, but it was later agreed by the reparation commission that the German to pay a total of $ 6.600 million which was beyond the German ability since their economic stability had been weakened, since the industrial territorial which was busting the German economy had been seized.
The German delegates were forced into signing of the Versailles Treaty with threats of a new war, and by the economic cordon still imposed on Germany after the peace agreement by the Entente fleets. The notion of exclusive German war guilt was needed by the Entente as a basis for the Carthaginian peace intended on the Central Powers, which involved the demand for additional $32 billion in war reparations, particularly to France, and interest for servicing these arrears over decades into the future. The reparation and the war guilt clause clearly signified the revenge intention other nations had on Germany, making the treaty be seen as a revenge.
The allies of German who was involved in the signing of the treaty did not provide peace settlement, as it was provided in Wilson’s Fourteen Points, but they only made the treaty very humiliating with the objective of pinning the German down. The harshness of the treaty of Versailles on the German lead to the establishment of the militaristic wings of the Nazi Germany and the communist parties in making a deal with Adolf Hitler in reuniting Germany to fight back for their seized lands and territories, these resulted into the beginning of the World War II.
Germans despised clause 231; they maintained they were not to be blamed for the war. The clause not only physically harmed Germany, but it hurt German pride and because of this they wanted to overturn the treaty. They also hated the reparation; most of them claimed that Britain and France wanted to stave them to death because the large reparation they demanded from the German and yet all their industrial territories had been seized rendering them economically unstable. All these hash treatment lead them to opt for fighting for their freedom.
Many historians claim that the combination of a harsh treaty of Versailles also the subsequence negligent enforcement of its stipulations lined the way for the expansion of the German militarism in 1930s. The reparation which was a burden on the German and the war guilt clause fostered deep bitterness of the resolution in Germany. When Adolf Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland in 1936 which was a violation of the treaty, the Allies nations did not stop him; these encouraged the future German aggression.
With the rise of Nazi Germany into power, these marked the beginning of military build-up in direct defiance of the treaty. Since the treaty was so harsh on the Germans, the Nazi propagandists got a way of strengthening the negative stance of German republic towards the treaty of Versailles. Hitler knowing that Germany was disgust with the treaty; he used it as leverage to influence his audience to accept their propaganda. (Weinberg 1995)
In one of his speeches, he stated that the German was withdrawing their signature from the document to protest for despicable proportions of the treaty terms. He claims the terms of the Treaty made Germany out to be “less” and inferior of a country than others only because the blamed for the war was only placed on them. The achievement of Hitler and Nazi propagandists won the Nazi party control of Germany and in the long run led to World War II.
The treaty was cynically criticized by the Germans, who complained that it was dictated and dishonoured the spirit of Fourteen Points, which was accepted by the German. The treaty to some extent was not fair to the Germans because of the humiliating conditions that were part of the accord. The treaty was peace bringing document. On the other hand, it leads to the formation of some organization that had a mission to unite people also to protect the rights of human i.e. the establishment of the League of Nations and International Labour Organization. The bitterness of the Germans about the treaty and its conditions later resulted to the World War II.