World War one was brought to its official end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. It was drawn up by the victors of the war, which included Great Britain, the United States, Italy, and France. The Big Four met in Versailles to compose a treaty that would hopefully bring about a peaceful end to the First World War- the first war of its kind. Germany, the main foe against the Allied Powers, and the loser of World War I, was not allowed to partake in the creation of the treaty. Even they had no way of knowing what to expect in the treaty, they had every reason to believe it would be harsh. From having to pay astronomical reparations to being forced to take full responsibility for the outcome of the war, the treaty left Germans feeling betrayed. The Treaty of Versailles brought no peace, as was intended, but its consequences were felt and led to tension that culminated in World War II.
First of all, the Reparations' clause of the Treaty of Versailles was one of the 440 clauses in the treaty that were not readily forgotten. Article 232 of the treaty stated that the Allied and Associated Governments would require Germany to pay reparations to those countries that suffered damage in World War I ("Treaty of Versailles"). The final amount was not readily agreed upon, for the sums desired varied from each of the Big Four. As Margaret Macmillan states in her book Paris 1919, "The British were asking for £24 billion ($120 billion), the French were asking for £44 billion ($220 billion); while the American experts recommended £4.4 billion ($22 billion)." Even after identifying Germany would be unable to immediately pay these reparation fees, the Big Four felt that they needed to weaken Germany economically in an effort to prevent them from completely recovering from World War I. They believed "that a smaller Germany, and poorer Germany, would be less of a threat to its neighbors" (Macmillan 162). This was one of four main clauses that greatly angered...
Cited: Elson, Robert T. Prelude to War. Morristown: Time-Life Books Inc., 1976. 27-30.
Macmillan, Margaret. Paris 1919. New York: Random House, 2002.
"Selected Articles From the 1919 Treaty of Versailles." History Department at the
University of San Diego. 7 Feb. 2007. .
"The Treaty of Versailles." Angelfire. 7 Feb. 2007.
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