Woodrow Wilson, the founding president of the United States of America, is known for his most famous expression, “war to end all wars.” He used the term assuming that the defeat of Germany would have ended World War I. When World War I started, several countries believed it would be over in a matter of months. As a result, the nations engaged in a brutal war that resulted in the deaths of many civilians. Countries such as Russia used lethal weapons, worsening the conflict. The war lasted for approximately four years. During the period, the governments in different parts of the world were faced with many political, social, and economic challenges. Approximately ten million people were killed, and another thirty million sustained serious injuries. The economies of most of the countries in Europe crumbled. European merchants could no longer continue trading, both internally and externally. On the other hand, the governments had invested much on their armies leaving insufficient funds for economic growth. This situation brought great fear in most of the countries that participated in the First World War.
President Woodrow Wilson advocated for peace in many countries that were working together to ensure the fall of Germany. During the period, the United States of America, under the leadership President Wilson Woodrow, did not make any attempt at participating in the war because the US Congress refused to sign The Treaty of Versailles. However, the president went ahead and signed the treaty with other nations. Big four countries drafted the treaty of Versailles; England, the United States of America, France, and Italy. The Treaty’s main objective was to limit Germany’s capacity to build and reorganize its army. The Army represents the strength of every nation, and for this reason the four countries targeted the Germany’s Army to bring the Her down.
The primary motivating factor behind the move was to prevent the war from re-occurring and creating peace between Germany and its Allies. President Woodrow Wilson was not looking for the best of the nation because the signing of the Treaty of Versailles left the nation with more harm than good. Some of the consequences of the peace agreement included financial crisis, economic downfall, and the loss of some parts of German land. In fact, the president simply targeted the property of the nation and deterring Germany from becoming economically stable again. The president wanted to prevent Germany from rearming by using the Treaty Versailles. However, the allies did not stick to the agreement in the Treaty Versailles. France and Britain appeared to be more concerned about spreading communism, what the Germany president was doing. The People thought that the Treaty of Versailles was somehow unfair to the German nation. On June 1919, the peace treaty of ending the war signed in the palace’s Hall of Mirrors.
Components of the Treaty Versailles
The Germany army was reduced to 100,000 soldiers. This reduction meant that only the volunteers could join the army. The move was opposed to the initial number of soldiers in the army, which was initially higher than the 100,000 soldiers.
Also, the navy could only possess six battleships. Before the Treaty of Versailles, there was no restriction on the number of battleships that would be owned by the Navy, and the Navy could have more than ten battleships.
The Treaty of Versailles barred Germany from building submarines, tanks, and planes.
The Treaty of Versailles did not allow Germany to keep her soldiers or troops in the Rhineland. The allied troops were to base in the area for not less than fifteen years.
Domestic Problems caused by the Treaty of Versailles
As mentioned before, the Treaty of Versailles was the peace settlement between Germany and the Allies. The peace agreement was signed at the end of World War I, which Woodrow Wilson considered as the war of all wars. Some of the allies included the countries such as the United States of America, France, Britain, and Italy. The German government had no choice but to accept the conditions presented to it by the big four.
Problems caused by the Treaty of Versailles
The Economic and Financial Problems
The four nations blamed the US government for being the cause of World War I. However, the government of Germany was held accountable for all the loss that resulted from the World War I. The Treaty instructed that compensation was to be paid to the Allies. The payment was known as reparation and was to be paid on a monthly basis. The total compensation would amount to 6,600 Euros. The Allies agreed on the figure in the year 1921. In addition to the reparation, the economy of Germany was significantly affected, and that made it difficult for the Germans to cope with the harsh economic and social environment at the time. As a result, it became more challenging for the country to pay reparation and improve the economy at the same time. Furthermore, the German government lost most of the precious raw materials to the colonies. Some of the areas that were taken by the colonies were rich in raw materials which had been the source of income for the great nation. Lastly, the great men of the country were killed during the war. Germany lost approximately 1.7 million people during World War I, while another 4.5 million people were seriously wounded.
The Treaty of Versailles resulted in some reactions from people and the governments. Firstly, the existing government was forced resign having refused to sign the agreement. Hence, the incoming government did not have a choice but to sign it. However, this move was accused by some people such as General Ludendorff who compared it to stabbing the people of Germany in the back. The theory gained its popularity as the economy continued to suffer. Many soldiers believed that the politicians had lost the war, not the army. For example, it was hard to believe and accept that fact they had lost the war while some troops were still detained in France. The number of individuals who distrusted the Weimar Republic increased and they were all unwilling to support it. In Western Europe, the signing the Treaty of Versailles marked the beginning of the isolation for Germany.
The Treaty of Versailles altered the actual geographical position of Europe. Some areas of the land were taken away from Germany due to this agreement, and Germany suffered a significant loss of property. For instance, the province of Lorraine and Alsace were taken by France, while Denmark took parts of Schleswig. The Polish Corridor was created to give a broad strip that joined the sea. In total, Germany lost approximately 288 squares kilometers of land due to the signing of The Treaty of Versailles.
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