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Treaty Of Versailles-Cause Of World War Two

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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 Ð''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 Ð'Ј24 billion ($120 billion), the French were asking for Ð'Ј44 billion ($220 billion); while the American experts recommended Ð'Ј4.4 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 Germany, and set the stage for a man like Adolf Hitler to come to power.

Alone with the Ð''Reparations' clause, the Ð''War Guilt' clause was another article of the Treaty of Versailles whose consequences rang in the ears of German citizens. In this clause, the Allied and Associated Governments forced Germany to accept full responsibility for the war. When, in May 7th, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was presented in its completion to Germany's foreign minister, Count Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau, he responded with anger. He said, "It is demanded that we confess ourselves guilty. Such a confession in my mouth would be a lie" (Elson 30". After deliberation, Brockdorff-Rantzau made the decision to resign rather than sign the treaty. The Ð''war guilt' clause was later found to be another way that the Big Four were attempting to keep Germany down. By accepting complete responsibility for the beginning of the First World War, Germany left itself at the mercy of the Allied Powers. This feeling of betrayal in Germany led to tension inside of Germany, and unknown to them, they were creating an atmosphere in which a person like Hitler could emerge.

Another example of how the Treaty of Versailles failed as a peace treaty was when Germany's army was limited to 100,000 men. IN reducing Germany army to practically nothing, "they attempted to ensure that a rebuilt Germany could not attack France" ("Repercussions of World War I"). Along with the limitations placed upon their army, Germany was forbidden to have in its possession an air force. "The

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