1919: Peace Treaty of Versailles

Tanner O’Donnell

Allied leaders at Versailles
Allied leaders at the Palace of Versailles

After the end of World War I on November 11, 918, the Allied powers, including France, Great Britain, and the United States meet at the Palace of Versailles to discuss the treaty and reparations German had to pay for starting the war, even though Germany was not invited to the discussions. The French wanted to split up the newly unified Germany so it would not be a threat to France, but the United States and Great Britain, thought dividing Germany would cause more tension and lead to another war.

On June 28, 1919 the Peace Treaty of Versailles was signed by all parties, and had fifteen different parts to the treaty. The first part organized the new League of Nations, to help combat and find a solution for peace, before war became a reality, though Germany was not allowed to join until 1926. The second part reduced the size of Germany, returning Alsace-Lorraine to France, and giving much of the Eastern and Southern borders to other countries such as Poland and Denmark. The third part of the treaty created a demilitarized zone on the Western part of Germany next to France. The fourth part required that Germany fore-fit all of their colonies and part five reduced the army and restricted the use of certain weapons. Part eight of the treaty required that Germany pay reparations for the war and that “Germany accepted the responsibility of itself and its allies for the losses and damages of the Allies “as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.” and other financial burdens as part nine of the treaty.

Though all parties had signed the treaty, including Germany who had no say in the treaty, it was hard to enforce it and many parts of it were never fully meet. The United States government never ratified the treaty signed, and through implementing the treaty, France and Belgium at times occupied parts of Germany. The reparations that were made by the Germans, as outlined in part eight and nine, eventually destroyed their economy and led to the rise of the Nazi  party, and the beginning of World War II. The treaty that tried to stop a war from happening, was one of the main reasons that the war eventually did. It divided the continent and created resentment among a group of people, that a political party used to rise to power and implement it;s own agenda.

Resources:

“Antagonists Face to Face.” Theguardian. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.

“Treaty of Versailles.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.