The Versailles Treaty
Uploaded by Gotskillz on Dec 20, 2004
The Treaty of Versailles was intended to be a peace agreement between the Allies and the Germans. Versailles created political discontent and economic chaos 1in Germany. The Peace Treaty of Versailles represented the results of hostility and revenge and opened the door for a dictator and World War II.
November 11, 1918 marked the end of the first World War. Germany had surrendered and signed an armistice agreement. The task of forming a peace agreement was now in the hands of the Allies. In December of 1918, the Allies met in Versailles to start on the peace settlement.2 The main countries and their respective representatives were: The United States, Woodrow Wilson; Great Britain, David Lloyd George; and France, George Clemenceau. "At first, it had seemed the task of making peace would be easy".3 However, once the process started, the Allies found they had conflicting ideas and motives surrounding the reparations and wording of the Treaty of Versailles. It seemed the Allies had now found themselves engaged in another battle.
Woodrow Wilson (1856 - 1924), the twenty-eighth President of the United States (1913 --1921).4 In August of 1914, when World War I began, there was no question that the United States would remain neutral. "Wilson didn't want to enter the European War or any other war for that matter".5 However, as the war continued, it became increasingly obvious that the United States could no longer 'sit on the sidelines'. German submarines had sunk American tankers and the British liner, 'Lusitania', in May 1915, killing almost twelve hundred people, including 128 Americans.6 This convinced Wilson to enter World War I, on the allied side. As the war continued, Wilson outlined his peace program, which was centered around fourteen main points. "They (fourteen points) were direct and simple: a demand that future agreements be open covenants of peace, openly arrived at; an insistence upon absolute freedom of the seas; and, as the fourteenth point, the formation of a general associat! ion of nations."7 The fourteen points gave people a hope of peace and lay the groundwork for the armistice that Germany ultimately signed in November 1918. Although the United States was instrumental in ending the war, Wilson was still more interested in a "peace without victors"8 than annexing German colonies or reparations (payment for war damages). However, as the Allies began discussions of the peace treaty, the European allies rejected Wilson's idealism and reasoning. It...