What were the most historically significant results of The Treaty of Versailles?
The Treaty of Versailles was a peace agreement signed by Allied forces and Germany at the end of World War I in France on June 28, 1919. The treaty was introduced because the Allies believed that Germany needed to further compensate for the widespread damage they had caused. Germany and the other defeated countries were allowed no say in the terms of the treaty (“Treaty of Versailles”, 2016). Because of this, there were many difficult outcomes.
To start, Germany was required to admit complete fault and responsibility for the war, which brought extreme reparation terms in the amount of $33 billion. German population and territories were reduced by 10 percent, with various territories distributed to other European nations and the United States (Kaiser, 2009). To ensure Germany would not rise again to threaten the rest of the world, the German army was limited to 100,000 men, and much of Germany was demilitarized (“Treaty of Versailles”, 2016). The treaty created the League of Nations, in order for member to govern independence and territorial integrity. The treaty also established the Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Labor Organisation (“Treaty of Versailles”, 2016).
The Treaty of Versailles was highly criticized by the Germans, who believed it unfair and detrimental to their economy. Several German politicians were assassinated for signing it. Some parts of the treaty were later ratified to their favor, but the damage was done. Germany’s economy was ruined, and it’s people were bitter (Kaiser, 2009). The lack of enforcement from the League of Nations allowed Hitler to rise to power, where he denounced the treaty altogether. He remilitarized the country, overturned territorial provisions, and on September 1, 1939, he invaded Poland, leading the world into what would become World War II (“Treaty of Versailles”, 2016). It will never be known if strict enforcement, or lesser restrictions could have prevented World War I, but the Allied nations used caution and compassion with Germany after the end of World War II in an effort to prevent a third war.
Treaty of Versailles. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from
Kaiser, D. (2009). Treaty of Versailles. Retrieved from
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