June 28, 1919 marked the end of World War 1, a four-year war. The Treaty of Versailles was signed between the Allies and the Central Powers. Did it really mark the end of a war? It might have been the cause of the next one. Therefore, the Treaty of Versailles is almost a perfect example of a triumph turned into a tragedy.
World War 1 (1914-1918) was a war between Russia, Belgium, Great Britain, France, and Serbia against Austria-Hungary and Germany. This war was a fire waiting to happen, all it needed was a spark to ignite it. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir of Austro-Hungary, did just that. It gave a reason for Austria-Hungary to blame Serbia as responsible. Germany supported Austria-Hungary and gave them word that if they were to declare war, then Germany would back them up. Eventually, July 28th war was declared, and that marked the day World War 1 had begun.
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Germany was fighting on two fronts, the western and the eastern front. They attacked France from the west and Russia from the east. The first battle of the war ended with a German victory and the capture Liege in Belgium. At first, the U.S. was neutral. Germany sunk several neutral ships because they declared the waters around the British Isles a warzone. They sunk some U.S. ships. One German U-boat sunk a ship carrying hundreds of American passengers that were traveling from New York to Liverpool. This made the U.S. angry and they decided to declare war on Germany. The U.S. was a big help to the Allies. They had enough supplies for themselves, France, and Britain. The U.S. made it possible for the Allies to win and they eventually decided to give peace a chance.
January 8, 1918, Woodrow Wilson gave his “Fourteen Points” speech. The purpose of this speech was to name the principles of speech and to state his war aims. His Fourteen Points were: No secret agreements among countries is allowed. International seas are free to travel. Free trade among countries who accept peace. Less weapons and armies worldwide. Claims over land need to be fair and reasonable. Russia has the ability to chose its type of government by themselves and German troops need to flee off of Russian soil. German troops need to leave Belgium and they will become their own nation. France will gain back all of their lost land. A border of Italy will be defined. Austria-Hungary will still be an independent country. The Central Powers need to evacuate Serbia, Romania, and Montenegro. Turkish people will have their own country, now called Turkey. Poland is their own independent country. The last point is about how a League of Nations will protect the independence of any country.
On June 28, 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed. It was created by the Allies and it included 15 parts and 440 articles. Part 1 was about the Covenant of the League of Nations; an organization which would all go to war if one country was threatened and tried to prevent wars. Unfortunately, Germany was not allowed to join this organization until 1926. From this it is visible that the Allies were upset with Germany and blamed everything on them. Part 2 controlled the amount of land Germany controlled. Eupen-Malmedy was previously owned by Germany and was given to Belgium. Alsace-Lorraine also belonging to Germany, now belonged to France; some districts were given to Poland. Memel was given to Lithuania and the majority of Schleswig now belonged to Denmark. Part 3 stripped the military installations in specific areas and temporarily took the Saar away from Germany. Part 4 of the treaty took away all of Germany’s colonies. Part 5 lowered the German army numbers significantly. They also weren’t allowed to carry certain types of weapons. Part 6 negotiated the return of prisoners of war. Part 7 was about the trials of people accused of war crimes. Part 8 forced Germany to accept full responsibility of the war and made them pay war reparations. Part 9 was about other financial related obligations. Part 11 said that the Allied Forces can fly anywhere over German territory and that they have the same privileges as German aircraft. Part 12 was about German railroads, ports, and waterways. The 13th part regarded labor, the 15 was about miscellaneous provisions. The Allies put together all this to ensure that there would be no other war and to put Germany in their place. However, this had more of a detrimental effect than a positive one. The treaty did do its job of ending the war, but it created more problems.
Germany saw this treaty as unfair.
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