In his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace , John Maynard Keynes referred to the Treaty of Versailles as a " Carthaginian peace ", a misguided attempt to destroy Germany on behalf of French revanchism , rather than to follow the fairer principles for a lasting peace set out in President Woodrow Wilson 's Fourteen Points , which Germany had accepted at the armistice.
He stated: "I believe that the campaign for securing out of Germany the general costs of the war was one of the most serious acts of political unwisdom for which our statesmen have ever been responsible. Keynes in an attempt to rebut Keynes' claims. More recently economists have argued that the restriction of Germany to a small army saved it so much money it could afford the reparations payments. It has been argued for instance by historian Gerhard Weinberg in his book A World at Arms  that the treaty was in fact quite advantageous to Germany.
The Bismarckian Reich was maintained as a political unit instead of being broken up, and Germany largely escaped post-war military occupation in contrast to the situation following World War II. In a essay, Weinberg noted that with the disappearance of Austria-Hungary and with Russia withdrawn from Europe, that Germany was now the dominant power in Eastern Europe. The British military historian Correlli Barnett claimed that the Treaty of Versailles was "extremely lenient in comparison with the peace terms that Germany herself, when she was expecting to win the war, had had in mind to impose on the Allies".
Furthermore, he claimed, it was "hardly a slap on the wrist" when contrasted with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that Germany had imposed on a defeated Russian SFSR in March , which had taken away a third of Russia's population albeit mostly of non- Russian ethnicity , one-half of Russia's industrial undertakings and nine-tenths of Russia's coal mines, coupled with an indemnity of six billion marks.
Barnett also claims that, in strategic terms, Germany was in fact in a superior position following the Treaty than she had been in Germany's eastern frontiers faced Russia and Austria, who had both in the past balanced German power. Barnett asserts that its post-war eastern borders were safer, because the former Austrian Empire fractured after the war into smaller, weaker states, Russia was wracked by revolution and civil war , and the newly restored Poland was no match for even a defeated Germany. In the West, Germany was balanced only by France and Belgium , both of which were smaller in population and less economically vibrant than Germany.
Barnett concludes by saying that instead of weakening Germany, the treaty "much enhanced" German power. The British historian of modern Germany, Richard J. Evans , wrote that during the war the German right was committed to an annexationist program which aimed at Germany annexing most of Europe and Africa. Consequently, any peace treaty that did not leave Germany as the conqueror would be unacceptable to them. He also argued that Versailles was not the "main cause" of National Socialism and the German economy was "only marginally influenced by the impact of reparations".
Ewa Thompson points out that the treaty allowed numerous nations in Central and Eastern Europe to liberate themselves from oppressive German rule, a fact that is often neglected by Western historiography, more interested in understanding the German point of view. In nations that found themselves free as the result of the treaty—such as Poles or Czechs —it is seen as a symbol of recognition of wrongs committed against small nations by their much larger aggressive neighbours.
Resentment caused by the treaty sowed fertile psychological ground for the eventual rise of the Nazi Party. As an example of the absurd arguments against the Versaillerdiktat he quotes Elizabeth Wiskemann who heard two officer's widows in Wiesbaden complaining that with their stocks of linen depleted they had to have their linen washed once a fortnight every two weeks instead of once a month! The German historian Detlev Peukert wrote that Versailles was far from the impossible peace that most Germans claimed it was during the interwar period , and though not without flaws was actually quite reasonable to Germany.
French historian Raymond Cartier states that millions of Germans in the Sudetenland and in Posen-West Prussia were placed under foreign rule in a hostile environment, where harassment and violation of rights by authorities are documented. The plebiscites initiated due to the treaty have drawn much comment. Historian Robert Peckham wrote that the issue of Schleswig "was premised on a gross simplification of the region's history.
Versailles ignored any possibility of there being a third way: the kind of compact represented by the Swiss Federation; a bilingual or even trilingual Schleswig-Holsteinian state" or other options such as "a Schleswigian state in a loose confederation with Denmark or Germany, or an autonomous region under the protection of the League of Nations.
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Poland appeared so close to collapse that even Polish voters had cast their ballots for Germany". Blanke alleged "coercion of various kinds even in the face of an allied occupation regime" occurred, and that Germany granted votes to those "who had been born in Upper Silesia but no longer resided there". Blanke concluded that despite these protests "there is plenty of other evidence, including Reichstag election results both before and after and the large-scale emigration of Polish-speaking Upper Silesians to Germany after , that their identification with Germany in was neither exceptional nor temporary" and "here was a large population of Germans and Poles—not coincidentally, of the same Catholic religion—that not only shared the same living space but also came in many cases to see themselves as members of the same national community".
Despite the oppression and migration, Opole Silesia "remained ethnically mixed.
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Frank Russell wrote that, in regards to the Saar plebiscite, the inhabitants "were not terrorized at the polls" and the "totalitarian [Nazi] German regime was not distasteful to most of the Saar inhabitants and that they preferred it even to an efficient, economical, and benevolent international rule. During the formulation of the treaty, the British wanted Germany to abolish conscription but be allowed to maintain a volunteer Army.
The French wanted Germany to maintain a conscript army of up to , men in order to justify their own maintenance of a similar force. Thus the treaty's allowance of , volunteers was a compromise between the British and French positions. Germany, on the other hand, saw the terms as leaving them defenseless against any potential enemy. Max Hantke and Mark Spoerer wrote "military and economic historians [have] found that the German military only insignificantly exceeded the limits" of the treaty prior to Bell argued that the British Government was aware of later Weimar rearming, and lent public respectability to the German efforts by not opposing them,  an opinion shared by Churchill.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Treaty of Versailles disambiguation. One of the treaties that ended World War I. Long name:. Principal Allies. League of Nations. Treaty of Versailles. Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine. Treaty of Trianon. Events leading to World War II.
Main article: World War I. Play media. Main article: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Main article: Armistice of 11 November Main article: Occupation of the Rhineland.
Main article: Blockade of Germany. Further information: Full text of the treaty.
Jean Baudrillard (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Administered by the League of Nations. Annexed or transferred to neighbouring countries by the treaty, or later via plebiscite and League of Nations action. Weimar Germany. Main article: League of Nations mandate. Main article: World War I reparations. See also: Stab-in-the-back legend. Further information: Aftermath of World War I. Politics portal Law portal World War I portal.
BBC History Magazine. Retrieved 11 January Woodrow Wilson: A Biography. Yale University Press. The Legacy of the Great War: Peacemaking, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. Penguin Books. II and III. Henig, Versailles and After: — London: Routledge, p. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. Journal of American History. The Review of Politics. Cambridge University Press. The New York Times. China's Political System.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Pinson Modern Germany: Its History and Civilization 13th printing ed. New York: Macmillan. Nazi Germany: A New History , p. Oxford University Press. The Economic Consequences of the Peace. Ch VI. The Treaty includes no provisions for the economic rehabilitation of Europe—nothing to make the defeated Central Empires into good neighbours, nothing to stabilize the new States of Europe, nothing to reclaim Russia; nor does it promote in any way a compact of economic solidarity amongst the Allies themselves; no arrangement was reached at Paris for restoring the disordered finances of France and Italy, or to adjust the systems of the Old World and the New.
The Council of Four paid no attention to these issues, being preoccupied with others—Clemenceau to crush the economic life of his enemy, Lloyd George to do a deal and bring home something which would pass muster for a week, the President to do nothing that was not just and right. It is an extraordinary fact that the fundamental economic problems of a Europe starving and disintegrating before their eyes, was the one question in which it was impossible to arouse the interest of the Four.
Reparation was their main excursion into the economic field, and they settled it as a problem of theology, of polities, of electoral chicane, from every point of view except that of the economic future of the States whose destiny they were handling. Economic History Review. Archived from the original PDF on 27 October New York: Cambridge University Press. BBC Bitesize. A Perfidious Distortion of History. Melbourne: Scribe.
August in German. Retrieved 22 September Juli auf weniger als Perspectives on the Twentieth Century. Praeger; First Edition. Indiana University Press. CS1 maint: extra text: authors list link Bell, P. Beller, Steven A Concise History of Austria. Cambridge Concise Histories.
CS1 maint: extra text: authors list link Bessel, Richard Germany After the First World War. Boemeke Editor , Manfred F.
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