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The Treaty of Versailles

One of the greatest conflicts in the history of the world, that of World War II, changed the course of events in Western societies for the rest of the 20th Century. Its effects are felt today even today with the final ascent of the United States as a superpower and the decline of Europe. In fact, World War II was the final judgment concerning European domination of the world. However, many have said that World War II was a continuation of World War I, a war which destroyed much of Europe, crippled its domination of the world with its ruinous economic ramifications, and created the “lost generation” of millions of wounded and dead soldiers. These changes contributed to the downfall of European society. John Maynard Keynes observes, “Perhaps it is historically true that no order of society ever perishes save by its own hand.” (1) In fact, the victorious Allies of World War I condemned themselves to another world war with the Treaty of Versailles, particularly with respect to its effects on the vanquished country of Germany. The conditions of the Treaty of Versailles and their inherent weaknesses set the stage in Germany for yet another world war.
French insistence upon crippling Germany influenced many of the conditions set forth in the treaty. The chief aims of the French towards the disabling of the German state were concerned the disarmament of Germany, the demilitarization and occupation of Allied military forces in the German Rhineland and Saar Basin for fifteen years, the severe reparations, the cession of German territory. (2) The Germans ultimately resented the harsh conditions of the treaty, promoting even more animosity between the two nations when plenty had already existed earlier. Germany was forced to give up all overseas possessions, which the Allies administered as mandates. (3) In addition, France resurrected Poland to dismantle Germany’s eastern borders. (4) This separated East Prussian from the rest of ...

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