The Treaty of Versailles satisfied no-one totally and many of the terms were quite unfair towards Germany. The treaty was both unfair and cruel and the Big Three (Britain, France and USA) knew this. France was the most pleased with the treaty as since they suffered the greatest casualties and damage they sought revenge and received in the harshness of the treaty. Britain was moderately pleased with the treaty as they wished for Germany to be justly punished but not too harshly; their requirements were partly fulfilled.
The USA on the other hand was not very pleased as President Wilson believed that the treaty was much to vindictive towards Germany. The treaty was unfair due to Germany’s losses, the breaking of promises and the injustice of the eastern front. During the six months between the cease fire and the final signing of the Treaty of Versailles, millions of German men women and children died. An Allied Blockade remained in force on the border of Germany, preventing food from reaching a starving population. The Allies held the blockade strong until Germany would submit to the unfair terms of the Treaty.
Germany never wanted to sign this suicidal contract and the representatives of Germany had no input into the Treaty and did not even know the exact terms of it until presented to them with their population dying out. If Germany did not accept, the Allies would have invaded and, in fact, had started gathering forces before the terms were finally signed at the last minute. The bottom line is, though, that Germany had no choice and was forced into signing, what was in effect, its own death sentence. In addition, the countries involved in creating the treaty – France, Britain, and USA – were not as satisfied as they wanted to be.
On the great continuum of cruelty, American President Woodrow Wilson took up the pacifism argument and thought that the treaty was much too cruel. According to Wilson, this treaty offered the hopes for a fresh new solution to the old ways of war and he believed that this treaty could end all wars. Wilson’s beliefs were self-evident in his Fourteen Points, which included peace without victors or losers and self-determination of people. Georges Clemenceau believed that Germany should get the worst punishment possible. France had suffered the most during the war in terms of casualties and territory.
There are old wrongs to be righted,” Clemenceau commented. There were ancient hates, fears, the memory of the millions butchered on the fronts, the landscape scarred and the demands of revenge against a surrendering Germany. “Woodrow Wilson thinks he is Jesus,” Clemenceau remarked, shortly after the Fourteen Points were published. There were arguments within the Big 3 with Clemenceau exclaiming how Wilson knew nothing about European politics. One treaty, of course, cannot satisfy both these left and right wing extremist views In the middle of this continuum lied David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England.
He believed that Germany should be punished justly but not too harshly. He wanted justice, but he did not want revenge. He said that the treaty must not be harsh, that would just cause another war in a few years time. He tried to get a halfway point, a compromise between Wilson and Clemenceau. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles demanded German to accept a war guilt clause under article 231. This allowed the Big 3 to strip Germany of her land, including the mightily influential Alsace-Lorraine. Germany’s army and navy were also significantly reduced so that justice would be done.
Already in a great economic crisis, Germany faced a £ 6. 6 billion reparation fee with absolutely no means or hope of repaying it. When presented with the treaty, Germany reacted as one would expect; not only were they devastated but also tried to convince the Big 3. All of this, however, was pointless and the terms stood. The peace treaty proved to be a shadow of each countries view. Clemenceau was not re-elected as Prime Minister of France; Lloyd George knew that another war was going to arise. And knowing his views were never incorporated, Wilson returned back to America, incredibly denying the reality of what his dreams had now become.
There are few arguments to contradict the title statement as we are blessed with the feature of hindsight and know what the consequences of the treaty were. However, the main argument is that Germany did start the war and deserved everything they got. The Big 3 could not risk another war breaking out so they took away the German forces (although this plan backfired). It was only right that Germany pay reparations for the damage caused and the lives lost, and this pleased the Big 3, France especially. Various territories were given back to previous owners and these people were happy that justice had been done and revenge had been taken.
To conclude, it is my personal belief that the Treaty of Versailles was unfair and cruel towards a country that was forced to take total blame for starting the war. Many people in Germany died in vain because of the Kaiser’s greed and power hungry mindset. The majority of the population had done nothing wrong and did not deserve to be tortured whilst Germany did not want to sign the treaty. Having said that, the treaty could have been much worse and may have ended with an Allie invasion into Germany.
More views of all leaders of the Big 3 should have been counted and therefore the treaty may have pleased them a little more. However, it turned out that all leaders were unhappy with the treaty for different reasons and it was definitely unfair towards Germany. In terms of the first statement, I agree that the treaty did more bad than good and although it may have pleased some people, the majority of the populations were mourning over a lost opportunity to end all wars for good. And Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Wilson knew that the Treaty of Versailles had not filled their criteria.