The most obvious reason to why Germany was treated in the way it was at Versailles is because the representatives of the country were not at the peace negotiations. The other countries would not allow them to be present, as these countries could then give severe punishments without having to argue with the German representatives over the consequences. There were also many other reasons for the way Germany was treated. Germany before and during World War One, was one of the most powerful countries in Europe.
If the Germans were treated very badly at Versailles, Britain would have been the most powerful country. This is what Lloyd George and the British public wanted. Britain also wanted revenge as she had lost many men during the War. Lloyd George did not, however want to take revenge on Germany, as he feared that she would retaliate later on, when she had become stronger. British politicians were under much pressure from the angry public. The British public wanted to take revenge as it was their family members that had died or been injured during the War.
They felt that they should make Germany suffer, just as they had. Georges Clemenceau, the French President, agreed with the British Public’s opinion. He agreed that Germany should suffer for the damages and loss she had caused. The French public also accepted that Germany should pay. Most fighting had taken place on French land; therefore, France had suffered the most damage, mainly by Germany. They had lost many soldiers and had damage to many buildings and much land. They wanted Germany to agree to many terms.
America had a completely different view on the consequences that should be faced by Germany. The President of America, Woodrow Wilson, felt that Germany should not be treated too harshly. He wanted World peace and proposed that Germany would take revenge. To help preserve world peace, Wilson made “fourteen points” which would hopefully reserve the peace which was lost during the Great War. America’s views were not appreciated by the French and the British public. They believed that America should not have a very strong say in the peace treaty, as they were hardly effected by the War.
America did not join the War until April 1917. The War ended on the 11th of November 1918. America only participated in the War for just over a year and a half, where Britain and France had been fighting since 1914! Britain and France lost thousands more men than America did. It was obvious that they would want revenge a lot more that America. Many countries blamed Germany for starting the War. Germany was the first country to declare War on Russia, as they felt under threat. This sparked off a whole chain reaction of events, which lead to nearly all of Europe being at War.
Many countries wanted Germany to accept the blame for starting the War, even if they believed it was not their fault. Germany was in no place to argue with the other countries over disagreements. Germany’s army was defeated in World War One, so they had no way of physically fighting for their rights. Germany’s economy was also in trouble because of the War. There were food shortages, many people had died during the War and there was a severe case of Spanish flu, which was killing many people. Germany was also in a bad position politically. There was a communist revolt, which made Germany even weaker than it already was.
The fact that Germany was in no position to argue made it a lot easier to meet harsh consequences for Germany. Past controversies may be a reason as to why Germany was treated the way it was at Versailles. Because Germany had had disputes with the countries behind the peace treaty in earlier years, they may have appreciated t Hat as a perfect time to take revenge. This was the case for France. In a previous disagreement, Germany had taken the territory of Alsace Lorraine from France. France then wanted this land, which was on the border of France and Germany, back.
The three big leaders of America, France and Britain eventually came to the decision of six major terms, which Germany had to abide by. Germany had to take full blame for the War. This made them feel as if they were being blamed for losing the War. They had to reduce the size and placing of their army, navy and airforce. This would mean that they would have been a lot weaker than other countries, which still had full size military services. Germany had all of her overseas colonies taken away from her. Germany also lost land to France, Belgium, Denmark, Poland and The League of Nations.
This meant that Germany lost some of its population as many Germans lived in the areas taken by these countries. The League of Nations was set up to settle future disputes by talking about problems between countries’, instead of using violence. Germany was forced to pay i?? 6600 million reparations. By giving Germany economic problems, the allies felt safe from attack of a Nation, which before the Great War was extremely powerful. All of the reasons which led to Germany being treated the way it was, were consequences of Germany not being allowed to be present at Versailles.