The Versailles ConnectionWW1 CausingWW2 Essay Research Paper

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The Versailles Connection-WW1 CausingWW2 Essay, Research Paper The Versailles Connection – The Aftermath of WWI as a Catalyst of the Second World War by Henryk Jaronowski Mr. Serra Ms. Walter Spring 1998 Period 11 World War Two was a terrible and destructive war. Although many dynamics led to the advent of World War Two, the catalyst of the Second World War was actually the aftermath of the First World War. The First World War’s aftermath set the stage for the rise of Hitler. On Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice was signed by the German commanders in the railcar of the French commander, Ferdinand Foch, ending the actual combat of World War One. The debacle of the First World War, which killed between 10 to 13 million people, demanded retribution. The Allies needed to draw up a

treaty which formally ended hostilities between the Allies and the Central Powers. This treaty, which was called the Treaty of Versailles, was signed on June 28, 1919 and came into effect January 10, 1920.The treaty, while providing a formal peace between the Central Powers and most of the Allies (China and America), was not well liked by the Germans. They were made to agree to it under the treat of invasion by the Allies. They called it a Diktat, or slave-treaty. The treaty was very harsh towards the Germans. The treaty affected borders, hurt Germany, and created international institutions. The Treaty of Versailles changed many borders and created new countries. Out of parts of the former German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, Poland was formed. Out of the former

Austro-Hungarian empire, a multitude of smaller nations were formed. Germany’s size was decreased, while the sizes of France and Italy were increased. The Poles were given a “corridor” to the sea, cutting the remainder of East Prussia off from the main part of the German state. Danzig, a city in the Corridor, was not put under German or Polish control, but under a Leagues of Nations administered republic nominally independent of Poland and Germany. These new borders, in the end, contributed to the genesis of the Second World War. The Treaty of Versailles was detrimental to Germany in the extreme. The Germans were required to accept responsibility for the start of World War One. The Germans had to pay substantial war reparations to the victorious Allies for the damage caused

by World War One. These reparations, if they had ever been paid in full, would have burdened the German economy until the year 1988 under the plan Germany adopted. These reparations angered the German people and broke the German economy. The German government didn’t have enough money to pay the reparations, so they had to print more. The German mark became almost worthless. In 3 months in 1923, the exchange rate of the German mark to the dollar went from 4.6 million marks to the dollars to 4.2 trillion marks to the dollar. Instead of the strong monarchy that Germany had known before the war, the Treaty of Versailles set up a weak republic in Germany. This republic, called the Weimar republic because it’s capital was Weimar, was generally not well liked by the German people.

The Germans had to drastically reduce the size of their army and eliminate their navy and air force entirely. The Treaty of Versailles was very harsh on the Germans and soured the German outlook on the rest of Europe and on the world in general. The Treaty of Versailles created many new international organizations. Two of these were the League of Nations and the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Permanent Court of International Justice was a court where grievances of nations and by nations could be aired and adjudicated. The League of Nations was the forerunner of the United Nations but it did not have nearly as much power as that international organization. Only a few nations ever joined the League of Nations, and the United States of America was never a member. The