The aftermath of World War 1 in Europe was very much in turmoil and it was because the peacemakers weren’t able to see the scale of the damage of that WW1 causes. The empires of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia were nonexistent. Russia had undergone two revolutions, the states that were left behind were struggling economically along with the issues that the civilian population was facing such as famine, the Spanish Flue, and displacement there was a lot to repair in the aftermath.
A social impact that World War 1 had was the phenomena of the a “lost generation”. Great Britain and France was in this phenomena because there was 20% of men aged between 20 and 41 were lost. 41,000 lost at least of their limbs in Great Britain and others were permanently disabled. Economic Consequences:
Not only was the economic consequences were huge in the countries that were directly affect by the war but also the industries that would help to contribute to the economy after a war.
•Great Britain spent 34 billion pounds by themselves.
•German U-Boats sank 40% of British merchant
•France had 2 million hectares of land destroyed along with farms, factories and railway lines. Decline in manufacturing output. Political Consequences
The lines in Central Europe were redrawn, with the collapse of multi-national, monarchical regimes. Germany: November 11, 1918- there was revolution in Germany, sailors took over the town of Kiel and other areas went along with this. There were socialists revolts led by workers and soldiers in ports and cities. The Kaiser left to Holland and Friedrich Ebert was the new leader of Germany. Russia: They had two revolutions in 1917, one took over the Tsarist regime and another took over the Provisional government (that was in place after the Tsar) that promised to hold free elections. The second one was led by communist Bolsheviks. Habsburg Empire: Austria and Hungary split into different countries and the last Emperor, Karl 1, left on November 1918.
Turkey: The collapse of the family on 1922 was replaced by Mustapha Kemal, which put in an authoritarian regime. In the end, the collapse of all these countries left Central Europe in turmoil, along with the growth of socialist polices many capitalist and ruling classes were afraid that the revolutions would spread among countries that have weak post-war economies. Impact of the War outside of Europe:
•Emerged out of the war, as a leading nation because American trade/industry took over the gap left by European countries. The US took over markets •Wilson hoped that the US would be a bigger player in international affairs and wanted a new type of world order to have collective security and prevent another World War. •Spanish Flu, racial tensions and the return of isolationism made a lot of American citizens wary of Wilson’s new proposals. Japan and China:
•Japan experienced economic prosperity because there was demand for Japanese products and there were new markets that they took a chance on. •They expanded land-wise, taking German holdings in Shandon and islands in the Pacific. •Japan sent a list of 21 demands in order to have an iron fist on the Chinese economy and political system •China entered the war in 1917 and a voice in the new treaty being written but their goals were the complete opposite of Japan. Problems facing the peacemakers in 1919:
The Versailles peace conference was dominated by three political leaders: 1.David Lloyd George-Prime Minister of the UK
2.Georges Clemenceau-Prime Minister of France
There were three factors that made a treat hard to achieve:
•Different aims of peacemakers
•Nature of the Armistice settlement and mood of the German population •Popular sentiment in the Allied countries.
Wilson had Fourteen Points which were his goals
1.Abolition of secret diplomacy
2.Free navigation at sea for all nations in war and peace
3.Free trade between countries
4.Disarmament by all Countries
5.Colonies to have a say in their future
6.German troops to leave Russia
7.Restoration of inde. for Belgium
8.France to regain Alsace and Lorraine
9.Frontier between Austria and Italy
10.Serbia to have access to the sea
11.Self-determination for the peoples of Austria-Hungary
12.Self-determination for the people in the Turkish Empire
13.Poland to have access to the sea along with being independent. 14.A League of Nations to be set up to preserve peace
The members of the Triple Ententa had different perspectives on how to punish Germany. Lloyd George wanted to include a disarmament clause to the Treaty because they didn’t want the German military to threaten the colonies of Great Britain ever again. They also wanted Germany to recover fast in order for them to trade more with them and to repel the growing threat of communism in Europe. Clemenceau of France wanted harsh settlements towards Germany because they wanted to keep Germany weak and they wanted Germany to pay back war damage in order for France to rebuild their country again. Armistice Settlement:
In the end, the German people were led to believe that the country were to rebuilt in the image of Wilson’s Fourteen points in order to not face “total defeat”. Also they believed that they were to play a role in the agreements of the Treaty and thought that the final punishment wasn’t going to be so harsh. •Germany had their navy and air force removed
•Allied troops occupied the west bank of the Rhine
Popular mood in the Allied Countries:
The population of the Allied Countries was that that Germans had to pay for the four years of war. The delegates had to obtain harsh punishments against Germany in order to keep their electorate happy to vote them back into office the next election year. This was different in the US because where the general population voted in a Republican majority that was against Wilson’s foreign policy that blocked any proposals that Wilson had for the Treaty of Versailles. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles:
There were 440 clauses of the Treaty covered the following areas: War Guilt:
•Clause 231 or known as the “war guilt clause”
•It said that Germany has accepted the responsibility of all damages and losses that occurred due to the aggression of Germany and her allies. Disarmament:
•It was accepted that the arms race before WWI was a factor in causing the war •The only military that Germany was allowed was for “internal security” and took away the air force, submarines, and tanks. Territorial Changes:
•Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France
•A union between Austria and Germany was forbidden
•Germany’s African colonies were given to Britain, France, Belgium and South Africa. The ones in Asia were given to Japan, New Zealand and Australia. •All land given to Germany by Russia was returned under the principle of self-determination as proposal by Wilson. The following countries were made independent: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Mandates:
•An change in attitude toward colonies was reflected in the Treaty •Developed countries were given the responsibility to help the people in underdeveloped countries in the concept of “not yet able to protect themselves”. •This meant that the countries that were giving aid to the underdeveloped countries had to answer the League of Nations •”A” mandate countries included Palestine, Iraq, Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon were going to be the ones that are to be given independence in the near future. •”B” mandate countries were Rwanda-Urundi
•”C” mandate countries were considered “backwards” and were the North Pacific Islands, New Guinea, South West Africa and Western Samoa. Reparations:
•The “war guilt” that Germany was under, justified all the demands that the Allies had and all the punishments that they were giving to Germany. •In the end it was a sum of 6,600 million pounds of reparation money and it was to include the material damage and the future costs of pensions to war widows and war wounded. Punishment of War Criminals:
•The Treaty called for the trial of the Kaiser but the Dutch government refused to •
•extradite him to the court. While the Allied countries were unsuccessful with the Kaiser, it gave a legal and punishable concept for “crimes against humanity”. Fourteen Points Aims of European Nations/Japan
National interest of US to have freedom of the seas due to being an emerging imperialist country. Barriers could include tariffs/ taxes and the removal of economic barriers is something that all major countries could agree on because the countries needed time to rebuild their infrastructure. France didn’t wanted to reduce their military while the US agreed because militarism was a reason for WW1. France didn’t want to reduce their military because they be faced with a future foreign military threat. The US POV is that it had colonies to trade with other nations and having large amounts of colonies allows for access of trade.
The industrialized nations of Europe wanted the colonies of the Ottoman Empire because the colonies (located in North Africa and the Middle East) have oil. Everyone agreed that Belgium remained independent. France not only wanted Alsace-Lorraine but the area west of Rhineland, Lux, and Belgium. Italy wanted access to additional coastline for access of trade. France and GB didn’t see the reason for giving more land. Italy walked out of the table when its offer were rejected including gaining African colonies. The major parties didn’t want AH to join Germany. Italy didn’t want Serbia to gain access to the sea. Everyone benefits from the opening in Dardanelles which includes an independent Turkey. No conflict with an independent Poland. No one had a conflict with the League of Nations because all of the major powers of the Conference were be having control over the League of Nations.
There were several criticisms of the Treaty not only from Germany but from the Allies such as: •War Guilt: Germany fell that all countries should share the blame of starting WW and this caused them to hate the war guilt clause. It was a harsh measure considering the fact that it’s a new country and Hitler was able to use this as he used the anger felt by the German people to gain support •Disarmament Clauses: Having a strong military was something that Germany was proud of and adding the disarmament clause to the Treaty made the Germans angry, added to the fact that none of the other European countries didn’t disarm themselves during the 20’s and 30’s •Reparations: There was harsh outcry from this because the reparations payments as demanded from the Allies would be impossible for Germany to pay due to their ruined infrastructure. To make it worse, the Allies took away the land that made any type of economic recovery possible because the Allies took away the areas that had coal and iron resources. •Territorial Changes: Germany had a land taken away from them, which meant that many German people were being ruled by non-German people.
The Germans in Austria and Sudetenland weren’t given the choice of a plebiscite but the Dnaes were with northern Schleswig. •Removal of colonies: The removal of the colonies from German rule was a bit hypocritical because the countries that were placed as the new rulers weren’t the best model of colonial rulers. •League of Nations: Germany wasn’t invited the League of Nations which added insult to injury and made it less likely for the League to be successful due to the lack of international cooperation. Alternative Views:
It could also been the seen that the Treaty that came out was the best that nations could do, due to magnitude of the problems that the peacemakers were facing. Once argument that can be said is that when compared to the aims of Germany that they had during the war, the Treaty was relatively moderate in its terms. It was seen reasonable because the land and industry of Germany was left undamaged while France had suffered the blunt of the damage in WWI. It can also be said that the Treaty didn’t weaken Germany to the point where it didn’t have any influence, the breaking up of countries after the War, left Central Europe disorganized and it left a power vacuum that Germany can take advantage of in the future. The economic crisis that occurred in the 1920’s can be the fault of the German banking system, instead of raising its taxes or reforming the financial system they decided to protest the Treaty by not paying the reparations.
It was more of the reaction that German people had against the Treaty than the treaty itself that is a cause for WW2. Another issue is that there wasn’t that much enforcement with the Treaty because the countries that could have enforced it didn’t have the will to do it. The US didn’t ratify it (due to the Republicans blocking it in Congress) and Great Britain was happy because they weren’t threaten by Germany and decided not to enforce it. France was the only one that was willing to enforce the Treaty and because it feared for its safety, it invades the Rhineland with no support from Great Britain and US. The Settlement of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe
The people of Austria-Hungary had already split when the Conference was happening. Austria was reduced to a republic that had only 7 million people with a land-locked state with only 25% of its pre-war land.
Cite this World War 1 Outline
World War 1 Outline. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/world-war-1-outline/