Treaty of Versailles & Outcome of WW1 - Civil Services Preparation Online! UPSC & IAS Study Material

Treaty of Versailles & Outcome of WW1

by Devender

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All the countries that fought against Germany wanted different types of treaties for their benefit. For Example:

  • Britishers wanted a moderate treaty because they saw Germany as a market for British exports
  • While France wanted a harsh treaty as they saw Germany as a threat in future
  • The USA also wanted a moderate treaty but they were disappointed with Germany as they signed a harsh treaty with Russians and the destruction of civil infrastructure by Germans during the retreat

At last, everyone reached a compromise according to which Germans didn't have to pay the whole cost of the war but only for the damages done to civilians and their property.

Treaty of Versailles

The victorious countries all gathered at Versailles. It was 27 countries but the terms of the treaty were only governed by Britain, the USA, and France. Russia and Germany were not included.

This treaty was one of the most controversial settlements ever signed and it was even criticized by Allied countries because it wasn't a negotiation but an imposition of demands from the victorious countries over the defeated ones. All the different countries suffered differently from this treaty but Germany suffered the most.

  • Germany
  • The clause of war guilt held Germany and its allies responsible for aggression
  • Alsace-Lorraine was returned to France
  • Coal Mines in the German area of Saar were given to France for 15 years
  • German territories were given to Denmark, Belgium, Poland, and Czechoslovakia
  • Rhine valley was to be demilitarized
  • Germany was disarmed and allowed to have an army of only 10,000
  • The union between Austria and Germany was forbidden
  • No air-force or submarines were allowed to Germany
  • All German colonies were divided among victorious parties
  • A huge sum of $6600 million Pounds was to be paid by Germany as cost of war damages
  • China was also present during the treaty but their areas that were under German control were not returned to them. In fact, those areas were given to Japan.

  • Austria-Hungary
  • Austria and Hungary were reduced to a very small size and all territory was distributed among European nations as they saw fit.

  • Ottoman Empire
  • Complete dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire took place
  • Its colonies were made mandates and divided between Britain and France
  • France mandate included Syria while British mandates included Trans-Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine
  • Britain and France were to look after the interests of people of mandates but they governed it like colonies

Most of the Turkish territory was given to Greece and Italy. Hence, Turkey became a very small state.

Reasons for loss of Germany

There were many reasons behind the loss that Germany suffered but some were more important than any others.

  • Germans were made to fight on two fronts
  • Allied Seapower was decisive
  • Failure of German submarines campaign
  • The USA brought new resources to War
  • Allied political leaders Lloyd George and Clemenceau were more competent
  • Germany was let down by its allies badly and had to constantly send help to Austrians and Bulgarians

  • The outcome of World War I

    The whole world suffered a lot during the war and its end brought a lot of relief.

  • War killed over 9 million people
  • It led to many epidemics and famines causing various social problems
  • The economy of many countries collapsed
  • Ruling dynasties were destroyed and the Political map of the world was transformed
  • Romanov in Russia, Hohenzollern in Germany, and Habsburg in Austria-Hungary, and the rule of the Ottoman Empire came to an end
  • Gave birth to many Independent nations and national movements
  • Freedom movement got strength in Asia and Africa
  • End of European supremacy, USA surpassed it and soon the Soviet Union was to become a world power
  • The claims that European soldiers are supreme came to end after the role played by Asian and African soldiers

This war was supposed to be the "war to end all wars" but it never actually happened. The harsh treaties resulted in further conflicts, and Imperialism was not destroyed. The victorious nations started enlarging their kingdoms and the re-division of the world was lurking.

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