"The Peace of Versailles Lacked Moral Validity form the Start."

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The treaty was replete with unstable compro­mises, reflecting more materialism than idealism.

On the question of territorial changes and national self-determination, there was some justification. But why, for example, should this facility have been given to the Danes of Northern Schleswig and Poles and Czechs of Southern Silesia, but not to the Germans so Sudetenland.

The Peace of Versailles

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There was also an element of hypocrisy for the confis­cation of Germany’s colonies. Wilson’s avowed reason for removing regions like S-W Africa and Rwanda- Burundi from the proven harshness of German rule, yet some of the states which received them as mandates could hardly claim of exemplary records. The Versailles settlement lacked wisdom in its own aim to destroy Germany’s very means of existence. The Coal and Iron provisions were inexpedient and disastrous. The situa­tion was aggravated by the damage done to German commerce by the restrictions imposed on ship building and protective tariff.

Above all the indemnity being considered by the Allies in 1919 was well beyond German means to pay. Reduction of her armed forces and arms and ammunitions was a bitter pill which Germany was forced to swallow. Hence by this treaty, the defeated Germany was forced to accept her own guilt. Therefore it had become a question of national honour for her to revolt and to revenge on those who had done this which later on, exploited to the optimum by Hitler.

The real drawback of the treaty of Versailles and other treaties was that no arrangements were made for solving the problems that arose as a result of constitut­ing new states. The constitution of new states in the devastated continent created 1200 miles of new bor­ders which caused tariff obstructions and serious economic difficulties, strangulated the newly consti­tuted nationalities. This was the main reason for the troubles and political instability that Europe had to face for the next-twenty years and which ultimately culmi­nated in 2nd World War.

The treaty made the matter worse. The most impor­tant reason for this was that the Allied Powers were fighting for their own means rather than having a visionary and futuristic attitude. The overall result was inevitably the triumph of expediency over ideals, lead­ing to the deterioration of moral awareness.

Submitted by : Dr. Payton, Category : History, Tag : Versailles