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Treaty Of Versailles

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#1 Jimmy Bloggs

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 01:40 PM

Hi - I'm looking through my notes to try and get some revision done. One thing I keep coming back to is the Treaty of Versailles.

Would it be ok to say that they treaty was the main cause of World War II and that it was resentment that causes World War II?

#2 Mr Field

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 01:51 PM

Good to be organising your revision.

What you need to consider is the fact that there were a number of causes to World War I - the Treaty of Versailles is one of them. Have a look at this page to find out more - http://www.johndclar...oadtoWWII7a.htm

5 important factors:
Failure of the League of Nations
Events leading to the outbreak - the knock-on effect of each event.

Hope this clears things up.

#3 Miss Buxton

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 06:21 PM

also taken from

Memory Aids:

1. Guilt – clause 231: Germany accepted blame ‘for causing all the loss and damage’ of the war.
2. Army – army: 100,000/ no submarines/ no aeroplanes/ 6 battleships/ Rhineland de-militarised
3. Reparations – £6,600 million – in instalments, until 1984).
4. Germany lost land – Alsace-Lorraine to France/ Saar to France (15 years)/ Malmedy to Belgium/ North Schleswig to Denmark/ West Prussia and Upper Silesia to Poland/ Danzig a ‘free city’/ Memel to Lithuania/ German colonies became ‘mandates’ of the League of Nations.
5. League of Nations set up.
6. Extra points – forbade Anschluss/ Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania independent states.

[memory word: U GARGLER]
1. Unfairly treated – no part in Conference talks/ forced to sign/ few of 14 Points in the Treaty.
2. Guilt – ‘Such a confession in my mouth would be a lie’, said Count Brockdorff-Rantzau.
3. Armed forces – meant Germany could not defend itself against even small countries (the Dungervolker - Dung people).
4. Reparations – starved German children.
5. Germany lost territory – a humiliation/ contrary to self-determination/ made Germany poorer - took farm land (W Prussia) and industrial land (Saar).
6. League of Nations – an insult/ meant Germany couldn’t defend itself in the League of Nations.
7. Extra – forbidding Anschluss was against the principle of self-determination.
8. Results – riots in Berlin/the Deutsche Zeitung attacked ‘the disgraceful treaty’/ Kapp Putsch (1920) to try to overturn the Treaty.

1. Big Three negotiated Versailles - other treaties designed by officials.
2. Outlined principles (self-determination/Guilt/Army reduced/Reparations/loss of land) - other treaties simply applied them.
3. League of Nations was set up by Versailles.
4. Major Powers were involved: how Britain and France dealt with Germany; not scared of Austria or Turkey.
5. Afterwards, Versailles led to Hitler and World War II

#4 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 04 April 2004 - 06:30 PM

Would it be ok to say that they treaty was the main cause of World War II and that it was resentment that causes World War II?

You get lots of these kind of questions at GCSE - they ask you whether something was the most important cause, or more important than another cause etc.
You always answer them in the same way:
1. Arguments for
2. Arguments against
3. Weigh a conclusion.

Take this particular question. You would answer it like this:
Paragraph 1 - arguments for.
There are many ways in which the Treaty of Versailles COULD be said to have caused WWII. Here are three ideas:
a. It angered the Germans who were determined to get revenge (see http://www.johndclar...e_treaties5.htm, especailly Source A).
b. It brought Adolf Hitler to power, who came to power promising to destroy the Treaty (which ws point 2 of the 25-point Programme) and to restore Germany to greatness 'by blood' (see http://www.johndclar...oV5_sources.htm Source 4).
c. Many British and French polticiains AGREED that it was too harsh, so the Treaty of Versailles led to the APPEASEMENT of Hitler in the 1930s. This encouraged Hitler to think that Britain and France were scared of him, and he went on and on until there was a war. If it had not for the fact that they agreed that the Treaty of versailles was unfair, they might have opposed Hitler firmly much earlier, and pre-empted a world war.

Paragraph 2 - arguments against.
But there is a lot that could be said against the idea:
a. How could it be said that the Treaty of Versailles caused the war? It had been almost completely dismantled by 1939 (Hindenburg had denied war guilt in 1927/ Hitler had been building up the German armed forces since 1935, including a naval treaty with Britain in 1935/ the Dawes Plan (1924) and the Young Plan (1929) had reduced reparations, which had been cancelled in 1932/ Germany had got back the Saar in 1935/ germany was allowed to joing the League in 1926/ Germany had been allowed Anschluss in 1938, and had in addition been allowed union with the Sudeten germans in 1938. The Treaty of Versailles - it had already been destroyed and discreditedGermany did not go to war in 1939 to reverse the Treaty of Versailles - they went to war to try to reverse the result of World War I
b. There were many other factors which could be said to have caused WWII - failure of the League, which removed the chance to stop war by negotiation/ appeasement, which encouraged Hitler to think he could do anything without anybody daring to stop him/ Hitler's aggression and war-mongering/ cumulative emnity caused by the events of 1933-1938, especially Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, which led Chamberlain to promised to defend Poland if attacked.
c. The one thing which allowed the outbreak of war was the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939, which freed Hitler to inbade Poland. Without it, war might have been delayed or even prevented.

Paragraph 3 - conclusion.
I am not going to tell you this! Weigh the arguments in paragraph one against the arguments in paragraph 3 and come to your own conclusion!!!

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