Truth and Consequences- Taking Advantage of the Loser

Truth and Consequences: Taking Advantage of the Loser

ßill Koneski
January 4, 1997
Western Civilizations
Although the costs and strain that World War I placed on the countries involved in
it were unimaginable, the peace treaty Germany was forced to sign was neither fair nor
just. Millions upon millions of men lost their lives or were wounded and women and
children suffered from not having and positive male influence and being forced into manual
labor on the homefront. The cost alone to the United States was $27,729,000,000 and the
Americans killed numbered 53,407. Illness and other causes brought the total number of
deaths to about 126,000. There were 204,002 wounded which were not fatal. When
Allied leaders decided that it was time to end everything, they made the right decision.
After rapid troop deployment by the United States and the successful Allied counterattack,
Germany was on the run. Eventually, they surrendered and were forced into a peace
agreement. The leaders of the major allied powers, Clemenceau of France, Geroge of
Great Britain, Orlando of Italy, and Wilson of the United States, were supposed to draw
up a document for long lasting peace based on Wilson\'s Fourteen Points, but the other
leaders were vengeful. They wanted Germany to pay in a big way for their losses and
costs incurred. Instead of choosing to aim for long lasting peace by basing their treaty on
the Fourteen Points, Clemenceau, George, and Orlando drew up a treaty that would cause
Germany to go into a nation-wide depression and suffer for a whole generation. This
treaty became known as the Treaty of Versailles.
In looking at the treaty, one would think that the writers were completely biased
against Germany... and they would be right. Because France, Great Britain, and Italy
were the three main countries involved in the creation of the Traety of Versailles, they
used every minute detail of the treaty to work to their advantage. The only positive detail
of the treaty was the League of Nations. The League was planned to reduce the chances
of another war. This Covenant of the League of Nations was made the first part of the
Treaty of Versailles. Further on in the treaty Germany was forbidden to create any new or
maintain any old fortifications on the left and right banks of the Rhineland and Germany
was forced to renounce the government of the Saar in favor of the League of Nations as
trustee. France went so far as to take German coal mines in the Saar Basin as
compensation for destroyed French mines during battle. France also got back the
territories of Alsace and Lorraine and they had any territories ceeded to Germany
returned. Germany was forced to go against their views and acknowledge the complete
independence of Austria, the Czecho-Slovak State, and Poland. Any overseas possession
belonging to Germany was renounced and the German military force was demobilized. In
addition to losing much of their land and goods, it was decided on April 27, 1921 that
Germany would be forced to pay in excess of 31.5 million dollars to the Allies. In 1922
Germany fell behind in its reparations deliveries of coal. In January 1923 France and
Belgium occupied the Ruhr coal and iron district on the right bank of the Rhine. They did
this to enforce payment of reparations by Germany. Germany immediately stopped all
reparations payments. In the economic panic that followed German money became
worthless, and many Germans were financially ruined.
Through all this, the Germans hoped that President Wilson\'s Fourteen Points
would be ratified and the Treaty of Versailles would be nullified, but to no avail. The
treaty was given to the German delegation to sign at Versailles on May 7, 1919. The
German delegates strongly objected to its severe terms. and they stated that the terms
were not consistent with President Wilson\'s Fourteen Points. Although the Allies made
only small concessions, the German delegates signed on June 28, 1919. When Wilson was
notified that his Fourteen Points had been shot down by the other power players at the
peace conference, he was outraged. China, along with the United States were not at first
included among those nations making peace with Germany. China objected to the cession
to Japan of rights in the province of Shantung. On November 19, 1919 and again on
March 19, 1920, the United States Senate rejected the act ratifying the Treaty of
Versailles. They reccommended strongly that that United States not enter the League of
Nations. Even in the