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The Treaty of Versailles

Thesis: The Treaty of Versailles, which was the official end of World War I, was the
main cause that led to World War II.

World War II, one of the greatest conflicts of all time, had many different aspects
that led to its beginning. The signing of the Treaty of Versailles marked the end of
World War I. Ironically, this was also the main cause that led to World War II. The
Treaty of Versailles, the creation of the League of Nations, the post-war state of
Germany, and Adolf Hitler's rise to power all led to the greatest war of all time;
World War II.

The main reason for the Treaty of Versailles was to punish Germany for the
damage that it caused during World War I. The people responsible for creating
the Treaty consisted of four main world leaders: Vittorio Orlando from Italy, Lloyd
George from England, Wood Wilson from the United States, and George
Clemenceau from France (Wheeler, 1).
In the wake of World War I, many people around the world were enraged at
Germany. "Hang the Kaiser" and "Make Germany pay" were two common sayings
during the development of the Treaty of Versailles. Most leaders supported the
public and echoed these feelings (Trueman, 2). The first aspect of the Treaty was
called the War Guilt Clause. It stated that Germany was the main reason for the
start of World War I. Another part of the Treaty was the Reparation clause.
"Germany had to pay £6,600 million pounds for the damage caused by
the war"(Wheeler, 1). There was also the Disarmament of Germany. This stated
that "Germany was only allowed to have a small army and six naval ships. No
tanks, no airforce, and no submarines were allowed"(Wheeler, 1). Also, there was
the act of de-militarizing the Rhineland. Next were the Territorial Clauses. "Land
was taken away from Germany and given to other countries. Anschluse (union
with Austria) was forbidden" (Wheeler, 1). "The Treaty of Versailles was signed on
June 28th, 1919" (Wheeler, 3).

The League of Nation is an international organization established in 1919 that's


main goal was to keep world peace. The League of Nations was planned so that
every country would be aloud to join the League of Nations. But if there were
conflicts between countries they could be solved by negotiation rather than by
force. Germany was one of the few countries that could not join the League of
Nations. Russia was also dismissed due to the rising fear to communism. Other
countries decided to not join the League of Nation, but later abandoned. Japan
was hit by a depression in 1931. "People lost faith in government and turned to
the army to find a solution". The Japanese army attacked Manchuria. Manchuria
was an area in China that was very wealthy in minerals as well as in property.
The Japanese army was ordered to leave Manchuria as fast as possible. The
League of Nations made it so that all countries had to stop trading with each
other. The League of Nation made a call to Japan and told them to leave
Manchuria. Instead, Japan decided to retire from the League of Nations. "The
Abyssinians did not have the power to hold up an assault by Italy and requested

the League of Nations to help" (Wheeler, 3). "In October 1935 Italy invaded
Abyssinia" (Wheeler, 3). "Form October 1935 to August 1936 Italy invades and
occupies Abyssinia" (Adams, 9). A massive economical depression hit the world
in the late 1920's. When the depression hit, many countries were reluctant to
stop trading in fear of losing ties with trading nations. "Trade was reduced,
Businesses lost income, price fall and unemployment rose". "Countries were
reluctant to get invaded and risk provoking an aggressive country into taking
direct action against them and failed to provide troops". "This process meant that
the League could not act quickly to stop an act of aggression". This decision had
to be settled by every nation. Ask member countries to stop training. Countries
were able to trade with non-member countries making these decisions
powerless. The League of Nations failed in the end (Wheeler, 3).
In WWI 2,000,000 soldiers were killed (Trueman, 1). "In 1934 Germany began rearming, many politicians felt that Germany had a right to re-arm in order to
protect herself". "In May 1937, Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister of
Britain". "Nevill Chamberlain believed that the Treaty of Versailles had treated
Germany badly and that there were a number of issues associated with the
Treaty of Versailles needed to be put right". "During the 1930's, many politicians
in both Britain and France came to see that the terms of the Treaty of Versailles
had placed restrictions on Germany that were unfair". "It was also argued that a
stronger Germany would prevent the spread of communism to the west"
(Wheeler, 2).
Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in January of 1933 (Wheeler, 2). In
February 1933, Reichstag (or the parliament building) caught fire and Hitler used
this to ban any opposition to the government. "On January 30th, 1933, President
Hindenburg asked Hitler to form a new government" (Adams, 9). On March 1933,
the Enabling Act gives Hitler dictatorial powers. On August 1st, 1934 President
Hindenburg died and Hitler becomes Fuhrer (Adams, 9). Hitler represented the
Nazi party. "Nazis were strongly anti-Semitic and believed that the Germans were
a 'master race' who should dominate the world (Adams, 6). Hitler made a
decision to make two alliances with very important groups. "The first was called
Rome-Berlin". "The second was called anti-Comitem". In "1934, Hitler increased
the size of the army, and began creating German air forces and built warships".
Hitler was building weapons and at the same time building up Germany's army,
but he was doing all of this secretly. "In 1936, Hitler argued that because France
had signed a new Treaty with Russia, Germany was under threat from both
countries and it was essential to German Security that the troops were stationed
in this point". "France needed the British to help fight the Germans because
France was not strong enough to win the fight" (Wheeler, 2). Chamberlain
believed that the Munich Agreement "provided peace for our time" (Adams, 8).
"The Munich Agreement, signed by the leaders of Germany, Britain, France, and
Italy, agreed that the Sudetenland would be returned to Germany and that no
further territorial claims would be made by Germany" (Wheeler, 3). In March
1939, Hitler was not good at keeping his word, for example he invaded the rest
of Czechoslovakia. "Hitler did not keep his word and six months later demanded
that the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia be handed to Germany" (Wheeler,
2). "In March 1939, Hitler broke the Munich Agreement by invading the rest of
Czechoslovakia" (Wheeler, 3). Germany lost land so Hitler set off to try and get
some back (Wheeler, 2). In March 1938, Anschlus, or union, between Austria and

Germany (Adams, 9). "In 1936, Hitler ordered the German troops to enter
Rhineland" (Wheeler, 2). In March 1936, German troops occupy demilitarized
Rhineland (Adams, 9). "Britain and France heard about Hitler's actions, they were
both concerned about the raise of communication and believed that a stronger
Germany might help prevent spreading of communism to the West". "In March
1938 German troops marched into Austria". On September 1st, 1939, Germany
invaded Poland (Wheeler, 2). "The Czech government was not invited to the
conference and protested about the loss of the Sudetenland" (Wheeler, 3).

In 1939 the war was about to start. Germany had acquired Czechoslovakia and
Austria and now turned its attention towards Poland. Germany had to first
contract with the only country that could stand in its way, the USSR and its
leader (Josef Stalin) in 1939. In April 1939, the Nazi-Soviet planned an alliance
with Britain and France to stop Hitler (Adams, 10). On September 1st, Germany
invaded Poland. "German's campaign against Poland consisted of a rapid tank
and armored vehicle blitzkrieg (lightning war) supported by a heavy air
bombardment that overwhelmed the polish army". The Russian forces attacked
from the east side dividing the country in two on September 17th, 1939.
Germany occupies western Czechoslovakia in March 1939. German signs
nonaggression pact with the USSR in August 1939 (Adams, 11). "On March 12th,
1940, the Treaty of Moscow ends "winter war" between Russia and Finland". On
April 9th, 1940, Germans occupied Denmark and Invaded Norway. On April 14th,
1940, allied troops landed in Norway but failed to prevent German occupation.
On Mat 10th, 1940, Chamberlain resigns as the British prime minister; Winston
Churchill takes over; Germany occupies Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and
France. From May 26th, 1940, through June 4th, 1940, evacuation of allied troops
from Dunkirk started. On June 10th, 1940, Italy entered war on German side and
occupies southern France. On June 14th, 1940, Germany entered Paris. On
June18th, 1940, London, General de Gaulle rallies French resistance behind the
free French movement. On June 30th, 1940, German forces landed in the channel
island, the only British territories occupied during the war. From July 10th, 1940,
through October 12th, 1940, the battle of the British fought in skies over
southern England; German Luftwaffe (air force) fails to over come British royal air
force (Adams, 13).
In the end of World War I the Treaty of Versailles, League of Nation and Hitler
were the biggest cause to the start of World War II.