Versailles Treaty is the most significant agreement of the early twentieth century, designed the results of the World War I and established the first international organization, the League of Nations, founded to prevent major conflicts in the future (Goldstein 9). Germany signed peace on the terms of the winners, the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, etc. Its supporters experienced political turmoil, their states broke up, and territorial claims were raised against them.
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The burden of reparations, restrictions, and occupation laid on Germany. Moral responsibility for the war was imposed on them. The Entente rallied the defeated countries against itself and caused their hatred. On the other hand, differences within the Entente did not allow it to build a solid guarantee against German revenge. Each of the winners was negotiating with Germany without the knowledge of the partners and biased her against the allies. The German army was not finally crushed. Its personnel structure survived (Fawcett 65). Entente itself helped to save it (Slavicek 82). As a result of the war and the Versailles Treaty, contradictions between the allies deepened.
The sharp struggle between England and France, the U.S. and Britain, the US and Japan, finally, between Italy and the leading powers of the Entente. To all this was added the root contradiction of two systems — capitalism and socialism (Sondhaus 455). From the German perspective, the Treaty was the “Versailles diktat” of the winners. The majority of the population embraced democracy as a foreign order imposed by Western countries.
Fatal was the fact that the struggle against Versailles meant the fight against the democracy. Politicians, who have called for restraint and compromise with the West, immediately were accused of shameful weakness or betrayal. It was the ground for totalitarian and aggressive Nazi regime (Graebner and Bennett 108). The Versailles Treaty was to end the war. In reality, he turned it into a constant threat hanging over the world.
The article “Two Cheers for Versailles” by Mark Mazower introduces a new look at the events followed the Versailles Treaty. The author of this paper suggests a point of view that these agreements were the basis for the development of current politics and international relations. Major political scientists and historians zealously criticize the items of these agreements ant their consequences. However, this article shows the inevitability of the major events.
The alternatives to them might be even more tragic and shattering for the world. In comparison to the text, which contains more critical and one-sided look at the events of those years, the author of the article tries to foresee the outcome of events without Versailles Treaty. Mark Mazower (par. 12) claims that return to old traditions was impossible. Thus, Versailles Treaty was the logical and the only possible way out for all the parties. I liked the informal style of the article presentation.
The information suggested by the author is rather detailed, supported with evidence and author’s ’personal conclusions and judgments. I appreciated the attempt of the author to look forward and presuppose the development of the situation without the agreements. From this point of view, all the participating countries had rather unattractive alternatives. The information of the text is rather categorical concerning the Versailles Treaty. It is presented in a rather official way and does not contain the direct attitude of the author to the events described by him. It looks more like a presentation of historical events while the article is vivid analyses of the Versailles Treaty’s after-effects.
Fawcett, Bill. 100 Mistakes That Changed History. New York: Berkley Books, 2010. Print.
Goldstein, Erik. The First World War Peace Settlements, 1919-1925. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Graebner, Norman A, and Edward M Bennett. The Versailles Treaty And Its Legacy. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.
Mazower, Mark. “Two Cheers for Versailles.” History Today 49.7 (1999): n. pag. Web.
Slavicek, Louise Chipley. The Treaty of Versailles. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2010. Print.
Sondhaus, Lawrence. World War I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Print.