On the outskirts of Paris on June 28, 1919 , European leaders gathered in the Palace of Versailles to sign one of the most abhorred treaties in world history.
The Treaty of Versailles formally ended the First World War and, in the same way, laid the foundations for the Second World War. Although it was required by a peace conference, which lasted more than a year, no signatory country liked it. More than 65 million people participated in the First World War, and more than 8.5 million members of the army died from this cause and at least 6.6 million civilians.
The war wiped out agricultural lands, battlefields across Europe and the city. And according to most, Germany was the main culprit. Despite contemporary historians, they are still in disagreement over who was responsible for the First World War, the treaty marked and punished Germany.
From idealism to punishment
In the first war, president woodrow Wilson , proposed the fourteen points, this was based on a world peace plan that proposed founding an association of united nations in order to guarantee the security of Europe and prohibit countries from signing secret treaties of mutual protection.
However, much of this idealistic plan collapsed during the negotiations because the other allied nations preferred to focus their priorities on reparations. The treaty came about in order to blame Germany for the war. The document seized 13% of the German territory and a tenth of its population. The Rhineland region was invaded and demilitarized, and the new League of Nations took over the German colonies.
In addition to this, the German army was reduced to 100,000 men and the country was prohibited from recruiting soldiers. Much of his weapons were seized and his army was stripped of its wealth.
Due to this treaty Germany was forced to bring its emperor, Wilhelm II , to trial for crimes committed during the war. The treaty required Germany to cancel 269 billion gold marks, the equivalent of 33 billion euros.
The European rulers signed the treaty in the hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles, where exactly the German empire had originated and where Wilhelm II’s father had been crowned emperor in 1817. This was a total slap in the face for Germany. whose residents classified it as “guilt of the war” a great humiliation.
The United States did not participate in the treaty due to the political divide between Republicans and Democrats.
Consequences attracted by the treaty
Although there was a desire for peace due to the disasters caused by the war, the treaty did not achieve what was expected. The painful damages and repairs resulted in the reduction of the country’s industrial production. On the other hand, other forces stimulated hyperinflation in the 1920s, which played an important role according to the economic instability of the Great Depression.