According to Margret Macmillan’s article, “The War To End All Wars”, the harsh reparations which the Germans were coerced to accept, finally paid off on October 3, 2010. The treaty not suppressed the overall authority and prosperity of the Central Powers (especially the elite German nation) but also promulgated and laid the foundation of beginnings of the Second World War. The unrelenting and difficult nature of the terms of the treaty, (some of them which are rightly justified) are in a way deserving for the guilty Central Powers.The first term was regarding the payment of heavy war reparations. War reparations are the compensation imposed on the Central Powers, the vanquished, to be paid to the Allied powers, the victors, as agreed at the Paris Peace Conference. The reparations were solely required to overhaul the collateral damage inflicted by the Central Powers of the Allied Powers. Although this penal payment on an overall scale was fair, the distribution turned out to be harsh on Germany, as, post-war, Austria, Hungary and Turkey found themselves with an economic noose and could not pay their part of the penalty. Bulgaria on the other hand , could pay only a fraction which also was later withdrawn. This left the Germans holding all the liability to their account. Germany also ended up submitting to a coerced foreign policy which proscribed them from entering into an Alliance, especially with Austria. The second provision was regarding Germany’s territorial reorganization.The treaty pressured Germany to lose some of its territories. Alsace – Lorraine became a mandate of France. (Mandate, an authorization granted by the League of Nations to a member nation to govern a former German colony.The territory was called a mandate ). Eupen and Malmedy became a mandate of Belgium. The Saar region ( coal mines ) came under the administration of the League of Nations for a period of fifteen years. Denmark gained Northern Schleswig from Germany, Rhineland was demilitarized and its fortification was prohibited. Poland received parts of West Prussia and Silesia and Danzig became a free city. This was a shrewd political strategy as it destabilized the Germans off their political, territorial and military perch. Another condition in the agreement that dealt with the incapacitation of Germany’s military prowess was the reorganization of their military forces, curbing their further territorial expansion. This required them to limit their troop capacity to a maximum of a hundred thousand soldiers. An embargo on conscription and allowing only voluntary participation in the military, not only saved countless innocent lives but restricted expansion. All armed vehicles were also dismembered. Despite these conditionalities, the establishment of the League of Nations was a total let down. It dwelled from the fact that the league wasn’t able to fulfill its only function for which it was founded: world maintenance of peace. Whilst the entire world was dependent on the League of Nations for maintaining peace and prosperity, it was unable to prevent the recurrence of another man-made calamity namely the Second World War.In conclusion , even though the Treaty of Versailles had some merciless terms , without it the suppression of Germany in the Second World War would have been really difficult because of their military , political and economic prowess at that time.
September 5, 2019 0 Comments