impression of a failed Peace has been the overwhelming judgement of
historians ever since.
Peace of Versailles was an unsatisfactory compromise with little chance of ensuring
an enduring peace. Each of the 'Big Three' had different aims
which had to be modified in order to reach an overall agreement and the
Germans were not even allowed to take part in the negotiations.
was humiliated, the French didn't feel
completely secure, the British had wanted the re-establishment of trade
more than anything else and the Americans had had to give up on their
ideals of self determination where Germany
was concerned. All this was a
recipe for disaster in my opinion.
private communication to www.johndclare.net from Carole Faithorn
Faithorn studied History and Economics at the University
. Now retired, she
was formerly Head of History at an 11-18 Catholic Boys school in Avon,
modern teachers believe that it failed to secure peace and ruined the
Treaty of Versailles was flawed to the extent that instead of preventing
future wars it made a future war inevitable.
State of Michigan,
sample core curriculum, Social Studies lesson plan 8
lesson plan, in a section:
suggests that studying the treaty of
will help students understand that ‘every
action and choice has a consequence, and different actions and different
choices result in different consequences. This is true both for
individuals and for nations. Students also learn that some actions make
other actions inevitable.
Treaty of Versailles was the basic cause of the Second World War, the
holocaust and the Cold War. Why?
Because it was a treaty made without thought of fairness or
consideration as to what its effects might be. Instead the
treaty created an alien system of democracy that was never more than
stable and which because of the constitution's flaws allowed
to be torn apart
by extremist political parties like the Communists and worse Adolf Hitler
and the Nazis. In effect it put Germany
in a situation
it couldn't get out of, with unworkable political systems and economic and
social problems just waiting to explode (hence the Nazis and their
scapegoating of Jews became much easier). Had the treaty been
fair and balanced it's likely
would never have
become embroiled in starting a Second World War, nor would the madman
Hitler have come to power and so the Holocaust would never have happed.
Could this have been predicted?
Lloyd George was sure the Treaty of Versailles would lead to a
Second World War and he was right.
private communication to www.johndclare.net from Dave Wallbanks (2004)
Wallbanks studied history at Bradford
University, and PGCE at
and is now
history Curriculum Leader at an 11-16 Community College in the North of
Treaty of Versailles was to ultimately lead Europe to a Second World War
due to the direct fact that the Big Three' ultimately had different goals
in terms of achieving peace. What is clear from the terms of
the Treaty is that France had one main aim, revenge, whereas the USA
wanted money and Britain, it could be said, wanted a more fair resolution
that would prevent future conflict. What they all failed to
take into account was that in order for a plan, a treaty or an arrangement
to be successful everybody has to have the same aims and
goals. This goes some way to explaining why the Treaty of
Versailles was not the success that it could have been.
private communication to www.johndclare.net from Nichola
Nichola Boughey gained a BA Hons in Economic and Social History at the
University of Liverpool (1997-2000) and is now a History Teacher at
Weatherhead High School, Wallasey
Treaty of Versailles was an aberration. The Allies couldn't
agree amongst themselves what to do with the defeated Germany and ended up
accepting a document that was agreed begrudgingly by some of the major
nations involved in its construction. Something created so
quickly and in an environment as hostile as the immediate aftermath of the
bloodiest war of all time was bound to be filled with clauses created more
through fear and anger than forgiveness, compassion and a desire for
rebuilding relationships and really ensuring long lasting peace. .
private communication to www.johndclare.net from Dan
Moorhouse studied History at De Montfort University and is now
Head of History at a school in Bradford.
one of my GCSE students put it, brilliantly:
Peace of Versailles was like a big stick of dynamite, and Hitler was just
like the little boy with the match.
is a GCSE History student.
the historian Norman Lowe made this thought-provoking aside:
Germans did have some cause for complaint... However, Germany
was still the strongest power in Europe economically, so that the unwise
thing about Versailles was that it annoyed the Germans yet did not
render them too weak to retaliate.
Lowe, Mastering Modern World History (1982)
Modern World History was a GCSE History revision book.
Cambridge historian Jay Winter describes the Conference as a place where
many countries and politicians came to try to get what they could:
peace negotiations in Paris were like a grand bazaar where all kinds of
merchants come and spread their wares – what they have to offer, what
they want to buy, what they feel is theirs by right.
strangely, is almost exactly how Lenin described it:
then is the Treaty of Versailles? It is an
unparalleled and predatory peace, which has made slaves of tens of
millions of people, including the most civilised. This is no
peace, but terms dictated to a defenceless victim by armed robbers.
in a speech to Political Conference of Workers, Soldiers and Villagers in
Socialist and Communist historians have seen the Treaty - to a greater or
lesser degree - as a capitalist plot to destroy Russia:
Versailles Peace Treaty was designed to perpetuate the repartition of the
capitalist world in favour of the victor countries, and to establish a
system of relationships between countries aimed at strangling Soviet
Russia and suppressing the revolutionary movement throughout the world.
gloss by the Stalinist
editor of a Plan of a Speech by Lenin to the TU Conference
A modern Marxist historian comments on this statement: 'The editors were
over-focused on the Russia, making Russia the center of their
universe. These guys were probably writing under Stalin's
victorious imperial powers in the Great War - England, France and the USA...
were in competition for world trade - Britain based upon the Sterling
currency, USA on the Dollar and France on gold. Industrialists
in all three made huge profits out of four years of slaughter, and the
push towards bigger monopolies carried on in earnest. Only
socialism stood in the way of the capitalists.
The common concern for the rulers of the 'Big Three' was not fear of a
wounded Germany, but the spectre of working-class rebellion at home,
encouraged by the 1917 Revolution in Russia. A crippled
Germany was not in the interests of the USA in particular, due to her
dominant geographical position in Central Europe. A
co-operative and pro-capitalist Germany could act as a bulwark, or even an
aggressor towards the new socialist state in the East.
The main aim of Versailles was to
crush working-class movements in Germany by fostering nationalistic
feelings and the sham of liberal-democratic capitalism.
private communication to www.johndclare.net from Dafydd Humphreys
Humphreys teaches in South London
to the worldwide web still overwhelmingly see the Treaty as a 'bad thing'
- though some of them show great ignorance of the facts, and you may
wonder by what right they give their opinions:
like a rabid dog. Far
from "realistic", Versailles
was a greedy and vengeful treaty that had no place being in the (then)
March 9, 1991
Jones studied computer science at
, and is an expert on Language-related
resources on the Web.
be honest the Treaty of Versailles was not needed. It was something that England, and especially
France wanted. WW
I could have ended with a simple agreement for all the armies to return
on the 'faqfarm' web-forum by
The rest of the
comments by this contributor reveal that he knew little about either the
period or the Treaty of Versailles.
signing of the Treaty of Versailles was the beginning of another chapter
of world history.
chapter of irony, blood and sorrow.
A chapter of paths forgotten, and the price of treading down such
Paths, made of fire.
contributed by Thomas Smith to .firstworldwar.com
contributor seems to have been a student at