The treaty of versailles
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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 re-arming, 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).
"Secret clauses agreed the division of Poland between the two nations, and allowed Russian to occupy Finland, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and (by a later agreement) Lithuania and eastern Romania" (Adams, 10). Germany was now allowed to invade Poland without Russia interfering (Adams, 11). Russia and Japan signed a peace Treaty to end their disputes over Manchuria. Now both Germany and Japan could move forward without the fear of Russian forces (Adams, 10). In October 1936 the Rome-Berlin Axis pact was signed which made Italy and Germany allies. In November 1936 German and Japanese anti-cominern pact against the USSR. In July 1937 Japan invaded all of China. In September 1938 the Munich Agreement started. In March 1939 Germany occupied western Czechoslovakia (Adams, 9). "Although Germany's invasion of Poland was the initial start of WWII, it was their allies that declared it" (Adams, 11).
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.
Adams, Simon. Causes, Course, and Consequences. Mankato, Minnesota: Sea-to-Sea Publications, 2009. Print.
Simkin, John. "The Chronology of First World War." The Chronology of First World War. Spartacus Educational. Web. 3 Mar. 2010. <Http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWchronology.htm>p>
"The Treaty of Versailles." The Treaty of Versailles. Ed. Chris Trueman. History Learning Site. Web. 3 Mar. 2010. <Http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/treaty_of_versailles.htm>.
"World War Two-Main Causes." World War Two-Main Causes. Ed. Heather Wheeler. History on the Net. Web. 3 Mar. 2010. <Http://www.historyonthenet.com/WW2/causes.htm>.
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