The Treaty Of Versailles

2228 Words Jun 5th, 2016 9 Pages
Upon signing the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, then British Prime Minister Lloyd George declared: “We will have to fight another war in 25 years time, and at three times the cost.” This ominous prediction came true as the controversial peace settlement brought no end to conflict in Europe. The Treaty was described by critics as Carthaginian: a peace so brutal it crushes the defeated side. This was the intention of the Allies, who felt a disabled Germany was the best way to preserve peace. This rationale did not satisfy Germany, who sought to undermine Versailles and succeeded in breaking the Allies’ resolve to enforce the Treaty. Ultimately, the ineffectual peace enabled Nazi ascendancy in the 1920s and 30s. Discontentment with the Weimar government, responsible for signing the Treaty, provided a receptive audience for Hitler 's hard-line policies, which were designed specifically to regain German supremacy. The signatories to the Treaty allowed Germany to violate successive terms without reprisal, which led inevitably and inexorably to the Second World War. Thus, the real criticism of the Treaty lies in its lack of enforcement.

The Treaty’s brutality has been a source of unceasing critical contention. Whilst commentators during the interwar period slammed the Treaty for its vindictive and punishing terms, modern historians claim they could have been far harsher. J.M Keynes, a British economist at the time was the first to use the term ‘Carthaginian peace’ in his…

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