Peak Points in World War I and II This is a paper on two important historical documents of World War I and II, namely the Treaty of Versailles and the Rheims Surrender Document. In order to give focus to German atrocities during World War II, an account of the Dachau Concentration Camp is also presented…
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But even if these causes are known, no one can still fully know the extent of the war. By way of approximation, World War I involved more than thirty nations, affecting at least a billion and a half people. Of the estimated sixty-five million soldiers in battle, more than eight million were said to have been killed (489). This is not to count the countless number of civilians who died from hunger and disease outside the warfront. A peace document was signed after World War I, the Treaty of Versailles, which deserves examination. We shall conduct this examination in order to answer important questions: What did the document intend to serve? Can it be blamed for subsequent revolutions, dictatorships and bitter clashes that led to World War II? Treaty of Versailles The peacemakers of World War I faced very numerous post-war problems, which called for urgent solutions. Among the demands were the remapping of the war frontiers, disarming Germany and making it pay for the great damages it caused through a world war. On the other hand, there was the urgent task of rebuilding nations, even if Europe was financially bankrupt and diplomats and politicians alike were unclear on the right goals for and ways of social reconstruction. A peace document was finally drafted for these aims, but there was a general feeling that only time could test its real worth. Historians give credit to President Woodrow Wilson for the post-war peace plan he boldly presented to the U.S. Congress in January 1918. The plan consisted of twelve points, which included among other provisions: open covenants for peace to end secret treaties, freedom of the seas, reduction of armaments, impartial adjustments of colonial claims, complete freedom for Russia, restoration of Belgium, righting the wrong done to France, freedom for people of Austria-Hungary, opening of the straits at all times, independence of Poland and a general association of nations to guarantee independence to great and small nations alike. (Nevins and Commager 399). In Autumn of 1918, Germany basically accepted these points, which became the substance of a final peace agreement known as the Treaty of Versailles. In the Treaty of Versailles, the main personalities were Woodrow Wilson of the U.S., David Lloyd George of the U.K. and George Clemenceau of France. Politically, these three were liberals, but outside Versailles they received heavy criticism from political propagandists. In the U.S., President Wilson was attacked by the Press for leaving the country at a critical time of war to be personally present in Versailles. Reacting to this strong criticism, the U.S. Senate did not ratify the signed treaty and its provision to set up a League of Nations. In France, the French people refused to elect Clemenceau for presidency in France. Following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Wilson stressed the need for openness among nations, but this was disregarded by way of secret treaties made among states. In mapping of Europe and Western Asia, the boundaries set by the treaty were on the whole acceptable, but there were many nationalities in Eastern Europe who disagreed with the set boundaries. To solve this difficulty, minority rights treaties were signed but these were not well enforced. On the payment of reparation, Germany was obliged to pay $31 billion, which was way beyond the nation’s capacity to pay. Consequently, when the 1930 global depression set in, Germany
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