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Czechoslovakia Crisis - Essay Example

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Signing the treaty of Versailles officially marked the end of World War I. No one present at that time was aware that it also signaled the opening act of a conflict that would erupt twenty years later with even more terrible consequences. The Paris peace conference began on January 18, 1919 with 21 nation's attendance (1)…
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Czechoslovakia Crisis
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Download file to see previous pages Wilson pushed for inclusion of his fourteen Points especially the League of Nations. Many of his proposals however, clashed with the secret treaties and territorial rearrangements already made by the other three European powers. They found it difficult to hide their contempt for what they saw as Wilson's naivet and superior attitude.
The political wrangling became intense. Finally, agreement was reached and a treaty presented to the German representatives on May 7, 1919. The terms were harsh. Germany was stripped to approximately 13% of its pre-war territory and all of its over-seas possession. The Ruhr-Germany's industrial heartland - was to be occupied by allied troops. The size of Germany's military forces was drastically reduced. The treaty further stipulated that Germany would pay for the devastation for the devastation of the war through annual reparation payments to its European neighbors. The victors ignored the bitter complaints of the German delegation.
On June 28, two rather German representatives signed the treaty. Ever since the treaty was signed it brought bitterness to Germans but they had no other choice other than facing it. The latter years were spent to pay the debts. Ever since Hitler came to power in 1933 he had made successive assaults on the restrictions that had been placed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. He had begun secretly the process of rearmament and felt confident enough to announce the program in 1935, the same year in which he introduced conscription to the new German army.
Since the public announcement of German rearmament in 1935, in defiance of the treaty of Versailles, there had been apprehension among the European states, large and small, as to Germany's intentions. That they would not be pacific was made clear in the following year with the remilitarization of the Rhineland zone that had been permanently demilitarized by the same treaty (2). Thus, it was felt that it would only be a question of time as to when Hitler would proceed to realize the pan-German dream of German-Austrian unity (i.e., Anschluss): after all, Hitler himself had been born in Austria.
Inasmuch as the earlier aggressive moves had produced no serious retaliation from either Britain or France, it was not to be expected that the absorption of Austria under threat of invasion on March 12 (soon to be endorsed by referendum of the Austrian people) would be met by other than words of protest from the Western powers. The gravest implications of Hitler's action, however, now pointed to Czechoslovakia (3), France's vulnerable ally now that hope of French assistance had been dealt a death blow by the earlier remilitarization of the Rhineland zone along the Franco-German border.

On March 7, 1936, in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, troops of the German army entered the demilitarized buffer zone along the River Rhine. Earlier, in 1925, the then German government, in order to facilitate its entry to the League of Nations and regain its status of a great power, had signed an Agreement (the Locarno Pact) with France that provided, under an Italo-British guarantee, for mutual acceptance of their existing border, including ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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