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"How the Treaty of Versailles and German Guilt Led ..." Topic

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Report from Spring Gathering VI

Paul Glasser reports on the debut of Axis and Allies: Guadalcanal and the North African expansion.

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 1:04 p.m. PST

…to World War II.

"When Germany signed the armistice ending hostilities in the First World War on November 11, 1918, its leaders believed they were accepting a "peace without victory," as outlined by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his famous Fourteen Points. But from the moment the leaders of the victorious Allied nations arrived in France for the peace conference in early 1919, the post-war reality began to diverge sharply from Wilson's idealistic vision.

Five long months later, on June 28—exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo—the leaders of the Allied and associated powers, as well as representatives from Germany, gathered in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles to sign the final treaty. By placing the burden of war guilt entirely on Germany, imposing harsh reparations payments and creating an increasingly unstable collection of smaller nations in Europe, the treaty would ultimately fail to resolve the underlying issues that caused war to break out in 1914, and help pave the way for another massive global conflict 20 years later…"
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robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2019 1:47 p.m. PST

Let us not let Woodrow Wilson off the hook. TR proposed peace between Russia and Japan, and helped it come about without a single American death. Wilson made no such effort, and didn't seek an agreement on war aims and the peace before seeking a declaration of war--which left him at the end with no leverage.

And there's no mention of the way the Allies used enforcement of their will, even beyond the treaty, to discredit German democracy.

Other than that, the article is clear but breaks no new ground. Versailles didn't cause WWII, but it certainly made starting WWII easy. No one involved seems to have learned anything from the Congress of Vienna.

Blutarski07 Nov 2019 4:20 p.m. PST

"Versailles didn't cause WWII"

I cannot help but recall Marshal Foch's acerbic (and fairly accurate) observation that the Versailles Treaty would mean another war in twenty years.

Just sayin'.


Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse08 Nov 2019 9:31 a.m. PST

I'm sure that the Great Depression, US banks inability/refusal to continue to lend money to Germany and the continuing demand by all nations to get their reparations, had a great deal to do with it.


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2019 12:20 p.m. PST



Legion 408 Nov 2019 2:37 p.m. PST

Versailles didn't cause WWII, but it certainly made starting WWII easy
Very much so …

Blutarski +1

Verily08 Nov 2019 5:05 p.m. PST

In the future, historians will probably view it as one great war with a ceasefire in the middle.

Legion 409 Nov 2019 9:10 a.m. PST

It certainly could look that way in future. The sides took a break, rearmed & refitted and then started up again … Albeit some switched sides the second time around or sat this one out …

4th Cuirassier09 Nov 2019 6:39 p.m. PST

Surely the likelier view is that the five wars started by Prussia / Germany – with Denmark in 1864, Austria in 1866, France in 1870 and then the allies in 1914 and 1939 – were the one great war, rather than just the final two?

Legion 409 Nov 2019 9:30 p.m. PST

I believe that with more nations being involved all over the world during WWI & WWII is a better way to define it. And both wars were in the 20th Century.

I guess it would depend on far you want to go back. Some say what Napoleon did could be considered a cause & affect for WWI.

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