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The Treaty of Versailles
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Hi, I am Zach Toombs and today on About.com, we’re going to talk about the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty took place on the June 18th, 1919 and simultaneously put an end to the First World War.The Allies, France, England and the United States defeated Germany in the First World War. It officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles during a peace conference in Paris. The Peace conference took place from January 18th to August 10th 1919. The goal was to restore peace and punish Germany.
Even though 27 nations were gathered at the peace conference, Germany was not allowed to participate. The Treaty of Versailles was signed in a symbolic place: the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, where Germany had proclaimed its Empire on January 18th, 1871.Germany’s territory was severely cut, losing 14% of its possessions and 10% of its inhabitants. It returned the region of Alsace-Lorraine to France (a region both countries had fought over for a long time), all its colonies and part of its European territory. The Allies occupied part of Germany. This led to a redistribution of land in Europe.The German military force was reduced and limited to just 100,000 soldiers. The military service was suppressed and the production of new military equipment was forbidden.Germany was considered solely responsible for the war, and thus, had to pay for all the reparations of the damages suffered by France and Belgium (where the war mainly took place).In order to ensure a long-lasting peace and impede any future conflict, the Treaty of Versailles created a new international assembly: the League of Nations, and President Wilson’s Fourteen Points speech was put in the preamble. Its impact however was immediately diminished by the fact the United-States did not join the League after the Senate refused to ratify it in November 1919.The Treaty of Versailles was enacted in 1920, however the treaty was considered excessive by the United States and England, but insufficient by France. Germany saw it as a humiliation and the Treaty soon took the name of 'diktat’ (dictatorship). This favored the claims of some nationalist German groups, mostly the Nazis. The Treaty is considered a cause of revenge and possibly the advent of the Second World War.
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