The Treaty of Versailles vs. President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points
It was the fall of 1918 and the Germans were exhausted from the Great War. They no longer wanted to continue fighting.
Many German civilians were out of food and other supplies because of all the money that went to the war and German soldiers were rebelling because they were too weak to fight any longer. Germany’s allies were also leaving the war and Germany finally decided that they had to too. It finally ended in armistice in 1919. This armistice was called the Treaty of Versailles. Upon agreement with the Allies that the war would end, Germany had to follow the Treaty of Versailles.
The Treaty was basically a huge insult to the Germans because it blamed the entire war on the Germans. It was created by President Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. The creators (excluding the President) of the Treaty of Versailles were serious about making Germany pay. They believed that Germany deserved severe punishment for what they had done. Even though Woodrow Wilson partook in the making of the Treaty, he did not agree on it entirely.
He had his own Fourteen Points (created before the Treaty of Versailles, he took part in making the Treaty because he wanted some of his Fourteen Points were inserted into the Treaty). He believed in something called “peace without victory”. Wilson’s Fourteen Points was the right way to end war and all of his points should’ve been followed through instead of enforcing the Treaty. Wilson’s Fourteen Points were only fair to all nations and did not put the entire blame on just one country. Germany, of course, did not agree with the Treaty either; it was too harsh.
The Allies had forced the German government to sign the Treaty or the Allies said they would enforce it by invading Germany. Germany was already war-weary and hungry, yet they were forced into even more severe conditions. Germans were forced to surrender their land. All of what Germany had left after the war was given to other countries such as Britain, France and Belgium. Germany had lost Alsace-Lorraine due to the fact that Georges Clemenceau (French Leader of World War I and co-creator of the Treaty of Versailles) wanted France to be safe from any German attacks. Three frontier areas, Eupen, Malmedy and Moresnet, were given to Belgium.
And all of Germany’s gains from the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk were taken away (Germany made considerable gains when Russia withdrew from the war). Those were only a few examples of the things that Germany had lost to the Allies. The Allied countries had forced the Germans to give up much more than their land, they were forced to give up their people and culture as well. Altogether, Germany had lost 28,000 square miles of land and up to six million of its people. Germany certainly did not deserve all of it, for there were many Allied countries that sparked the war as well.
The Treaty was unfair and bias towards Germany. The Treaty of Versailles was beyond what any country could take and it should not have been strictly enforced, instead Wilson’s Fourteen Points should’ve taken its place. The Treaty of Versailles, as many historians say, was eventually responsible for World War II. The Germans had wanted revenge. The Treaty of Versailles in other words, was direct insult to Germany.
It was no wonder that the Germans wanted revenge and brought on the Second World War. The Treaty of Versailles only caused the world more war and destruction. The Treaty led Germany into a major depression, where people and businesses loss massive amounts of money. Many were jobless and angry that the government had signed the Treaty of Versailles; the German people were upset that their government wasn’t doing anything to help the depression. The lack of help from the government led to the rise of Adolf Hitler, who was in charge of a National Socialist Party.
With so many German civilians angry at the government, he was gaining more and more power. Soon, many Germans started looking up to Hitler and many wanted to join his party as well. Hitler was in favor of getting revenge on the Allied countries, unlike the government. Eventually, when Hitler gained enough power, World War II had started. And as we all know, World War II caused a massive amount of deaths and it turned the entire world into a calamity. This wouldn’t have happened if the Allied countries hadn’t insulted Germany in such an unbearable way.
World War II might not have taken place at all in the history of the United States if the Allied countries had followed Wilson’s Fourteen Points. The only thing that the Treaty of Versailles did was cause more tumult and dissension between countries. In the end, the Germans had gotten revenge and so the point of the Treaty was basically omitted. Wilson’s Fourteen Points would’ve led the world to peace for it was fair to all the countries involved in the war. It allowed self-determination and it supported peace amongst all the countries involved in the war.
When Wilson wrote this Fourteen Points, he had in mind what he wanted to include in it. He wrote his Fourteen Points so that it would prevent future wars, but The Treaty of Versailles instead, created another World War, as if the first one wasn’t enough. The Treaty of Versailles was ineffective and it only caused more hatred amongst nations. Wilson’s Fourteen Points would’ve been a better way to promote peace after a war.