History of the Treaty of Versailles

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Updated: Apr 27, 2022
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Towards the beginning of World War I, even though the United States had a large population of allies, they did not join the war because of its mixed population. There were a number of descents from Central America who wanted the U.S. to join their central powers and those who had allied heritage with the U.S. who wanted to join their home allied powers. Wilson miscalculated the aftermath of his decision, He incorrectly assumed both sides would immediately sue for peace when the U.

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S. entered the war; they did not. And also American willingness to discard its former isolationism in favor of his democratic worldview didn’t work and the Senate refused his membership in the League of Nations. But he was successful in keeping us out of the war long enough to ensure fewer American deaths.

Nevertheless President Wilson would have preferred to stay neutral, as he felt that the U.S. could play a more powerful role as an honest broker, helping the Europeans reach a peace compromise. There were also large Irish and Germans immigrant communities who were not particularly sympathetic to the British cause. The Germans had done a few things as well to provoke the Americans. Nevertheless, the U.S. still entered the war, ultimately not being able to achieve Wilson’s goal of remaining peaceful in the matter.

The U.S. first attempted to negotiate with Mexico. They agreed to join the war if Germany provided them with military and financial support to have to invade the southern part of the U.S. This agreement was called the Zimmermann Telegram. The telegram was intercepted, decoded, and shown to the president. This was made possible because Germany’s Transatlantic telegraph cables were cut by the British. The Germans were using those cables to negotiate between the U.S. and Germany. The British were using Germany’s telegrams with this same cable for some time. When Wilson revealed this to the public, they were outraged and demanded a war, which Wilson wanted as well. The American public was already seeing the Germans in an unfavorable light due to all their misinformation about the war coming from Britain. As aforementioned, the British had cut the Germans’ telegraph cables so they were able to manipulate the information to their advantage. The Germans had also sunk ships that carried American citizens in the past, and in February 1917, had implemented a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, under which they would sink any ship without warning in a certain region, including American ships. This was unacceptable to Wilson and the American people, and despite electing Woodrow on the basis of staying out of the war, America entered the Great War in April 1917. These events were more than enough to unite the US population into taking action against the Central Powers and led to the U.S. joining the war on the allied side. With the U.S. joining, the allies finally had an upper hand and were able to win the war.

(Part 2)

Secondly, Wilson was unable to avoid the onerous burden on Germany. France sought revenge to guarantee it would not happen again. Wilson wanted self-determination for all people, however, the peace he conjured amongst the Germans left a minority group in Czechoslovakia called the Sudeten Germans. The territories of Alsace Lorraine were turned over to France even though the residents were 90 percent of German-speaking. France was given the occupation of the Ruhr, the German industrial heartland. Both England and France wanted war reparations that Germany could not pay. This now had Wilson outwitted by Clemenceau of France and Lloyd George of the UK.

Another The Versailles Treaty set up the conditions that led to Germany’s war of revenge in 1939. It was too easy for Hitler to claim Germany was stabbed in the back at Versailles by the Jews and that Germany never lost World War I. The onerous burden of the Treaty helped kill the Weimar Republic and led to authorization control by Hitler.

The centerpiece of Wilson’s peace strategy was the League of Nations. Although he managed to make it part of the Treaty he failed in obtaining United States acceptance of the League. This fatally weakened the League. Wilson only had himself to blame. His Treaty delegation did not include any prominent Republicans like Senator Henry Cabot Lodge who became a foe of the Treaty. Then, when the Treaty was being considered by the Senate Wilson refused to compromise sealing the death of the Treaty in the USA. And with this, he was a leader who enjoyed watching Birth of a Nation from a racist Southern view of Reconstruction and failed to compromise with Republicans regarding the Senate non-ratification. And many historians would rank Wilson as one of the top 10 or 15 U.S. Presidents due to his “New Freedom” domestic agenda and his leadership during WW1. However, Wilson is also very controversial due to his decision of once again to re-segregate the federal government (and his positive view of the KKK), his trampling of civil liberties during the war, and his failure to bring his own country into the League of Nations – a major reason why the post-WW1 order failed the Versailles Treaty and failure of the US to join the League of Nations.

(Part 3)

For starters President Wilson was a political professor, he unnecessarily invaded many Latin American countries. He passed the Espionage and Sedition Acts, which were two of the useless laws ever passed in American history. He was in control of the Palmer Raids. On top of it all, he was a vile racist and was one of the worst men ever elected to office. And he was also a Southerner and quite conservative. He thought he could go to Paris and lecture the gnarled old European leaders from France and Britain and Italy on how to establish peace. He knew nothing about how to establish a post-war economy, agreeing to force defeated Germany to pay crippling war reparations. Germany had been no more to blame for World War I than England or France! It was one set of spoiled royals fighting their spoiled family cousins in another country. They all came out of Queen Victoria who was hardly a well-balanced world figure! If it had not been for the accident of history that George III left no grandchildren who were legitimate, she would have never been conceived in the first place.

Wilson went with his “fourteen points,” one of which would establish a “debating society” (otherwise known as The League of Nations), but he didn’t take US Senator Henry Cabot Lodge along (the leader to the opposition majority Senate Republicans) because he didn’t want him to share in the spotlight! So Lodge cut him off at the knees once Wilson returned home with his Peace Treaty in hand. Lodge, who controlled the US Senate much like Nancy Pelosi controls the House of Representatives today, REFUSED to approve his fourteen points and refused to let the US join the League of Nations. It was equivalent to tearing the heart out of a paper tiger anyway. Wilson was defeated by his own ego because he was a primping Ivy League university professor who wanted to dictate to crude European politicians like Georges Clemenceau and David Lloyd George the same way he had lectured to his adoring students at Princeton University.

He was utterly ignorant of how to deal with backroom politicians like that by using highly idealistic maxims, yet idiotic unrealistic platitudes. So Germany was forced to pay through the nose and their resulting extreme poverty led to the rule of fascist tyrants in not only Germany but also in Italy and Spain. Thus having the world ended up fighting World War I all over again, except this time it was three times bigger than World War I and ten times more evil.

After the Great War, the US stood alone among the nations as the one that had not been utterly depleted of human, natural, and economic resources. Put another way, the US was the last nation standing. So Wilson went to Paris as the preeminent figure and literally held court. He oversaw a treaty process that literally redrew the map of the earth, and redrew it in favor of the US and its white, western European allies. For example, Viet Nam was made a French protectorate. (Ho Chi Minh had personally petitioned Wilson for his country’s independence, but Wilson basically ignored him.) China had high hopes for being freed from the yoke of Japan and even formed “Woodrow Wilson” leagues dedicated to studying Wilson’s Fourteen Points. For complex reasons relating to the interests of Britain and other western European nations, Wilson returned China to the influence of Japan. In response, China forever turned its back on the West and capitalism. The relations between China and Japan drove the WWII conflict in the Asian theater. Wilson (with others, primarily Clemenceau and Lloyd George) created a number of nations in eastern Europe by forcing the blending of peoples who were historically enemies. The President often found it difficult working with them because even if they admired Wilson’s ideology and desire for peace, they also wanted reparations from Germany including money and land. Wilson knew that if he allowed the other European nations to destroy Germany, the continent would eventually dissolve into war again.

The consequences of these choices were played out in conflicts in the 1990s. In the Middle East, Wilson created a nation called Iraq for the benefit of Britain’s BP Oil. While practically a British corporate outpost, Wilson made a Syrian (Faisal I) the Higher Power of Iraq. Many other countries were restored to their Western European colonial overlords. The Treaty of Versailles also assured that the wealth of Europe flowed to the United States. Germany was required to make war reparations payments in gold to France and England, which in turn repaid debts to the US in gold. These payments led to hyperinflation in Germany, economic instability in the rest of Europe, which made it vulnerable to economic depression and formed the basis for expansionist and inflationary monetary policies in the US, which ultimately triggered the Great Depression.

While people continue to discuss Wilson’s intellectualism of himself. He was a past president of Princeton, and his approach to foreign policy, in his most significant role on the world stage, he was guided by racist attitudes and imperialist goals. He was the principal architect of a world order that led directly to most of the warfare, conflict, and bloodshed that followed in the 20th and 21st centuries. Although most (maybe all) other US presidents have been racist imperialists, few have had the chance to act on the world stage with as much influence as Wilson had. And because his decisions gave us much of what was bad thereafter, it might be fitting to call him one of the worst presidents.

Also At the top of my list is the segregation of the military and civil service by executive order. Woodrow Wilson’s record on race relations was not very good but African Americans welcomed his election in 1912, but they were worried too. During his first term in office, the House passed a law making racial intermarriage a felony in the District of Columbia. His new Postmaster General also ordered that his Washington offices be segregated, with the Treasury and Navy soon doing the same. Suddenly, photographs were required of all applicants for federal jobs. When pressed by black leaders, Wilson replied, ‘The purpose of these measures was to reduce the friction. It is as far as possible from being a movement against the Blacks. I sincerely believe it to be in their interest.’ This was a total and utter lie for the people to hear.

In 1912 African Americans were not only placed in all-black units but were usually under white officers, and generally barred from the combat arms. This continued through both world wars until rescinded by Pres. Harry Truman in 1948. Most units were still segregated in the Korean War. It is no coincidence that the civil rights movement took off in the Vietnam era when integrated units of all races lived and fought together in large numbers.

In conclusion, history tends to repeat itself and continue to make strides that’ll shape each country in its path. Today we have learned why America joined WW1 which was due to making a daring choice that sent us into a frenzy, we also have been informed on why president Woodrow Wilson created the fourteen points and how they’ve failed miserably, They were designed to lessen the central powers and bring the allies to a triumphant end. However, he still as we discussed has been one of the most tragic figures in the history of leaders. 

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History of the Treaty of Versailles. (2022, Apr 27). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/history-of-the-treaty-of-versailles/