Treaty Agreement Ending World War I

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Keynes was only a leading critic of the Treaty of Versaille. French military chief Ferdinand Foch refused to participate in the signing ceremony, believing that the treaty was not doing enough to protect itself from a future German threat, while the US Congress did not ratify the treaty and then concluded a separate peace with Germany; the United States would never join the League of Nations. Despite the points of defence, it is difficult to contradict the views of contemporaries and scholars who saw the treaty as a great missed opportunity and a source of considerable rage and disillusionment in Europe and around the world. In 1945, when the leaders of the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain met in Potsdam to end the Second World War, they all questioned the failure of the Treaty of Versaille for necessitateing the 1939-45 war. The final decisions taken in Potsdam in 1945 were deeply marked by these memories and by the desire of almost all Potsdam to atone for the mistakes of their predecessors a generation before. The opposition of the Senate cited Article 10 of the treaty, which dealt with collective security and the League of Nations. This article, opponents argued, handed over the war powers of the U.S. government to the League Council. The resistance came from two groups: the “Irrversibles”, who in no way refused to join the League of Nations, and the “reservations”, led by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Henry Cabot Lodge, who wanted amendments before ratifying the treaty. While President Lodge`s attempt to pass contract changes failed in September, he succeeded in November in tying 14 “reservations” to him.

In a final vote on 19 March 1920, the Treaty of Versailler was not ratified by seven votes. Subsequently, the U.S. government signed the Treaty of Berlin on August 25, 1921. This separate peace agreement with Germany provided that the United States would enjoy all the “rights, privileges, compensation, reparations or benefits” granted to it by the Treaty of Versaille, but did not mention the Federation of Nations, to which the United States had never joined. The ceasefire was in fact a German capitulation, because its conditions put an end to any possibility of Germany continuing the war. Similar agreements have already been signed by Bulgaria, Turkey and Austria. However, the peace treaties that officially ended the First World War were not signed until 1919. Barnett also asserts that Germany was strategically in a higher position in 1914 under the treaty. Germany`s eastern borders were opposed to Russia and Austria, both of which had in the past balanced German power. Barnett argues that its post-war eastern borders were safer because the former Austrian empire broke down after the war into smaller weaker states, Russia was torn apart by revolution and civil war, and newly restored Poland was not even up to a defeated Germany. In the west, Germany was only compensated by France and Belgium, both of which were smaller and less economically dynamic than Germany. Barnett concludes by saying that instead of weakening Germany, the treaty has “significantly strengthened” German power.

[160] Britain and France should have “divided and permanently weakened” Germany (according to Barnett) by cancelling Bismarck`s work and dividing Germany into smaller and weaker states, so that it could never again disturb the peace of Europe. [161] By not doing so and by not solving the problem of German power and by restoring the balance of Europe, “the Great War had failed for its main purpose.” [162] Although senior leaders ceased personal work at the conference in June 1919, the formal peace process did not end until July 1923, when the Treaty of Lausanne was signed by France, Britain, Italy, Japan, Greece and Romania with the new Republic of Turkey.