Treaty Of Versailles Agreement

On January 8, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson edited the post-war goals, the Fourteen Points. He outlined a policy of free trade, open agreements and democracy. While the term was not used, self-determination was adopted. He called for an end to the negotiations of war, international disarmament, the withdrawal of the central powers from the occupied territories, the creation of a Polish state, the revival of European borders along ethnic lines and the establishment of a society of nations to guarantee the political independence and territorial integrity of all States. [9] [n. 3] He called for a just and democratic peace, uncompromisingd by territorial annexation. The fourteen points were based on the study of the survey, a team of about 150 advisers, led by foreign policy adviser Edward M. House, on the topics that will likely appear in the expected peace conference. [10] Among the many provisions of the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required « Germany [the responsibility of Germany and its allies] for the cause of all losses and damage » during the war (the other members of the central powers signed treaties containing similar articles). This article, Section 231, later became known as the War Debt Clause.

The treaty required Germany to disarm, make abundant territorial concessions and pay reparations to certain countries formed by the powers of the Agreement. In 1921, the total cost of these repairs was estimated at 132 billion gold marks (at the time $31.4 billion, or $6.6 billion, or about $442 billion, or 284 billion British dollars in 2020). At the time, economists, particularly John Maynard Keynes (a British delegate to the Paris peace conference), predicted that the treaty was too harsh – a « Carthaginian peace » – and said that the number of reparations was excessive and counterproductive, opinions that have been the subject of debate from historians and economists since then. On the other hand, prominent allies, such as French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, criticized the treaty for treating Germany with too much leniency. The treaty caused much discontent in Germany, which benefited Adolf Hitler in his rise to the leadership of Nazi Germany. The emphasis was on the belief in the myth that the German army had not lost the war and had been betrayed by the Weimar Republic, which was negotiating an unnecessary surrender. The Great Depression aggravated the problem and led to the collapse of the German economy. Although the contract may not have caused the crash, it was a convenient scapegoat.

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