The most legally binding peace agreement that put an end to the hostility between Allied powers and Germany was the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty was signed on June 28th, 1919. Five years elapsed since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which started the war. The League of Nations secretariat registered the pact on October 21, 1919, even though the real fighting concluded on November 11, 1918. Germany was made to shoulder responsibility for World War I under the “war guilt” of the treaty. A significant contributing reason to the outbreak of World War II was the pact.
Pros of the Versailles treaty
Here are its advantages:
1. This resulted in peace in Europe. Actual fighting may have ended in 1918, but there remained constant threats of another war outbreak in the region. Signing the treaty created lasting peace and allowed productivity and reconstruction.
2. It led to disarmament. The treaty’s purpose was to prevent future wars, and this meant that Germany was forced to complete disarmament. Military hardware trade was banned, and Germany’s army was reduced to about 100,000 men rendering them weak for further war.
3. Payment for reparations. Supporters of the treaty claim that Germany was forced to compensate its victims of war and compensatory damages to the Allies.
4. Germany received a number of guarantees. Occupation arrangements under the treaty along the Rhineland would help monitor adherence to the treaty. If Germany obeyed and made no hostile steps, the occupation would end after 15 years, returning Germany to absolute power. The territorial implications were mild compared to what would have been if Germany had the victory.
5. It is thought that the nation would have imposed a hefty reparations bill on the victorious Allies. Maybe one that was even greater than what Bismarck had delivered to France following the War of 1870–1871. However, considering the absence of justification for France and Belgium’s occupation of Germany during the Treaty of Versailles, the reparations were substantial.
6. Formation of the League of Nations. It was formed to help solve world problems. Therefore, Versailles treaty played a major role in fostering world peace.
Cons of the Versailles treaty
Here are the disadvantages:
1. Germany wrongfully inflicted the responsibility of the war. Critics of the treaty argue that the treaty was too harsh on Germany and reparation figures were too high. They also argue that Germany’s complete responsibility for the war was somewhat unfair.
2. The reparations were not imposed. It took more than ten years to negotiate the reparations that Germany had to pay. Ultimately, they were granted an indefinite postponement of the reparations.
3. Germany was the target. Even though Germany did not fully agree to the terms of the treaty, the allied powers threatened to keep the war going if Germany did not sign it. Other players in World War I dealt with different treaties, and the Versailles Treaty only targeted Germany.
4. Too much trust in the League of Nations. Wilson had too much trust that the League of Nations would solve all the world’s problems which was not the case because the US refused to join.