Sunday, February 13, 2011
Versailles and the end of the beginning
In the late summer of 1919, the peoples of Europe (with the exception of the Russians, whose country was undergoing civil war) rejoiced. Although for some the joy was only temporary, like the Germans and former Austro-Hungarians who also suffered various insurgencies, the First World War was over. Europe was devastated, but survived, and people expected to go on with their lives as they had before the war. And only twenty years after peace was attained, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. What had gone wrong? What follows is my point of view. In 1918, Europe had suffered through 4 years of horrible war. People were desperate for peace, as were their governments. Although to their citizens it did not look like it, the central powers had been beaten into the dust. But, after the treaty was signed, the German army marched through their country's streets like a victorious force. The German people did not think that the war was really over. To them, they had been tortured by the Allies and betrayed by anti German forces at home, but not beaten. So, I would like to argue that the terms were not to hard on the Germans, rather they were too weak. The Germans were convinced they weren't beaten, but that minorities inside Germany had betrayed their country! This obviously left a spot for anti-minority groups like the Nazis to gain power, and thus in my opinion led to the Second World War. As Marshal Foch said, his was not peace, this was only an armistice of twenty years.