The Treaty of Versailles
Uploaded by christina_cloud9 on Mar 03, 2002
Despite Woodrow Wilson’s plan for peace near the end of World War I, he failed to gain Congressional support for the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles was intended to be a peace agreement between the Allies and the Germans. However, once the negotiation of the Treaty, the Allies found they had conflicting ideas and motives surrounding the reparations and wording of the Treaty. The Treaty formally placed the responsibility for the war on Germany and its allies and imposed on Germany the burden of paying the debts of war. In addition to foreign opposition, Wilson couldn’t even gain support for the treaty in the United States. Because of weaknesses in the treaty, domestic opposition, and failure to compromise, the treaty gained very little congressional support.
The Treaty of Versailles was very controversial. Some countries opposed the treaty due to multiple weaknesses. For example, the Treaty humiliated Germany. The war-guilt clause forces Germany to accept sole responsibility for World War I. And although German militarism had played a major role in igniting the war, other countries in Europe had been guilty of provoking diplomatic crises before the war. Another weakness in the Treaty was that Russian government felt that the Treaty ignored its needs. In the Treaty, Russia was excluded from the peace conference, even though Russians had fought with the Allies for three year, and suffered higher casualties than any other country. There was also much dispute concerning the distribution of territory in the Treaty. The Treaty of Versailles established nine new countries, and changed many boundaries, and there was debate about the fairness.
There was also much opposition to the treaty in the United States, which is what Woodrow Wilson faces when he returned with the treaty. Some people, including Herbert Hoover, believed it was too harsh. Others didn’t think the treaty really did any good because it shifted the set of colonial rulers to another set, instead of eliminating the imperialism. Also, some minorities objected to the treaty because the new boundaries it established for some countries didn’t satisfy their demands for independence. For example, Wilson hadn’t tried to obtain Ireland’s independence from Great Britain. Most of all, the opposition to the treaty in the United States was the debate over the League of Nations. A few opponents believed that the League of Nations threatened the U.S. foreign policy of staying clear of European affairs, the Monroe Doctrine....