In January 1919, 32 countries except for Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey and even Russia, came together in Paris to hold a conference which was intended for making peace after the First World War. It was majorly dominated by the big three, Britain, France and the USA. Each had their different objective and each of those disagreed on how harshly they would like to punish Germany. Every country wanted to gain something out of this peace agreement. So what did France gain from the Treaty of Versailles? Let’s find out.
What is the Treaty of Versailles?
Treaty of Versailles is a peace document, signing of which indicated the formal ending of the First World War. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which is considered as a direct lead to the First World War, took place exactly on the same date five years before this peace document was signed.
In the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was held responsible for the World War I according to article 231. Germany was fined for $132 billion along with other harsh restrictions.
When was the Treaty of Versailles Signed?
28th June 1919, France – the Treaty of Versailles, a peace document was signed by Germany and the allied powers that included Britain, France, Italy and Russia in the hall of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.
The four years long war came to an end in 1919 by signing the treaty which was a representation of peace. By signing this document the devasting war came to an end but also the deadly Second World War got a starting agenda from this.
27 delegations representing 32 powers, attended the signing session that lasted for 50 minutes. The big four principal allied power representatives were – Lloyd George for Great Britain, Woodrow Wilson for the USA, Georges Clémenceau for France and Vittorio Emanuele Orlando for Italy. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hermann Müller, a jurist, one Doctor Bell were the representatives of Germany.
What did the Allied Powers want in the Treaty of Versailles?
France, the USA and Britain wanted different things out of the Treaty of Versailles.
- Woodrow Wilson, the USA representative, was not in favour of harsh punishment for Germany. The USA had not received as much damage as France and Britain did. He could foresee the Second World War and wanted to create the league of nations as prevention. His idea was to ensure that Germany should not be wholly blamed for the war and would not be destroyed as well.
- Georges Clémenceau was opting for the harshest punishments for Germany as a revenge of what the country has done to France and it’s people. He wanted Germany to return Alsace Lorraine to France and an independent Rhineland. He did not support the idea of a league of nations and wanted Germany to pay massive reparations for the caused damage and losses. He also demanded the disbandment of the German Army so that they could never again attack France.
- Britain had suffered comparatively less land damage but was high on war losses. Lloyd George’s views were in between what France and the USA wanted. He was voting for harsh enough punishment for Garmany that would please those who were demanding Germany to pay. He didn’t want to demolish Germany completely. He wanted Germany to remain strong enough to trade. He also intended Garmany to remain able to safeguard Britain’s naval supremacy, land Britain’s empire.
- Italy, represented by Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, wished to take over the territories as promised in 1915.
What did France Gain from Germany by the Treaty of Versailles?
France’s main agenda was to destroy Germany by every means, that includes economy, national security, so much so that it could weaken the country from its roots. France wanted to secure itself from any further damage.
- The real gain for France was the Alsace-Lorraine. The population over there was always keen on being with France even after all the tricks played by Germany.
- France achieved the full ownership of the coalfields in the SAAR basin for 15 years.
- This Treaty of Versailles got France more colonies as all the German colonies were taken and given to Britain and France.
- As per the demand made by France, the Rhineland, the area between France and Germany was demilitarized. The Germany army could no longer get into this territory.
- On the security ground also France was at the gaining end to some extend. German now could only have 1,00,000 men in the army and six battleships. No submarines and air force was allowed too.
Why was Italy Dissatisfied with the Treaty of Versailles?
The Treaty of Versailles created more problem for Italy than it actually intended to solve. At Versailles, the Italian representative Vittorio Emanuele Orlando was completely ignored.
Italy was part of the bloodied wat and more than 4,60,000 Italians lost their lives. But all these were looked down upon in the Treaty of Versailles.
In the Secret Treaty of London, Italy was promised some chunks of Austro-Hungarian land in case of an allied victory but Italy got nothing at the end. This Treaty of Versailles left Italy in huge debt.
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Treaty of Versailles was considered as a document of peace and a formal ending of the First World War. It was forced and very harsh on Germans. This indirectly spiked the fire that led to the Second World War.