Saturday, October 2, 2010

World War I officially over

There will be a European History quiz today. I trust you've studied.

In 100 words of less describe the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and its impact on 20th Century history.

OK, so there isn't a quiz, but I'll trigger your memory anyway.

The Treaty of Versailles between Germany and the Allies formally ended World War I. Britain, France and US each had different objectives in the peace treaty and subsequently made a mess of things.

The major terms were:
Germany accepted full responsibility for starting the war.

The German Kaiser and other officials would be tried for war crimes.

Alsace and Lorraine would return to France.

The German military would become a self defense force only.

German financial reparations to the the tune of US $31 Billion (1919) would be paid, in gold, to the Allies.

As you will recall, the severity of the reparation payments are credited for the hyperinflation which reeked havoc in Germany after the war, leading to the rise of Adolph Hitler, WWII, blah, blah blah.

All ancient history you're thinking, but not so.

Tomorrow, the German government is expected to make its final First World War reparation payment, thus officially ending World War I, 92 years later.



James said...

Fascinating, coupled with the failure of the League of Nations the stage was set for the future. If the victors had implemented a Marshall Plan in 1919 one wonders what the future of Europe may have been. Thank you for yesterday's post on breast cancer.

house things said...

Like James, I find this fascinating. Good post. Thanks.

Suburban Princess said...

I read this to hubby and he used the same word...facinating! And it prompted a long discussion ending with him agreeing the tea party of today is pretty much the same as the tea party of 1773 starting with the realisation that Japan and Germany fared so poorly in these wars yet are among the strongest economies in the was a long rambling conversation.

I can now hear him chattering on about colonies only being allowed to expand to the Mississippi...which does make me wonder how he knows that but rarely knows where his pants/wallet/keys are lol!

The Down East Dilettante said...

Make that 4 votes for fascinating....and the conversation it started in my head was inspired by the chilling realization that the discontent and fear sown by hyperinflation enabled Hitler's rise. Not unlike today here, as discontent and fear about the economy lead to the elections of the nuttiest and meanest amateur politicians seen in many a decade.

But I digress (and well I might, as the usually moderate and sensible state of Maine is about to elect the meanest and least qualified governor it ever had). What I really mean to say is thanks for another fascinating post.

Anonymous said...

Five. Verbatim.

dovecote Decor said...

Hey Toad: Thought provoking to say the least! Good comments too. The best insight I have ever had into this period of time is The Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virgina by James Fox. The author was the grandson of the illuminated Bob Brand, who was a banker and economic consultant during the terrible period of reparations that caused WWII. He saw it coming, and unsuccessfully warned the governments to release Germany from this debt. It is an incredibly interesting chronicle of this time, since the Sisters wrote of their glamourous lives throughout this period, and the family kept the thousands of letters they wrote to each other. James Fox is Bob Brand's grandson, and he writes with great insight into the lives of his relatives and with great historic understanding of the period. It is a must read!!

Toad said...

Liz, thank you. I'll find it today.

NCJack said...

I've recently been reading and re-reading a lot about the inter-war period, and the variance of the diplomacy vs. the actuality is
truly astounding. So few things could have been done so slightly different, with such enormous potential to avoid WW2, that it boggles the mind. And these failures by men who actually STUDIED history, as opposed to these days of wilfull ignorance

ADG said...

Alsace and Lorraine got slung around by the proverbial geographic hooters on several occasions throughout history. And NC Jack....remember what I said about the academics at our War College? We don't listen to our own history. We don't listen to those that we hire to tell us about the lessons from history. We don't listen.

David said...

I had no idea they had taken this long to pay it off. It is just immensely interesting to see the long term consequences of war, especially those that impact later generations of people who weren't directly involved.

That being said, it's also interesting that there are probably people in Germany's treasury department who spent everyday working on finishing a war that has long since been relegated to the history books.

Hare said...

It is useful

Anonymous said...

Can anyone simplify this period for my ten year old's WWII project please? Absolutely facsinating for him (and me) but can be a bit confusing too.


Toad said...

I'm happy to help but don't understand your question, shall I simplify WW1,between the wars germany, the great depression, ...

Drop me an email at the address in my profile and I'll do what I can, or find someone who will

Tom Mullen said...

If Woodrow Wilson hadn't involved the US in the war, then the peace would have been more equitable, and Hitler and WWII would never have happened. The world didn't need a Marshall Plan, it needed non-aggression on the part of the US govt.

Toad said...

Tom, you have your wars wrong. The Marsall Plan was post WW2, not 1.