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How Did The Treaty Of Versailles Lead To World War Ii?
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The Treaty of Versailles, which was signed by Germany at the Paris Peace Conference after World War I (1914–18), led to World War II (1939–45) because German leaders and citizens thought the treaty's terms were too harsh. As one of the defeated Central Powers in World War I, the German government was forced to sign the treaty at the Paris Peace Conference (1919–1920) under threat of more fighting from the Allies. (The Allies were Serbia, France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, the United States, and nineteen other nations. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire were the Central Powers, who fought against the Allies.) Nevertheless, the German people faulted their leaders for accepting terms that were meant to punish Germany. For instance, one clause in the treaty stipulated that Germany had to take responsibility for causing World War I. Besides losing territory, the nation was required to pay for an Allied military force that would occupy the west bank of the Rhine River for the next fifteen years in order to prevent Germany from committing further aggressions. The treaty also limited the size of Germany's military. Then in 1921 Germany received a bill for reparations (payments for damages done during wartime). It stated that Germany owed the Allies $33,000,000. The Treaty of Versailles weakened Germany, contributing to public resentment that soon developed into a strong nationalist (patriotic) movement and led to the rise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler (1889–1945). It was Hitler's military aggression against neighboring countries that began World War II.
Further Information: Calvocoressi, Peter. Total War; the Story of World War II. New York: Pantheon Books, 1972; "The Paris Peace Conference and Treaty of Versailles." AP European History. [Online] Available http://www.eurohist.com/the_paris_peace_conference.htm, October 25, 2000; "Treaty of Versailles." MSN Encarta. [Online] Available http://encarta.msn.com/index/conciseindex/3B/03B81000.htm, October 25, 2000.
Posted by fact-finder on October 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM (Answer #1)
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