To what extent was the Treaty of Versailles weakened by the French desire for revenge?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that a strong argument can be made that the French desire for revenge weakened the effect of the Treaty to bring peace.  Certainly, the French desire to covet power was a part of the reason why the Treaty failed in terms of gaining credibility in Europe.  The carving of German interests to feed the French desire for power and control were parts of this.  Yet, I don't think that it was only the French desire for revenge.  The British were just as responsible in terms of their motivation to punish Germany in the harshest of manners.  The United States would have to bear some level of responsibility for failing to moderate the desires of both nations for revenge.  The imposition of vengeance upon Germany in the Treaty helped to fuel the seeds of discord in Europe regarding it.  At the same time, the lack of a reconciled element helped to doom the Treaty.  In this light, the desire for revenge is something that helped to weaken the Treaty.  Given how personal motives motivated the imposition of the Treaty, it was weakened from the start, guaranteeing that the prospect of long lasting peace could not be achievable through it.

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