What factors influenced the peace treaties that ended WWI, and how did people react to the treaties?

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

Posted on

It seemed that anger and vengeance helped to drive the Treaty of Versailles.  There was not a strong emphasis to seek a peace that would actually respect the needs of all parties.  Wilson might have been driving for a more embracing vision, but he was overrun by the French and the British.  In needing their support, the price paid was that unflinchingly brutal terms were invoked on Germany.  Appeasing the victors at the cost of the vanquished seemed to be the fundamental principle that guided the the Treaty, which seemed to be more of an armistice and not an actual treaty.  The reaction was to develop and embed the sense of German resentment which led to the rise of Nazism and Hitler as time progressed.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In addition, President Woodrow Wilson was very idealistic in his approach to peace.  He brought his Fourteen Points - ideas to end war for all time - to the peace negotiations, while Britain was more interested in how their empire could gain from winning the war, and France was more interested in punishment of Germany and war reparations.

The Fourteen Points did influence the final treaty, creating a League of Nations and creating the new nations of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, but the Treaty was also harsh and damaging towards Germany in the end, which many historians argue led to the rise of Hitler in later years.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The main factors that influenced the peace treaties were the strength of the Allies and the amount of anger that they felt towards Germany.  Because of this, the Treaty of Versailles was written with some rather harsh terms.  These included forcing the Germans to pay rather large amounts of war reparations. These terms hurt Germany greatly.

Eventually, the British came to think the Treaty was too harsh.  But the French (who were in most danger from the Germans) really liked and supported the Treaty.  The Germans, of course, really hated the Treaty.

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