WWI: What problems did the treaty have? Why is it said that the treaty was neither conciliator enough or harsh enough to create a stable world order.

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hi1954 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Versailles Treaty had nothing but problems.  Germany was made to accept full blame for the war, completely ignoring the policies and actions of Russia, Austria-Hungary or France, all of which wanted the war.  Austria wished to achieve more complete control over the Balkans and to impede Russian influence there, Russia wanted the same in reverse.  France had planned for another war against Germany since 1870, and even Great Britain had allowed its policies to be influenced by France.

Secondly, Germany was held economically responsible for all war damages, including things like property damage to thousands of square miles of France and Belgium, lost wages, etc.  Germany was also forced to cede territory to Poland, Czechoslovakia, France and Belgium, amounting to 13% of the country (some 27,000 square miles) and ten percent of its population, close to some seven million people who became suddenly citizens of other countries.  The crushing indemnity for the war destroyed the German economy, and the Treaty made no provision whatever for the millions starving all over Europe.

The links below lead to information on the treaty deliberations and the text of J. M. Keynes' critique of the situation, The Economic Consequences of the Peace.  The Treaty of Versailles had no provision at all that could possibly have led to stability in Europe.