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The Treaty Of Versailles Puzzle Logo
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The palace of Versailles is situated on the outskirts of Paris, built by Louis XIV in the late 17th century for the French court as a country retreat. The palace has been used for many historical occasions, and its most famous room "The Hall of Mirrors" has witnessed many of these events.

In January 1871, after the Prussian victory over France in the Franco-Prussian war, King Wilhelm of Prussia was declared, in the "Hall of Mirrors", Kaiser of the German Empire.

In that very same room some 50 years later representatives gathered from the victorious Allied forces, and this time imposed a crippling treaty on Germany which became known as "The Treaty of Versailles". After the defeat of Germany in World War 1, the Allies held Germany totally responsible for starting the conflict and causing the carnage and devastation in the 4 years of the war.

It was hoped that the treaty would bring an everlasting peace to Europe, which had just endured the bloodiest of wars. Within the treaty the Allies imposed restrictions on how much of an armed force Germany could keep after the war. The idea was to strip Germany of its capability to wage war every again.

In the eyes of the Allies Germany was responsible for the hostilities and they wanted to prevent any such thing happening again. The treaty would only allow the German army 100,000 men, considered enough for defence. The army would be devoid of any tanks and would have no large artillery pieces. Germany would not be allowed an airforce and its navy would be restricted to only ships no larger than a cruiser. The treaty turned the Rhineland into a demilitarized zone, and no German troops would be allowed in this zone.

War reparations crippled Germany and the financial burden of the war led to the collapse of the German economy. The financial burden was immense, and with the collapse of the economy it would bring poverty and depression to the people of Germany. This situation was enhanced by the crash of the world's market which created what became known as the Depression. The situation would be ripe for a struggle between extreme political groups, a struggle that will see the emergence of Hitler and his Nazi party.

The treaty created new borders which recognized new states, this was to take into account of minority nationalistic identities. The nationalistic issues were addressed, as it was these issues that ignited World War 1. Most of the grievances centred on eastern Europe and the Balkans that were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. These ethnic groups resented the imperial hold that was held by Vienna, and as Germany's ally the Allies broke up the Austro-Hungarian Empire into separate states.

They created Hungary as a separate state, and then merged the Czech lands, Slovakia and the German speaking areas of the Sudetenland, and created the new state of Czechoslovakia.

In the Balkans they created the new state of Yugoslavia, which consisted of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina (which were all part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the independent state of Serbia and Montenegro. The effects of the treaty would be felt 70 years on when the new state, with its political and religious differences, ignite into a bloody civil war.

As ally to Germany, Turkey, also saw its territory divided up and given to its long time enemy Greece. By helping the Allies they created Saudi Arabia as a independent state. Syria fell under French influence and Persia and Mesopotamia under British influence. All will become intense spots of conflict over the decades that follow the Treaty of Versailles.

Poland and the Baltic states were given independence. But Poland had no access to the Baltic sea, so the treaty granted Poland the port of Danzig and in doing so annexed Prussia from the rest of Germany. This created a corridor and Poland now had access to the Baltic sea but it would be this that would become a major point of contention, and one that would cause the declaration of war in 1939. Hitler would invade Poland to regain lands and unite Germany with Prussia, and throw Europe into a second world war.

The Allies also created the League of Nations, a forerunner of the United Nations. This organization was designed to act as a mediator for any future disputes. It based itself in Geneva and held its first session in November 1920. Obvious absentees as members were the Soviet Union, the United States of America, and of course the defeated nations of WW1.

The League of Nations proved ineffective and powerless to enforce policy, especially without the support of the United States, which followed a policy of isolationism and refused to rectify the treaty. The treaty had already started to increase tension in the years immediately after it declaration. Up to the outbreak of World War II there were many outbreaks of violent confrontation. Early set backs saw disputes between Greece and Turkey, the Italian invasion of north Africa, and the Japanese invasion of mainland China.

The main prelude to WW2 was the Spanish civil war, which saw many countries on both sides of the political fence supporting the different factions involved in the conflict. The Spanish civil war would prove to be a dress rehearsal for the second World War.

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For those visitors that have entered to this site, directly to this page, we would like to inform you that this page is part of a series of pages, within a section that acts as a backdrop to 'The Puzzle' project. 'The Puzzle' is a musical project that looks at different events from the 20th-21st Century.

This section is part of the 'World War II' zone. 'A Promise Of Peace' tells the story, in chronological order, of World War II.

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