MODERN HISTORY ASSESSMENT TASK #1 Essay

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(i) Explain the different aims of the three leaders, Clemenceau, Lloyd-George and Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference after WW1. The 18th of January 1919, is a stand-still moment in History as 75%of the world’s leaders came together and prepared to discuss a singletopic, the situation of the post-war world. With the exclusion of thedefeated states, there was a total of 32 Leaders that attended the ParisPeace Conference. Whilst there was a large majority of attendees, therewere three that wielded more power over the other nations. These majorparticipants consisted of Clemenceau from France, Woodrow from USA andLloyd-George from Britain, because of the power they possessed the name”The Big Three” 1 was given to them. Georges Clemenceau was appointed to be the French Prime Minister in1916, immediately he clearly conveyed his ideas for Germany to be smashedso that she could never again embark on a war.
2 The devastating blow thatthe French took during the war and especially at Verdun was still apparentin the French publics mind. Clemenceau would not take the chance of Germanyonce starting another war, so he proceeded to argue his aims as being ofhigh importance. Clemenceau believed the complete stripping of Germany wasthe only sure way to know they would be harmless and not be seen as astrong power in the future. This meant the removal of their navy, air-forceand a decrease in the size of their army. France wanted their border tomeet with Germany’s along the Rhine and to lose all of their overseasterritories, the more important being the return of Alsace-Lorraine.
Clemenceau also felt the need to restrict the relations of Austria-Hungaryand Germany in order to make sure the two countries would not once againjoin forces together. His nationalistic ways shown at the Paris PeaceConference meant that his views often conflicted with those of Wilson’s. “President Wilson had come to Europe with a program of peace for all men. His ideal was a very high one, but it involved great difficulties, owing tothese century-old hatreds between some races.
” (Clemenceau) 3Woodrow Wilson was the American President and came to Paris with agreat reputation of being a peace maker. 4 Wilson is perhaps better knownfor his 14 idealistic aims for a peace initiative. These were in his mind,the perfect way to produce peace between the struggling nations and torestore power to its rightful owners; however these aims were viewed asimpractical and too far-fetched. One of the more important points includedwas “self determination” for the successor states in Europe.
There was alsoto be no secret treaties between powers like the treaties that had helpedto cause the First World War. (Open Diplomacy) 5 This was similar toClemenceau’s aim to destroy the Austria-German relation. Some of his moregeneral points were the freedom of the seas, free trade and the creation ofa League of Nations which observed world events and offered peacefulsolutions. “A statement that I once made that this should be a peacewithout victory holds more strongly today than ever. The peace that we makemust be one in which justice alone is the determining factor.
” 6 Wilsonsincerely believed that only through justice could peace be restored, andan established society rebuilt. David Lloyd-George became the British Prime Minister in 1916 andalready had an established background. His creation of the Defence of theRealm Act meant he knew what lengths Britain had to extend to in order tofight in the war. Lloyd-George acted as a mediator between Clemenceau’sharsh nationalism and Wilson’s idealistic nature. Lloyd-George’s biggestaim was to reduce the threat of a German up rise, but he didn’t want themto become economically inadequate. With an economically strong Germancountry, Lloyd-George believed they would be able to uplift the Europeantrade industry.
The threat of communism was also a problem, and if Germanywas a weaker power at the time, they were at risk of becoming a communistnation, in turn affecting the immediate countries surround Germany. The aims of these three leaders differed by the degree of punishmentthey thought Germany deserved. Clemenceau had a more aggressive stance andwanted revenge on the German people for their particularly violent acts atVerdun. Wilson tried to take a more passive approach towards Germany; hehad 14 strong points but was not forceful enough to put them all intoplace.
Finally, Lloyd-George wanted to keep Germany economically stable touse them as an advantage to the European industry. The three leaders wereall looking at the best interests of their own country and they wantedGermany to repay the sufferings caused. (ii) Explain the extent to which each of the three leaders, Clemenceau,Lloyd-George and Wilson were satisfied with the final terms of the Treatyof Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles was created as a result of the Paris PeaceConference, where it was finally signed after four months.
The Treatyseemed to satisfy the “Big Three” but only toa limited degree. Germanyhad been weakened yet they were still strong enough to stop the spread ofcommunism. The French border with Germany was safe from another Germanattack and they created the organisation, the League of Nations, that wouldend warfare throughout the world. Clemenceau seemed the most satisfied with the Treaty because most ofthe aims that he had during the Paris Peace Conference had been accountedfor in the Treaty. The fear of a German uprise was no longer in the mindsof France as all the land that Germany was required to hand over, wasreturned with the most important being Alsace and Lorraine.
Germany’smilitary army was down sized to a limit of 100,000 men without the use oftanks. The air force was banned and she was only allowed 6 naval ships anno submarines. The land 50km east of the Rhinewasannouncedademilitarised zone, where no soldier with a weapon could enter. Overseasland previously owned by Germany was given to different European countries. The Saar, Danzig and Memel were put under the control of the League ofNations. One of the more important outcomes was the “War Guilt Clause” thathad Germany take on full responsibility for starting the war, this wasimportant as it would bring France into the light, and let the world knowthat they were only defending against the German attacks.
This also meantthat Germany would have to pay reparations to France for the physicaldamage caused during the war. Clemenceau was the most satisfied out of thethree leaders with the humiliation of Germany, and Frances new found powerin the world. Wilson was very pleased because as a result from the Paris PeaceConference, his idea of the League of Nations had become a reality. TheLeague would make it possible to solve conflicts all over the world in apeaceful manner, which displays Wilson’s need for peace, “To promoteinternational co-operation and toachieveinternationalpeaceandsecurity. ” (Wilson) 7 The losses of the United States was not on the samescale as Britain and France because of the late entrance to the war,therefore reparations did not need to be paid.
The cost of creating theLeague was losing his other 13 original ideology points to gain the globalsupport that was necessary to start the League and making it a success. Asthe post-war world was in struggle of finding peace, there were a lot ofcountries intrigued by the international organisation that promised tobring the world peace. Wilson’s peaceful nature was clearly angered by thegreat number of restrictions and reparations Germany had to agree to. Wilson was left feeling ashamed of the harsh conditions that were imposedon Germany, but was very satisfied with the start of the League of Nations.
Lloyd-George was perhaps the least satisfied with the final terms ofthe treaty because of Clemenceau’s persistence to bankrupt the Germaneconomy. As Lloyd-George’s key point was to keep Germany’s economy asstable as possible to increase the European market, he was not happy withthe end result. Most people in Great Britain had wished for revenge onGermany, and they got their satisfaction as many of Germany’s colonies wentto Lloyd-George. This was the most rewarding, as they could then recoverpower and wealth quickly.
With the decrease in size of the Germans navy,the seas could once again be controlled by the British navy. With Lloyd-George’s constant “on the fence” attitude at the Paris Peace Conference hewas over thrown largely by the other two in his requests. This cause morefrustration with Lloyd-George and among the British public who thought morereparations could be given to Britain. Lloyd-George was reasonably happywith the colonies gained, but was more upset with the state of the Germaneconomy.
For all three leaders, not all of their needs were met, but at leastone was to keep them content. Clemenceau received the most satisfaction outof the humiliation of Germany and marvelled at the down sizing of theirarmy. Wilson was not content with the unforgiving treatment of the Germans,but was very satisfied with the commencing of the League of Nations eventhough he was “compelled to surrender thirteen of his points in exchangefor realisation of the one that he held most dear – the League ofNations. “8 Lloyd-George was not as happy as the other two because of thedestruction of Germany’s economy, resulting in no help from the Germans toincrease the European market. (iii) Explain the purpose and intent of the League of Nations when it wasestablished in 1921. “What we seek is the reign of law, based upon the consent of thegoverned, and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind.
” (Wilson) 9. During the war, proposals of an international organisation were formed toensure that another world war would never break out again. In result, TheLeague of Nations was established on January 25th 1919. It was anorganisation that would solve international disputes 10, maintain thepeace, increase living conditions, limit armaments and constant arbitratingbetween the nations. The League also aimed to promote internationalcooperation in economic and social affairs.
The League focused on many of the economic and social problems thatwere found throughout the world. Such problems as women’s rights, childwelfare and poverty. To help with these issues, the League created smallsectors that would be in control of a specialised area such as health andrefugee provisions. The League of Nations also set out to decrease thenumber or armaments that countries possessed.
The complete down sizing of anations army, air force and naval services was predicted to produce worldsecurity. However, this was a dangerous task to try and carry out, becauseif there was one nation that refused to cooperate, there was a possibilityof another war breaking out, the complete opposite of theLeaguesobjectives. To help settle legal disputes in the world, a World Court wasformed to help give unprejudiced justice to the countries in trouble. Wilson sincerely believed that the most civilized approach was to gothrough the justice system to rebuild an established society.
Ironically areparations commission was setup in the League to calculate the exactamounts that Germany owned to a number of different countries, even thoughtWilson thought the reparations were too harsh at theParisPeaceConference. If there was one member of the League that was the victim of anattack, it was agreed upon that all other members would provide aid to thecountry in need of help. This was an attractive “bribe” for being a memberof the League. This ensured your nation that there will be assistance readyat hand when needed in the case of an attack. The other nations wouldcompletely isolate the attacking nation and cut off any supplies going intothe country. If this was not enough, the League would use force, with thebigger military force having a great advantage over the foe.
Wilson believed with World Cooperation and justice, peace amongst thenations could be possible. “Interest does not bind men together: interestseparates men. There is only one thing that can bind men together, and thatis common devotion to right. ” (Wilson) 8 World security was a big issue inthe League, which meant the prevention of a war ever occurring again.
Thismeant the League could enforce the disarmament of a nation if they thoughtthe threat of war was arising from a particular country or state. Thedisarmament to nations was important in keeping good relationships with notonly neighbouring countries, but countries from all across the globe. “Political liberty can exist only when there is peace. Social reform cantake place only when there is peace.
” (Wilson)11The League of Nations sole purpose was to maintain peace throughoutthe world, in a non-violent, civilised manner. This could be done withspecial commissions and smaller organisations the helped with economic andsocial issues. The “all for one and one for all,” attitude amongst membersin the League created a safer environment and nations became more willingto trust other nations. The intent was to look at the best interest of thenations and to prevent another World War at all costs. BibliographyCummins, P. McAndrew, M.
Thomas, D. The Great War and Its Aftermath. (2001). Making and Keeping the Peace.
Pg272-277. UK: CambridgeThe Treaty of Versailles – 28th June 1919. Fuller, RP. http://www.
rpfuller. com/gcse/history/2. html – accessed 9/11/2003Georges Clemenceau. The History Learning Site Team. http://www. historylearningsite.
co. uk/georges_clemenceau. htm – accessed9/11/2003THE WAY TO PEACE : Wilson and the League of Nations. Beck, S. http://www.
san. beck. org/WP20-LeagueofNations. html – accessed 12/11/2003The United States at the Paris Peace Conference.
Digital Term Papers Team. http://www. digitaltermpapers. com/view. php?url=/History_Other/the_united_states_at_the_paris_peace_conference. shtml – accessed 11/11/2003League of Nations.
Wikipedia Team. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/League_of_Nations – accessed 16/11/2003Georges Clemenceau. (2001).
The First World War team. http://www. firstworldwar. com/bio/clemenceau.
htm – accessed 9/11/2003France in the Treaty of Versailles. Learn. co. uk Team. http://www. learn.
co. uk/versailles/countries/france. htm – accessed 9/11/2003David Lloyd George: Great Britain. Learn.
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nps. gov/elro/glossary/wilson-woodrow. htm – accessed 17/11/2003———————–1 http://www. rpfuller. com/gcse/history/2.
html – accessed 9/11/20032 http://www. historylearningsite. co. uk/georges_clemenceau. htm – accessed9/11/20033 http://www. san.
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The Great War and Its Aftermath. Making and Keeping the Peace. Pg272. Cambridge, 2001.5 http://www.rpfuller.com/gcse/history/2.html – acessed 9/11/20036http://www.digitaltermpapers.com/view.php?url=/History_Other/the_united_states_at_the_paris_peace_conference.shtml – accessed 11/11/20037 http://www.san.beck.org/WP20-LeagueofNations.html – accessed 12/11/20038 http://www.nps.gov/elro/glossary/wilson-woodrow.htm – accessed17/11/20039 http://www.san.beck.org/WP20-LeagueofNations.html – accessed 12/11/200310 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Nations – accessed 16/11/200311http://www.digitaltermpapers.com/view.php?url=/History_Other/the_united_states_at_the_paris_peace_conference.shtml – accessed 12/11/2003

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