On the 6 July 1914 Germany had given Austria a “blank check”, which stated the support of Germany towards Austria. The “blank check” enraged the UK, which sent a telegram to Germany declaring that the UK would support France. The “blank check” was no accident, therefore, the tensions and ally system of WWI began before the war, meaning that war was yet to come. Although, Austria was crippled from past events solely wanted to destroy Serbia. Massie states that Austria believes it’s fractured and disintegrated state will be cured by annihilating the source of all of its problems, Serbia.
The Germans had come to the table hoping to hear Wilson saying, “the equality of nations upon which peace much be founded on if it is to last must be an equality of rights..” (German Peace Delegation, p. 76) Instead they were hit with several Billion reichmarks in reparations, a reduced military and many other limitations politically, economically, militarily and territory wise (The Versailles Treaty, 1918). Germany was to blame for the war, as were all of Europe. However the old adage, to the victor goes the spoils. With such documents as the Zimmerman Note, one can only speculate on the terms handed down by a victorious
Clemenceau resented Wilson’s generous attitude towards Germany and Lloyd George’s desire to not treat Germany too harshly. He said “if they British are so anxious to appease Germany they should look overseas and make colonial, naval or commercial concessions”. These disagreements left the big three unsatisfied and ultimately left them with a weak mere shadow of a perhaps great treaty due to their own arrogance and. It contained many faults and weaknesses. The treaty of Versailles greatly humiliated Germany forcing it to accept soul responsibility for the war.
Hitler got away with this because Britain had sympathy for Germany and in 1935 signed a naval agreement with them. France was angry that Germany was re-army but there was little they could do as most countries were doing the same, especially after the disappointment of the Disarmament conference.. The failure of the League of Nations in the 1930s also contributed towards the outbreak of war. It was powerless throughout the 1920s as it was more interested in trying to keep good relations with the other countries so it would have allies against Hitler if he ever attacked. The League also didn’t work because America didn’t join and it was the American President Woodrow Wilson who created it and it would never have worked unless all the nations were allowed to join.
Although German signed the Treaty of Versailles, much to the disgrace of many Germans, admitting they were to blame it is undeniable that aggressive German foreign policy had a lot to do with the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, but this neglects other factors that may have additionally added to the tensions leading up to the war. Many historians debate whether it was mainly Germany to blame or whether other dominant powers led them into a no-win situation. Source V, ‘Modern Germany’ by Volker Berghahn suggests that the Kaiser no longer saw foreign policy and civil war as separate issues and that they were now seen to entwine together. The mention of the 1913 Army bill that had aggravated many within the German society due to the growing distress over money and the status quo within the German political establishment, the argument over the tax burdens grew with every bill passed. These tensions started to disrupt their dual alliance with Austria-Hungary, even with a ‘Blank Cheque’ being given to them.
The treaty was really harsh on the Germans. Germany had to accept all the blame for causing the start of WW1 when it wasn’t even Germany that started. The direct cause of WW1 was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb. The treaty also wanted Germany to pay huge amounts of cash to countries that faced damages due to the war. This is unfair because only Germany was required to pay for the reparations (about 6,600 million Euros).
Germany had been expecting a treaty based on Wilson's 14 points and were not happy with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. However, they had no choice but to sign the document. The main terms of the Treaty of Versailles were: 1. War Guilt Clause - Germany should accept the blame for starting World War One 2. Reparations - Germany had to pay £6,600 million for the damage caused by the war 3.
Russia also feared the growing German threat and sought to ally itself with Great Britain, France, and even Germany itself for protection. The British, for their part, tried hard to remain out of the conflict, but found that having the world's most powerful navy made that impossible. Rebellious provinces within the Austro-Hungarian Empire made central Europe extremely unstable, and the leaders of the Ottoman Empire in the Near East sought to expand their power. Historians have generally noted that the European powers had managed to avoid war for so long, that when it did
They did not receive a satisfactory reply and they declared war on Russia and France. On August 2nd, the Germany sent an ultimatum to Belgium. It was about the countries intent to send troops through Belgium. Belgium refused to grant permission. The British did not want to have war, but after hearing about the ultimatum that was sent to Belgium, Britain sent an ultimatum to Germany asking them to respect that Belgium was neutral.
Personally, I strongly believe the treaty of Versailles was completely unfair towards the Germans. The Big Three had forced Germany to sign the treaty and had centred the chaos of the war on one country- Germany. Wilson having published his fourteen points had given the German a misleading thought that if they surrendered they wouldn’t need to put up with the war guilt and reparations. Germany was given a false sense of security by the 14 points because the fourteen points were strongly centred on self-determination which was something that Germany would have liked just to keep their moderately large territory. The reparations that Germany were forced to pay weren’t solely centred on the rulers of Germany because they had had a more profound effect on the citizens of Germany instead.