The Versailles treaty refers to the particular clauses (conditions or principles) which were given to Germany and which were accepted and signed by Germany at Versailles in 1919.
The Versailles treaty was one of the post war settlements through which the leading powers during the Paris conference hoped to restore peace on the European continent and to avoid another crisis like World War one. According to the peace markers (Britain, France and Russia) the Versailles treaty seemed to be an idea of peace settlement to the Germans, The treaty had a lot of unrealistic terms. The Versailles treaty is UNREALISTIC by the following reasons;-
1. Treaty was imposed on Germany.
The treaty was forced upon the Germans at Versailles where they were simply presented with terms and told to sign without opposing. The allied powers especially France were given many chances to criticize Germany but the Germans were not given any chanceto defend themselves.
2. Disarmament; The disarmament was strongly objected by the Germans claiming that 100,000 troops were to maintain law and order at a time of political uncertainty. The Germans became more aggrieved, later as it became clear that other powers were not disarming.
3. War guilty clause; The war guilt clause was also contested by the Germans on the grounds that Germany alone was to blame for the outbreak of world war one. The Germans argued that if other powers had not acted the way they did like forming counter alliances perhaps World War one would have been avoided.
4. War reparations; The war reparations were the final humiliation for the Germans.The allied powers forced Germany to pay 6,600 million dollars. The figure was too high to be effectively paid by a single country especially after world war one.
5. Repartitioning of Germany; Another weakness of the Versailles treaty lay in the repartitioning of Germany whereby Germany was forced to lose her territories to other European countries for example the port of Dazing was given to Poland therefore subjecting some Germans to polish control.
6. Dominated by the three big powers; The Versailles treaty was not fair because the revolutions had been dominated by the three big powers i.e. Britain, France and the U.S.A. Its even clear that the resolutions favored Britain and France at the expense of Germany for example France gained 15 years custody of the Saar valley which was rich in coal while Britain gained some of the mandate territories like Tanganyika.
The Versailles treaty is REALISTIC because of the following reasons;-
In spite of the above weakness and unfairness one can strongly argue that the Versailles treaty was fair to some extent.
1. It was fair to the French to regain Alsace and Lorraine which Germany had forcefully annexed following their defeat in 1871. This region was so rich in terms of coal and supported the French industrial revolution.
2. The treaty gave freedom to small nationalities that had been subjected to foreign domination for so long for example Poland was given her independence.
3. The treat forced Germany to disarm because; if it was not disarmed it would have been very difficult to maintain continental peace because Germany was capable of troubling Europe shortly thereafter.
4. It was fair for Poland a land locked country to be given access to the sea if it was to gain economic stability.
NB: – Its worth noting that the French representatives had used the treaty not for achieving lasting peace in Europe but to revenge on Germany for defeating France in 1871. It is the unfairness in this treaty that caused future trouble for Europe and the world.