There is much disagreement among historians as to whether the peacemaker of Versailles ultimately do more harm than good and deserve to be criticized for creating problems that brought on a further conflict and subsequently resulted in the beginnings of the first world war. While on the one hand many historians blame Britain, France and the USA for igniting anger amongst the German people, a strong sense of injustice in Germany which many would later identify as being a contributing reason for the start of the Second World War.Other historians would argue that the treaty was weak; it was too harsh where leniency was needed and this resulted in further issues, including making Germany feel humiliated by the loss of its empire. However on the other hand some historians have argued that the peacemakers of Versailles cannot be blamed for the problems that resulted later as even if the treaty had been more lenient towards Germany, there was no way of estimating or predicting the irrational and radical actions of major leaders, mainly Hitler.Many historians have argued that the peacemakers of Versailles did more harm than good, the main aims of the treaty were not to crush Germany or defeat its new empire but to contain her military power. However much of the German people did not believe that they had been fairly defeated and whilst the peacemakers assumed that Germany would accept the terms of their treaty as consequence of their defeat this was not so as Germany felt ‘a powerful sense of injustice.
Thus as source A states, the peacemakers’ attempt at securing a peace settlement, despite aiming to restrain German power instead provoked German ‘desire to reverse the judgement of Versailles’ and consequently setting the tone for future conflict and ultimately the outbreak of a second world war.Source D gives evidence to support source A’s claim that the flaws in the peace treaties were main reason for subsequent conflict, it is clear both authors agree that the peacemakers of Versailles deserve to be criticized for creating problems that brought on a further conflict as source D states that ‘from the outset there had to be inconsistency, if not hypocrisy in the way that Germany was treated. ’ Germany had felt that the treaty which not only established Germanys defeat but put the entire blame of the war upon Germany, was unfair and felt they were being provoked by France, Russia and Britain into war.So while the treaty ‘had not crippled her’ (source B) it had made Germany ‘the pariah of Europe’ (source A) and subsequently ‘Germany felt humiliated’ (source B) leaving the possibility of future conflict likely. It could be argued that while the intentions of the peacemakers were initially good, by ‘leaving Germany as a unified state’ (source B) and surrounding her by weaker powers trouble in the future was inevitable.As despite the terms set out by the peacemakers of Versailles, Germany still remained a strong industrial, economic and territorial power at the centre of all of Europe, the peace settlement left her as source B states ‘in a stronger position than in 1914.
’ Showing clearly that while the treaty damaged Germany to some extent it did not serious harm her, hence many have accused the peacemakers ‘as being too severe where it should have been too lenient and vice versa. (Source B) Source A goes some way to support Sharp’s view that both the leniency and severity of Versailles caused problems however source A, whilst being mostly factual, is very closely focused upon Germany and the impact the treaty had upon her, whereas source B presents a much wider view of the treaty itself and offers a more general judgement upon the treaty and its effectiveness, therefore making source B appear to be a more useful response.However whilst both sources A and B present a critical view of the peacemakers, to extent both sources show some disparity as source A seems to focus more upon the ‘devastating’ results of the treaty and the ‘powerful sense of injustice’ it dispelled upon Germany whereas source B shows a closer centre upon actually identifying the flaws and ‘deficiencies in the settlement’ hence providing greater evidence which actually backs up Sharp’s criticisms of the peacemakers’ attempt ‘in vain to draw their maps around people rather than move the people to fit the maps. On the other hand however other historians would argue that it would be unfair to blame the peacemakers of Versailles for creating problems that brought on further conflicts, there was no way of possibly predicting the events that were to come and obviously had Britain, France and the USA known the power Germany was to become, the terms of the treaty would have been obviously different.Many historians would argue that the peacemakers had the right intentions, although the treaty was admittedly quite moderate, especially in comparison to the treaties Germany had imposed when Russia and Romania were defeated in 1918, other contributing factors including ‘political leaders, diplomats, soldiers and ordinary voters’ cannot be dismissed as playing a major role in provoking a second world war.Source C presents a sympathetic stance towards the peacemakers of Versailles, while there is no denying that had the treaty not been ‘too severe where it should have been too lenient and vice versa’ (source B) the peacemakers cannot be blamed for ‘everything that went wrong in the 1920s and 1930s’ (source C) as it would have been impossible for them to have predicted the decisions that led to such devastating consequences of such an irrational and radical leader as Hitler.As source C states, even if they had altered the treaty and given Germany all that it wanted ‘he still would have wanted more’ therefore it did not matter in fact what the peacemakers did as there was no halting Germany’s rise to power. It is clearly unfair as many historians would argue to blame only the treaty of Versailles and completely ‘ignore the actions of everyone.
.. for twenty years between 1919 and 1939’ for the future conflicts that came about and the ultimate outbreak of war.However it could be argued then that there were undeniably weak roots within German democracy, directing the blame towards the treaty and if the peacemakers did want a new democratic Germany then they would have needed to be more forgiving or ‘lenient’ (source B) in terms of the treaty, showing that the peacemakers did have some hand in the way consequent events unfolded and therefore they should be given some criticism ‘for the deficiencies of the settlement.Source D goes some way to support this criticism of the peacemakers, Ferguson points out a main flaw stating that ‘none of the peacemakers saw it as applying to their own empires –only to the empires that they had defeated. Making it evident that while the peacemakers cannot be criticized for the ignorance they showed to future conflicts that would have been impossible to have predicted as they ‘had to deal with reality, not what might have been’ (source C) their ignorance of the potential power of Germany and hence the total failure of the collective powers of France, USA and Britain after 1919 to contain German power contributed to the outbreak of the war and therefore makes the peacemakers accountable.To conclude, whilst it is clear as source C argues that the peacemakers ‘grappled with huge difficult questions’ and could not have possibly foreseen the events that were to come in subsequent years, there were undeniable flaws in the treaty and one could argue had they not chosen as source B states ‘too severe where it should have been too lenient and vice versa’ then Germany would not have been in such a dominant position with the capability and ‘necessary resources’ to eventually become such a forceful power and ultimately begin the second world war, hence it cannot be denied that the peacemakers deserved to be criticized to a certain extent for creating problems that brought on a further conflict.