How the Versailles Treaty was ineffective at preventing World War II.
The Treaty of Versailles was signed in 
Versailles, France at the close of World War I by
the Allied Powers and Germany on June 28, 1919.  
The original intent of the treaty was to restrict the
power of Germany and its ability to reconstruct its
Reichswehr (Republic Army).  The Treaty of Versailles 
failed to accomplish this goal.  This failure is just
one of the many downfalls of the treaty.  These downfalls 
are the basis for the causes of World War II.

The treaty limited the Reichswehr in size to 
100,000 men.  (Electronic Encyclopedia)  This 
turned out to be an advantage for the Germans 
because only the best personnel were kept in 
the professional army.  The surplus of soldiers 
were used to run the police forces of the various 
states.  In a sense, the treaty restructured the 
Reichswehr to become a world power.  After the 
disarmament conference of 1932 the Reichswehr 
began to triple in strength allowed it by the treaty. 
(Electronic Encyclopedia) This military expansion was
conducted by Hitler in violation of the Treaty.
The allies did not enforce the treaty because they
didn't have the support of the United States.  Without
the U.S. behind the League of Nations, no provision of
the treaty was enforced.

The Versailles Treaty outlined procedures for 
bringing penalties against offenders.  
(Encyclopedia Britannica)  Article 16 provided 
for the application of economic sanctions against 
a member who resorted to war in disregard 
of the treaty's covenants.  These articles were put 
to the test unsuccessfully against Japan in Manchuria 
in 1931 through 1933 and when Italy invaded Ethiopia 
in 1935 through 1936.  (Encyclopedia Britannica) These 
inactions against the aggressor by the League of 
Nations proved to Hitler that he could invade the 
Rhineland in March, 1936 without consequence.
(Encyclopedia Britannica)  The enforcement of the 
treaty ceased to occur.  The supervision over 
weaponry of the Reichswehr was never fully effective.  
Hitler simply disregarded the treaty when he rearmed 
the military because he knew of the ineffectiveness 
of the League and the Treaty.

The issue of reparations was one of the most important 
sections of the treaty.  It forced Germany to make 
remunerations for all damages done to the civilian 
population of the Allies and property by the aggression 
of Germany by land, by sea, and from the air.  During 
World War I in Article 231 of the Treaty the Allies 
affirm and Germany accepted the responsibility of 
Germany and her allies for all the damage and 
destruction to which the Allied governments and 
their citizens have had to endure.  (Encyclopedia 
Britannica) These reparations created hostility 
in the German population leading to support of 
the Third Reich. 

Although at the time the treaty seemed to be a 
success in enforcing peace, it in actuality 
restructured the Reichswehr and created hostility
in the German people leading into World War II.
Hitler acted on this hostility to gain power and 
justify violations of the treaty's provisions.

1. The Electronic Encyclopedia of World War II (TM)
(c)  1992 Marshall Cavendish, Inc.
2. Encyclopedia Britannica.
3. United States History, Richard Current, Alexander
Deconde, Harris Dante, (c) 1967.

Written by:
Jason K.
Jacob M.
Doug M.
A student's review of this essay has been added.

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