Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles is the document that officially ended World War I. Austria-Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire, all together known as the Central Powers, lost to the Allied Powers, which included Britain, France, Italy, Russia, and the United States. Russia had pulled out of the war in November 1917 because their government was overthrown by a group of communists who wanted to put their energy into building a communist countryr. Therefore, they pulled out of the war, meaning they weren’t included in the discussion. The other four nations got together from June 1919 to January 1920 to discuss the peace document. President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Britain, Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando of Italy, and Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France attended to represent their country. The “Big Four” held conversations about their promised land or desires for their own country’s benefit, but also for Germany’s punishment. After months of discussing they came to their conclusions, listed in the Treaty of Versailles. Germany had almost no say in their punishment or the treaty (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). Many people are left to believe that Germany deserved their agreed upon punishments, but the Treaty of Versailles was too harsh. Germany had to give away its land to countries that lost it in previous wars. Alsace-Lorraine, the land between France and Germany, was given to Germany in 1871 after France’s defeat in the Franco-German War. After 50 years of Germany owning the land, in 1919, the representatives decided to give the land back to France. Germanization, the spread of German language, culture, and people, had occurred and there was controversy coming from the residents of Alsace-Lorraine, mostly negative (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). Germany won the Franco-German War, therefore that land was theirs. Bargaining for land that France had lost 50 years ago was an irrelevant argument. German shipyards were instructed to construct 200,000 tons of new shipping every year and freely hand it over to the Allies, receiving no pay (Hay). The people of Germany had to work much more to help the economy, even previous to this agreement. Working for no pay only lengthened Germany’s already slow process of rebuilding the economy and paying their debts, which took almost a century. It was also a continuation of the hatred coming from Germans toward the Allies, and even the beginning of Britain’s feeling of guilt for the results of the treaty. To defend that the treaty was fair, it’s said that Germany brought the hardships upon itself, and if anybody should have dealt with the consequences it should have been Germany (Hay). That’s a fair statement, mostly because Germany used illegal war tactics to try to get ahead. Although the idea makes sense, a majority of the hardships that Germans were made to face in the treaty were unnecessary. Germany was piled with debt, paying for the repairs, owning a limited militia, and taking full blame for the war. Land from near and far being given to the League of Nations and France was not imperative, and neither was constructing new shipping for the Allies. Germany was facing overwhelming consequences, some too harsh, and that pushed hatred toward the Allies. With a treaty like the one of Versailles, it was nearly impossible for the Germans to avoid bitterness toward the Allies. The Treaty of Versailles was too harsh, leaving Germany without money or power. Paying off the war was overwhelming, and even other countries felt guilt for Germany’s consequences. The Treaty of Versailles left Germany with resentment toward the Allies, leading to World War II. Germany was left to spend decades paying off their debt, and with the desire to gain their power back. Twenty years after the document was signed, Germany invaded Poland, which was the start of World War II.