How come the allied powers didnt break down germany during the treaty of versailles?

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handycoder
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I am not sure why the victorious powers of the first world war didn't vote to dismantle the german empire into it constituent states and simply prevented reunification with their armies as they were in post napoleon europe.

It would weaken the power to the point that they couldn't threaten the great powers much, while maintaining their validity as a market for those powers goods. Also, it would give self determination to the German states.

The only real reason I can think of against it after about 5 minutes of thinking about it is that this would make these states (ranging in size from the quite large Prussia to tiny city states) very vulnerable to bolshevism, and the foreign powers fears of communism and anarchism at the time.

It would be interesting to hear some other viewpoints on this.
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Smash Bandicoot
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Maybe because they still liked the idea of imperialism and an empire itself, just wanted to say they had destroyed one, maybe because they knew **** would get real if they toyed with Germany's imperial roots, idk I'm only a History graduate derp
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handycoder
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(Original post by Smash Bandicoot)
Maybe because they still liked the idea of imperialism and an empire itself, just wanted to say they had destroyed one, maybe because they knew **** would get real if they toyed with Germany's imperial roots, idk I'm only a History graduate derp
I mean while Germany was an undeniable power, it had only existed since 1871 as something other than an idea. Considering it had been 48 years, i am not sure that is really long enough to form an imperial mentality, although thats just my opinion.
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(Original post by handycoder)
I mean while Germany was an undeniable power, it had only existed since 1871 as something other than an idea. Considering it had been 48 years, i am not sure that is really long enough to form an imperial mentality, although thats just my opinion.
Bismarck much?
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Russia is the elephant in the room. The Soviet Union, while shorn of some territory and in general disarray, is still a great power and is essentially no longer a part of the international community. Do you want there to be nothing but weak fragments between them and Paris?
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handycoder
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(Original post by Smash Bandicoot)
Bismarck much?
Yes Germany acted in a way that was indicative that it was a great power, and was. However, since it was a young great power, I think it would have been significantly easier to break down than France or the UK however.


(Original post by Observatory)
Russia is the elephant in the room. The Soviet Union, while shorn of some territory and in general disarray, is still a great power and is essentially no longer a part of the international community. Do you want there to be nothing but weak fragments between them and Paris?
While I mention this in the op, How would limiting the army to 100k stop the USSR, let alone no tanks or planes?
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(Original post by handycoder)
While I mention this in the op, How would limiting the army to 100k stop the USSR, let alone no tanks or planes?
Simply those clauses weren't sustainable. The problem is it is much harder to reverse a political breakup, or even to negotiate with the fragments. I would be interested to see what the British in particular thought on this point at the time (I suspect the Americans didn't care and I don't know how the French thought on such matters).
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jammy4041
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(Original post by handycoder)
I am not sure why the victorious powers of the first world war didn't vote to dismantle the german empire into it constituent states and simply prevented reunification with their armies as they were in post napoleon europe.

It would weaken the power to the point that they couldn't threaten the great powers much, while maintaining their validity as a market for those powers goods. Also, it would give self determination to the German states.

The only real reason I can think of against it after about 5 minutes of thinking about it is that this would make these states (ranging in size from the quite large Prussia to tiny city states) very vulnerable to bolshevism, and the foreign powers fears of communism and anarchism at the time.

It would be interesting to hear some other viewpoints on this.
The Treaty of Versailles had the worst of both worlds. It was a vengeful peace that completely violated Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, however, it is also a valid view that it was also toothless to prevent a future leader violating its terms, which Hitler would later do.

I think that under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had suffered enough though. The occupation of the Ruhr, and the Saarland was bad enough, and directly contributed to the hyperinflation of 1923. The loss of its best Coal areas, and forced reparations of coal to France, was another example of the treaty being vengeful.

The Treaty also violated the Brest-Litvosk treaty of 1917, and meant that a hard-fought victory in the Eastern front was for nothing.

It wasn't a treaty. That would imply Germany would have had a say in the proceedings. It was dictat. Germany was the one nation punished most by the treaty...the German part of the Austro-Hungarian empire remained essentially in tact.

Although Germany only existed as a nation since 1871, the nationalist ambition to unity Germany was a force throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
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(Original post by jammy4041)
The Treaty of Versailles had the worst of both worlds. It was a vengeful peace that completely violated Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, however, it is also a valid view that it was also toothless to prevent a future leader violating its terms, which Hitler would later do.

I think that under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had suffered enough though. The occupation of the Ruhr, and the Saarland was bad enough, and directly contributed to the hyperinflation of 1923. The loss of its best Coal areas, and forced reparations of coal to France, was another example of the treaty being vengeful.

The Treaty also violated the Brest-Litvosk treaty of 1917, and meant that a hard-fought victory in the Eastern front was for nothing.

It wasn't a treaty. That would imply Germany would have had a say in the proceedings. It was dictat. Germany was the one nation punished most by the treaty...the German part of the Austro-Hungarian empire remained essentially in tact.

Although Germany only existed as a nation since 1871, the nationalist ambition to unity Germany was a force throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.


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Judging by the terms of the Brest Litovsk treaty,I doubt the Germans would be any more generous if they won the war.
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(Original post by Kadak)
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Judging by the terms of the Brest Litovsk treaty,I doubt the Germans would be any more generous if they won the war.
I disagree with the premise of the Brest-Litovsk treaty, but I just used it as an example why there would be German annoyance, especially considering the nature of the War, as to why they got no spoils out of the war. I mean, it's a reasonable suggestion to imply that the Germans wouldn't have been generous had they'd won the war, but the Treaty was much more vengeful than it had to be.
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(Original post by jammy4041)

I think that under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had suffered enough though. The occupation of the Ruhr, and the Saarland was bad enough, and directly contributed to the hyperinflation of 1923. The loss of its best Coal areas, and forced reparations of coal to France, was another example of the treaty being vengeful.
Your looking at this through the soft prism of todays's world. When you've fought a war for 4 years (deadlier than anything before it) your not interested in fairness, you've put them on the floor and now you want to put your foot on their neck. The Allies had no regard for Germany at that point, they'd won and presumably did not want to occupy it so they extracted the maximum they could.

We live in a world today where the UK is under no real threat and where people whine about firing on an Argie ship or about civilian casualties from their arm chair. When there's an actual war where your in danger, your goal is complete victory.
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Your looking at this through the soft prism of todays's world. When you've fought a war for 4 years (deadlier than anything before it) your not interested in fairness, you've put them on the floor and now you want to put your foot on their neck. The Allies had no regard for Germany at that point, they'd won and presumably did not want to occupy it so they extracted the maximum they could.

We live in a world today where the UK is under no real threat and where people whine about firing on an Argie ship or about civilian casualties from their arm chair. When there's an actual war where your in danger, your goal is complete victory.
I disagree. The Treaty of Versailles was considered to be harsh, even at the time. John Maynard Keynes lamented its development, albeit more from an economic perspective. Wilson and Lloyd-George lamented its development. Clemenceau wanted it to be tougher.

Both sides committed atrocities and I can understand the emotion involved in such a war. But, even if you accept the view that you "have to stamp on their neck...achieve total victory" ie. by imposing a treaty that no-one accept the French really liked, then you would have to consider the reaction against stamping on their neck. The French response to that, was to stamp on their neck some more, to further your analogy. Sure, that's an emotional response to a situation where it wasn't even required. Going past the point of reason because of emotion is pretty much the definition of a vengeful peace.

I can understand the different attachment that the allies each had towards the war effort (ie. from Woodrow Wilson being the most lenient to Germany, due to the US detachment from the war effort to Georges Clemenceau's outright obvious, and 'justified' vengfulness in his view (Britain occupying the middle ground), affecting their judgement.
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pol pot noodles
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(Original post by jammy4041)
The Treaty of Versailles had the worst of both worlds. It was a vengeful peace that completely violated Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, however, it is also a valid view that it was also toothless to prevent a future leader violating its terms, which Hitler would later do.
Why are Wilson's 14 points relevant? I didn't realise Woodrow Wilson was the grand arbitrator of the world, or that the UK and France were ment to bow to late-to-the-war American idealism.

(Original post by jammy4041)
I think that under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had suffered enough though. The occupation of the Ruhr, and the Saarland was bad enough, and directly contributed to the hyperinflation of 1923. The loss of its best Coal areas, and forced reparations of coal to France, was another example of the treaty being vengeful.
You would have had Germany a sharp slap on the wrist and ten minutes in the naughty corner?

(Original post by jammy4041)
The Treaty also violated the Brest-Litvosk treaty of 1917, and meant that a hard-fought victory in the Eastern front was for nothing.
Well it didn't, because none of the Allied powers at Versailles were party to the treaty of B-L.

(Original post by jammy4041)
It wasn't a treaty. That would imply Germany would have had a say in the proceedings. It was dictat. Germany was the one nation punished most by the treaty...the German part of the Austro-Hungarian empire remained essentially in tact.
Of course Germany was punished the most; Germany had caused by far the most damage and death. If your friend starts a fight that doesn't give you licence to go on a murder rampage. You'll do more prison time than him, that's for sure.
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(Original post by jammy4041)
The Treaty of Versailles had the worst of both worlds. It was a vengeful peace that completely violated Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, however, it is also a valid view that it was also toothless to prevent a future leader violating its terms, which Hitler would later do.

I think that under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany had suffered enough though. The occupation of the Ruhr, and the Saarland was bad enough, and directly contributed to the hyperinflation of 1923. The loss of its best Coal areas, and forced reparations of coal to France, was another example of the treaty being vengeful.

The Treaty also violated the Brest-Litvosk treaty of 1917, and meant that a hard-fought victory in the Eastern front was for nothing.

It wasn't a treaty. That would imply Germany would have had a say in the proceedings. It was dictat. Germany was the one nation punished most by the treaty...the German part of the Austro-Hungarian empire remained essentially in tact.

Although Germany only existed as a nation since 1871, the nationalist ambition to unity Germany was a force throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
nice gcse history revision notes mate
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Well, it was an armistice rather than an 'unconditional surrender' and Germany had to agree to the terms. It would have lost had it kept on fighting, but only at the cost of lots of Allied lives and there was not the political will to sustain those.

"Yes, they want to surrender and would agree to paying reparations, plus losing their military potential to make war and give up significant territory, but we wanted to sacrifice several more hundred thousand voters" is not a winning election strategy!
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(Original post by pol pot noodles)
Why are Wilson's 14 points relevant? I didn't realise Woodrow Wilson was the grand arbitrator of the world, or that the UK and France were ment to bow to late-to-the-war American idealism.

You would have had Germany a sharp slap on the wrist and ten minutes in the naughty corner?

I am of the view that no one came out of the First World War a winner. Every nation lost. Also, the UK depended on US exports more than you are willing to give credit for. To that end, the US wasn't really late to the war effort.

With that in mind, a peace that would fundamentally change the relationship between Germany/Prussia/the Germanic state and France from a hostile relationship stretching back
hundreds of years was a peace that could have worked. According to David M. Kennedy, there was a genuine hope of getting a liberal peace settlement on part of the US-UK, but it wasn't to be.

Before people, such as yourself suggest that this is Liberal clap-trap, please, consider it in economic terms.
Please, consider the spread of Spanish Flu after 1918 which killed more than the First World War combined.

(Original post by David M. Kennedy, 'Freedom From Fear', p.7)
'The Versailles Treaty, Keynes wrote in his embittered and astute tract of 1919, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, contained three lethal flaws. It transferred important coal, iron, and steel properties from Germany to France and prohibited their utilization by German industry. "Thus the Treaty strikes at organization," Keynes declared, "and y the destruction of organization impairs yet further the reduced wealth of the whole community." The treaty further stripped Germany of her overseas colonies, foreign investments, and merchant marine and arestricted her control of her own waterways and tarriffs. Most economically punishing of all, the victorious powers than imposed some $33 billion in reparations payments. Adding insult to injury, the treaty's Article 231 -- the notorious "guiilt clause"-- forced the Germans to acknowledge for the sole responsibility for the outnbreak of the war.

The treaty, Keynes concluded mainly insanely perputed in peacetime the economic disruptions of the war itself. To the military catastrophe of the fighting was now added the economic burden of a vengeful peace. Germany, stuggling to become a republic, bore most of the fearful tonnage. But all nations, victors and vanquised alik, were bowed benefit its crushing ballast in the interwar defense.

Keynes was not the only obeserver to sense mortal liabilities in the legacy from Versailles....'

Well it didn't, because none of te Allied powers at Versailles were party to the treaty of B-L.
While I appreciate that point, it was a peace made between the Germans and the Russians, which was superseded by the Treaty of Versailles. Obviously, the Russians couldn't be party to the deal in Paris, since the Civil War was under way and they were descending into Civil War. I was just furthering the point that it was a hard fought victory on the Eastern front that was neccessary from a logistical point of view. From a German perspective, it could be suggested that they didn't get any benefit from the that deal at all.



Of course Germany was punished the most; Germany had caused by far the most damage and death. If your friend starts a fight that doesn't give you licence to go on a murder rampage. You'll do more prison time than him, that's for sure.

'Well, I'm not too sure that I see the analogy to be honest.

The causes of the First World War were much more longer term. Militarism, Imperialism, Alliances and Nationalism are some of the big trends. Of thoses, arranged thematically, the Naval Race and Britain's fixed Naval ratio, the switch from Bismarckian realpolitik to the Wilhelmite weltpolitik, the Morrocan Crises, the rivalry in Africa. The collapse of the Bismarckian treaty systems due to inept chancellors was another crucial factor. Tensions rising in the Balkans because of Austrian expansion and the retreat of the Ottoman Empire, came to a head at the turn of the century, and were made worst poor leadership.The souring of relations with Russia due to the Balkans helped realize Bismarck's greatest fear...of the Russians securing an alliance with France in 1892. Add in the Entente cordial between Britain and France, in 1904, and well, the lines were drawn in the sand well before Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo in June 1914. Yes, German policy was increasingly hostile after 1888, but the Allies didn't exactly cover themselves in glory either.

German policy was to isolate France in European affairs after 1871 until 1888. France wanted revenge for its comprehensive defeat, Britain couldn't afford to stay out of European affairs.
The War Guilt Clause was the one article, above all that made the Treaty unworkable, and vengeful...
..
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(Original post by jammy4041)

[B]I am of the view that no one came out of the First World War a winner. Every nation lost. Also, the UK depended on US exports more than you are willing to give credit for. To that end, the US wasn't really late to the war effort.

..
Given that Britain and France were able to carve up the Ottoman Empire i'd say they definitely came out of the war a winner. Britain's empire actually peaked in 1922 albeit we were forced to concede Ireland which may have been a price too high in hindsight.
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pol pot noodles
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(Original post by jammy4041)
I am of the view that no one came out of the First World War a winner. Every nation lost. Also, the UK depended on US exports more than you are willing to give credit for. To that end, the US wasn't really late to the war effort.
The Allied powers might have begged to differ on that. And you think they should have just shrugged their shoulders and taken the damage of the war on the chin? Why does everyone expect us to behave morally righteous and in a manner that no other country behaves. Germany can rape Russia in the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, thats fine and dandy, but oh no we were wrong to try and enforce terms upon Germany.
Since when does a nation deserve credit for exporting it's goods at a price? It wasn't aid, the US gave the UK exports and credit, facilities that they offer during peace time.

With that in mind, a peace that would fundamentally change the relationship between Germany/Prussia/the Germanic state and France from a hostile relationship stretching back hundreds of years was a peace that could have worked. According to David M. Kennedy, there was a genuine hope of getting a liberal peace settlement on part of the US-UK, but it wasn't to be.
That requires three nations, France, UK and Italy, and their colonies, to simply take on the chin the grievous and horrendous damage from the war, and essentially endorses the position that starting a war is a no-lose strategy with no repercussions, because if you lose the Allied powers will build you up again out of their own wallet, ready for you to have another pop in the future. The Entente should not have been expected to go out of their way to accommodate a peace beneficial to Germany, out of principle, regardless of what hindsight tells us.

Before people, such as yourself suggest that this is Liberal clap-trap, please, consider it in economic terms. Please, consider the spread of Spanish Flu after 1918 which killed more than the First World War combined.
The economic terms? What like hundreds of billions of pounds of economic damage done to the Allied powers, millions dead, millions more wounded, all of which needs to be paid for? What has the Spanish Flu got to do with anything? A horrendous disease suddenly makes the deadliest war ever okay?

'The Versailles Treaty, Keynes wrote in his embittered and astute tract of 1919, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, contained three lethal flaws. It transferred important coal, iron, and steel properties from Germany to France and prohibited their utilization by German industry. "Thus the Treaty strikes at organization," Keynes declared, "and y the destruction of organization impairs yet further the reduced wealth of the whole community." The treaty further stripped Germany of her overseas colonies, foreign investments, and merchant marine and arestricted her control of her own waterways and tarriffs. Most economically punishing of all, the victorious powers than imposed some $33 billion in reparations payments. Adding insult to injury, the treaty's Article 231 -- the notorious "guiilt clause"-- forced the Germans to acknowledge for the sole responsibility for the outnbreak of the war.

The treaty, Keynes concluded mainly insanely perputed in peacetime the economic disruptions of the war itself. To the military catastrophe of the fighting was now added the economic burden of a vengeful peace. Germany, stuggling to become a republic, bore most of the fearful tonnage. But all nations, victors and vanquised alik, were bowed benefit its crushing ballast in the interwar defence.
Cry me a river. German hate, pride and ego is on Germany, not France and the UK. The economic reparations were in correlation with the scale of the War. It's not like the Allied Powers demanded $33 billion after a two day battle with seven deaths.
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(Original post by pol pot noodles)
The Allied powers might have begged to differ on that. And you think they should have just shrugged their shoulders and taken the damage of the war on the chin? Why does everyone expect us to behave morally righteous and in a manner that no other country behaves. Germany can rape Russia in the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, thats fine and dandy, but oh no we were wrong to try and enforce terms upon Germany.

In humanitarian terms as well as economic terms, all nations lost. I have never suggested that the Entente should 'simply taken the damage on the chin.' Just to clarify, Germany should still have been punished, but with a less harsh treaty, in terms of war-guilt and in terms of reparations.

Since the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litvosk were nullified by the Treaty of Versailles, the Germans never got any benefit out of it, and the Soviets didn't have to pay the 6B gold marks...which would have been about the same as the reparations of the Treaty of Versailles. Of course, the treaty of Brest-Litvosk was wrong, and was just as harshly imposed on the Russians and motivated by War emotion as the Treaty of Versailles was.

The loss of territory after the Treaty of Versailles was fine. Maybe there should have been more plebiscites in the
east, but overall, the loss of territory, and industry and population was fair enough.

Germany's continued exclusion from the League of Nations was most chilling. Austria and Bulgaria were able to join in 1920. Germany had to wait until 1926. I honestly, do not see the hyper inflation of 1923, or invasion of the Ruhr, happening, if Germany was sooner part of the League of Nations.

Again, I can understand that from a point of emotion, that was what France and Belgium had to do, but WWI was a humanitarian crisis that needed a rational, not emotional response, which was sadly, what the world got in the Treaties of Versailles, Brest-Litvosk.


Since when does a nation deserve credit for exporting it's goods at a price? It wasn't aid, the US gave the UK exports and credit, facilities that they offer during peace time.

WWI was a war of attrition. Britain needed all the armaments, and food, that it could get, even if it wasn't exactly a charity. There was armaments in The Lusitania, and it was known to have carried armaments in its previous voyages from the US.

That requires three nations, France, UK and Italy, and their colonies, to simply take on the chin the grievous and horrendous damage from the war, and essentially endorses the position that starting a war is a no-lose strategy with no repercussions, because if you lose the Allied powers will build you up again out of their own wallet, ready for you to have another pop in the future. The Entente should not have been expected to go out of their way to accommodate a peace beneficial to Germany, out of principle, regardless of what hindsight tells us.

The Entente didn't rebuild Germany. The Treaty isolated it, and made the situation worse than it should have been. The only way that the Weimar government was able to function in the 'Golden Years' was because of US loans.

The economic terms? What like hundreds of billions of pounds of economic damage done to the Allied powers, millions dead, millions more wounded, all of which needs to be paid for? What has the Spanish Flu got to do with anything? A horrendous disease suddenly makes the deadliest war ever okay?

Well, while WWI contributed to moribund economies in Europe in the years 1914-1925, the Treaty of Versailles did little to redress that. By excluding Germany from international affairs, and isolating Germany as a trade partner (something which David Lloyd George hoped that Germany could be), the effect was that the economic climate was bleaker in 1919, than it should have been.

The example of the Spanish Flu was to put the deaths in WWI into context. It's not a justification, it's context.

Cry me a river. German hate, pride and ego is on Germany, not France and the UK. The economic reparations were in correlation with the scale of the War. It's not like the Allied Powers demanded $33 billion after a two day battle with seven deaths.

The scale of WWI was not unprecedented, but the intensity, and the reliance on industrialization was...whatever peace resolution was going to come out of that lamentable war was to be unprecedented, but both the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty of Brest-Litvosk went too far.

David M. Kennedy's point was that, and one which is reflective of John Maynard Keynes, Woodrow Wilson and David Lloyd George, was that the Treaty of Versailles was ultimately harmful to the Entente, and to the other "victors, " in addition to being vengeful against those that had "lost" the war. In short, everyone, became a loser of the war.
The Treaty of Versailles was made entirely on French emotion, and depending on your view, was overly tough that it was never going to be acceptable to Germany, or overly weak to not sufficiently weaken them. It got the worst of both worlds. It was never strong enough to be an effective deterrent, and it was equally too harsh that it caused resentment. It was a horrible treaty.
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Given that Britain and France were able to carve up the Ottoman Empire i'd say they definitely came out of the war a winner. Britain's empire actually peaked in 1922 albeit we were forced to concede Ireland which may have been a price too high in hindsight.
Even the post-WWI imperialism was different to the imperialism which preceded the war. UN Mandates and resolutions regarding the future, meant that Britain and France had to gear up the territories of the now-former Ottoman empire, for future independence. That was an unprecedented step.

Even if Britain and France were able to have their empires at the biggest extent after WWI, WWI fatally undermined the premise of empire-building, to such an extent that by WWII, when Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa entered the war, they did so on their terms. Not like in WWI where they were forced. (India and the sub-continent was still forced though, as were the African, Carribean and Far Eastern colonies).

It was a good thing, since that was a major reason for souring of relations between Britain and Germany, and as a result, as a cause for the war.
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