- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 1558 Hour
- Reading permission
The Last Word|
The Treaty of Versailles, which the Allies signed with Germany at the end of the First World War, has had a bad reputation ever since. John Maynard Keynes, the great economist, thought it was stupid, vindictive and short-sighted and most writers of history and the public have followed his lead ever since. Many people have blamed the treaty for driving Germany into misery, for creating the circumstances which led to the rise of Hitler, and ultimately for producing another World War in 1939. But historians must keep on looking at the evidence and re-evaluating the past and the time has come to take another look at that treaty. It is my own view--and a number of historians who have been working in this area for some years--that the treaty was not all that bad. Germany did lose the war after all. Reparations apparently imposed a heavy burden but Germany only paid a portion of what it owed. Perhaps the real problem was that the treaty was never really properly enforced so that Germany was able to rebuild its military and challenge the security of Europe all over again.
A private communication to www.johndclare.net from Margaret MacMillan (2004)
Margaret MacMillan gained her PhD at Oxford University, and is currently Professor of History and Provost of Trinity College at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her 500-page book on the Treaty -- Peacemakers: Six Months that Changed the World (2001) -- won the BBC4 Samuel Johnson prize and has been described as 'magnificent', 'enthralling', and 'detailed, fair, unfailingly lively', as well as 'splendidly revisionist'.