Western Ideals and World War II


The end of World War I was essentially the starting off point for Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union to begin a path to a totalitarian regime, a form of government in which the state attempts to take control of every aspect of public and private life.
Defeated by the failure of Ludendorff’s plan, and economically crushed by the costs of their involvement in the war, Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919 during the Paris Peace Conference.   This treaty, written by the Allies (represented by President Woodrow Wilson of the United States, Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Great Britain, Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau of France and Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando of Italy) after almost three years of talks in Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945) and Potsdam (1945), required that Nazi Germany surrender unconditionally, and it laid the blame of the war entirely on Germany.   It stated that the war was Germany’s fault and that Germany would be required to pay reparations to the Allies for all of the destruction and damage to their property. It took away their ability to form an effective military (demilitarization), under Part V, Articles 159-198 of the Treaty, and required that all Nazi war criminals be hunted down and brought to justice. (Roberts, 2007).   Also, after the war was over, Germany and Berlin would be split into four separate zones.
The signing of the Treaty of Versailles was not the only event that affected Germany’s status as a country.   The effects of inflation became painfully apparent to Germany during this time, because Germany had begun printing money to pay off war debts during the war, rather than raising taxes. Inflation continued to rise when the currencies of neighboring countries began depreciating, leading the Great Depression.   The treaty’s demand for Germany to pay reparations further devalued their currency, and inflation turned into hyperinflation in 1922, leading to the...

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