WW2 Essay1 - 1 Natalie Yu(Yu Tsz Sum HIST 249-609 March 1...

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Natalie Yu (Yu Tsz Sum) HIST 249-609 March 1, 2009 HISTORY 249 (Spring 2009) Essay Assignment 1 Question 1 Examine the Challenges that European governments faced at the end of the First World War. Why did extreme ideologies gain in this period? Be sure to assess the concept of liberal democracy. “This is not peace; it is an armistice for 20 years.” 1 – A famous quote by the First World War French Marshal Ferdinand Foch about the Paris Peace Conference. Little did he know that his unconscious words were in fact prophetic and would become so well-known. To understand the roots and underlying causes of the Second World War, tracing back to the First World War and its postwar settlements is necessary. The Allies failed in almost every goal that they tried to reach in the Paris Peace Conference which opened in January 1919 and came to a close a year later. The dominating powers failed to recognize the emergence and importance of crucial new forces and ideas – liberalism, nationalism and irredentism. It was some sort a parallel of the mistakes that the Big Four made in the Congress of Vienna in 1815, yet the leaders seemed once again failed to identify problems and come up with better solutions. Instead, it was clear that countries were more eager to defend their very own interests and keep the defeated down. Supposedly the idea of national 1 R. Henig, Versailles and After: 1919 – 1933 (London: Routledge, 1995), p. 67. 1
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self-determination was to be upheld according to the US president Woodrow Wilson, and Germany surrendered to the Allies in 1918 expecting to be treated based on the Fourteen Points. Yet the defeated countries were not seated in the deliberation of the treaties; their needs were not heard and ignored. The US senate further did not ratify and pass the Treaty of Versailles, the Peace Conference was basically dominated by Britain and France, the two most imperialistic and colonized empires. The formation of the League of Nations was virtually meaningless as it did not own an army to enforce rules, key countries the US, Germany and Russia were excluded, and Europe was in such a chaos after the War that countries were too preoccupied with internal problems,even though the idea of the League of Nations
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WW2 Essay1 - 1 Natalie Yu(Yu Tsz Sum HIST 249-609 March 1...

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