The Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles, signed at the Paris Peace Conference by the victorious nations, stated
that Germany and its allies were primarily responsible for the initiation of World War I. In light of their
decision, I believe that the major representatives made a fair and just verdict. Germany seemed to
continually push the buttons of the other countries. I feel that Germany’s hostility and disrespect of the
other countries is one of the major reasons that the war was actually started. I also feel that the treaty’s
decision to make Germany responsible for the reparations of the other countries was very suitable.
Germany and its allies displayed quite a bit of hostility right from the beginning. A particular
German ally, Austria-Hungary, was technically the first country who declared war. Austria-Hungary had
been involved in a disagreement with Serbia over the annexation of two smaller countries. One of these
smaller countries, Bosnia, happened to be mostly populated by ethnic Serbs. The Serbs wanted to be
united as one nation, much like other ethnic groups in Europe. Serbia challenged this annexation, and
called upon Russia for support. Germany decided to get involved, and basically told Russia to recognize
the annexation and turn the other way. (The Twentieth Century: A Brief Global History, p.99) I believe
this is a prime example of how forcefully aggressive Germany was. Germany’s involvement might have
been expected due to their alliance with Austria-Hungary. However, it had to be their hostility and thirst
for control that drove them to persuade Russia so much in their favor.
Another good example of Germany’s aggression that points to their responsibility for causing
WWI, is their war plans. Germany had developed a plan of how to be victorious against Russia and
France if they should ever be at war with each other. Germany’s disrespect for other countries, and
especially their disregard of a neutral country, was adequately shown in this plan. Germany declared war
on Russia, and later France. Germany had to invade neutral Belgium to get to France. When Great
Britain heard of the invasion of Belgium, they decided to take action against Germany. (The Twentieth
Century, p. 102) Germany’s actions to this point pulled in countries that were more, or less uninvolved.
Thus the alliance system started to play its role.
Germany’s continual encouragement of hostility fueled the war. In addition, I believe that the
fragile economic state of the world after the war can be directly blamed on Germany and its allies.