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Understanding the Enemy

Satisfactory Essays
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner”. By speaking these words Nelson Mandela shines a light into what should be the goal of every peace treaty. After a war a treaty must seek peace, not through subjugation of the losers, but by bringing both sides of the war together, to unite for a better tomorrow. However Mandela’s words are difficult to follow after a period of war. Following much death and despair it would be hard for anybody to befriend those they recently fought. This can be shown in World War I’s widely criticized Treaty of Versailles. After the war, Germany remained the only strong power in the central powers and therefore took on the brunt of the subjugations from the allies. The Treaty of Versailles was meant to keep peace by subjugating Germany, who was seen as a threat. Despite this honest attempt at peace, the Treaty of Versailles never could have succeeded. The Treaty of Versailles failed in its attempts at peace, because by subjugating Germany’s ethnic residents, economy, and military it angered the German populace and caused another World War.
World War 1 was a large-scale war in which a single assassination escalated into a massacre of over 30 million lives. The war escalated so fast due to the network of alliances in Europe. The War quickly developed two sides, being the central powers and the allies. The allies consisted mostly of the triple entente, consisting of the United Kingdom, France, and Russia. The central powers were mainly Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Germany. While there were many other smaller countries on both sides, the war ended with the central powers’ only remaining super power being Germany. When the war finally...

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...gs aided the beginning of World War II, causing the exact opposite of the goal of the treaty. It seems that by failing to attempt to make peace with the enemy, and instead hoping to weaken him, the Allies did nothing more then cause more violence. In this case it seems the moral path was the correct path. If the big four had decided to assist Germany in it’s rebuilding they might have gained a powerful ally, but instead they created an enemy. Mahatma Gandhi has stated, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”, and perhaps the opposite is true to. In giving kindness to one who was once an enemy a person will receive kindness back. Perhaps by empathizing with someone perceived as a threat war can be prevented. Ralph Waldo Emerson states it best by saying, “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding”.