Defeat of the Treaty of Versailles

7 July 2016

Following the Paris of Peace Conference in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson returned to America with the Treaty of Versailles. This treaty created a League of Nations that was meant to prevent future wars and ultimately create a better world. Americans favored the idea but the treaty was never ratified and the US did not enter the League of Nations. It was President Wilson’s actions and mindset that led to the defeat of the Treaty of Versailles. However, the Senate and popular opposition played a large role in the defeat as well.

It was not one thing in particular that denied the treaty, but numerous issues that built up over time. While most all of the democrats supported the treaty, republicans in the Senate were divided into two groups. These were the “irreconcilables”, or isolationists, and the reservationists. The irreconcilables, led by William Borah, were opposed to the treaty because it would commit American to other countries which would then bring foreign entanglements. They also argued that the “war to prevent war”, as the basic principle of the League, was a profound mistake.

Defeat of the Treaty of Versailles Essay Example

The reservationists, led by Henry Cabot Lodge, opposed the treaty, but agreed with the idea of the League if amendments were made to the treaty itself. In an attempt to build up opposition of the treaty, Lodge delayed it through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which was filled with Senators who opposed the treaty in any form. The main amendment reservationists wanted was to removed moral obligation of the US to Article X, which was practically the heart of the treaty.

Both parties contributed to the downfall of the treaty as well as the growth of President Wilson’s stubbornness. Wilson’s inability to compromise was ultimately the true reason for the treaty’s failure. Most everyone in the Senate was willing to compromise, as Lodge had suggested, but Wilson stood firm. He said that if Article X were to be impaired, it would go against the purpose of the war. With no intention of any type of compromise, Wilson began to deliver speeches all across the countries.

After his tour, he suffered from and massive stroke that paralyzed him. With his inability to further fight for his treaty, many important ant newspapers began to favor Lodge’s ideas. The Democrats who had agreed with the treaty to begin with, then started to question it. With the loss of support, the Treaty of Versailles failed. Although popular opposition in the Senate contributed to the failure of the treaty of Versailles, it was President Woodrow Wilson’s actions and mindset that was the breaking point.

Disagreement in the Senate was where the problem began, but they were willing to work for a compromise. Since Wilson stood his ground and did not budge on any type of change, the treaty had no chance. If he would have compromised instead of being stubborn, there may have been a different outcome. Even World War II could have possibly been avoided. The issue of the Treaty of Versailles began with popular opposition and the Senate, but it was President Wilson’s mindset and actions that ultimately caused its failure.

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