The First World War ended with the Treaty of Versailles. Later the League of Nations was formed to promote peace in the international system. The international system could not sustain the new international order after the First World War and the period was characterized by instability. This essay will discuss the reasons for the collapse of the international order during the interwar years.
The disintegration of the international order during the period between the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War
Following the First World War, Germany, Austria, Turkey and Russia lost to Britain, France, Italy and the United States. The victors assembled in France with an aim of securing capitalism by preventing the Russian revolution. Moreover they also wanted to ensure that Germany would not interfere with the emerging international order. The colonies of the losers were surrendered to the League of Nations and the former colony had no power over the territory.
The states involved in the war had experienced changes. Some lost territories while others obtained new territories. Some states such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia among others were formed and were seeking independence. These states felt marginalized and left out in the international system as they struggled to stabilize. They had to integrate with the political allies and pledge allegiance to the political elite. The formation of these states was propagated by the United States president who supported independence of these nations.
The Russian revolution poses a major challenge in the new international order. The European states were undergoing changes that welcomed industrialization. This led to power struggles within the states. Consequently, some of the states became authoritarian. The regions where the Russian revolution thrived entered into conflict after a period of instability within the nation (Butler Para 9).
President Woodrow Wilson of the United States had pioneer the formation of the League of Nation with an objective to enable the international system have a common security. Following the formation, America distanced itself to avoid meddling in the affairs of the European states. The European states hardly maintained the precedence hence the international order was going to collapse. Britain had suffered from the war where its military as well as the economy were weak and could not become the peacemaker.
Britain was ill equipped to play the role of peacemaker. Britain tried to unite the empire and to mediate French Germany relations. Germany would have resisted cooperating in the formed international order. The French were requested to lighten their demands on Germany.
Trueman (1) indicates that the Treaty of Versailles left Germany unsatisfied and stimulated feelings of revenge. Germany was accused of causing damages in the war and together with her allies who included Russia, they paid for the damages. Germany was forced by the treaty to reduce the size of its army and to surrender some territories. These loses were not anticipated by Germany.
The Treaty of Versailles seemed to serve the opponents of communism as revealed by Trueman (1). Being the champion of communism at the time of the war, Germany’s military and finances were crippled due to the heavy penalties from the treaty. Despite signing the treaty, Germany was not included in the League of Nations. In fact the treaty made it possible for the Germany-French border to remain peaceful and for the League of Nations to be established.
The civilians in Germany identified the delegates who signed the treaty as criminals and did not welcome the idea that the government did not act in their interest either by declaring war or by accepting the responsibility of damages caused by the war. The devastation the war caused the civilians made it clear that well established and advanced civilization may be reduced to nothing. The new international order could hardly be achieved with some nations grieving over the losses of their civilian. Besides being required to rebuild it, Germany’s economy was weak (Trueman 1).
Countries that allied with Germany also paid their price and signed the treaty. Austria and Hungary signed the Treaty of Saint Germain and Treaty of Trianon respectively. Consequently, they lost some part of their territory, paid for damages of the war and reduced the number of the military personnel. These actions imposed on them only made the Germany allies increase their anger hence the international order could not be experienced.
Russian entered into a civil where the proponents of the communist ideologies fought with anti-revolutionaries. The civil war was triggered by the agreement that Russia entered into with Germany towards the end of the First World War. The agreement was a treaty that would protect communist revolution (United Nations cyberschoolbus 1).
The victors of the First World War were capitalist and supported democracy. Germany introduced democracy in the state and it did not fare well. It was believed that the battle between left and right radicals was anti-democracy. The constitution did not support democracy. The authoritarian tendencies in Germany made it hard for her to be incorporated in the international system.
Germany and its supports were treated with suspicion by the victors of the war. France invested heavily in the military to protect them from a possible attack from the Germany. The British pursued united the empire despite facing economic hardships. The victors who were to maintain peace during the post- war period failed when Adolf Hitler rose on a revenge mission. For this reason the European nations were characterized by instability hence international order disintegrated. Dissatisfaction on the outcomes of then was made Germany and its accomplice look for opportunities to get back at the unstable winners of the war.
Santi (1) argues that the international order could not be sustained when the Hitler came into power. He violated the treaty by rearming and pulled out the League of Nations. Germany further rejected peace efforts as well as peace organizations efforts to create international order.
The Treaty of Versailles may have led to the closure of the world war one but it imposed heavy penalties on the losers. These penalties stimulated revenge which made it impossible to for the world to achieve international order. The revenge caused the winners to arm themselves and protect themselves from possible attack from the losers. Britain which would have played the role of a peace maker in Europe was uniting the empire and recovering its lost economy. France chose to arm and spend on military to secure themselves form a possible attack form the Germany or the Russians. The Russian revolution stimulated civil wars and instability within the states. The colonies and states that emerged were also unstable and had to form alliances with the political elite. The war had caused the civilized states financial hardships.
Butler, Chris. The Results of World War I, 2007. Web.
Santi, Rainer. 100 years of peace making. 1991. Web.
Trueman, Chris. The Treaty of Versailles, 2011. Web.
United Nations cyberschoolbus. The United Nations: An Introduction for Students, 2000. Web.