Is It Right to Blame World War I’s Treaty of Versailles for the Rise of Hitler?


Source: Time

Just over a week after the beginning of World War II in September 1939, a letter appeared in the Richmond Herald — a locally produced newspaper in Surrey in England’s Home Counties — whose author posed the thorny question: “Who was responsible for the 1914 war?” As far as the letter writer was concerned, time had “proved” that no single nation was responsible for the 1914-18 war. Moreover, regarding the latest European conflict, the letter also asserted boldly:

It is far too easy to say that Germany’s aggression against Poland is the sole cause of this war. This war is the effect of the vindictive Treaty of Versailles, the continual failure to treat Germany as an equal, and the other blunders of French and British diplomacy.

Although there were no clues as to the education or social status of the letter’s author, his words revealed a fairly sophisticated approach to the understanding of history — a readiness to point to multiple explanations of the origins of the world wars. But what is especially interesting is how the letter writer referred to the “vindictive” Treaty of Versailles.

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