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The Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles

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The end of World War I left significant aftermath which resulted in the horrific events that lead up to World War II. In particular, the Treaty of Versailles which was signed at the end of World War I and outliend the rules that Germany must follow due to their defeat by France and Britain. The results of this treaty angered many Germans because of the unfair guidelines, and this ultimately lead to the rise of Adolf Hiter. Hitler famously remarked, ‘the existence and increase of our race and nation, the sustenance of its children and the purity of its blood, the freedom and independence of the Fatherland, and the nation’s ability to fulfill the mission appointed to it by the Creator of the universe.’A clear emphasis on this mans cruelty and inhumane nature in which he was able to plan and carry out the murder of millions of people. What Hitler did not anticipate however, was the aftermath his innvasion would leave on the people of Soviet union. In particular, the occupation of the Nazis in the Soviet Union greatly impacted society in various ways; class structure, education, culture, environmental change, and the role of women in European society.

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A strong emphasis lied in creating enemies out of; Jews, communists, as well as intellectuals and capitalists. The values of the party were clear and concise they included; heroic death, maintaining a peoples community, blood and soil, and kept strong the pride of the German people overall. Many did not even dare question the Nazis as they stepped in and took extreme measures against all those who are the ‘enemies’ of the state. It was strongly publicized that the Nazis were simply restoring order for the people.

Culture was another element in society which was completely eliminated by the Nazi occupation. Hitler did not pay any mind to any sort of traditional values, or country’s ethnic cultures, in fact, he looked down upon such rituals. His ideologies and practices of the Nazi party were the only ones allowed under his dictatorship. This affected the younger generation in greater depth, because they were the ones who were being exposed to these rules and regulations.

One of the main aspects of society that Hitler and the Nazi Party focused its efforts towards was that of the youth. Hitler was able to gain so much power and control through changes made in the educational system in order to gain control of the youth. Edward Behrendt, once a member of the Hitler Youth stated ‘If you can capture the minds of young children and persuade them to become dedicated to your cause, your theory of the truth and your theory of what is right and wrong, then you can hold the whole country captive and you have complete control’. Hitler knew that as soon as he was able to control the youth.

The war had clear effects on the gender role of women in society and changed the way Europe views women to this day.

During the occupation by the Nazis the Soviets also experienced major environmental concerns. Due to rapid industrialization, intensive farming, and lack of regular pollution controls there was serious degradation in the environment. In fact, to this day some of the most polluted areas in the world are found in present day Ukraine. On July 3, Stalin ordered the Soviet army to implement ascorched-earth policy nd either destroy or remove all useful supplies or facilities before retreating so that these resources would not fall into German hands. The Russians thus destroyed roads and bridges, burned fields of crops, and demolished or emptied many factories. Some major factories were even disassembled and moved eastward out of danger. The scorched-earth policy was effective and hindered the advancing German armies as well as severely damaging some land and factories leaving a lasting effect on the Soviet Union.

Hiter decided to concentrate on the invasion of southern Russia and the Ukraine, hoping to gain access to the region’s economic resources, which included the wheat fields of the Ukraine, the citrus farms of the Black Sea coast, and the oil fields of the Caucasus. Even before the German invasion, Stalin had made decisions that hurt his country’s ability to respond to the invasion. First, during one of his infamous purges, Stalin had most of the very best Soviet military leadership killed or sent to labor camps. Due to this the Soviet’s military leadership became weak by 1941. The second act by Stalin which weakened the Soviet Union was his arrogance. Stalin resisted early recommendations by his former military leaders to prepare along the Western border, and to mobilize to protect air bases from attack. Stalin and his need to have all power proved to be the downfall for the Soviet Union.

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