Chapter 25 Growing Aggression and World War II
1919, the Treaty of Versailles formally ended World War I. The
agreement, however, left many questions unresolved. Upon hearing of its
signing, France’s Marshal Ferdinand Foch prophetically warned: “This
is not Peace. It is an Armistice for twenty years.” [i]
In 1939, world war again erupted. Its roots reached back to Versailles.
Britain’s Winston Churchill attributed the second war’s outbreak to
mistakes made by the victors following World War I.
crimes of the vanquished find their background and their explanation,
though not, of course, their pardon, in the follies of the victors.
Without these follies crime would have found neither temptation nor opportunity.” [ii]
victorious Western democracies of World War I had demanded from a
defeated Germany politically humiliating and economically ruinous terms,
which they ultimately proved either unable or unwilling to enforce. New
sources of conflict emerged with the peace settlement’s creation of
new states in Eastern Europe. The peace left two Allied powers, Italy
and Japan, dissatisfied. World War II followed twenty years later. It
would prove even greater in scope and devastation than World War I.