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government Treaty of Versailles

The end of World War I was finalized by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.  It was signed by Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan but not the United States, as the U.S. drafted its own treaty with Germany in 1921.  Many historians argue that the Treaty of Versailles was the major cause of World War II which occurred twenty years later.  On the Treatys most superficial level, the extreme punishment and fines that were levied by the Allied Powers on the Germans were causes enough for war.  Historians argue that this and the international fallout that resulted most notably with the United States were simply too powerful to avoid war at all.  The ramification of the Treaty sent the German economy into a severe depression and planted the seeds needed to sprout revenge and uprising such as the world had never seen before.
 Estimates for the costs of the war for the Allied Powers fluctuated between ten billion and one hundred billion dollars.  Ultimately, the Allied Powers settled on the astronomical sum of thirty-three billion dollars which the German government was mandated to pay but simply did not have the funds to do so.  In addition to paying reparations, Germany had to severely limit military spending and personnel, relinquish land previously gained in the World War, and was barred from having any air force at all.  The lack of American involvement, which was sorely needed at this time, had significant impacts on the actions of other key states.  Sudden American withdrawal from the Treaty of Versailles sent France into a panic and their subsequent occupation of the Ruhr Valley in Germany.  This action dealt a harsh blow to the Germany and British-French relations.  The former came into economic conflict with France, creating hyper-inflation, and throwing Germany into a severe depression.  Wheelbarrows of money were necessary to buy loaves of bread until the Deutsche Mark became so devalued that the bills were burned to provide heat to those living in poverty.  
Following this collapse in German currency, a desperate and vulnerable Germany capitalized on the breakdown of relations between Britain and France and United States isolationism to begin rebuilding.  This included rearmament that was in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles.  The dictator behind this proposed revitalization in economic and military strength was Adolf Hitler.  Current economic hardship made Germany ripe for the rise of a dictator.  Hitlers timing was impeccable and he perhaps never would have gained such prominence in the German government if it was not for his propaganda that the weary and desperate German people needed so badly to recover from their depression.  The depression however, was not contained within German borders.  The politics of the era, most notably Americas isolationist policy contributed to world wide economic collapse.  This was the result of then President Woodrow Wilsons inability to persuade Congress to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and become a co-signer with the other Allied Powers.  The major failure in Wilsons pitch came in his proposal of the Fourteen Point Plan.
The Fourteen Point Plan outlined Wilsons view of what the post-WWI world should look like, providing for the liberation of certain peoples and territories.  Presented to Congress on January 8, 1918, strong debate ensued over the proposal of the fourteenth and final provision; a general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.  Congress voted against what Wilson dubbed the League of Nations, the failed basis of todays United Nations.  Although the U.S. proposed the League, they were the most notable nation that failed to join.  The U.S. subsequently retreated to a policy of isolationism and combined with a rebuilding and weakened Europe, there was little opposition to Hitlers rise to power and continued violation of the Treaty of Versailles.  
The rest of the world exercised a policy of appeasement, allowing Hitler to make small advances in Europe hoping that he would be satisfied with what he was given.  He became emboldened as each of his new advances into Europe met little to no opposition in the international community.  He ... more

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Israel Past & Present

Israel Past & Present
After World War II, Jewish refugees moved to Palestine to escape the countries which had persecuted them for years. The Israelis met conflict while re-settling in Palestine. The Palestinians felt as though the Israelis were unjustly staking claims on Palestinian lands. The Israelis felt as though they had rights bestowed by God to Palestinian lands. Israelis also argued the fact that the Palestinians as a group never really had a homeland. These conflicting points of view quickly sparked a fire which ignited a long and bitter war between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
During this time period, Palestine was a British governed territory. When the fighting between the two sides escalated, Britain relinquished control of Palestine to the United Nations, fearing involvement in the strife. Once in control of Palestine, the United Nations partitioned the area now called Israel into random sections of Palestinian and Israeli controls.
As the fighting continued to heat up, the United States came to the aid of the Israeli cause; partially as repayment for United States inaction during World War II. Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians teamed up to push the Israelis out of Palestine and to regain control of Israel for the Palestinians. With five to one odds, Israel stood up to the offensive attack and defeated the offensive forces with the help of United States military supplies. Besides winning the battle, Israel also gained control of entire country of Israel as a result of the five to one odds war. In 1956, Egypt planned to invade Israel; however Israel struck Egypt first and easily defeated their offensive. In 1967, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan banded together to invade Israel. This offensive has come to be called the six days war. Israel once again defeats the offensives and took the Gaza Strip (Egypt) and the West Bank. (Jordan). As a result of the six days war, Egypt gained the Golan Heights. In 1973, Egypt and Syria attack Israel during Yom Kippur; Israel is once again victorious and gains the ever important Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. This war has come to be called the Yom Kippur War.
After much conflict, the warring countries decided on trying to establish a peace agreement between the countries. In 1979, the Camp David Accords were held and the first middle-eastern peace treaty was signed by Egypt and Israel. Egypt agreed to recognize Israel as a country and Israel agreed to relinquish control of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Shortly hereafter, Sadat, the Egyptian Prime Minister, was assassinated by an Egyptian extremist. The concept of peace did not take well with the Arab peoples, they did not want peace; they wanted revenge and justice at any or all costs. In 1995, another peace treaty was signed between Israeli leader, Rabin, and Palestinian leader, Arafat. Once again, extremist groups took poorly to this concept and shortly hereafter, Rabin was assassinated.
Many other conflicts took place hereafter in Middle-Eastern history, such as the Persian Gulf War, where Iraq invaded Kuwait and ultimately drew in United States forces to defend Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Other US operations stemmed from the Persian Gulf War, such as Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
Todays conflict in the middle east is very much interconnected to the past conflicts which have blanketed the dismal history of these middle-eastern countries. Instead of all out warfare, modern Israeli and Palestinian extremists have chosen acts of terrorism in populated areas to pose their positions and opinions on the current land conflicts. Many extremists have resorted to suicide bombings and car bombs. Although cowardly, these acts of terrorism are broadcast throughout the world and help to spread the terrorists messages and opinions.
The Palestinians now want full sovereignty over all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas which were lost in the 1967 war. This is a possible concept considering the 1979 peace treaty in which Israel relinquished control of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.
Both Palestinians and Israelis want control of the city of Jerusalem, where both Muslim and Jewish holy places literally sit among each other. Looking back to the Camp David Accords, little was decided in this area of conflict due to the close ... more

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