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the final decision and 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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Affirmative Action

Affirmative action works. There are thousands of examples of situations where
people of color, white women, and working class women and men of all races who
were previously excluded from jobs or educational opportunities, or were denied
opportunities once admitted, have gained access through affirmative action. When
these policies received executive branch and judicial support, vast numbers of
people of color, white women and men have gained access they would not otherwise
have had. These gains have led to very real changes. Affirmative action programs
have not eliminated racism, nor have they always been implemented without
problems. However, there would be no struggle to roll back the gains achieved if
affirmative action policies were ineffective. The implementation of affirmative
action was America's first honest attempt at solving a problem, it had
previously chosen to ignore. In a variety of areas, from the quality of health
care to the rate of employment, blacks still remain far behind whites. Their
representation in the more prestigious professions is still almost
insignificant. Comparable imbalances exist for other racial and ethnic
minorities as well as for women. Yet, to truly understand the importance of
affirmative action, one must look at America's past discrimination to see why,
at this point in history, we must become more "color conscious".
History Of Discrimination In America: Events Leading To Affirmative Action. The
Declaration of Independence asserts that "all men are created equal."
Yet America is scarred by a long history of legally imposed inequality. Snatched
from their native land, transported thousands of miles-in a nightmare of disease
and death-and sold into slavery, blacks in America were reduced to the legal
status of farm animals. A Supreme Court opinion, Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857),
made this official by classifying slaves as a species of "private
property." Even after slavery was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in
1865, American blacks, other minorities, and women continued to be deprived of
some of the most elementary right of citizenship. During the Reconstruction,
after the end of the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868,
making blacks citizens and promised them the "equal protection of the
laws." In 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment was passed, which gave blacks the
right to vote. Congress also passed a number of civil rights laws barring
discrimination against blacks in hotels, theaters, and other places. However,
the South reacted by passing the "Black Codes, " which severely
limited the rights of the newly freed slaves, preventing them in most states
from testifying in courts against whites, limiting their opportunities to find
work, and generally assigning them to the status of second or third class
citizen. White vigilante groups like the Klu Klux Klan began to appear, by
murdering and terrorizing blacks who tried to exercise their new rights.
"Legal" ways were also found for circumventing the new laws; these
included "grandfather clauses", poll taxes, white only primary
elections, and constant social discrimination against and intimidation of
blacks, who were excluded form education and from any job except the most
menial. In 1883, the Supreme Court declared a key civil rights statute, one that
prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, unconstitutional. And in
1896, Plessy v. Ferguson (163 U.S. 537 [1896]), the Court declared that the
state of Louisiana had the right to segregate their races in every public
facility. Thus began the heyday of "Jim Crow" legislation. In Justice
John Marshall Harlan's lone dissent, he realized it was a mockery. He wrote,
" We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our peoples above all other peoples.
But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of the law which,
practically, puts a brand of servitude and degregation upon a large class of our
fellow citizens, our equals before the law. This thin disguise of 'equal'
accommodations for passengers in railroad coaches will not mislead anyone, or
atone for the wrong this day done." Not until sixty years later, in Brown
v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (347 U.S. 483 [1954]), was Plessy
overturned. Chief Justice earl Warren declared the unanimous opinion of the
court by saying: "We cannot turn the clock back to 1868, when the Amendment
was adopted, or even to 1896, when Plessy v. Ferguson was written." In
today's world, "separate educational facilities are inherently
unequal." This decision sparked racial tensions all across America. in
1957, President Eisenhower had to call federal troops into Little Rock,
Arkansas, after the state's governor forcibly barred black children from
entering white schools. In 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested and fined, for not
moving to the back of a public bus, ... more

the final decision and

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