Following the defeat of Germany and Austro-Hungary at the end of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles was drawn up and signed on 28 June 1919 in an attempt to weaken Germany and punish it for its aggression, which was seen as the cause of the conflict. In addition to vast financial reparations to Germany’s wartime enemies and severe restrictions to Germany’s future military potential, territories that were important to its economy were ceded to other countries. This was in line with US President Wilson principle of self-determination – redrawing the frontiers of eastern Europe to grant self-rule to different ethnic groups. Germany’s wartime ally, Austria Hungary, fared even worse than Germany as it ceased to exist by the end of the war on 11 November 1918. Increasing internal pressures from the various distinct ethnic groups within the empire, along with the Triple Entente’s realization that their victory was inevitable, led to the position of Emperor Charles I becoming gradually more untenable as the war progressed. A number of new states were formed from Austria-Hungary’s former territories.
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