The dismemberment of the Russian and German empires led to the emergence of a number of artificial state formations, which in the west were called "limitrofy" (from the Latin limitrophus - border). Back in 1916, a draft was prepared in London on future territorial changes in Europe. According to him, it was stipulated that Poland should become a buffer state between Russia and Germany. According to British politicians, the creation of Poland, as well as several states on the territory of the Austro-Hungarian empire, "would be an effective barrier against Russian dominance in Europe."
Thus, the "allies" of Russia on the Entente, even before the February Revolution, made plans against it, planning to create a "barrier" against us, and also to take away the Polish lands from the Russian Empire. That is, our Western "partners" were going to create a "sanitary cordon" in any case - even against Bolshevism, even against "Russian imperialism."
The Russian delegation was not invited at all to sign the Versailles Peace Treaty, which laid the foundations for the future political structure of the world community, and had to determine the future of humanity for a long time. As if the Russians had not brought millions of lives to the altar of victory. In addition, London, Paris and Washington recognized Admiral Kolchak as the supreme ruler of Russia. All Russia's diplomatic missions abroad were safe and fully capable. Dozens of leading Russian diplomats were in Europe and wanted to take part in the Versailles Conference. Grand Prince Alexander Mikhailovich arrived too. He tried to meet with French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, but he did not want to see the Grand Duke. They made it clear to Alexander Mikhailovich that his further attempts to meet with the leaders of the Entente states are inappropriate. According to the winners, neither tsarist, nor democratic, nor Soviet Russia has the right to vote at the conference, where the destinies of Europe and the world are decided and where the borders of Russia will be determined. Not invited to discuss the terms of the contract and the German delegation.
Germany cruelly humiliated. The country, which never suffered a military defeat, lost one eighth of the territory (including areas inhabited by ethnic Germans), one-twelfth of the population! .. It lost all colonies. The powerful German army was reduced to 100 thousand people, including 4-thousand. officer corps. In fact, the German army was turning into a police volunteer formation that did not have heavy weapons. Universal conscription was abolished. General Staff dismissed. The German fleet was also practically destroyed, reducing to weak coastal defenses (6 old battleships, 6 light cruisers and 12 destroyers). Germans were forbidden to have a submarine fleet. The armed forces should not have any planes, even balloons. Germany banned the use of long-distance radio. As a result, the German army has become weaker, even the Belgian army.
With Germany, they acted as if the armies of the Entente with heavy fighting had passed the whole empire and stormed Berlin. Germany tried to turn into a secondary, deprived of independence of the country. Berlin did not even have full sovereignty on its territory. All German airfields should have been open to the Entente aircraft. Aircraft winners could fly anywhere and anytime. The Kiel Canal, which ran deep into German territory and was of strategic importance, had to be always open, not only for merchant ships, but also for warships of victors. The Elbe, Oder, Neman and Danube rivers (from Ulm to the confluence with the Black Sea) were declared free international routes.
In addition, huge reparations were imposed on Germany. Until May 1, 1921, Germany was obligated to pay 20 billion marks with gold, goods, ships and securities. In exchange for the ships sunk by German ships and submarines, Germany had to give all its merchant ships with a displacement of over 1600 tons, half of the vessels over 1000 tons, one quarter of the fishing vessels and one fifth of its river fleet. In addition, the Germans pledged for five years to build for the winners merchant ships with a total displacement of 200 thousand tons per year.
It should be noted that during the preparatory stage, the French were the most aggressive. Their slogan was the words: "The Germans will pay for everything!" The war was on French territory, and they suffered greatly. Paris wanted to compensate for the losses at the expense of Germany. In addition, it was a rematch for the defeat in the war 1870-1871. Moreover, it was Paris that most insisted on the creation of Poland, when London recommended “not to create new Alsace and Lorraine” (provinces, because of which France and Germany argued).
Signatories of the Versailles Peace. J. Clemenceau, W. Wilson, D. Lloyd George. Paris, 1919 year
In Versailles, the borders of most of the new states were recognized, which created territories belonging to Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. In most of the new states, aggressive nationalists came to power, who sought not to peace with powerful neighbors who experienced temporary difficulties, but to seize new territories. In particular, even “moderate” Finnish politicians demanded the seizure of the Kola Peninsula, all of Karelia and part of the Vologda region. The fantasies of the radicals went much further - the “Great Finland” had to extend to the Northern Urals or even the Yenisei.
No less appetites were the Polish gentry. They dreamed of restoring "Great Poland" from sea to sea, with the inclusion of Western Russian lands. Moreover, even in the new Poland, the Poles proper made up only about 60% of the population, the rest were Germans, Russians, Jews, etc. In addition, other Slavic ethnic groups — Lemko (Rusyns), Kashubians, etc. — were recorded in ethnic Poles. Polish "elite" was in agreement with the theses of the Polish historian Adolf Bozhensky. The historian proclaimed the policy of war as the only true for the Polish state. Only during the war was it possible to create the “Great Poland” and “return” the lands that were part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. With the help of the great Western powers, the Poles wanted to plunge Europe into a big war again. They hoped that a new big war would give Poland the lands for which the Poles are claiming. The future "victim of German and Soviet aggression" had territorial claims to all its neighbors. Warsaw claimed the lands of Lithuania, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and wanted to include the free city of Danzig in Poland.
Czechoslovakia was also an artificial entity. It was created on the ruins of the “patchwork” of the Austro-Hungarian empire and inherited part of its problems. Actually, there were a little more than 50% of Czechs in the state, and Germans made up a large minority - 25%. Slovaks were about 18%. In fact, it was possible to create a state of Czechs, Germans and Slovaks. In addition, in Czechoslovakia there was a significant community of Rusyns. Neither Germans, nor Slovaks, nor Rusyns wanted to live in this state formation. In the fall of 1918, the Germans even tried to separate from the self-proclaimed republic, but their self-defense units were defeated. And in the summer of 1919 the Slovak Soviet Republic was proclaimed. She controlled two thirds of the territory historical Slovakia. However, Czech troops quickly suppressed this state formation. There was also a right-wing opposition to Czech rule in Slovakia. In the early 1920s, the Slovak People's Party was created, which was actively supported by the Catholic Church. The People's Party fought for the independence of Slovakia. As a result, Czechoslovakia turned out to be the same “patchwork” state as Austria-Hungary, and the same “prison of peoples” as Poland. The only difference was that Czechoslovakia was a more democratic state than Poland, and its territorial claims to its neighbors were not so pronounced.
Even more artificial states were the Baltic countries - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Latvia and Estonia had no historical roots as independent states. And Lithuania 1920-1930-s. practically had nothing to do with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Historical continuity has long been interrupted. In addition, the Baltic Limousines did not have the military, demographic and economic potential for independent existence. Their fate - to be part of any imperial education (Sweden, Germany and Russia). Nothing has changed even now, when the political "elites" of the Baltic republics "creep" in front of the American empire ...
The Versailles system created a whole mass of large and small problems, which together led to war. Thus, East Prussia was cut off from the rest of Germany and did not have rail and road links with it. The separate existence of the city of Danzig did not suit either Poland or Germany (the German population prevailed in the city, so it could be safely called German). The USSR lost almost all the bases of the Baltic Fleet. The Soviet fleet could be based only in Leningrad. And Leningrad itself, where it was concentrated up to 60% of the country's defense industry, and the region was the second historical industrial center of Russia, was under threat. In Leningrad it was easy to strike from the Baltic or from the territory of unfriendly Finland. Thus, at the beginning of the war, the Soviet Union could almost immediately lose the most important political, industrial center of the country and the Baltic Fleet. All the centenary efforts of the Russian Empire to strengthen the Baltic states and protect St. Petersburg were launched to the wind.
Germany physically could not pay huge reparations to Western countries. This was the reason for the capture of the French army in 1923, the Ruhr - the most developed industrial region of Germany. 10% of the German population lived in the Ruhr, 40% of steel was produced, 70% of pig iron and 88% of all state coal mined. The occupation of the Ruhr only exacerbated the economic crisis in Germany. Coal mining, steel and iron production almost halved during the year. Workers' wages were on 30-60% less than pre-war. Inflation has reached fantastic proportions. If in July 1923, the gold mark cost 262 thousand paper stamps, then November 5 is already 100 billion! The collapse of the economy was one of the prerequisites that led the Nazis to power.
The only state that condemned the aggression of the Western powers was the Soviet Union. Moscow protested "against the insane policy of imperialist France and its allies." It must be said that in 1922-1938's. The main foreign policy goal of Soviet Russia was to maintain peace. It was a necessity caused by the dire situation of the Soviet Union. The union was really surrounded by enemies, it was not internal propaganda. Around the perimeter of the Russian borders were countries wishing to profit at the expense of the USSR. Among them - Finland, the Baltic border countries, Poland, Romania, Turkey and Japan. The great powers — Britain and the United States — still had plans to dismember Russia. And do not think that the danger was exaggerated. Russia-USSR was so weakened that even the war with Finland or Poland posed a threat to it. Especially given the fact that behind the countries of the second or third rank were great powers. Within the country, difficult processes were under way to combat the “fifth column”, the creation of a new national economy, and the development of education, science and technology. The USSR needed peace.
Therefore, the Soviet government led a flexible policy, maneuvering between the interests of various Western powers, which then did not act as a united front. The establishment of good neighborly relations with all countries, regardless of their socio-political structure, was vital for the USSR.
In humiliated Germany, all parties without exception, from the communists to the nationalists, called for the elimination of the Versailles system. German communists during the occupation of the Ruhr by French troops called on the people to fight against the invaders and their own government, which indulges the invaders. And at the beginning of the 1930-s, the German communists urged young people to study military affairs in order to go on a “march on Versailles”. This is not Hitler invented. The mood was general. True, the communists and socialists urged to fight not only against the external enemy, but also the internal - the government. Hitler also focused on one enemy - external. He did not forget the internal enemies, but they retreated into the background.
Europe simply could not long exist under the domination of the Versailles system. It does not matter who would eventually come to power in Germany - the communists, monarchists or the Nazis. All of them did not suit the Treaty of Versailles, which did not allow Germany to exist normally. A similar picture was in Russia. In Russia, the monarchy could survive, win the Democrats, but national interests demanded to break the web of the Versailles Treaty. Blaming the communists for the fact that it was they who destroyed the world in Europe is stupid.
The instigators of the war were the United States, Britain and France, who first created an unjust political system, and then by their actions only pushed Europe toward war.