The Right to Write

On March 11, 2011, East Japan was hit by one of the most devastating tsunamis the world had ever seen,officially named the Great East Japan Tsunami. The world waited in despair as the people of Japan braced themselves for the tsunami triggered by a massive 9.0 earthquake, the most powerful to hit the country. When the wave finally came, cars, houses and whole buildings were instantly swept away. On that day itself, 17,000 people had gone missing, leaving 10,000 dead. But the worst was yet to come. Four nuclear plants in Fukushima Daiichi overheated when the tsunami killed the power lines, causing their coolers to stop working. Explosions soon followed, and then the radiation began to leak.

As far as tsunamis go, the actual size of the tsunami, which was 10 metres, was the not biggest ever, in fact, it was comparatively small. A tsunami in 1958 in Lituya Bay, Alaska, USA, for example, reached 524 metres. However, because it hit a fairly isolated area, very few people died. In contrast, 20,000 people died in the Great East Japan Tsunami at last count, which is again, fairly little compared to the Asian Tsunami of 2004 where 230,000 people died.

What marks the Great East Japan Tsunami as so uniquely tragic is the suffering that not only Japan, but the rest of the world will have to endure. Radiation has already been found in the rainwater that fell on Boston, USA. Seafood may now be radioactive because the amount of radioactive tap water in Japan has become simply too much for the resilient country to contain, and they have been forced to throw the contaminated water into the ocean.

And all because of a tsunami.

Tsunami is a Japanese word which literally translated means “harbour wave”. It is fitting that the Japanese named it because they have unfortunately been afflicted with 195 tsunamis. However, tsunamis have been endangering mankind since approximately 6100 BC, the year when the first tsunami was recorded in the Norwegian Sea.

A tsunami approaching a coast.

Tsunamis are a result of the earth’s continental plates shifting against each other. But it’s not as simple as that.  If the plates just grind against each other as a strike-slip motion, a tsunami is not very likely. They only occur if there is vertical displacement. That is, when one of the crusts acts as a paddle, transferring the energy of the underwater earthquake to the other crust, creating a wave of water. This wave of water, which starts out harmless enough could be, by the end of its journey to the coast of an unfortunate land, up to 260m – like the tsunami in Spirit Lake, Washington, USA in 1980.

The wave of the Asian Tsunami of 2004.

Tsunamis are one of the most dangerous destroyers in the world. Some bright (and somewhat misguided) minds recognised that and picked up on the idea to use a tsunami as a weapon. In 1999, it was discovered that during World War II, in 1944 and 1945, scientists in Auckland were testing a tidal wave bomb. The American government in particular were supportive of the project, for if perfected, it could have been as deadly as a nuclear bomb. However, the project was scrapped when the man made tsunamis never got to a threatening enough size and theoretical flaws were found.

The destinies of nuclear power and tsunamis have long been intertwined. Today, tsunamis can be triggered by using nuclear power to create vertical displacement, though certainly not on the same scale as a natural tsunami. On May 11th 2011, their fates intertwined yet again, in a way that no one could have predicted. In Japan now, the plant workers are, at this moment, working to contain the radiation, with the fate of Fukushima and the rest of the world in their hands.

“The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog. […] The dog was called Wellington. […] I wondered who had killed Wellington and why.”

After reading just the first page of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year award, you feel compelled to read more – if only to find out who killed Wellington. That is just how Mark Haddon intended it to be. His rationale was “Who on Earth is going to want to read about a fifteen-year-old kid with a disability living in [Swindon, London] with his father?”

However, as you read on, you find that it is not so much the plot that compels you to keep reading – but rather the extraordinary main character: Christopher Boone, the story’s narrator. Christopher, a 15 year old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, can tell you every country in the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7, 507. But he finds feelings baffling.

The book dives into Christopher’s unusual mind, and much of what makes the book so fascinating is Christopher’s quirks, characteristics, likes and dislikes. This is what makes the book unique. He is a fan of Sherlock Holmes – whose adventures are his motive for telling the story – thus the title of the book is taken from a remark made by Sherlock Holmes’ in the short story “Silver Blaze” written by Arthur Conan Doyle; he is also a fan of prime numbers – the chapters are numbered by prime numbers.

However, when on some pages every sentence starts with “and” you start feel a little annoyed. Yet you can’t help but feel refreshed by it as it adds to the books authenticity. Much of the rest of the book invokes a similar love/hate relationship with Christopher himself and the people around him, which gives you a sense of the way Christopher’s mind works and how differently he feels (or doesn’t feel) in certain situations.

Mark Haddon

Although Mark Haddon used to work with children with autism, it was way back when – when autism didn’t even have a name. Contrary to popular belief, the book was not intended as a book about autism, but started as one about a poodle that was killed by a pitch fork. As he continued writing, Haddon found that it was a funny story, but only because of the voice he was writing the story with – Christopher’s.

Ironically, though feelings confuse Christopher, his story makes many readers feel like crying while reading one page, and laughing while reading the next. It is this effect that makes the book so special, un-put-downable and re-readable – and thanks to this book’s extraordinary insight into a mind so different from our own, after reading this story, you may never see the world in the same way again.

In Malaysia, a popular conversational question is “So… where do you go to school, ah?”

“Er… I’m home schooled.”

My answer would attract weird looks, confusion and disbelief, so much so that I’ve come to dread the question.

I am not home schooled because of a disability or even because our school system is poor. In fact, much to the incredulity of many, my parents chose to home school my younger brother and I. Seeing as they resided in a country where when people are told that you are home schooled they are most thoroughly confused; this was very brave of them. When they first started home schooling, which was practically from my birth in 1995, it was the late ‘90s, and home schoolers were very, very scarce.

Andrea; 5 days old.

“Home schooled? School… at home? Got such a thing, ah?” People would ask. The answer is yes, got. Another frequently asked question would be, why did your parents decide to home school you? The answer could be that they breastfed me from the beginning (another abnormality in a small town) and it just evolved from there. Or that I did go to kindergarten for about three weeks but I didn’t like how they forced me to study.

I was born in Ipoh, Malaysia, and lived there till I was seven. It was an idyllic childhood in Ipoh – which is a rather sleepy, small town. Thus, Ipoh is one of the last places you would expect to meet a home schooled kid.

My brother and I in Ipoh.

Living in Ipoh was very peaceful, if stagnant; we could ride our bikes in the lane behind our house, and draw on our concrete backyard. However, it certainly was not the case where because we were home schooled we did nothing all day long. We did do activities – to an extent.

When I was two I asked for a violin. This proved to be a pickle, as at that time, there were no violin teachers in Ipoh. Not a single one. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there were piano teachers there. So my ever devoted parents coerced a piano teacher to teach me the violin.

Of course, given the circumstances, things did not work out. My violin was much too big and heavy for me, and in a few months time, I had stopped playing the violin. I have always wondered what if I hadn’t stopped the violin, to be honest. If I had started at that age with a good teacher, well, the possibilities are endless. But you can’t rewind time, and it was not till several years ago that I picked up it violin again, and now it is a central part of my life.

The violin is now a central part of my life.

When I was seven, we moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital. KL was very different from Ipoh. For example, in Ipoh everywhere is more or less 15 minutes from each other. But now we had to deal with KL’s immense traffic jams (at least they seemed to be immense, compared to Ipoh’s tinier ones, but no doubt are tiny compared to Hong Kong’s or New York’s). We sold our 20 year old Mercedes which we nicknamed “Benny”.

I had been promised it as my car when I was old enough to drive, but I didn’t mind Benny being sold too much as there were various insects, including a cockroach or two, living in him. In fact, I was relieved. To this day, cockroaches have scared the living daylights out of me. I don’t know if it is their disgusting antennas, the fact that they carry diseases, their tiny, plentiful legs (I am not sure how many they have, as I have never been curious enough to check, but they sure can run fast) or their yucky brown, muddy colour. For me, they are just gross, gross, GROSS.

Anyhow, it was here, in KL, that a huge part of my life would commence. I started tae-kwon-do (a Korean art of self-defence; a variation of karate) in Ipoh, but back then I wasn’t too good at it. But when we moved to KL, all that changed. If I’ve learnt anything in life so far (besides learning how to read and write – just kidding) it’s that the most important thing is to believe. My second tae-kwon-do instructor believed in me greatly, and by the time I was nine, I had achieved my black belt, the highest of all the belts.

But there was one catch – sparring. I was fine with the patterns (a sequence of a set of moves), but to fight, one on one with another person, I just couldn’t do it, and so I stopped TKD.

Now, I am at a cross roads in my life. I am 15, and very soon I shall have to decide what I want to do in life. That is a huge pressure; this one decision will decide the rest of your life, or at least the next four years. However, I am already fairly sure it will be music. But it will not be something to do with bugs, I can tell you that much.

What are we made up of? Not hair. Not skin. Not bones. But cells. If a very thin slice of a plant stem is cut and put under a microscope you will see thousands of tiny box-like structures. These are cells.

You could think of cells as the sibling of particles. Only where particles make up our world’s infrastructure, cells make up the infrastructure of the living beings that inhabit the world. Thusly, cells are living and particles are non-living.

When you think about it, cells are mind boggling. It’s crazy to think that thousands of miniscule structures make up your entire body. How is that? Well, your body is much like a food chain. Cells make up tissues, tissues make up organs, several organs make up a system, and several systems make up an organism. Of course, it is unlike a food chain in the sense that organs don’t eat tissues etc.

The physical aspects of cells

Let’s start at the bottom of the chain, and basically the whole foundation of organisms. Animal cells are usually rounder than plant cells, which are boxier. An animal cell’s physical components are a cytoplasm, mitochondria, cell membrane, granules, and a nucleus. Plant cells consist of cellulose, a cell membrane, a vacuole, cell sap, plastids, chlorophyll, chloroplasts and a nucleus. Though animal and plant cells have different components, every single cell has a cell membrane. However, only most have a nucleus.

When put under a microscope, the typical animal cell’s cytoplasm looks like a thick liquid floating about, and floating about said thick liquid is the mitochondria and granules. Right smack in the middle is the nucleus, or the brain of the cell. It decides what goes in and what goes out and what is kept. The shape of every cell differs, thus it is impossible to draw a typical cell, but it is possible to show a rough sketch to show the characteristics which are standard in a cell.

The anatomy of an animal cell.

The plant cell’s structure differs greatly. Usually it is a rectangular shape, with its nucleus hiding in a bottom corner. Hence, if you were to cut the plant transversely (crosswise), you may not see a nucleus at all. Its vacuole takes up most of the cell, and the chloroplasts are sprinkle much like jellybeans on the outline of the vacuole. Weird but true.

The anatomy of a plant cell.

For cells to make tissues and those tissues make organs etc, they have to be specialized. Like the different people who make up the different parts of our world, cells are different. Though they are not as unique as each human, likewise they each have their own purpose.

Specialization starts with one cell splitting into two. Let’s say we have one cell (just to let you know, this cell’s specialization is, specialization). So, cell one splits into two. Now we have two cells, one cell becomes specialized and the other retains its ability to split. The beauty of specialization is how it’s so simple, yet it’s vital to all organisms. I’m sure you know how a baby is born. Let’s skip to before the baby is a fetus. It is a single cell. Then, like magic, it divides. At the speed of light, from one to two, to four, to eight, to 16 etc. Before you know it, you have a whole fetus, and the division doesn’t stop till the baby is fully grown.

Tissue culture

Animal tissue culture is when you take developing animal tissues and treat it with enzymes to separate the cells. The cells are then put into a culture vessel (shallow dish) containing nutrient solution, which makes the plant grow artificially. The vessel will eventually have a layer one cell thick, upon which the division will stop there until the cells are removed to another vessel. However, most mammal cells divide no more than 20 times.

Plant tissue culture is rather amazing. From just small amounts of plant tissue, great quantities of plants can be reproduced. First, a small amount of plant tissue is treated with enzymes, which separate the individual cells. The cells are then treated with hormones which help roots, stems and leaves grow from said cells.

And alternate method is taking a small piece of plant tissue and putting it on nutrient jelly. The nutrient jelly, as you may have guessed, gives the tissue the nutrients to grow into a callus, and eventually a plant.

You may be wondering what the use of tissue culture is, we have the organic plants and animals, why do we need artificial ones?

Well, tissue culture, much like pop culture, can be done at a mass level. Tissue culture, perhaps unlike pop culture, is very useful. When used at said mass level, it can help research on diseases, and sometimes can take the place of the cruel practice of animal testing.

Cells… superstars?

Though they may seem boring, they’re a vital part of our lives, indeed, they are us. Studying cells can help to develop live-saving vaccines, particularly recent progress for a vaccine against AIDS, which can prevent the AIDS from entering a cell.

Cells are greatly needed, well-liked, and respected (Well… you know what I mean). In a pop culture context, you could say that cells are the superstar of biology. Though they don’t have to worry about the paparazzi, and probably don’t have to worry about falling out of the spotlight, for children and adults alike will be studying them for years to come.

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The almighty Atoms

How stable is our world?

The Earth literally shattered a majority of Haiti’s buildings and infrastructure during the recent tragic earthquake there. Natural disasters like this can make one wonder if our tables and chairs won’t suddenly disintegrate in front of our very eyes. Fortunately, that question has been answered a long time ago.

Since Homo sapiens ruled the Earth, our world’s greatest minds have been bothered by one question (actually, they had many questions, but this particular one was rather important). That question was “What is the world made up of?” We have discovered since that it is made up of matter. But what is even more interesting is what matter is made of.

In 1807, the secret was finally revealed by John Dalton. He discovered that matter (as a matter of fact) is made up of particles. Particles are made up of molecules, which are made up of atoms, which for the longest time scientists thought was the smallest thing in the world. However, when said atom was cut open, it revealed an even smaller nucleus.

John Dalton discovered the atom

A breakthrough was made in 1919, when a scientist named James Chadwick discovered that revolving around the nucleus were clusters of tiny protons, neutrons, electrons and about 70 other, miniscule sub-atomic particles.

The Kinetic Theory

Thus, the Kinetic Theory is a fascinating one. That’s because it states that the world is made up of the aforementioned atoms, which are the tiny building blocks that support our lives. The notion that we big, heavy humans are supported by these little, cannot-be-seen-by-the-naked-eye things seems hard to believe. But it’s true.

For example, the particles which, bit by bit, make up the computer which you are using to read this now are actually moving. The movement is a very, very slight vibration fueled by kinetic energy. Throughout all the matter in the universe, kinetic energy is coursing through it. Some have less and some have more. Your computer has less, much less kinetic energy than say, your mum’s perfume. That’s because your computer is a solid and your mum’s perfume is a gas.

Confused? Think about it this way, we are what we’re surrounded by. Imagine that solids are the older generation of human beings today, stiff and stuck in their ways. Imagine that liquids are the youth of today flowing, free but slightly restricted. And imagine gases are hyper little kids, bouncing of the walls. Got that image in your head? Okay, now here’s the fun part:

The people you just imagined are actually particles, which make up solids, liquids and gases. The simplest example is water. As we all know, water is a liquid. But when we freeze it, it magically becomes its solid form, the hard, dense ice. That is because the water has hit its freezing point of 0°C, thus freezing the liquid into a solid. Likewise, doing the opposite and heating the water till it reaches its boiling point of 100°C creates its gaseous form – steam.

So when heated up, the water particles gain heat energy and move faster and faster till they break free of their bonds and is then free to move about at a high speed, occasionally colliding with each another in their new state of matter: gas.

The Different States of Matter (Source:

Proof that particles move – Diffusion

Have you ever noticed that when a person wearing a strong, pungent perfume walks into a room, within a few minutes the entire room smells like said perfume? Well, that magic is called diffusion.

With the high freedom these gas particles have, it’s not surprising how versatile they can be. For example, if gas is put into a jar, you will notice that it will spread itself out quickly and evenly. That’s because the gas particles move. In fact, they move so fast, that gases take mere hours to diffuse.

Liquids, on the other hand, can take days to diffuse as liquid particles move slower than that of gases.

Proof that particles move – Brownian motion

For many years, there was no proof that particles move. People were still uncertain what exactly we and the world were made of. However, about 150 years ago a scientist and botanist named Robert Brown erased all doubt and uncertainty regarding atoms. While gardening one day, he noticed that the fine pollen grains on the surface of the water were moving about, upon further investigation through his microscope, he discovered that the pollen grains were moving about in random motion.

Progress on this was made slowly but surely, but the breakthrough was in 1923 when another scientist, Norman Wiener, made what Brown had noticed clearer. He stated that the visible, tiny pollen grains were constantly colliding with the scores of water particles, causing the random motion. That breakthrough is called Brownian motion, after the scientist who discovered it.

Certainly, the world seems more fascinating once you have discovered atoms. And it is nice to know that the world is probably not about to crumble beneath our very feet.

Jane Austen starts off the immortal Pride & Prejudice with the famous words, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Seth Grahame-Smith starts off Pride & Prejudice & Zombies with the same famous words but with a twist, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

On April 1st, 2009, one of the greatest books in the history of English Literature was massacred – literally. Jane Austen (one of the greatest authors in the history of English Literature)’s immortal Pride & Prejudice, was mashed up with zombies. That’s right; Longbourn, Netherfields and Pemberly have all become infested with zombies. And for some (most notably guys), it works.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

For others, it doesn’t. TIME magazine listed the mash up as one of the top five worst inventions of the year. One possible reason for their decision could be that it is somewhat jarring when the some of the beautiful and eloquent paragraphs originally by Jane Austen is summarized in a straightforward and modern way (perhaps to save space) making the book rather choppy at times.

In Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, it is early 1800’s and a mysterious plague has spread all over England. This plague transforms the victim into a brain hungry zombie and unfortunately no one knows where it came from or how to destroy it. But never fear, the dashing Mr. Darcy is here to defend his country, as is our beloved heroine Elizabeth Bennet.

When Elizabeth and Darcy first meet, she is about to slit his throat – but when she attempts to, zombies break into Netherfields and start feasting on the brains of the unfortunate people near them. But when he saves her sister Lydia (who though is a brilliant warrior is still as air headed as ever) from the disgrace of running away from the deceptively charming Mr. Wickham by disabling him for life, Elizabeth warms up to him.

Despite its cover, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is not as gory as one may think. In fact, the grossest part for me was when Elizabeth bites into the still-beating heart of one of Lady Catharine’s ninjas.

The zombiefied cover of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

However, throughout the book, various background characters do get killed off, starting with an abrupt murder of Mrs. Long in the beginning. Fortunately, none of the main characters get killed off. Unfortunately, one of the main characters is Mrs. Bennet, who despite the plague is not at all less determined in the least to get her daughters married off.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is a unique blend of the original Pride & Prejudice and new chunks (I feel it’s appropriate to use that here) of zombies, occasional cannibalism, ninjas, and ultra-violent mayhem. If you have always intended to, but have not yet read the original, I strongly suggest reading it first before reading And Zombies. However, if you never intended to read the original then you may get a chuckle out of And Zombies, because the gory(ish) zombie parts certainly liven things up.

It all began in 1914 – one of the greatest wars in history, triggered off by a few angry people.

The Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was visiting Sarajevo in Bosnia when he and his wife were ambushed by a few young Serbian men. They were a part of a group called Young Bosnia, a group filled with people who hated Austria’s oppressiveness. Fueled by anger, four of them set out to ambush and assassinate the Archduke and his wife and succeeded. The person who pulled the trigger was a young man called Gavrilo Princip. Little did he know that by doing so, he had just started one of the greatest wars in history – known as, the First World War.

A Great War monument.

But how could a war as humongous as the First World War just happen? How could, all of a sudden, one of the greatest bloodsheds in history suddenly begin? The answer is, they don’t just suddenly begin. The First World War is a product of a great build up of tension over a long period of time. When young Gavrilo Princip pulled the trigger, he was actually lighting the fuse of a great bomb that held immense tension between the main countries involved in the war.

Tensions had been running high long before the war between Germany, Britain, France, Austria-Hungary and Russia. The main reasons were colonies (such as the Balkans) and the build up of armies. Eventually, the war was broken up into two sides, one was the Triple Entente, which was comprised of France, Britain and Russia, the other side was called the Dual Alliance, which encompassed Germany and Austria-Hungary.

With all the tension going around, it was hard to believe that war didn’t happen sooner – but there was a forced and strained peace in an effort to delay the war as long as possible for no one wanted to be the one to start it all off.

Despite the forced peace, everyone was secretly getting ready for a war and forming a battle plan. The most controversial of all was the Germans’ Schlieffen Plan. The plot was to station a small army in the east to detain Russia, while the rest of Germany’s forces would smash through Belgium, overcome and defeat France and Britain and consequently knock them out of the competition.

A famous war time poster in Britain.

However, their plan failed when they underestimated Russia and France’s strength and they were defeated twice. The war deteriorated to a War of Attrition – as both sides were forced into a stalemate, and both were in the same position and were reduced to cold hard murder as the last chance of winning, as neither had an advantage over the other.

The Great War eventually came to an end, and though the Triple Entente won, really, both sides lost, as many lives were taken, and many nations scarred.

The Great War, though now it is more commonly called the First World War or World War I, had a great impact on the world. For example, in Britain before the war, working class men could not vote. But when the war hit, the government saw these men risking their lives everyday for their country, and felt that that was unfair to them and started to pass a new law saying that working class men could now vote. Women, or more specifically, the Suffragists and Suffragettes, had been campaigning for women to get this very thing for a long time – the right to vote. They saw their chance, and started campaigning hard, and succeeded.

It is likely that women may have never gotten the vote, and have never been able to get the same jobs as men and so on because when the war hit, many young men left their countries to fight in a foreign land, leaving many jobs crucial to the war empty. Women saw their chance, and successfully got the vote in 1918.

A year after women won full voting rights, these women joined in the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Fifth Avenue on March 27, 1921.

The big three and the Treaty of Versailles

The Great War caused immense casualties like never before. On the Allied side, Britain lost 750,000 soldiers, with 1,500,000 wounded, France lost 1,400,000 soldiers, with 2,500,000 wounded, Belgium lost 50,000 soldiers, Italy lost 600,000 soldiers, Russia lost 1,700,000 soldiers, and America lost 116,000 soldiers.

Fighting against the Allies, Germany lost a whopping 2,000,000 soldiers, Austria-Hungary lost 1,200,000 soldiers, Turkey lost 325,000 soldiers and Bulgaria lost 100,000 soldiers. The total losses are estimated to be 8.5 million with 21 million wounded.

The truly tragic thing about the World War I is that after all that bloodshed, there went on to be another world war where there was even more bloodshed, so all the soldiers who lost their lives in the World War I were in vain.

As well as the loss of millions of lives, the remaining lives were in a chaos. Much of Europe had been turned into rubble; many families torn apart. The winners of the war were not about to give Germany (who they blamed the war on) any mercy. So when the main leaders of the Allies sat down to map out what exactly was owing to them, they did not hold back.

The main leaders were known as the big three, and they consisted of David Lloyd George of Britain, Georges Clemenceau of France and Woodrow Wilson of America. The first two were perfectly happy to punish Germany to the extreme, as that was what their country expected of them. Woodrow Wilson on the other hand, wanted to be a little more merciful, he did not want Germany to become resentful and start another war. It turns out that he would be right.

After several gut wrenching days, the big three decided on several terms and conditions for Germany which would become the Treaty of Versailles. An easy way to remember all the conditions of the treaty is GARGLe: Guilt, Arms, Reparations, German territory and League of Nations.

  • Guilt: As previously stated, the Allies believed that Germany was the cause of the war, so the treaty declared that Germany should take all the blame for starting the war.
  • Arms: Germany’s pride was its army. Despite having lost the most soldiers in the war, they still had a substantial army. The treaty took that away; Germany was forced to cut down their army to the very minimum, which left them rather defenseless.
  • Reparations: All the countries involved in the war had suffered immense damages to their infrastructure. In Europe, buildings which had been around for hundreds of year were in a heap of rubble. The total cost of reparation which Germany was forced to pay was 6,600 billion marks (£6,600 million pounds). That is 2% of Germany’s annual income production.
  • German territory: Germany had to give up all of her colonies to the winning countries. Alsace-Lorraine was given to France, Eupen and Malmedy was given to Belgium, Northern Schleswig was given to Denmark, and Hultschin was given to Czechoslovakia.
  • League of Nations: This was a peacemaking idea from the peacemaking Woodrow Wilson. He wanted a place where all global disputes between countries could be sorted out fairly, in hopes of avoiding another war. As a snub, Germany was not allowed in until it learned to be more peaceful. Ironically, the creator of the league’s country did not join as America refused to, on the grounds of them adopting an isolated policy.

It was all very simple; Germany had to sign the treaty or risk being invaded by the Allies. Nevertheless, it was not an easy choice.

Germany’s reaction to the treaty

As you can imagine, the Germans were not happy. They were clearly not the starters of the war, but were forced to take the blame anyway. Already wiped out, the reparation fee was impossible for Germany to pay, so in desperation, they hyper inflated their currency to the point where a loaf of bread would cost 20 billion marks.

From this point on, Germany blamed everything that went wrong on the treaty. What went wrong? Well, after the war, the German government supplied a war pension to the survivors of the war, but shortly after stopped providing it. After paying one installment of the reparations, Germany refused to pay anymore, thus French soldiers marched into a part of Germany to force the money out of them, the soldiers bullied the citizens, and the treaty gave them the power to do so.

The Germans were angry, and needed someone, something to blame. They blamed the new government for signing the treaty; they blamed the old government for leading them into the war; but most of all, they blamed the treaty for all of their problems. They also blamed the people behind the treaty, namely, the big three and their countries.

“Something has to be done, Germany could not carry on this way, and we must FIGHT for all of our previous glory.”

That is the gist of what a youth at that time preached to the citizens, who ate it all up.

The Great War was over and the countries were slowly recovering, but the war left a lot of tensions, for although the war had ended, most of the reason was because the stalemate was costing too much to maintain. As predicted by Woodrow Wilson, the treaty would cause yet another war, an awful, gruesome and brutal war. This unfortunately leads us to another scarring, tragic and equally horrific war: World War II. This war would be led by the youth who preached to the citizens and easily started the uprising. His name was Adolf Hitler.

February 2020
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