The Effect of The Treaty of Versailles on Germany

The Effect of The Treaty of Versailles on Germany
The limits that the Treaty of Versailles placed on Germany limiting her military strength were the fact that the Rhineland, (which bordered France) was to be demilitarised, for France?s peace of mind. Germany was told to have only 100,000 soldiers, however she protested at this and said that this was not enough to keep the peace , and the fact that Germany was the only country forced to disarm angered her even further. Additionally, the Treaty of Versailles said that Germany was allowed no air force and only a tiny navy, although Britain did sign a later agreement in private decreeing that Germany could have a navy roughly a tenth of the size of Britain?s own navy. Roughly 16% of Germany?s coal-fields and half of her iron and steel industry was lost, and consequently she was able to make less weapons. When Hitler came to power in 1933 as Chancellor, he then, once he had a firm grip of the land, ignored the Treaty of Versailles and started to rebuilt the German army in secret. This gained the approval of many people, and Hitler showed his true colours between October 1935 and May 1936, when he entered the Rhineland while the Italians were invading Abyssinia. 3b) Why did the victorious powers want to limit Germany?s strength? The victorious powers wanted to limit Germany?s strength so that she didn?t, and was not able to, cause another war.
France and George Clemanceau wanted a harsh peace both economically and militarily to ruin Germany so that she would never be able to retaliate back and cause another war, or threaten French frontiers. The Americans led by the idealistic President Woodrow Wilson wanted a fair and extremely lenient peace in accordance with Wilson?s Fourteen Points speech, even though the Germans themselves had violated this idea by creating the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia in 1917. The British public wanted a harsh peace because of all the damage and hurt that the Germans had caused them, especially in the losing of loved ones. However, Lloyd George wanted a lenient peace, one that would allow Germany to get back on her feet and re-continue her trading with Britain, for before the First World War, she had been Britain?s second strongest trading partner. However, Lloyd George had just won an election promising to make the Germans pay with a harsh Treaty at Versailles, so he was going to have to strike a happy medium between these two objectives to appease everybody. In the end a compromise was reached that none of the three countries liked, and some of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were impossible to fulfil, such as reparations and disarmament. 3c) "The most important reason why Germany hated the Treaty of Versailles was the military restrictions." Do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer. I agree with this because 100,000 troops, (which was the maximum number of troops as dictated by the Treaty of Versailles), probably was not enough to keep the peace in Germany, and all the Germans were very proud of their huge army, so to have it cut down to such a puny, pathetic size of 100,000, compared to what was roughly 2 million at the end of 1917, would have angered them greatly, for most of the people on the German Home Front believed that Germany had merely agreed upon a cease-fire, and was not a surrendered state, as the allies were treating her. Additionally, the Germans were further angered when they saw that none of the rest of Europe had disarmed. One cartoon of the time showed Germany with a white flag for peace sticking out of Berlin, and all of the other countries had weapons on their capitals, and all of the weapons were aiming in the general direction of Germany, the idea that Germany was disarmed, but (i) no other countries had disarmed, even though they were meant to, and (ii), although Germany was now a weak state, continuously crippled by the huge reparations payments, all Europe was still weary and slightly scared of her, arming themselves in case Germany was able to orchestrate another huge war. The war guilt clause angered Germans very much as a whole, for they did not believe that it was they who had started the war, and additionally, they did not want to have to pay the huge reparations for the war. The reparations payments, a result of the war guilt clause, (see above), were another bone of discontent among the Germans, who did not see why they should have to pay £6.6 billion to the allies when they did not believe that they had lost the war. So the Germans were upset by the disarmament clause, disbelieving and angered by the war guilt clause, and infuriated by the fact that they had to pay £6.6 billion in war reparations, even though they didn?t start the war, (they believed). The fact that the Treaty of Versailles was a dictated Treaty and peace settlement further infuriated the Germans, as they had to just turn up and sign the treaty, without any afore-hand talks. For the signing of the Treaty Ebert and the Weimar republic were blamed and were thus doomed from the start, and Hitler brought about the republics? downfall. Lots of land was lost, creating many refugees, and many Germans were not permitted to live in Germany any more, instead they had to live in Poland, or Czechoslovakia, and the Saar was lost ? to the League of Nations for 15 years. This was argued against because of Wilson?s 14 points, but the argument was rejected because of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. All of Germanys? colonies were lost as well, and were given to the ever greedy Britain and France under the name of ?mandates?. Through this, half of Africa was British and the other half was French, so for the German colonies, even more upheaval. Despite all of this, the Germans were still the most economically stable and greatest power economically within Europe.

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