Treaty of Versailles

Main Points:

1. Territory– The following territories were taken away from Germany:

  • Alsace-Lorraine (given to France)
  • Eupen and Malmedy (given to Belgium)
  • Northern Schleswig (given to Denmark)
  • Hultschin (given to Czechoslovakia)
  • West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia (given to Poland)

Germany must relinquish power over any overseas colonies to the League of Nations as well as any additional territory seized in the war not mentioned above.

2. Military– Germany’s army was reduced to 100,000 men and no tanks were allowed. Germany was not allowed any airforce or submarines and only 6 capital naval ships.No german soldier was allowed in the demilitarized zone west of the Rhineland and 50 kms east of the River Rhine. The Allies were allowed to keep an occupational army on the west bank of the Rhine for the next 15 years.

3. Financial– Germany would be required to accept full responsibility for the war, and therefore must pay reperations for any damage caused by the war to civilian property (most of which would go to France and Belgium to pay for the damage done to their infrastructure). Germany would not be permitted to unite with Austria, for fear this would help improve the diminished German economy.

Questions:

1. Was the Treaty of Versailles an appropriate and sensible way to ensure that Germany did not pose a military threat in the future?

2. Did the Treaty of Versailles subsidize the rise of the Nazis in Germany? Did it make way for facism?

Observations:

1. The Treaty did not completely crush Germany nor did it attempt to bring Germany into the League of Nations. I found it interesting that the League of Nations understood they could not crush Germany entirely but did not understand the repercussions that would surely ensue from such strict and oppressive guidlines regarding German land, military, and economy.

2. The Treaty essentially ensures that no “spoils” from the war stay in German hands and were in turn given to the countries participant in the League of Nations.

3. I think it is also important to envisage the sentiments of internationalism, national and global security, unity and collaboration, as well as prevention of conflict and total war while reading this document, as they were prominent notions shared by the end of the war.

4 thoughts on “Treaty of Versailles

  1. I agree that although the Treaty of Versailles did not completely crush Germany, it was an effective measure in preventing them from being a threat at that time. However, the very strict sanctions on Germany would of course lead to conflict in the future.

  2. Great idea to divide the economic, militaristic, and territorial aspects of the Treaty in order to organize its most important aspects. The main issue is that the Treaty of Versailles did greatly stifle the German economy, as it simultaneously stripped them of the means of production through various outlets and forced them to pay reparations. In addition, it greatly humiliated Germany, as it forced them to admit responsibility. This undoubtedly suppressed and subsequently acceleration nationalist sentiments that would develop with the rise and establishment of the Nazi party in 1919.

  3. In my opinion, the Treaty was much too Harsh on Germany. It all but destroyed its economy, and put blame on a nation that had little to do with the beginnings of the conflict. Additionally, the Treaty’s disassembling of the German Army was not very effective; they were the instigators of World War II.

  4. Nice use of the 3-2-1 format and division of different aspects of the treaty into military, territory and financial. The treaty undoubtedly paved the way for the second world war and the intense nationalism that began to rise in Germany in the following decades after WWI.

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