Treaty of Versailles Post

What struck me when reading the selected articles of the Treaty of Versailles was how the Allied Powers used the treaty as an instrument of revenge. This feeling of anger had much to do with the rather aggressive nature that Germany took when the war began. They were quicker to mobilize than the other Western Powers, and they made the opening move in the war with their invasion of France through neutral Belgium. Germany’s decision to go through Belgium made sense tactically, but they did not realize the political ramifications that it would cause in the long run. As a result of this action the war was not seen by the Allies and neutral powers as one created by a series of tangled alliances, but it was seen as a war of German aggression. When it was time to draw up the armistice that ended the hostilities, Germany was not able to negotiate with the Allies in any way. They were at the mercy of the victors who decided to strip Germany bare of anything of value. In Articles 45,119,231,232 of the treaty the Allies are clearly taking anything of value from the German economy including coal mines and overseas colonies, and they also made the Germans pay restitution for all damages caused by the war. These harsh measures taken by the Allies destroyed the German economy and it was one of the many reasons behind the radicalization of the German populous after World War One.

2 thoughts on “Treaty of Versailles Post

  1. There are a lot of really good points i’ve never thought about in this post, but I wish it was a bit more organized. I never really thought how the treaty would not only affect the government, but also the population. It’s interesting, but not surprising in any way, how adding more fuel to the fire only produced more fire. Germany was first aggressive in the war, then the treaty was aggressive towards Germany, then Germany was again, aggressive in the war. Your point “they would not realize the political ramifications in the long run”, is 100 percent true, but isn’t it concerning? I don’t know exactly what they thought would happen, but I don’t think the Treaty of Versailles could be called a peace treaty due to both the intent and outcome.

  2. Your point about Germany’s failure to consider the political ramifications is a useful reminder of how those in charge of making war can quickly divorce themselves from moral calculations. While I agree that the Treaty as a means of revenge, we might also consider it as a golden opportunity for any imperial state to impose its strategic goals on a weaker state. I think that any imperial state in the position of Britain or France, regardless of the losses incurred by World War I and the Franco-Prussian War would jump at the chance to rob another imperial state of its overseas possessions and constrain its military might. Much to their disservice, they did so without considering how their own postwar weaknesses might render them incapable of managing such territories while attempting to instigate economic recovery and repopulate their countries.

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