In reading the “Treaty of Versailles,” it becomes clear that the idea behind the treaty was to limit the powers and territories of Germany and have them surrender during the Great War; making them go from a very powerful country to a very weak country in the blink of an eye. In his piece titled “The Economic Consequences of the Peace,”, English economist John Maynard Keynes spoke to the negative effects that the Versailles settlement would have on the nation of Germany. Keynes’ highlighted that Germany would lose “her colonies, her merchant fleet and her foreign investments,” (Keynes) after signing this treaty. Furthermore, due to these losses, Keynes argued that the industry of Germany will “be condemned inevitably to destruction,” (Keynes) and made it clear that German citizens will suffer many deaths due to the poor quality of life that will occur once the treaty is signed. And while Keynes believed that the next logical step for German citizens would be to move to other places, for no work would be available in Germany, “many countries and the most important ones will oppose any German immigration,” (Keynes) forbidding them to move out of Germany, for once the treaty is signed they would want nothing to do with them.
Keynes believed that if Germany were to sign the Treaty of Versailles, they would be making a rash decision and could “throw back human progress for centuries.” (Keynes) Rather than jump at this idea of a treaty, Keynes believed that Germany should wait it out and see if something more favorable might pop up. And while Keynes’ piece was passionate and provided key points as to why the German community should not sign the treaty, Germany ended up signing anyway, ending the misery that the Great War provided them. In signing this treaty, the German population displayed the exhaustion that the Great War had caused them and proved that they were willing to give up many of their powers in order to end their involvement in the war. Ultimately, I think the biggest takeaway from Keynes’ piece is that Germany was willing to give up all their powers and territory in order to get out of World War I. This is important because it showed that Germany was weak and exhausted. By displaying their weakness in signing this treaty, a man named Adolf Hitler was able to take notice and developed a plan that involved him taking over Germany; a plan that became successful and with his leadership, Germany became a rather violent nation and caused another World War to begin.