History - Treaty of Versailles

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Assess the Impact of the treaty of Versailles on Germany
The treaty of Versailles had a significant impact on German politics and economy. The terms of the treaty had attempted to punish Germany for the ‘crimes’ of WW1 and essentially cripple Germany economically and politically. The treaty was signed on 28th June 1919, which turned out to be a compromise which satisfied no-one: too tough for the Germans, lacking idealism for Woodrow Wilson and not tough enough for the French leader Clemenceau. The Germans were particularly angry about the way proceedings had gone because no German delegates were allowed to attend discussions and the Germans were ordered to sign the treaty or face the possibility of invasion.

The immediate reaction to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles inside Germany was a combination of shock, disbelief and anger. Many Germans felt that the government had ‘stabbed the country in the back’. This bred much distrust and support for the new democratic government who signed the treaty and were known as the ‘November criminals’. The terms of the treaty of Versailles when they became known in May 1919 came as a shock. Germany had sought armistice in November 1918 and expected the peace settlement to be based on President Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Even though Germany was now a democracy, they still had no say in the drafting of the peace. This was a peace imposed by the victors, a diktat, and it was shaped in large measure by the French determination to make sure that Germany would never again threaten France.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was to be disarmed and broken as a military power. * The German army was to be reduced to 100 000 men with no heavy artillery and air force. * The navy was reduced to a few ships for coastal patrol. * Compulsory military service was banned.

* Alsace and Lorraine, taken by Germany, were to be returned to France. * The Rhineland was to be permanently demilitarised....
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