How Damaging was the treaty of Versailles to Weimar Germany?
It was seen as the only viable option for Germany to sign the treaty as they was advised heavily by the German army, including Hindenburg, to accept it as they would be unable to resist an allied invasion. The Treaty therefore affected the Germans psychologically. And at the time the public did not wish for any more conflict.
Hindenburg, however, came up with other evidence to explain for the signing of the treaty; chiefly that it was a shameful peace as the Germans had no negotiating power when it came to it. Nevertheless, this was damaging for Weimar Germany as it showed the hypocritical nature of the German’s through Hindenburg as he advised the government to sign the treaty beforehand.
Hindenburg also attacked the left wing politicians and placed the blame of the treaty on them. He did this because he believed that they believed in anti-patriotic ideals, these “November Criminals” included: Erzberger, Erbert, and Muller - those who founded the Weimar government. Hindenburg also used the Treaty as an excuse to blame the “Stab in the back” of the armed forces in 1918 on them.
These theories were very useful for the anti-republican right. They played on the resentment of the treaty from the public and also absolved the military from any of their own failings in 1918. They gained a lot of support from this. These accusations towards the “November Criminals” developed as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, and gave the anti-republican Right an ill-judged morality on their illegal actions.
The reality of the extent of damage that the treaty inflicted on Germany as a power should also be noted. Their army was severely reduced to only 100,000 men; the navy was also reduced heavily in size and they were not allowed any aircraft. They lost a lot of territory of economic importance, the Saar (coal-rich area) as well as areas of symbolic importance such as West Prussia and Posen for instance were...
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