ESSAY: WHETHER THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES WAS TOO HARSH ON GERMANY.
The terms of the treaty of Versailles were somewhat harsh, but not out of ordinary for that time period. In 1871, Germany had forced France to accept similar terms (losing Alsace – Lorraine and paying heavy reparations), and one year earlier, Germany had made Russia sign a treaty that went far, far beyond what Versailles would ask Germany. At any rate, the terms were much milder than what France had originally wanted. France wanted to break up Germany for revenge for its suffering and humiliation that Germany inflicted on France after defeating her in 1871 in the Franco-Prussian war and also so that Germany could never be military threat to the rest of Europe. Germany lost 13% of her territory under the treaty. That sounds like a lot, but all of these lands were border regions that were disputed to begin with (and which Germany had only recently conquered), such as Alsace- Lorraine (Franco-Prussian War, 1871). Germany’s allies, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, suffered a far worse fate, being completely dismembered.
Germany suffered a terrible economic disaster in 1923-24 that was in part fueled up by the reparations. However, after the German economy rebounded and was in solid shape until the “Depression”. The German navy sank its own ships in protest to sign the Treaty. Ebert didn’t have much choice. Ebert had to consult the army commander Hindenburg. Hindenburg told Ebert that Germany could not win the war. Ebert was at an impossible position. He decided to sign the treaty because he could no longer risk his people. After this the German people hated the Government and blamed it all on them.
The treaty was the best Germany could have expected under the circumstances even through the harsh rules. If it weren’t for the treaty, the war would have had to continue. But even though, Germany wouldn’t take that risk of not signing the treaty because it had already lost a lot of its...
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