To what extent did the Treaty of Versailles weaken Germany Democratically, between 1919 to 1929?
The signing of the Treaty of Versailles on the twenty second of June in 1919, would forever psychologically be associated with the long term bitterness and humiliation of the German public towards the German democracy. The civilian government who agreed to the terms of the treaty, which saw German suffer a deduction in their army, forced to pay high reparations, deduction of land and population were after known as the “November Criminals. However factors such as nationalism, the democratic Constitution, lack of democratic tradition within Germany society, pushes from the extreme left, the army and pushes from the extreme right saw the German republic gradually weaken until it lost all credibility.
The Treaty of Versailles in a Germans point of had been a harsh peace settlement, taking away their sovereign powers and freedoms as a nation. The long-term effects of the signing of the Treaty were felt across all classes across Germany, they had to blame something or someone for the clauses of the treaty, which they had agreed to. So they resorted to blaming the concept that had been foreign to them; the civilian government and the new democracy. This would make the Weimar republic to be forever associated with military defeat and international humiliation. Nationalists and political forces of the extreme right and left used the emotionalism of the treaty in propaganda to attack all remaining credibility of the Weimar republic. After the signing of the treaty, Germans found it very hard to have any real emotional loyalty to a political system that had appeared to have failed them. The economic effects of the treaty required Germany to pay compensation for all damage done to the civilian population by the Allied and Associated power. The reparations in total came to 132 000 million gold marks which was equivalent to $US 32 billion. Germany had no real hope of paying the reparations due to the other provisions; such as the rich German coal-mine producing area of the Saar Basin being placed under international control for 15 years, with its valuable coal resources going to France, this resulted in Germany lacking a sufficient number commodities for themselves. They ended up losing 48% of its iron ore and 16% of its coal resources, which weakened Germanys ability to restore and operate its economy.
The terms of the Treat of Versailles for Germany nationalists, which included; junkers, industrialist and civilians once from the middle class saw them immediately turn away from ever offering support for the German republic. For German nationalists the territorial and colonial provisions would have created a fixed negative opinion on the government, as it was sending Germany back before its great empire had been established in the late 19th Century. Alsace Lorraine, which had been taken by Germany from France in 1871, was returned back to France on the terms of the Treaty. This area, in particular was a very important piece of land as it was the land Germany had gained after the victory of the Prussian war. The region of Posen was given to the new nation of Poland, and to give the new Polish state access to the sea, part of West Prussia was also incorporated into the Polish state, cutting East Prussia off from the West of Germany. This region, the so-called “polish corridor” contained not only Poles, but also Germans who found themselves now living in Poland. Under the terms of the Treaty, Germany lost about 13% of its territory (most of it in eastern Europe) and 12% of its population. The major German city of Danzig on the Baltic Sea was also detached from Germany and made a free city under the control of the League of Nations. A number of other parts of German land were lost including part of the Northern Schleswig, being given to Denmark, the region of Eupen and Malmedy in the West was given to Belgium and to protect France from...
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