top-rated free essay

Why Was the Treaty of Versailles so Unpopular in Germany?

By evieh96 Mar 20, 2013 740 Words
Why was the Treaty of Versailles so unpopular in Germany?
The Treaty of Versailles was the peace treaty that was drawn up by the Allies and Germany after the First World War. It was made to prevent Germany from starting a war again and to pay back the Allies for the money they had spent. The Germans had hoped that the Allies would treat them fairly in the negotiations for the treaty, but the Allies, in particular France, believed that Germany should be brought to its knees. France was not as satisfied as it would have liked, because Woodrow Wilson, who stood for America in the peace conferences, wanted those in power in Germany to be punished, rather than the German people. In the end, the treaty stated that Germany had to pay £6000,600,000,000 in reparations, they lost a lot of land (including the Ruhr Valley), they were stripped of their aircraft and air force, they only had six battleships and nothing else, they had no modern weapons, and they were only allowed 100,000 soldiers. The western part of Germany called the Rhineland was de-militarized (taken over by British and French troops and controlled by the Allies). Finally, Germany was made to accept that they were the ones who started the war. The Germans hated the treaty. They believed that they had been shamed globally, and they were humiliated. Germany had always been well known for having a strong army, and now they had only 100,000 soldiers, no modern weapons, only 6 battleships, and no navy or air force. The thousands of soldiers that were simply sent home from the Western Front were now unemployed, living in a country that was becoming poorer by the day, and wanted revenge. They believed that Germany could have won the war, but the new democratic government had taken their chance. They also stated that the country would be powerless against the smallest of nations. The Germans were also furious about the various terms of the Treaty. They hated Clause 231 – the ‘War Guilt’ clause – which stated that Germany had caused ‘all the loss and damage’ of the war. Firstly, the Germans did not think that they had caused the war (for the Germans, the war was a war of self-defence against Russia, which had mobilised 31 July 1914). During the 1920s, the Germans published all their secret documents from 1914, to prove they had tried to stop the war. Secondly, the Germans hated clause 231 because accepting it gave the Allies the moral right to punish Germany – it validated all the harsh terms of the Treaty. The Germans also disliked the reparations, which were to be paid in instalments until 1984. They did not accept that Germany had caused all the damage. They felt that the huge sum was just designed to destroy their economy and starve their children. Most of all, they hated reparations because they too had rebuilding work to do. Germany’s economy was ruined, but, instead of being able to pump investment into German industry, the country had to send abroad huge sums of money that German industry was not yet strong enough to earn. Finally, the territorial terms of the Treaty of Versailles also made the Germans angry. Germany lost 10% of its land. The Saar was a valuable coalfield, and West Prussia and Upper Silesia were rich farming areas, so their loss further weakened Germany’s economy. The loss of the Polish Corridor separated East Prussia from Germany, and further damaged the German economy. Germany lost 16% of its coalfields and half its iron and steel industry. The loss of all Germany’s colonies was seen as the Allies building empires. The loss of Malmedy to Belgium, Schleswig to Denmark, Memel to Lithuania, Alsace-Lorraine to France was also a national humiliation. The Treaty of Versailles also stopped Germany joining with Austria. This seemed unfair to the Germans, because everywhere else in Europe, the Treaties of 1919–20 gave peoples self-determination, but they divided Germany, and put 12.5% of its population into other countries. The army believed that the government had betrayed them by signing the Treaty, and the political opposition backed this. A huge number of the German population were now against the new democratic government and the Treaty of Versailles, and it became known as the Versailles Diktat (the Treaty had been forced on the Germans). Becky Hutton

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • To What Extent Was the Treaty of Versailles Far on Germany?

    ...To what extent was the Treaty of Versailles fair to Germany? This essay will be based on whether the Treaty of Versailles was fair upon Germany. The Treaty of Versailles was a peace settlement signed after World War 1 had ended in 1918. Most of it was decided by the ‘Big Three` Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau. In...

    Read More
  • Was the Treaty of Versailles Fair to Germany?

    ...Was The Treaty Of Versailles Fair To Germany? 'The Treaty of Versailles' was the peace settlement that ended World War One in 1918. The treaty itself was actually signed on the 28th June 1919 at the former palace of Versailles, just outside Paris, by Germany and the Allies. The treaty was a compromise between the countries, trying to satisfy ...

    Read More
  • Why Did the Treaty of Versailles Cause so Much Bitterness in Germany?

    ...Why did the treaty of Versailles cause so much bitterness in Germany? The Treaty of Versailles caused so much bitterness in Germany because they thought that the treaty was harsh. One of the reasons was because they didn’t feel that they should take the majority of the blame for starting the war (clause 231) Germany had to accept blame ‘fo...

    Read More
  • Whether the Treaty of Versailles Was Too Harsh on Germany

    ... | |Essay: Was the Treaty of Versailles too Harsh on Germany? | |Ms. McLean, IGCSE History | | ...

    Read More
  • Why Did the Treaty of Versailles Cause Such Bitterness in Germany?

    ...Allies thought that the peace treaties would solve the problems of Europe, they were soon disappointed. The main problem was Germany. The Treaty became to be known as a ‘Diktat’ because Germany was forced to seek peace. It had neither been defeated nor had it surrendered. Many Germans felt humiliated when the Allies presented the Treaty of ...

    Read More
  • Why Was Germany Unhappy with the Treaty of Versailles

    ...Why was Germany unhappy with the Treaty of Versailles? The Treaty of Versailles was the treaty that made peace between the countries involved in World War 1. These countries included Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany and United States of America. In the treaty, Germany lost a lot of land, which made a big blow on their empire. Ge...

    Read More
  • Was the Treaty of Versailles Fair?

    ...The treaty of Versailles was signed in 28th June, 1919. this treaty involved lots of requirement for Germany. Despite Woodrow Wilson's will to make the world a safer place, it only provoked German's anger and eventually became the motive of World War two. In my opinion, the main reason for the failure was the unfairness of the treaty. German was...

    Read More
  • Was the Treaty of Versailles a Success?

    ...Was the Treaty of Versailles a success? There are several ways in which the Treaty of Versailles was a success but there are also some which show it was a failure. The treaty of Versailles was the peace settlement signed after World War One. The treaty was signed in Versailles Palace near Paris-hence its name-between Germany and its Allies. ...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.