The end of the Great War saw many things from large numbers of civilian deaths to soldiers death and then finally to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles was one of five treaties that were formulated at the Paris Peace Conference as part of the Armistice, at the end of the First World War. (Australian War Memorial), explains that the “the Treaty of Versailles related to establishing the conditions of peace with Germany. (Australian War Memorial), states the major sanctions imposed on Germany by the treaty included, disarmament of Germany, reparations of large amounts paid to allies and the demilitarization of the Rhineland. The treaty also included territories that were part of Germany before the war was to be surrendered to the allies. (Australian War Memorial), states territories such as Alsace-Lorraine was surrendered to France as well as others to Poland, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic) and parts of Denmark.
Although many of the conditions would heavily impact them, Germany still however reluctantly signed the Treaty of Versailles on June 28 1919 six months after the end of the First World War. The Paris Peace Conference talks began two months after the end of the First World War on January 12 1919. Meetings were held at various locations until the final signing at Versailles. Although there were 32 leaders representing their states, only five states were the main powers in the negotiating process in the conference. Zapotoczny, 2005), states the main “powers” included, the United States, Britain, France, Italy and Japan. (Zapotoczny, 2005), states that one major outcome of the Paris Peace Conferences was the Treaty of Versailles. (Zapotoczny, 2005), explains that the Germans “thought that the treaty was going to be based on Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points which outlines a framework for a just peace and held the hopes of the prevention of future international tensions. Although the result of the treaty severely devastated them , (Zapotoczny, 2005), stated that Germany had hoped that the treaty would be based on the Fourteen Points as they thought that it would of “resulted in drastically less devastation to them. ” (Zapotoczny, 2005), stated that although that was the intention, the other big four “were determined to punish Germany for starting the war, so from those reactions the treaty ended up being a document that destroyed Germany. ” The final result of the Treaty saw Germany held responsible for World War One.
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According to (Zapotoczny, 2005), “Germany were forced to pay reparations totaling 132, 000, 000, 000 in gold marks, lost 1/8 of its land, all of its colonies and overseas financial assets gained from the colonies. ” (Zapotoczny, 2005), also stated that with the loss of territories basically had the map of Europe redrawn and also their military had to be basically non-existent or have little forces. According to (Zapotoczny, 2005), the German people felt they were harshly punished due to the reason they have a responsibility to serve their country therefore they weren’t responsible. Zapotoczny, 2005), stated that “the treaty devastated Germany politically and economically. ” With the ‘Great Depression’ on the horizon, the German population felt that they would of suffered more heavily than the other nations due to the large reparations forced upon them because of the Treaty of Versailles (Zapotoczny, 2005). One of the conditions outlined by the top five powers was the disarmament of the German military. The German as part of the treaty had to reduce their army number to 100,000 as per agreement (Stevenson, 2006). Stevenson, 2006), stated that of these 100, 000 soldiers will consist of long-service volunteers and will be split into seven infantry divisions as well as three cavalry divisions. According to (Stevenson, 2006) these divisions will only be used for “internal order as well as border control. ” Along with the reduction of men and divisions within the army, there were also reductions in the navy and airforce. Within those forces the weaponry and vehicles were reduced too. Although their former allies, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria had to also disarm their army as per agreement, Germany was hit the hardest.
According to (Stevenson, 2006), “disarmament formed part of a complex of security measures. (Stevenson, 2006), stated these security measures included “permanent demilitarization of the Rhineland, Allied occupation of the Rhineland as well as not being allowed to build, recruit or deploy any troops in the area. ” Although German officials deemed the disarmament as unnecessary, (Stevenson, 2006) states that “Part V of the Treaty of Versailles justified the disarmament of the German military as necessary in order to reduce the need to limit the military of all nations involved. The Treaty also stated the reason for the disarmament in Article 8 of the treaty which (Stevenson, 2006) states, “the victors recognized that to keep the peace requires the reduction of all national armaments which consistent with national safety and the enforcement of international obligation. ” The reparations deeply affected Germany’s economy especially with the Great Depression on the horizon. To be able to understand to why and how the ‘big four’ included the forced reparations on Germany, they gained the helped of the economist, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes, 2009) explained that although the economic situation in Europe was bad, the “treaty did not include any provisions for the economic rehabilitation of Europe, nothing to stabilize the new states of Europe, nothing to reclaim Russia, nor does it promote a compact of economic solidarity among the allies as well as the adjustment of old and new world systems. ” (Keynes, 2009), stated that even though with all these issues came about as a result from the First World War, the Big Four, Britain, France, USA and Italy still ignore them. ccording to (Keynes, 2009), the “extraordinary fact that the fundamental economic problem of a Europe starving and disintegrating before their eyes was the one question in which it was impossible to arouse the interest of the four. ” The four saw that reparations were the only way for them to be able to enter the economic field (Keynes, 2009). According to (Keynes, 2009), the reparation was “settled from every point of view except that of the economic future of the states whose destiny they were handling. ” (Keynes, 2009) , further explained, that Europe consists of the “densest aggregation of population in the world. (Keynes, 2009), stated, that “in relation to other continents, Europe is not self-sufficient especially in when needing to feed itself. From the points he provided, (Keynes, 2009), stated that with the forced reparation as well as the Depression on the horizon, Germany will not be able to provide any food or work to their civilians. According to (Keynes, 2009), “those who sign this treaty will sign the death sentence of many millions of German men, women and children. ” The German Economy was another field that the Treaty of Versailles affected Germany. Grimshaw, 2008), stated that before the War, “the German economy was dependent on three things: overseas commerce and trade, iron and coal, and its transport and tariff system. ” (Grimshaw, 2008), stated that before the war, Germany was also dependent on trading as it was seen as an important part of the European trading system. According to (Grimshaw, 2008), the reason why they were important in this system was because they provided the “largest source of supply to Russia and Italy as well as being the second largest supplier of resources to Britain and France. (Grimshaw, 2008), stated that with the eluctant signing of the treaty would see all these things they were before the war be hindered due to Germany’s means of transporting goods to these nations. According to (Grimshaw, 2008), without any means of transportation, Germany would be unable to export any products and resources which will in effect harm the economy. Another negative of not having any means of transportation was that they would have to start paying for their trade which is carried by other countries. A major contribution to these problems was the forced reparations that were imposed by the Treaty of Versailles.
The effects, the treaty had on the German economy were especially hard on their people and got even worse during the depression of the 1930s (Grimshaw, 2008). The effects the treaty caused for the people were large numbers of unemployment, poverty and famine. A term of the Treaty was the loss of German territory, (Grimshaw, 2008), also stated that with territory taken, properties are too. According to (Grimshaw, 2008), in those taken areas that once belonged to Germany, the Germans owned properties. As the treaty stated, any property or industries owned by the Germans were taken without any compensation for the former owners (Grimshaw, 2008).
According to (Grimshaw, 2008), “this angered the German people and t also made them more susceptible in Germany’s injured economy. ” (Grimshaw, 2008), stated that the Treaty of Versailles was a major factor especially with the forced reparations in causing the collapse of German currency and inflation which in turn completely wiped out the people’s savings. (Grimshaw, 2008), stated that before World War One, Germany was seen as an industrialized nation due to the dependence on imports of raw materials and food.
After the war, the treaty affected the economy due to Germany being unable to import food due to lack of transportation and to the forced reparations which effectively led to famine (Grimshaw, 2008). Aside from the high unemployment rate, the treaty of Versailles also affected the benefits that the German people received (Grimshaw, 2008). (Grimshaw, 2008), stated that before World War one, the German government looked after their unemployed by providing them with generous insurances however as mentioned before, forced reparations which were being paid force the German government to withdraw these unemployment insurances. Grimshaw, 2008), stated not only the unemployment were affected but also those who had jobs as their salaries were affected by the reparations. The Treaty of Versailles hit the German people hard which in their mind has seen their economic problems become connected with the provisions that were forced upon them (Grimshaw, 2008). (Grimshaw, 2008), stated that the German people deeply resented the Treaty of Versailles and the people who created and were involved in it as the final result of it had created a problem for them in their life.
According to (Grimshaw, 2008), “it would not be long before the German people were tired of their weakness and suffering, which led them to start looking for a leader who would be able to lead them out of this depression as well as become a world power again. As (Grimshaw, 2008) mentioned earlier, “it would not be long before the German people were tired of their weakness and suffering, which led them to start looking for a leader who would be able to lead them out of this depression as well as become a world power again. The Treaty did pave a way for a leader to make their way in and that person was Adolf Hitler. (Magana, 2003), stated like most of Germany, “Adolf Hitler was very upset when Germany surrendered in November 1918. ” According to (Magana, 2003), Hitler strongly believed the Allies were to blame for Germany’s downfall however directed his anger towards the Jewish politicians who represented Germany at Versailles. He firmly believed that the Jewish Politicians had “stabbed them in the back. Magana, 2003)” (Magana, 2003), states that June 28th is “viewed by Germans as a day of dishonor for the German state as it was the day of the signing. ” According to (Magana, 2003), Hitler’s main objective was to make Germany a great power again and stated for that to happen, the Treaty of Versailles would have to be abolished. (Magana, 2003), stated that from then on Hitler would gain more and more support which helped him and his Nazi party fulfilled their promises of making Germany a ‘ Great Power’ again as well as “liberate the German people of the dictated treaty. On November 11 1918, World War One had ended, the result of this was victory for the allies however it came at a cost of large amounts of civilian and soldier deaths as well as the drawing up of the Treaty of Versailles. Two months saw the Paris peace conference begin with four main powers controlling the proceedings. It took six months for all parties to agree to the terms of the treaty. The main terms of the Treaty were all there to punish Germany.
These terms included the loss of German territory, being held responsible for the war, the dismemberment of the German military and large amounts of reparations forced upon the Germans to be paid to the Allies. Although all the terms punished Germany, only the reparations hurt the nation as a whole due to results of large unemployment due to the reparations. John Maynard Keynes who was an economist stated, “Those who sign this treaty will sign the death sentence of many millions of German men, women and children. ” Bibliography Australian War Memorial. (n. d. ).
Encylcopedia: Treaty of Versailles. Retrieved September 20, 2011, from Australian War Memorial: http://www. awm. gov. au/encyclopedia/treaty_versailles. asp Grimshaw, A. (2008, April 17). The Treaty of Versailles: The Major Cause of World War II. Retrieved September 28, 2011, from Lemoyne : http://www. lemoyne. edu/Portals/11/pdf_content/library/101paper. pdf Keynes, J. M. (2009, September 5). The Economic Impact of the Treaty of Versailles. Retrieved October 1, 2011, from The Guardian: http://www. guardian. co. uk/world/2009/sep/05/versailles-second-world-war Magana, C. (2003, December).
Signing of the Versailles Treaty. Retrieved September 28, 2011, from UCSB Department of History: http://www. history. ucsb. edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/projects/1920s/CarlosTreaty. htm NSW Government. (n. d. ). Modern History:World War and its aftermath. Retrieved October 1, 2011, from HSC Online: http://www. nationalarchives. gov. uk/education/greatwar/pdf/g5cs2background. pdf Stevenson, D. (2006, April). Britain, France and the Origins of German Disarmament 1916-1919. The Journal of Strategic Studies, 29(2), 29. Zapotoczny, W. S. (2005). The Treaty of Versailles and the Impact on Germany.
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