Presentation on theme: "The German reaction to the Treaty of Versailles When the terms of the Treaty were announced Germans were shocked at their severity. The final treaty did."— Presentation transcript:
The German reaction to the Treaty of Versailles When the terms of the Treaty were announced Germans were shocked at their severity. The final treaty did not resemble Wilson’s 14 Points (which many Germans expected to influence the peace settlement).
Germany had lost 10 per cent of its land All of its colonies 12.5 per cent of its population 16 per cent of its coalfields and nearly half of its iron and steel industries.
To many Germans the worst aspects of the treaty were… Clause 231 (The “Guilt Clause”) Many Germans felt that Germany was not responsible for the war. They felt that Germany had been surrounded by enemies in 1914 and had been fighting an inevitable and defensive war. This poster from the 1930s claims that only the Nazi Party can free Germany from the lie of “Sole Blame”
…and reparations. Germans felt that because they had not started the war they should not have to endure such severe financial penalties. When the sum was finally set at 6,600 Million Pounds in 1921 they were outraged. This was more than any European country could afford….
Undefeated, so why unrepresented? Many Germans felt that their country had not been defeated. Germany had not been occupied and the German government had simply agreed to a ceasefire on 11/11/1918 (Armistice Day). Germans expected that their nation would be able to negotiate peace terms.
Diktat! Germans described the Treaty as a “Diktat!” (meaning “dictated peace”). They felt that instead of a negotiation the Treaty of Versailles was an execution.
But what if Germany had WON the war? Would they have made the allies sign a harsh or forgiving treaty?.... We CAN answer that question pretty well….
If the German’s wrote the treaty… In 1917 the Russian government was overthrown in a revolution. The new Communist government lead by Lenin desperately wanted to withdraw from the war. In 1918 Germany forced them to sign The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk which: Took over half of Russia’s industry. Over a third of its population. Nearly 90 percent of its coal mines. Fined Russia 6 Billion Marks
Why should we care? Hitler will gain a lot of support by promising to tear the Treaty of Versailles up. Germans will continue to feel outrage and betrayed by the terms of the treaty. Many people in Britain will forgive Hitler’s violation of the treaty terms (for example, by rearming or expanding some of Germany’s borders). They will feel that the Treaty of Versailles was unnecessarily harsh….