Presentation on theme: "The Versailles Peace Treaty and Germany. The Versailles Peace Treaty was the main agreement signed after the war. The discussions of the Paris Peace Conference."— Presentation transcript:
The Versailles Peace Treaty and Germany. The Versailles Peace Treaty was the main agreement signed after the war. The discussions of the Paris Peace Conference opened on 18 January 1919. The Final peace treaty was signed in the city of Versailles on 28 June 1919 exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. However, it is important to remember that Germany’s representatives were not allowed to attend the talks According to the Versailles Treaty, Germany had to agree to a number of conditions.
The War Guilt Clause Germany had to accept responsibility for the war. This clause was known as the War Guilt clause.
Military terms There were also military terms imposed on Germany. According to these military terms, Germany had to reduce its military power as follows:- - 100000 professional soldiers only - to destroy all its wartime weapons - to stop military conscription - was not allowed to have an air force, submarines or tanks - the navy was limited to six battleships and a few smaller ships - the Rhine land along Germany’s western borders with France was made a demilitarized zone, this means Germany was not allowed to keep soldiers in this area -Allied troops were to occupy the Rhineland for 15 years
Germany territorial losses According to the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty Germany had to give away certain parts of its territories as shown below:- Alsace- Lorraine to France Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium Northern Schleswig to Denmark The Polish Corridor to Poland Part of Upper Silesia to Poland Danzig would be administered by a new international organization Hultschin to Czechoslovakia Memel to Lithuania
Other losses for Germany In addition to the above territorial losses Germany also had the following prohibitions:- lost all its overseas colonies Was not allowed to form a political union (anschluss) with Austria Lost control of the coal-rich region of the Saar to the French for 15 years, after which a plebiscite would be organized to allow the inhabitants to decide which country they wished to belong to.
Reparations clause Germany was supposed to pay reparations amounting 6.6 billion pounds to the Allied countries for the damages they had endured. This ruined Germany’s economy and sowed the seeds of a future problem. When Germany failed to pay its instalment in January 1923, the troops of Belgium and France moved into the Rhur and began to collect payment in kind in the form of minerals. German workers responded by refusing to work for the French and Belgians, this led to hyperinflation which created a suitable environment for the rise of Hitler.
Germany’s reaction to the Versailles Treaty. Germans had the signed the armistice of 11 November 1918 which was a temporary peace agreement believing that the final peace treaty would be based on Woodrow Wilson’ s fourteen points. Germans had not been allowed self-determination, as promised by Wilson in the Fourteen points. Many Germans lived outside Germany – in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland for example. Furthermore, overseas lands (colonies) had been taken from Germany and given to Britain and France as mandates despite the principle of self-determination. The Germans were provided with a draft of the treaty on 7 May 1919 which bore little resemblance to Wilson’s plan and were disappointed.
Germany felt the government that had been responsible for the war had been overthrown in 1919. Therefore they felt that the Allied powers must put the past behind them and work towards a more peaceful future in Europe and the world at large The Germans felt that their country was going to be ruined by the harsh terms. It would take many years to pay all the reparations. Germany had lost too much land and far too many people. Germany had been forced to sign the treaty. It was a ‘diktat’ or dictated peace, with no negotiation by Germany. Wilson’s Fourteen points had stated that it would be openly discussed. In summary, the Germans were not happy with the way Germany had been treated. Some people in the country hoped to reverse it and one of such people was a man called Adolf Hitler.
Adolf Hitler had fought in the First World War and was injured. He believed like many of the soldiers that Germany had not been defeated on the war front. Hitler, like many Germans was irritated by the way the country was held responsible for the war and harshly treated by the Versailles Treaty. The Fourteen points said all nations were to disarm, but Germany had been made defence-less. Germany was left with a small army and tiny navy. However, Britain and France had not disarmed, leaving Germany vulnerable. Germany was made to sign the treaty before the decision about the amount of reparations was made. The concept of war guilty had forced Germany to accept the blame for the war.