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Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany
Treaty of Versailles, English version.jpg
Front page of the version in English
28 June 1919
Versailles, France
10 January 1920
Ratification by Germany and three Principal Allied Powers.
Signatories Germany German Reich

United Kingdom British Empire
France France
Italy Italy
Empire of Japan Japan
United States United States

Depositary French Government
Languages French, English
Wikisource logo Treaty of Versailles at Wikisource

The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I were dealt with in separate treaties. Although the armistice signed on 11 November 1918 ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.

Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required Germany to accept sole responsibility for causing the war and, under the terms of articles 231–248 (later known as the War Guilt clauses), to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers. The total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks (then $31.4 billion, £6.6 billion) in 1921[1]. This was a sum that many economists deemed to be excessive because it would have taken Germany until 1988 to pay.[2] The Treaty was undermined by subsequent events starting as early as 1932 and was widely flouted by the mid-1930s.[3]

The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was compromise that left none contented: Germany was not pacified or conciliated, nor permanently weakened. This would prove to be a factor leading to later conflicts, notably and directly the Second World War.[4]



Negotiations between the Allied powers started on 18 January in the Salle de l'Horloge at the French Foreign Ministry, on the Quai d'Orsay in Paris. Initially, 70 delegates of 27 nations participated in the negotiations.[5] Having been defeated, Germany, Austria, and Hungary were excluded from the negotiations. Russia was also excluded because it had negotiated a separate peace with Germany in 1918, in which Germany gained a large fraction of Russia's land and resources. The treaty's terms were extremely harsh, as the negotiators at Versailles later pointed out.

Signing in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles

Until March 1919, the most important role for negotiating the extremely complex and difficult terms of the peace fell to the regular meetings of the "Council of Ten," which comprised the heads of government and foreign ministers of the five major victors (the United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan). As this unusual body proved too unwieldy and formal for effective decision-making, Japan and—for most of the remaining conference—the foreign ministers left the main meetings, so that only the "Big Four" remained.[6] After his territorial claims to Fiume (today Rijeka) were rejected, Italian Prime Minister, Vittorio Orlando left the negotiations (only to return to sign in June), and the final conditions were determined by the leaders of the "Big Three" nations: British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and American President Woodrow Wilson.

At Versailles, it was difficult to decide on a common position because their aims conflicted with one another. The result has been called the "unhappy compromise".[7]

France's aims

From left, UK Prime Minister Lloyd George, Italian Prime Minister Orlando, French Prime Minister Clemenceau, and US President Wilson

France's chief interest was security. France had lost some 1.5 million military personnel and an estimated 400,000 civilians (See World War I casualties) and had suffered great devastation during the war. Like Belgium, which had been similarly affected, France needed reparations to restore its prosperity and reparations also tended to be seen as a means of weakening any future German threat[8]. Clemenceau particularly wished to regain the rich and industrial land of Alsace-Lorraine, which had been stripped from France by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871.[9]

Britain's aims

Britain had suffered little land devastation during the war and Prime Minister David Lloyd George supported reparations to a lesser extent than the French. Britain began to look on a restored Germany as an important trading partner and worried about the effect of reparations on the British economy[8]. Lloyd George was also worried by Woodrow Wilson's proposal for "self-determination" and, like the French, wanted to preserve his own nation's empire. Like the French, Lloyd George supported secret treaties and naval blockades.[citation needed] Lloyd George managed to increase the overall reparations payment and Britain's share by demanding compensation for the huge number of widows, orphans, and men left unable to work as a result of war injuries.[citation needed]

United States' aims

There had been strong non-interventionist sentiment before and after the United States entered the war in April 1917, and many Americans were eager to extricate themselves from European affairs as rapidly as possible.[citation needed] The United States took a more conciliatory view toward the issue of German reparations. Before the end of the war, President Woodrow Wilson, along with other American officials including Edward M. House, put forward his Fourteen Points, which he presented in a speech at the Paris Peace Conference. The United States also wished to continue trading with Germany, so in turn did not want to treat them too harshly for these economic reasons.[citation needed]


Impositions on Germany

Legal restrictions

  • Article 227 charges former German Emperor, Wilhelm II with supreme offense against international morality. He is to be tried as a war criminal.
  • Articles 228–230 tried many other Germans as war criminals.
  • Article 231 (the "War Guilt Clause") lays sole responsibility for the war on Germany, which is to be accountable for all damage to civilian populations of the Allies.

Military restrictions

Part V of the treaty begins with the preamble, "In order to render possible the initiation of a general limitation of the armaments of all nations, Germany undertakes strictly to observe the military, naval and air clauses which follow."[10] Germany was also forbidden to unite with Austria to form a larger Nation to make up for the lost land

  • The Rhineland will become a demilitarized zone administered by Great Britain and France jointly.
  • German armed forces will number no more than 100,000 troops, and conscription will be abolished.
  • Enlisted men will be retained for at least 12 years; officers to be retained for at least 25 years.
  • German naval forces will be limited to 15,000 men, 6 battleships (no more than 10,000 tons displacement each), 6 cruisers (no more than 6,000 tons displacement each), 6 destroyers (no more than 800 tons displacement each) and 12 torpedo boats (no more than 200 tons displacement each). No submarines are to be included.
  • The manufacture, import, and export of weapons and poison gas is prohibited.
  • Armed aircraft, tanks and armoured cars are prohibited.
  • Blockades on ships are prohibited.
  • Restrictions on the manufacture of machine guns (e.g. the Maxim machine gun) and rifles (e.g. Gewehr 98 rifles).

Territorial changes

Germany after Versailles:      Administered by the League of Nations      Annexed by neighbouring countries      Weimar Germany

Germany's borders in 1919 had been established nearly a half-century earlier, at the country's official establishment in 1871. Territory and cities in the region had changed hands repeatedly for centuries, including at various times being owned by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Kingdom of Sweden, Kingdom of Poland, and Kingdom of Lithuania. However, Germany laid claim to lands and cities that it viewed as historically "Germanic" centuries before Germany's establishment as a country in 1871. Other countries disputed Germany's claim to this territory. In the peace treaty, Germany agreed to return disputed lands and cities to various countries.

Germany was compelled to yield control of its colonies, and would also lose a number of European territories. The province of West Prussia would be ceded to the restored Poland, thereby granting it access to the Baltic Sea via the "Polish Corridor" which Prussia had annexed in the Partitions of Poland. This turned East Prussia into an exclave, separated from mainland Germany.

  • Alsace and much of Lorraine, both originally German-speaking territories, were part of France, having been annexed by France's King Louis XIV who desired the Rhine as a natural border. After approximately two centuries of French rule, Alsace and the German-speaking part of Lorraine were ceded to Germany in 1871 under the Treaty of Frankfurt. In 1919 both regions were returned to France.
  • Northern Schleswig was returned to Denmark following a plebiscite on 14 February 1920 (area 3,984 km², 163,600 inhabitants (1920)).[citation needed] Central Schleswig, including the city of Flensburg, opted to remain German in a separate referendum on 14 March 1920.[citation needed]
  • Most of the Prussian provinces of Province of Posen (now Poznan) and of West Prussia which Prussia had annexed in the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) were ceded to Poland (area 53,800 km², 4,224,000 inhabitants (1931)) without a plebiscite. Most of the Province of Posen had already come under Polish control during the Great Polish Uprising of 1918–1919.
  • The Hultschin area of Upper Silesia was transferred to Czechoslovakia (area 316 or 333 km², 49,000 inhabitants) without a plebiscite.[citation needed]
  • The eastern part of Upper Silesia was assigned to Poland, despite the Upper Silesia plebiscite resulting in 717,122 votes being cast for Germany and 483,514 for Poland.
  • The area of the towns Eupen and Malmedy went to Belgium despite a plebiscite to the contrary. The Vennbahn railway was also transferred to Belgium.
  • The area of Soldau in East Prussia, an important railway junction on the WarsawDanzig route, was transferred to Poland without a plebiscite (area 492 km²).[11]
  • The northern part of East Prussia known as the Memelland or Memel Territory was placed under the control of France and was later annexed by Lithuania.
  • From the eastern part of West Prussia and the southern part of East Prussia, after the East Prussian plebiscite a small area was ceded to Poland.
  • The province of Saarland was to be a under the control of the League of Nations for 15 years, after which a plebiscite between France and Germany, was to decide to which country it would belong. During this time, coal would be sent to France. The region was then called the Saargebiet (German: Saar Area) and was formed from southern parts of the German Rhine Province and western parts of the Bavarian Palatinate under the Saar statute of the Versailles Treaty of 28. 6. 1919 (Article 45–50).
  • The strategically important port of Danzig with the delta of the Vistula River on the Baltic Sea was separated from Germany as the Freie Stadt Danzig (Free City of Danzig). This created the so-called Polish Corridor, giving Poland access to the sea.
  • Austria was forbidden from merging with Germany.
  • In article 22, German colonies were divided between Belgium, the United Kingdom, and certain British Dominions, France, and Japan with the determination not to see any of them returned to Germany — a guarantee secured by Article 119.[12]
    In Africa, Britain and France divided German Kamerun (Cameroons) and Togoland. Belgium gained Ruanda-Urundi in northwestern German East Africa, Great Britain obtained by far the greater landmass of this colony, thus gaining the ‘missing link’ in the chain of British possessions stretching from South Africa to Egypt (Cape to Cairo), Portugal received the Kionga Triangle, a sliver of German East Africa. German South West Africa was mandated to the Union of South Africa.[13]
    In the Pacific, Japan gained Germany’s islands north of the equator (the Marshall Islands, the Carolines, the Marianas, the Palau Islands) and Kiautschou in China. German Samoa was assigned to New Zealand; German New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and Nauru[14] to Australia as mandatory.[15]

Shandong problem

Article 156 of the treaty transferred German concessions in Shandong, China, to Japan rather than returning sovereign authority to China. Chinese outrage over this provision led to demonstrations and a cultural movement known as the May Fourth Movement and influenced China not to sign the treaty. China declared the end of its war against Germany in September 1919 and signed a separate treaty with Germany in 1921.


Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles assigned blame for the war to Germany; much of the rest of the Treaty set out the reparations that Germany would pay to the Allies.

The total sum of war reparations demanded from Germany—around 226 billion Reichsmarks—was decided by an Inter-Allied Reparations Commission. In 1921, it was reduced to 132 billion Reichsmarks (then $31.4 billion, or £6.6 billion).[1]

It could be seen that the Versailles reparation impositions were partly a reply to the reparations placed upon France by Germany through the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt signed after the Franco-Prussian War; critics of the Treaty argued that France had been able to pay the reparations (5,000,000,000 francs) within 3 years while the Young Plan of 1929 estimated German reparations to be paid until 1988.[16] Indemnities of the Treaty of Frankfurt were in turn calculated, on the basis of population, as the precise equivalent of the indemnities imposed by Napoleon I on Prussia in 1807.[17]

The Versailles Reparations came in a variety of forms, including coal, steel, intellectual property (eg. the trademark for Aspirin) and agricultural products, in no small part because currency reparations of that order of magnitude would lead to hyperinflation, as actually occurred in post-war Germany (see 1920s German inflation), thus decreasing the benefits to France and the United Kingdom.

The reparations in the form of coal played a big part in punishing Germany. The Treaty of Versailles declared that Germany was responsible for the destruction of coal mines in Northern France, parts of Belgium, and parts of Italy. Therefore, France was awarded full possession of Germany's coal-bearing Saar basin for a period. Also, Germany was forced to provide France, Belgium, and Italy with millions of tons of coal for ten years. However, under the control of Adolf Hitler Germany stopped outstanding deliveries of coal within a few years, thus violating the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.[citation needed]

A German author has expressed the view that Germany would not finish paying off its World War I reparations until 2020.[18]

The creation of international organizations

Part I of the treaty was the Covenant of the League of Nations which provided for the creation of the League of Nations, an organization intended to arbitrate international disputes and thereby avoid future wars.[19] Part XIII organized the establishment of the International Labour Organization, to promote "the regulation of the hours of work, including the establishment of a maximum working day and week; the regulation of the labour supply; the prevention of unemployment; the provision of an adequate living wage; the protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment; the protection of children, young persons and women; provision for old age and injury; protection of the interests of workers when employed in countries other than their own; recognition of the principle of freedom of association; the organization of vocational and technical education and other measures"[20] Further international commissions were to be set up, according to Part XII, to administer control over the Elbe, the Oder, the Niemen (Russstrom-Memel-Niemen) and the Danube rivers.[21]


The Treaty contained many other provisions (economic issues, transportation, etc.). One of the provisions was the following:

ARTICLE 246. Within six months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, ... Germany will hand over to His Britannic Majesty's Government the skull of the Sultan Mkwawa which was removed from the Protectorate of German East Africa and taken to Germany.


Among the allies

Clemenceau had failed to achieve all of the demands of the French people, and he was voted out of office in the elections of January 1920. French Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who felt the restrictions on Germany were too lenient, declared (quite accurately), "This is not Peace. It is an Armistice for twenty years."[22]

Influenced by the opposition of Henry Cabot Lodge, the United States Senate voted against ratifying the treaty. Despite considerable debate, Wilson refused to support the treaty with any of the reservations imposed by the Senate. [23] As a result, the United States did not join the League of Nations, despite Wilson's claims that he could "predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it."[24]

Wilson's friend Edward Mandell House, present at the negotiations, wrote in his diary on 29 June 1919:

I am leaving Paris, after eight fateful months, with conflicting emotions. Looking at the conference in retrospect, there is much to approve and yet much to regret. It is easy to say what should have been done, but more difficult to have found a way of doing it. To those who are saying that the treaty is bad and should never have been made and that it will involve Europe in infinite difficulties in its enforcement, I feel like admitting it. But I would also say in reply that empires cannot be shattered, and new states raised upon their ruins without disturbance. To create new boundaries is to create new troubles. The one follows the other. While I should have preferred a different peace, I doubt very much whether it could have been made, for the ingredients required for such a peace as I would have were lacking at Paris.[25]

After Wilson's successor Warren G. Harding continued American opposition to the League of Nations, Congress passed the Knox-Porter Resolution bringing a formal end to hostilities between the United States and the Central Powers. It was signed into law by Harding on 21 July 1921.[26]

In Germany

German delegates in Versailles: Professor Dr. Walther Schücking, Reichspostminister Johannes Giesberts, Justice Minister Dr. Otto Landsberg, Foreign Minister Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau, Prussian State President Robert Leinert, and financial advisor Dr. Carl Melchior.

On 29 April the German delegation under the leadership of the Foreign Minister Ulrich Graf von Brockdorff-Rantzau arrived in Versailles. On 7 May when faced with the conditions dictated by the victors, including the so-called "War Guilt Clause", von Brockdorff-Rantzau replied to Clemenceau, Wilson and Lloyd George: "We know the full brunt of hate that confronts us here. You demand from us to confess we were the only guilty party of war; such a confession in my mouth would be a lie."[27] Because Germany was not allowed to take part in the negotiations, the German government issued a protest against what it considered to be unfair demands, and a "violation of honour"[28] and soon afterwards, withdrew from the proceedings of the Treaty of Versailles.

Germans of all political shades denounced the treaty—particularly the provision that blamed Germany for starting the war—as an insult to the nation's honour. They referred to the treaty as "the Diktat" since its terms were presented to Germany on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Germany's first democratically elected Chancellor, Philipp Scheidemann, refused to sign the treaty and resigned. In a passionate speech before the National Assembly on 12 March 1919, he called the treaty a "murderous plan" and exclaimed,

Which hand, trying to put us in chains like these, would not wither? The treaty is unacceptable.[29]

After Scheidemann's resignation, a new coalition government was formed under Gustav Bauer. After being informed that the army was not capable of any meaningful resistance, the new government recommended signing the treaty. The National Assembly voted in favour of signing the treaty by 237 to 138, with 5 abstentions. The foreign minister Hermann Müller and Johannes Bell travelled to Versailles to sign the treaty on behalf of Germany. The treaty was signed on 28 June 1919 and ratified by the National Assembly on 9 July 1919 by a vote of 209 to 116.[30]

Demonstration against the Treaty in front of the Reichstag building

Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders condemned the peace and democratic Weimar politicians, socialists, communists, and Jews were viewed by them with suspicion, due to their supposed extra-national loyalties.[citation needed] It was rumoured that the Jews had not supported the war and had played a role in selling out Germany to its enemies. Those who seemed to benefit from a weakened Germany, and the newly formed Weimar Republic, were regarded as having "stabbed Germany in the back" on the home front, by either opposing German nationalism, instigating unrest and strikes in the critical military industries or profiteering.[citation needed] These theories were given credence by the fact that when Germany surrendered in November 1918, its armies were still on French and Belgian territory. Furthermore, on the Eastern Front, Germany had already won the war against Russia and concluded the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. In the West, Germany had seemed to have come close to winning the war with the Spring Offensive earlier in 1918.[citation needed] Its failure was blamed on strikes in the arms industry at a critical moment of the offensive, leaving soldiers with an inadequate supply of materiel. The strikes were regarded by nationalists as having been instigated by traitors, with the Jews taking most of the blame.[citation needed]


The German economy was so weak that only a small percentage of reparations was paid in hard currency.[citation needed] Nonetheless, even the payment of this small percentage of the original reparations (132 billion gold Reichsmarks) still placed a significant burden on the German economy. Although the causes of the devastating post-war hyperinflation are complex and disputed, Germans blamed the near-collapse of their economy on the Treaty, and some economists estimated that the reparations accounted for as much as one third of the hyper-inflation.[citation needed]

In March 1921, French and Belgian troops occupied Duisburg, which formed part of the demilitarized Rhineland, according to the Treaty of Versailles. In January 1923 French and Belgian forces occupied the rest of the Ruhr area as a reprisal after Germany failed to fulfill reparation payments demanded by the Versailles Treaty. The German government answered with "passive resistance," which meant that coal miners and railway workers refused to obey any instructions by the occupation forces. Production and transportation came to a standstill, but the financial consequences contributed to German hyperinflation and completely ruined public finances in Germany. Consequently, passive resistance was called off in late 1923. The end of passive resistance in the Ruhr allowed Germany to undertake a currency reform and to negotiate the Dawes Plan, which led to the withdrawal of French and Belgian troops from the Ruhr Area in 1925.

Some significant violations (or avoidances) of the provisions of the Treaty were:

  • In 1919, the dissolution of the General Staff appeared to happen; however, the core of the General Staff was hidden within another organization, the Truppenamt, where it rewrote all Heer (Army) and Luftstreitkräfte (Air Force) doctrinal and training materials based on the experience of World War I.[citation needed]
  • On 16 April 1922, representatives of the governments of Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Rapallo Treaty at a World Economic Conference at Genoa in Italy. The treaty re-established diplomatic relations, renounced financial claims on each other and pledged future cooperation.
  • In 1932, the German government announced it would no longer adhere to the treaty's military limitations, citing the Allies' violation of the treaty by failing to initiate military limitations on themselves as called for in the preamble of Part V of the Treaty of Versailles.
  • In March 1935, Adolf Hitler violated the Treaty of Versailles by introducing compulsory military conscription in Germany and rebuilding the armed forces. This included a new Navy (Kriegsmarine), the first full armoured divisions (Panzerwaffe), and an Air Force (Luftwaffe).
  • In June 1935, the United Kingdom effectively withdrew from the treaty with the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement.
  • In March 1936, Hitler violated the treaty by reoccupying the demilitarized zone in the Rhineland.
  • In March 1938, Hitler violated the treaty by annexing Austria in the Anschluss.
  • In September 1938, Hitler, with the approval of France, Britain, and Italy, violated the Treaty by annexing the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia.
  • In March 1939, Hitler violated the treaty by occupying the rest of Czechoslovakia.
  • On 1 September 1939, Hitler violated the treaty by invading Poland, thus initiating World War II in Europe.

Historical assessments

In his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes referred to the Treaty of Versailles as a "Carthaginian peace", a misguided attempt to destroy Germany on behalf of French revanchism, rather than to follow the fairer principles for a lasting peace set out in President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, which Germany had accepted at the armistice. He stated: "I believe that the campaign for securing out of Germany the general costs of the war was one of the most serious acts of political unwisdom for which our statesmen have ever been responsible."[4] Keynes had been the principal representative of the British Treasury at the Paris Peace Conference, and used in his passionate book arguments that he and others (including some US officials) had used at Paris.[31] He believed the sums being asked of Germany in reparations were many times more than it was possible for Germany to pay, and that these would produce drastic instability.[32]

French Resistance economist Étienne Mantoux disputed that analysis. During the 1940s, Mantoux wrote a book titled, "The Carthaginian Peace, or the Economic Consequences of Mr. Keynes" in an attempt to rebut Keynes' claims; it was published after his death.

More recently it has been argued (for instance by historian Gerhard Weinberg in his book "A World At Arms"[33]) that the treaty was in fact quite advantageous to Germany. The Bismarckian Reich was maintained as a political unit instead of being broken up, and Germany largely escaped post-war military occupation (in contrast to the situation following World War II.)

The British military historian Correlli Barnett claimed that the Treaty of Versailles was "extremely lenient in comparison with the peace terms Germany herself, when she was expecting to win the war, had had in mind to impose on the Allies". Furthermore, he claimed, it was "hardly a slap on the wrist" when contrasted with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that Germany had imposed on a defeated Russia in March 1918, which had taken away a third of Russia's population (albeit of non-Russian ethnicity), one half of Russia's industrial undertakings and nine-tenths of Russia's coal mines, coupled with an indemnity of six billion marks.[34] Eventually, even under the "cruel" terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany's economy had been restored to its pre-war status.

Barnett also claims that, in strategic terms, Germany was in fact in a superior position following the Treaty than she had been in 1914. Germany's eastern frontiers faced Russia and Austria, who had both in the past balanced German power. But Barnett asserts that, because the Austrian empire fractured after the war into smaller, weaker states and Russia was wracked by revolution and civil war, the newly restored Poland was no match for even a defeated Germany.

In the West, Germany was balanced only by France and Belgium, both of which were smaller in population and less economically vibrant than Germany. Barnett concludes by saying that instead of weakening Germany, the Treaty "much enhanced" German power.[35] Britain and France should have (according to Barnett) "divided and permanently weakened" Germany by undoing Bismarck's work and partitioning Germany into smaller, weaker states so it could never disrupt the peace of Europe again.[36] By failing to do this and therefore not solving the problem of German power and restoring the equilibrium of Europe, Britain "had failed in her main purpose in taking part in the Great War".[37]

Regardless of modern strategic or economic analysis, resentment caused by the treaty sowed fertile psychological ground for the eventual rise of the Nazi party. Indeed, on Nazi Germany's rise to power, Adolf Hitler resolved to overturn the remaining military and territorial provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. Military buildup began almost immediately in direct defiance of the Treaty, which, by then, had been destroyed by Hitler in front of a cheering crowd. "It was this treaty which caused a chain reaction leading to World War II," claimed historian Dan Rowling (1951). Various references to the treaty are found in many of Hitler's speeches and in pre-war Nazi propaganda.[citation needed]

French historian Raymond Cartier points out that millions of Germans in the Sudetenland and in Posen-West Prussia were placed under foreign rule in a hostile environment, where harassment and violation of rights by authorities are documented.[38] Cartier asserts that, out of 1,058,000 Germans in Posen-West Prussia in 1921, 758,867 fled their homelands within five years due to Polish harassment.[38] In 1926, the Polish Ministry of the Interior estimated the remaining number of Germans at less than 300,000.[citation needed] These sharpening ethnic conflicts would lead to public demands of reattaching the annexed territory in 1938 and become a pretext for Hitler's annexations of Czechoslovakia and parts of Poland.[38]

See also

Further reading

  • The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment After 75 Years, Boemeke, Manfred F., Gerald D. Feldman, and Elisabeth Gläser, editors. Washington, DC: German Historical Institute, 1998.


  1. ^ a b Timothy W. Guinnane (January 2004). "Vergangenheitsbewältigung: the 1953 London Debt Agreement"] (PDF). Center Discussion Paper no. 880. Economic Growth Center, Yale University. Retrieved 2008-12-06. "At the pre-World War I parities, $1 gold = 4.2 gold Marks. One Mark was worth one shilling sterling." 
  2. ^ The West Encounters and Transformations. Atlas Ed. Vol. II. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2007. p. 806
  3. ^ Viault, Birdsall S. (1990). Schaum's Outline of Modern European History. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 471. 
  4. ^ a b The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes at Project Gutenberg
  5. ^ Lentin, Antony (1985). Guilt at Versailles: Lloyd George and the Pre-history of Appeasement. Routledge. p. 84. ISBN 9780416411300. 
  6. ^ Alan Sharp, "The Versailles Settlement: Peacemaking in Paris, 1919", 1991.
  7. ^ Harold Nicolson, Diaries and Letters, 1930–39, 250; quoted in Derek Drinkwater: Sir Harold Nicolson and International Relations: The Practitioner as Theorist, p. 139.
  8. ^ a b David Thomson, Europe Since Napoleon. Penguin Books. 1970, p. 605.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Treaty of Versailles, Part V at Wikisource.
  11. ^ Nasze miasto: Historia: Lata 1701–1871—
  12. ^ Louis (1967), p. 9
  13. ^ German South West Africa was the only African colony designated as a Class C mandate, meaning that the indigenous population was judged incapable of even limited self-government and the colony to be administered under the laws of the mandatory as an integral portion of its territory
  14. ^ Australia in effective control, formally together with United Kingdom and New Zealand
  15. ^ Louis (1967), p. 117-130
  16. ^ Braun, Hans-Joachim (1990). The German Economy in the Twentieth Century. Routledge. p. 46. ISBN 0415021014. 
  17. ^ A.J.P. Taylor, Bismarck The Man and the Statesman. New York: Vintage Books. 1967, p. 133.
  18. ^ Jörg Friedrich, Von deutschen Schulden, Berliner Zeitung, 9 October 1999 [1]
  19. ^ Treaty of Versailles, Part I: Covenant of the League of Nations at Wikisource.
  20. ^ Treaty of Versailles, Part XIII: Constitution of the International Labour Office at Wikisource.
  21. ^ Treaty of Versailles, Part XII at Wikisource.
  22. ^ R. Henig, Versailles and After: 1919–1933 (London: Routledge, 1995) p. 52.
  23. ^ United States Senate: A Bitter Rejection.
  24. ^ WOODROW WILSON: Appeal for Support of the League of Nations.
  25. ^ Bibliographical Introduction to "Diary, Reminiscences and Memories of Colonel Edward M. House".
  26. ^ Wimer, Kurt; Wimer, Sarah (1967), "The Harding Administration, the League of Nations, and the Separate Peace Treaty", The Review of Politics 29 (1): 13–24, 
  27. ^ Foreign Minister Brockdorff-Ranzau when faced with the conditions on May 7th: "Wir kennen die Wucht des Hasses, die uns hier entgegentritt. Es wird von uns verlangt, daß wir uns als die allein Schuldigen am Krieg bekennen; ein solches Bekenntnis wäre in meinem Munde eine Lüge". 2008 School Projekt Heinrich-Heine-Gesamtschule, Düsseldorf
  28. ^ 2008 School Projekt Heinrich-Heine-Gesamtschule, Düsseldorf
  29. ^ Lauteinann, Geschichten in Quellen Bd. 6, S. 129.
  30. ^ Koppel S. Pinson (1964). Modern Germany: Its History and Civilization (13th printing ed.). New York: Macmillan. p. 397 f. 
  31. ^ Markwell, Donald, John Maynard Keynes and International Relations: Economic Paths to War and Peace, Oxford University Press, 2006.
  32. ^ Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1919 Ch VI. quote: The Treaty includes no provisions for the economic rehabilitation of Europe—nothing to make the defeated Central Empires into good neighbors, nothing to stabilize the new States of Europe, nothing to reclaim Russia; nor does it promote in any way a compact of economic solidarity amongst the Allies themselves; no arrangement was reached at Paris for restoring the disordered finances of France and Italy, or to adjust the systems of the Old World and the New. The Council of Four paid no attention to these issues, being preoccupied with others—Clemenceau to crush the economic life of his enemy, Lloyd George to do a deal and bring home something which would pass muster for a week, the President to do nothing that was not just and right. It is an extraordinary fact that the fundamental economic problems 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. Reparation was their main excursion into the economic field, and they settled it as a problem of theology, of polities, of electoral chicane, from every point of view except that of the economic future of the States whose destiny they were handling.
  33. ^ Reynolds, David. (February 20, 1994). "Over There, and There, and There." Review of: "A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II," by Gerhard L. Weinberg. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  34. ^ Correlli Barnett, The Collapse of British Power (London: Pan, 2002), p. 392.
  35. ^ Barnett, p. 316.
  36. ^ Barnett, p. 318.
  37. ^ Barnett, p. 319.
  38. ^ a b c La Seconde Guerre mondiale, Raymond Cartier, Paris, Larousse Paris Match, 1965, quoted in: Die "Jagd auf Deutsche" im Osten, Die Verfolgung begann nicht erst mit dem "Bromberger Blutsonntag" vor 50 Jahren, by Pater Lothar Groppe, © Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung / 28. August 2004.


  • Andelman, David (2008). A Shattered Peace. London: J. Wiley. ISBN 9780471788980. 
  • Demarco, Neil (1987). The World This Century. London: Collins Educational. ISBN 0003222179. 
  • Macmillan, Margaret (2001). Peacemakers. London: John Murray. ISBN 0719559391. 
  • Markwell, Donald (2006). John Maynard Keynes and International Relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198292368. 
  • Nicolson, Harold (2001). Peacemaking, 1919. London: Simon Publications. ISBN 193154154X. 
  • Wheeler-Bennett, Sir John (1972). The Wreck of Reparations, being the political background of the Lausanne Agreement, 1932. New York: H. Fertig. 

External links

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Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Treaty of Versailles
the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany
Information about this edition
Signed at Versailles (France) on 28 June 1919; came into force on 10 January 1920.

Although the United States is a signatory, the treaty was never ratified by the U.S. Senate: see the Treaty of Peace between Germany and the United States of America, signed at Berlin on August 25, 1921. Official texts in English: [1919] UKTS 4 (Cmd. 153); [1920] ATS 1.

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Treaty of Versailles.

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File:Council of Four
W.Wilson and the Concil of 4

The Treaty of Versailles was a treaty to make peace between the five nations, France, Germany, Britain, Austria and the United States after World War I. The treaty was made in 1919, but German government did not participate in it. In fact, Germany had the choice between signing it or face the occupation of Germany by Allied troops. This was known as a diktat. The French made the Treaty unfavorable for the Germans so that Germany would not be able to start a new war. Thus Germany had to reduce its armed forces from 6 million to 100,000 men, and was forced to get rid of its submarines, military aircraft and a lot of their artillery, such as cannons. Their Navy were also forced to limit the amount of battleships they owned to only six. Germany also had to give back those French territories it had occupied, as well as large territories of its own to Poland, for instance, and all its colonies. A heavy economical burden for Germany was to pay back a great sum for the damage done to the Allied countries, mostly France, during World War I by German troops. This sum was not fixed. 132 billion goldmarks had to be paid only as a first part of the German debts. This Treaty can be seen as a one-sided peace diktat for Germany, a treaty which later was used as a reason for Germany's nationalists and Adolf Hitler to try to get the support of the Germans to get rid of the "chains of Versailles," which finally led to World War II.

One of the parts of the treaty was that there would be a League of Nations, which decided things after the treaty was signed. It could not stop World War II, but it was very helpful in the earlier years.[needs proof]

Outcome for the Central Powers

Germany had to give back French parts (Alsace-Lorraine) taken by Germany in the Franco-Prussian War, which Germany had won and was an embarrassment for France. The French made Germany take its troops out of the Rhineland (the long stretch of land on Germany's border with France where the Rhine river flows), which was an important part of land for Germany where many factories and businesses existed. If Germany put troops back into the Rhineland the punishment would be France invading Germany.

Germany also had to give many parts to Poland, a new country made out of old Russian and Austrian parts and the Polish and Lithuanian people who lived in them. Poland was a very strong kingdom a few hundred years before but Austria, Prussia and Russia had split it between them. This made the Polish people unhappy, and they were given a country again.

Belgium was given Moresnet and Eupen and Malmedy. This is the main reason that Belgium now has a German-speaking Community.

Versailles also split up many large empires on the losing side. The U.S. President, Woodrow Wilson, thought this was a very good idea because many people in Europe wanted to be free from the big empires. But it also created problems.

Austria-Hungary was split into many countries. One was Austria. Austria was meant to be the homeland of the Austrians, who spoke German and mainly ruled Austria-Hungary. Its capital was Vienna. One of the problems of Versailles was that many Germans, like Adolf Hitler, thought that Austria was meant to be part of Germany and would occupy it later on.

The new country of Hungary was also created. Like Poland, it was a country that was strong on its own centuries before, but then it merged into one with Austria which made a very big empire. Its capital was Budapest. Another country, Czechoslovakia was created, which was meant to be the homeland of the Czechs and Slovaks. The Czech part was made up of the country once called Bohemia and Moravia. Its capital was Prague. There were many Germans living on its borders, which was why Germany would later on think should belong to them.

Bosnia, Slovenia, Croatia (which were parts of Austria-Hungary), northern Macedonia (which was part of Bulgaria), Serbia and Montenegro made one country, called Yugoslavia. It was made to be a Slav homeland, but there were many religious, language and national differences.

New countries by the Baltic Sea called Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania were created. During the war, the Russian people had killed their Emperor (Czar Nicholas II) and put in a new leader who made the country into a Communist state. Much fighting was going on in Russia between the White Russians, who hated Communism, and Red Russians, who backed it. They had not gotten control over the West, which let Estonia, Poland, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania to make themselves free of Russian rule. Later on, Russia took back Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and took half of Poland which they shared with Germany.

Italy gained parts of Austria.

It was agreed in another treaty called the Treaty of Sèvres that Greece would take parts of Western Turkey (called Ionia) and its past most important city, Constantinople from Turkey. Greece took them at first but a new Turkish army drove the Greeks out, killing many Greek people. Greece did gain most of the islands in the Aegean Sea from Turkey and parts of Bulgaria.

The League of Nations decided that parts of old Turkey were given to France and Great Britain to protect and keep peace in the area. Britain ruled Palestine, Iraq and Transjordan, which would become Israel, Iraq, and Jordan. France ruled Syria and Lebanon.

Long-term problems

A big problem for Germany was to pay back a giant amount of money for the all of the damage done to the Allied countries, mostly France, during World War I. This made Germany one of the poorest countries in Europe for almost 20 years, and caused political fighting in Germany. The two most important parties, the Communists (who wanted a Communist revolution as had happened in Russia) and the Nazis (who thought Germany should become the most powerful country in Europe) fought for many years.

The debt to the Allies was made easier for the Germans during the Great Depression, and all debt was cancelled in 1932. Many Germans hated the treaty and some even wanted to fight more after Versailles.

The League of Nations created after Versailles was usually not powerful enough to stop wars, either. Japan took a part of China called Manchuria and the League was not able to stop it. Italy invaded Ethiopia and although the Ethiopian Emperor begged the League to help him, it did not. Germany, Japan and Italy became the Axis powers, and by invading many peaceful countries caused World War II. The United States and the USSR did not even join the League, even though it was the idea of US President Woodrow Wilson in the first place. The League was never taken seriously, even though it was created to make sure Versailles was respected. The treaty failed to keep peace in the end, and was a reason for Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler to win the support of the poorer Germans to get rid of the "chains of Versailles", leading to World War II.krc:Версаль мамырлыкъ кесамат 1919

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