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Germany And The Treaty Of Versailles

1439 words - 6 pages

Germany & the Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919 at the great Palace of Versailles in France. The victorious Allies, (Great Britain, France and Italy, and the United States), all came together to decide what punishment Germany should receive for the total devastation left by this war that they started, and what to do with the Central Powers, (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire) in general. The Allies were furious that they had lost so much in this war, and gained so little; while Germany’s land was practically untouched. The armistice was a slap in the face to Germany, especially because it was being announced at the palace of Germany’s most hated rival, France, and because Germany wasn’t even invited. (Kishlansky, Geary and O'Brien).

The Allies agreed that Germany was to be held accountable for the war in the War Guilt Clause; thus, they should pay reparations for their actions. Germany was ordered to disarm and strip-down their military forces to 100,000 men. German troops were ordered out of the Rhineland - and they were forced to hand over their ship fleets to the British. They were ordered to pay for all the damage done to the other countries starting with an initial 5 billion dollars towards their 32 billion dollar bill; in addition to losing much of their land that produced sources of raw materials. They even had to give up land they had previously won, like Alsace and Lorraine and because they destroyed France’s coal producing lands, they lost Saar and the coal it produced to France for 15 years. They were stripped down to virtually nothing and Germany was crippled as a nation. The Germans did not want to sign the treaty; as a matter of fact, they destroyed many of their ships to keep from handing them over to the British. But; eventually, they were forced to sign it and Germany became isolated as a European nation. (Kishlansy, Geary and O'Brien; Treaty of Versailles)

The country was in turmoil. The people were starving, had no jobs, and were dying from various diseases. The war had already claimed about 2 million men, and triple that number died as a result of their wounds and diseases. After signing the treaty, The Weimar Republic had helped to create distrust, humiliation and hyperinflation by taxing workers to help pay reparations and printing so much Germany currency, that it became practically worthless.

The Germans created a new foreign policy in an attempt to revitalize their economy. In 1922 the Treaty of Rapallo was signed with Russia to the Allies surprise. Both Russia and Germany were isolated from the Allies after World War I, and both wanted to end the isolation and join the international economic markets. They realized that Western Europe would have to be included; so Gustav Stresemann, the German Foreign Minister, made peace in Locarno Australia - with France and Great Britain - starting with a series of Locarno treaties in which France...

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