Germany's Objections To The Treaty Of Versailles

1040 words - 4 pages

Germany's Objections to the Treaty of Versailles

Subsequent to the German government conceding defeat in World War I,
Britain, America and France wrote up a treaty that Germany had no
option but to sign. This treaty was the Treaty of Versailles and was
widely considered to be one of the harshest treaties ever written. The
German public obviously had many objections to the terms of the treaty
and this essay will discover what these objections are and how far
they are justified.

Article 231 of the treaty was the 'War guilt clause'. Although this
clause did not technically affect Germany economically or social it
was the clause that the Germans resented the most as it stated that
Germany was fully reasonable for the War. This was because Germany was
a very proud nation and a global super power for numerous years. The
public also strongly believed that Germany had not been the sole cause
of World War I and felt they had acted in self-defence. The views of
the German public to this clause are perfectly justifiable. To claim
Germany is solely responsible for World War I is completely
unrealistic as it was Austria-Hungary who declared war on Serbia
starting a chain of events resulting in a war involving most of
Europe. However Germany's claims that the attacking Russia was an act
of self defence was not completely true as Germany was in no direct
danger and it is likely that Austria-Hungary plight was an excuse to
take on Russia.

Another main term in the Treaty of Versailles was the reparations
(compensation) that the allies claimed they were owed for the
destruction caused by the war, which the allies ultimately considered
to be the fault of the Germans. A fixed sum of £6600 million was to be
paid back in annual instalments. The Germans felt this sum was
ridiculously high and that the allies were simply trying to make a
profit out of the war. In all probability Germany could not afford
this sum as the Germans had already lost around 10% of its industry
and 15% of its agricultural land through the war and their economy was
at the lowest it has been for many years. The Germans also felt the
war was not all there own doing so why should they pay for damage
caused by other nations. Germans criticisms of the clause are somewhat
justified in places. The sum the allies requested German to pay was
too high especially considering the economic state of Germany at the
time. The allies were effectively trying to ruin the whole German
economy by making them pay back these huge debts. Therefore in this
clause the Germans...

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