Germany Essay, Research Paper
n 1914 a world war broke out. A war that would crush millions of
lives, destroy lifetimes of work and cause hate that lasted for
generations. On 1918, an armistice was signed. This did not put
the blame on any of the nations for the war but just called a stop
to the war until a peace treaty was agreed upon. This peace
treaty was created and signed by Germany in 1919, in the hall of
mirrors in the palace of Versailles.
At the time of the signing of the treaty, Germany’s army was
ruined, its people exhausted and its government collapsing.
Three countries out of the ‘big four’ (The big four being the
countries that drew up the treaty: Britain, USA, Italy and
France.) were greatly affected by the war causing them to have a
vengeful intention whilst drawing up the treaty. Germany was
defeated; the treaty of Versailles was the final blow.
I intend to explain and answer the question: “Were territorial
changes the main reason why the Germans were angered over
the treaty of Versailles?” I do not think that they were the main
reason. There were other parts of the treaty that affected and
humiliated Germany greater. I shall prove this as we go through
the essay. I am now going to give and explain certain parts of the
treaty, their causes, their affects and their relevance.
There were many territorial changes to Germany after the war
due to the treaty of Versailles. The most relevant one was the
decision to give Poland a coastline, the Polish Corridor. This was
a piece of land running through the center of Germany, splitting it
in two. By seperating the rest of Germany from East Prussia,
Germany was severely weakened. East Prussia had been a
source of great revenue and the political elite for Germany. This
humiliated, weakened and angered the Germans. Getting the
land back was going to be a source of national pride for a long
Another territorial change that the Germans did not expect
(Alsace-Lorraine was originaly French land and the Germans
expected it to be returned to the French) was that the Saar coal
fields were to be given to France for fifteen years. This was a
great source of coal for the Germans and losing it meant that the
Germans didn’t have a supply of coal and raw materials for its
industries. The Germans also had to de-militarize an area of their
country called the Rhineland that was in between them and
France and acted as a buffer zone. This was humiliating for the
Germans as their military was not allowed in their own land.
Another term of the treaty was that the Germans had to reduce
the size of their army and armaments. This limited their army to
100,000 voluntary soldiers (This later was an advantage, since
those 100,000 soldiers became Elite)and they had to melt down
their armaments and where not allowed to have any submarines.
This had the affect of making the Germans feel weak and
humiliated and thirsty for revenge. This was one of the biggest
reasons the Germans were annoyed and angered at the treaty of
Versailles. Germany also had to pay ?6.6 Billion in reparation to
the winning countries; this badly affected their economy and was
more money than the Germans were able to give. This eventually
led to hyperinflation, but this is irrelevant to the topic at hand.
This could possibly have been the point that angered the
Germans the most, it made them pay for the debts of the war
even though they did not start it on their own.
The other point that could possibly have made the Germans
angry the most, was article 231 “The Guilt Clause” which said
that the Germans were responsible for the whole first world war.
The Germans could not say or do anything and just had to keep
quiet as they were blamed for everything. The Germans had
expected better treatment from the treaty of Versailles as they
expected it too be based on Wilson’s 14 points. In the end only a
few of the 14 points were actually included in the treaty of
Versailles which annoyed the Germans immensely. The
Germans also felt misled by the Kaiser. He started the war and
then as they were looking like they might not win, he fled to
Holland. The German people had changed their government from
Monarchy to a Democracy and had also complied with all the
allies conditions, yet they had still been treated harshly and in
their eyes, unfairly. The Germans were also annoyed at the way
in which they were represented at the signing of the treaty of
Versailles. The name for this is called Diktat which is the
German name for dictated. Dictated peace they called it, since
they did not have any say in the peace process.
Altogether, looking at the different terms of the treaty and the
effects and consequences of different parts of it (e.g.
Reparations, polish corridor ) I have come to the conclusion that
the winners really bashed Germany solely because they were
the biggest country in the losing side. In answer to the question
the territorial changes angered the Germans although not as
much as the reparations, article 231 and the way in which they