Treaty of Versailles Was Signed Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The treaty formally placed the responsibility for the war on Germany and its allies and imposed on Germany the burden of the reparations payments. The chief territorial clauses were those restoring Alsace and Lorraine to France; placing the former German colonies under League of Nations mandates; awarding most of West Prussia, including Poznan and the Polish Corridor, to Poland; establishing Danzig (see Gda-sk) as a free city; and providing for plebiscites, which resulted in the transfer of Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium, of N. Schleswig to Denmark, and of parts of Upper Silesia to Poland. The Saar Territory (see Saarland) was placed under French administration for 15 years; the Rhineland was to be occupied by the Allies for an equal period; and the right bank of the Rhine was to be permanently demilitarized. The German army was reduced to a maximum of 100,000 soldiers, the German navy was similarly reduced, and Germany was forbidden to build major weapons of aggression. Germany, after futile protests, accepted the treaty, which became effective in Jan., 1920 (in World War I).

As it has been discussed throughout history, the demands that the treaty put on Germany may have contributed to the National Socialism and the Nazi movements because the German people were not satisfy with what they were required to do. "Later German dissatisfaction with the terms of the treaty traditionally has been thought to have played an important part in the rise of National Socialism, or the Nazi movement. While Gustav Stresemann was German foreign minister, Germany by a policy of fulfillment succeeded in having some of the treaty terms eased. Reparations payments, the most ruinous part of the treaty, were suspended in 1931 and were never resumed. In 1935 Chancellor Adolf Hitler unilaterally canceled the military clauses of the treaty, which in practice became a dead letter; in 1936 he began the remilitarization of the Rhineland. A vast literature has been written on the Paris Peace Conference and on the Treaty of Versailles, and controversy continues as to whether the treaty was just, too harsh, or not harsh enough" (in World War I). Within a society, the statements that are made by the government authorities are true because they are the power among people, which gives them more control and the authority to define what is right and wrong. By using this power, the government thought that they could have upper hand on Germany due to the fact that people become intimidated those who have a power over them. In other words, the treaty was made for the government to gain and maintain a power over German society. When people believe there is a power that can restrain them, the government believed that they had more self-control in order to avoid others who look down on them and embarrassment.

Furthermore, the treaty was made to give German society structure, however it backed fired.

After agreeing to the Armistice in November 1918, the Germans had been convinced that they would be consulted by the Allies on the contents of the Treaty. This did not happen and the Germans were in no position to continue the war as her army had all but disintegrated. Though this lack of consultation angered them, there was nothing they could do about it. Therefore, the first time that the German representatives saw the terms of the Treaty was just weeks before they were due to sign it in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles on June 28th 1919. There was anger throughout Germany when the terms were made public. The Treaty became known as a Diktat - as it was being forced on them and the Germans had no choice but to sign it. Many in Germany did not want the Treaty signed, but the representatives there knew that they had no choice as German was incapable of restarting the war again (the Treaty of Versailles).

By forcing German to sign, the following consequences occurred, which caused more adverse events.

The Treaty seemed to satisfy the "Big Three" as in their eyes it was a just peace as it kept Germany weak yet strong enough to stop the spread of communism; kept the French border with Germany safe from another German attack and created the organisation, the League of Nations, that would end warfare throughout the world (the Treaty of Versailles).

However, it left a mood of anger throughout Germany as it was felt that as a nation Germany had been unfairly treated (the Treaty of Versailles).

Above all else, Germany hated the clause blaming her for the cause of the war and the resultant financial penalties the treaty was bound to impose on Germany. Those who signed it (though effectively they had no choice) became known as the "November Criminals" (the Treaty of Versailles).

Many German citizens felt that they were being punished for the mistakes of the German government in August 1914 as it was the government that had declared war not the people (the Treaty of Versailles).

Even though this treaty's purpose was reduce terrorism threats by Germany, it made them want to side step it and create their rules. Unfortunately, as a society, a government needs that empowerment so that they can feel a little imitation when they are faced by them. This did not work because society as a whole need have some freedom. Governments can be more effective because people are extremely self-aware when being watched and will behave when they know they are being indirectly controlled. From there, knowledge is power and power is made for the government in order to have structure in society. However, this theory did not work for the German people and unfortunately the following consequences occurred.

Germany's army had to be reduced to 100,000 men. On paper this happened. The fact that Germany side-stepped the rule did not mean that she literally broke it - though what she did was a deliberate attempt to break this term. German soldiers in the 1920's were signed on for a short contract of service and then put in the reserves once their time had finished. Therefore, Germany never had more than 100,000 soldiers serving at any one time though she certainly had substantial reserve soldiers which boosted Hitler when he renounced the clauses of Versailles (the Treaty of Versailles).

Germany's navy was reduced to 6 battleships with no submarines. This happened. Germany could not afford battleships in the aftermath of the war and most navies were now moving to smaller (by degrees), faster ships that could also carry weapons that carried a punch - such as cruisers. Aircraft carriers were also being developed with greater commitment. Submariners were trained abroad - Versailles did not cover this, so it did not break the terms of Versailles - only the spirit (the Treaty of Versailles).

Germany had to accept the "War Guilt Clause" and pay reparations. The former happened in the sense that Germany signed the Treaty which meant that she accepted this term on paper - if not in fact. Germany did try and pay reparations when she could do so. She did not refuse to pay in 1922. She simply could not produce what was needed that year and this led to the French invasion of the Ruhr. In the 1920's it was the Allies who took the decision to reduce reparations and eased Germany's plight in so doing. The first instance of refusal to pay reparations came in 1933 when Hitler announced that Germany would not pay - and the Allies did nothing (the Treaty of Versailles).


This treaty was supposed to bring peace so that the war, however it just created more adverse events due to the fact the German people did not feel they were being treated fairly. "Germany sat down for peace negotiations thinking that Wilson's ideas would greatly affect the treaty-making and that his fourteen points (in all their moderation) would be the predominant part of the treaty. Britain, France, and Italy, however, all had far greater European interests and had been more effected by the war. They, therefore, had the most influence in the treaty-making, exaggerating greatly Wilson's original plans and making the Germans feel that Wilson had lied to them in fact, Germany nearly lost far more than what they did. Eventually they defaulted on nearly all of their war reparations (and nobody intervened, paving the way to isolationism and another World War), but France wanted even more far-reaching economic concessions. They issued claim to nearly all of the Saarland, the center of German industrialism. This would have crippled Germany forever. Fortunately for Germany, this didn't become part of the treaty. However, economic crippling would have prevented remilitarization in the 1930's" (the Treaty of Versailles 2002). Despite the outcome of the Treaty of Versailles, its purpose was to keep peace among the people, which was a nice effort. However, the political figures failed to…

Cite This Term Paper:

"Treaty Of Versailles Was Signed" (2008, February 29) Retrieved February 20, 2018, from

"Treaty Of Versailles Was Signed" 29 February 2008. Web.20 February. 2018. <>

"Treaty Of Versailles Was Signed", 29 February 2008, Accessed.20 February. 2018,