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

were treated

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