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|Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany|
Cover of the English version
|Signed||28 June 1919|
|Location||Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, Paris, France|
|Effective||10 January 1920|
|Condition||Ratification by Germany and three Principal Allied Powers.|
|Languages||French and English|
|Treaty of Versailles at Wikisource|
The Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany, commonly known as the Treaty of Versailles, was one of the peace treaties signed at the Paris Peace Conference following the cessation of the First World War. The treaty ended the state of war between the German Empire and the Allied Powers. While the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in the Hall of Mirrors of the Palace of Versailles, just outside of Paris. The other countries of the Central Powers, the allies of Germany, concluded peace with the victors via separate treaties.[nb 1]
Of the many provisions of the treaty, the main required Germany to disarm, limit her military forces, make territorial concessions, and to pay reparations to various countries. The treaty also called for the creation of the League of Nations. Article 231 was one of the most controversial points of the treaty. It required "Germany [to] accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage" during the war. Germans saw this clause as taking full responsibility for the cause of the war, and the article later became known as the 'war guilt clause'. The result, of competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors, was a compromise that left none contented. The treaty neither pacified, conciliated, permanently weakened, or reconcile Germany and caused massive resentment. The problems that arose from the treaty, and attempts to stabilize Europe led to the Locarno Treaties, which improved relations between Germany and the other European Powers, and the renegotiation of the reparation payments resulting in the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, and finally the abolishment of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.
Contemporary opinion on the treaty varied from too harsh to too lenient. Germans saw the treaty as assigning them responsibility for the entire war and worked hard to undermine this perceived error. Historians, from the 1920s to present, have demonstrated that guilt for the war was not attached with Article 231, and that the clause, which was also included in the treaties signed by Germany's allies mutatis mutandis, was purely a prerequisite to allow a legal basis to be laid out for the reparation payments that were to be made. Critics of the reparations considered them too harsh, counterproductive, damaging to the German economy, and a "Carthaginian peace". However, historical consensus considers the reparations to be largely chimerical (designed to look imposing to mislead the public), which were well within Germany's ability to pay, and that had little direct impact on the German economy. Furthermore, historians have highlighted that Germany received substantial aid, via loans, to make payment and that in the end paid only a fraction of the total sum with the cost of repairs and pensions being shifted to the victors of the war rather than Germany. Historians are mixed on the overall impact of the treaty. While they recognize that the treaty caused massive resentment and was unfair in places, generally it is considered to have been much less harsh than perceived and when placed in context and compared with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which Germany imposed upon Soviet Russia in early 1918, the Treaty of Versailles is viewed as being extremely lenient. Regardless of weather the treaty was fair or not, over the following years it was systematically destroyed by the victors and defeated alike due to a lack of unified will amongst the victors to enforce it and from the Germans doing their best to avoid its conditions. In assessing the long term impact of the treaty, historians have determined that the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party were not inevitable consequences of the treaty and likewise neither was the Second World War. Finally, historians have demonstrated that a myth was fostered, by German propaganda, during the inter-war years that the treaty was unduly harsh and that this myth is still commonly held today by the public and remains the key lesson taught in school textbooks.
- 1 Prelude
- 2 World reaction
- 3 Implementation
- 4 Analysis
- 5 See also
- 6 Additional sources
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Talks between the Allies to establish a common negotiating position began on 18 January 1919, in the Salle de l'Horloge at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris. Delegates from 26 nations participated in the negotiations, but representatives from revolutionary Russia were not invited, due to their early withdrawal from the war, and German negotiators were excluded to deny them an opportunity to divide the Allies diplomatically.
A "Council of Ten" comprising two delegates each from Britain, France, the United States, Italy and Japan), met officially to decide the peace terms. This council was replaced by the "Council of Five", formed from the foreign ministers, to discuss minor matters. The heads of state from Britain, France, the United States, and Italy formed the "Big Four". These four men met in 145 closed sessions to make all the major decisions, which were later ratified by the entire assembly (The "Big Four", at one point, became the "Big Three" when the Italian Prime Minister temporally left the conference.). The minor powers attended a weekly "Plenary Conference" that discussed issues in a general forum but made no decisions. These members formed over 50 commissions that made various recommendations, many of which were incorporated into the final Treaty.
While the major powers all had national aims in mind, there was a consensus amongst the Allied powers that the peace treaty should dismantle the German colonial empire, weaken the Germany military to help promote global disarmament, and limit the power of Germany to promote future European stabilization. The Allied powers intended to create a just and lasting peace with Germany.
France had lost 1.3 million soldiers killed, including 25% of French men aged 18–30 and 400,000 civilians. France had also been more physically damaged than any other nation; the most industrialized region and the source of most coal and iron ore in the north-east had been devastated and in the final days of the war mines had been flooded and railways, bridges and factories destroyed. Clemenceau intended to ensure the security of France, by weakening Germany economically, militarily, territorially and by supplanting Germany as the leading producer of steel in Europe.
Clemenceau told Wilson: "America is far away, protected by the ocean. Not even Napoleon himself could touch England. You are both sheltered; we are not". The French wanted a frontier on the Rhine, to protect France from a German invasion and compensate for French demographic and economic inferiority. American and British representatives refused the French claim and after two months of negotiations, the French accepted a British pledge to provide an "immediate" alliance with France, if Germany attacked again and Wilson agreed to put a similar proposal to the Senate. Clemenceau had told the Chamber of Deputies in December 1918, that his goal was to maintain an alliance with both countries. Clemenceau accepted the offer, in return for an occupation of the Rhineland for fifteen years and that Germany would to the demilitarisation of the Rhineland.
French negotiators wanted reparations, to make Germany pay for the damage caused during the war and to weaken Germany. The French also wanted the iron ore and coal of the Saar Valley, by annexation to France. The French were willing to accept a smaller amount of reparations than the Americans would concede and Clemenceau was willing discuss Germany capacity to pay with the German delegation, before the final settlement was drafted. In April and May 1919, the French and Germans held separate talks, on mutually acceptable arrangements on issues like reparation, reconstruction and industrial collaboration. France, along with the British Dominions and Belgium, opposed mandates and favored annexation of former Germany colonies.
The British wartime coalition was re-elected in the Coupon election at the end of 1918, with a policy of squeezing the German "'til the pips squeak". Public opinion favoured a "just peace", which would force Germany to pay reparations and be unable to repeat the aggression of 1914, although those of a "liberal and advanced opinion" shared Wilson's ideal of a peace of reconciliation.
In private Lloyd George opposed revenge and attempted to compromise between Clemenceau's demands and the Fourteen Points, because Europe would eventually have to reconcile with Germany. Lloyd George wanted terms of reparation, which would not cripple the German economy, so that Germany would remain a viable economic power and trading partner. By arguing that British war pensions and widows' allowances should be included in the German reparation sum, Lloyd George ensured that a large amount would go to the British Empire.
Lloyd George intended to maintain a European balance of power to thwart a French attempt to establish itself as the dominant European Power. A revived Germany would be a counterweight to France and a deterrent to Bolshevik Russia. Lloyd George wanted to neutralize the German navy to keep the Royal Navy as the greatest naval power in the world. The German colonial empire was to be dissolved, "preferably ceding some of its territorial possessions to Britain", yet Lloyd George advocated "the principle of mandates" and wanted to place the German colonies "under the jurisdiction of the League of Nations", which was opposed by the Dominions.
[I'd move this south too] Walter McDougall furthers this point, arguing that "Wilson ventured into matters far beyond his understanding". In November 1918, the Republican Party won the Senate election by a slim margin. Wilson, a Democrat, refused to take any Republican senators with him thus encountered opposition "when the treaty came before the Senate". [a FRINGS VIEW NOT COMPATIBLE WITH MODERN STUDIES Schmitt notes that Wilson was essentially powerless and "the Republican opposition ... [gave] Wilson's opponents at Paris [the understanding] ... that he did not have the support of the American people."
[... and this]Schmitt [POOR SOURCE] argues that the American were in "favor of a moderate peace, a peace of reconciliation, or as [Wilson] called it, 'a peace without victory,' by which he meant a peace without the punishment which victory sometimes induces governments to inflict." Lentin goes further. He notes "by March 1919" Wilson had concluded "Germany deserved a hard, deterrent peace in view of her 'very great offence against civilization' and that the League of Nations would iron out injustices." Marc Trachtenberg comments "Wilson had, of course, spoken of a 'peace without victory' ... but this was prior to America's entry into the war, and [his] wartime speeches make it abundantly clear that after April 1917 he had ruled out the idea of a peace among equals, a compromise peace, a negotiated peace ... . The Germans were the aggressors, their leaders ... were the embodiment of evil. One could not compromise with evil ... . Indeed these wartime speeches bristle with contempt for the very notion of a compromised settlement." Daniel Smith observes that "the Fourteen Points were 'a bold psychological move' that boosted American and Allied morale and weakened to some degree the will and temper of the Central Powers. However, though 'sufficiently vague and idealistic for war propaganda purposes,' ... Versailles would prove them 'inadequate for peacemaking'"
Wilson wanted the establishment of an international peacekeeping organization, or League of Nations", to "bring an end to all war", provide a forum to revise the treaties of the Paris Peace Conference and deal with problems arising in Europe due to the end of the war and the rise of new states. Keynes comments "It was commonly believed ... that the President had thought out ... a comprehensive scheme not only for the League of Nations, but for the embodiment of the Fourteen Points in an actual Treaty of Peace. But in fact the President had thought out nothing; when it came to practice his ideas were nebulous and incomplete. He had no plan, no scheme, no constructive ideas whatever ... ."
In regards to the German colonial empire, Alan Sharp notes that the victors "simply wanted to annex the territories their troops had wrestled from the enemy" yet "to Wilson ... outright annexation constituted a clear violation of the fundamental principles of justice and human rights that he believed must underpin any truly equitable and lasting peace settlement." Wilson favored the native people having "the right of self-determination" and the major powers – under League of Nation oversight – would take control of these regions via mandates. The major powers "would act as a disinterested trustee over the region, promoting the welfare of its inhabitants in a variety of ways" until they were able to govern themselves. Sharp notes that "the mandate plan had prejudicial overtones in its assumption that the colonies' indigenous populations could not be entrusted with self-rule without first being tutored". In spite of this position, to ensure that Japan did not refuse to join the League of Nations, Wilson was in favor of turning over Shandong to Japan rather than return the area to China. [This section doesn't read like a description of US peace aims but an explanation of them, which is premature.]
In Germany flags were lowered to Half-mast and demonstrations took place. Germans claimed that their country had been treated unfairly by the treaty, that the victors of the war were acting in spite against them, that the treaty was too harsh, contradicted the Fourteen Points and disagreed with the methods of how the treaty had been formulated. The treaty was seen as a dictated peace and was later referred to as the Diktat. Revision of the treaty became a policy of every German political party, the German peace delegation and Wilsonians were called traitors; Matthias Erzberger was assassinated in August 1921.
Article 231, the "war guilt" clause, "aroused deep resentment in Germany, where it was thought that equal (or greater) responsibility for the outbreak of the war could be found in the actions of other countries". German historians worked to "undermine the validity of this clause" and "found a ready acceptance among 'revisionist' writers in France, Britain, and the USA."
National self-determination was fundamental to the treaty and polls showed "overwhelming majorities" in Sudetenland and Austria wanting to merge with Germany which was prohibited. The revival of Poland and the granting of "substantial portions" of Prussian land to the new Polish state was highly unpopular.
At the Armistice German troops still occupied parts of France and Belgium; the German High Command and right-wing politicians claimed that Germany had not been defeated by war but by left-wing politicians and the collapse of the home front, which became known as the Dolchstosslegende (Stab-in-the-back myth). The list of those perceived to have betrayed Germany increased to include communists, "milksops" and Jewish Germans.
British and French
The signing of the treaty was met with roars of approval, singing and dancing from a crowd outside the Palace of Versailles and in Paris people rejoiced at the official end of the war. Clemenceau "endured bitter attacks by the French Right" once the treaty was signed and conceded that he was dissatisfied with the treaty. Marshal Foch called the treaty an armistice for twenty years, over the failure to annex the Rhineland and for compromising French security for the benefit of the United States and Britain. French right-wing politicians criticized the treaty for leniency and Left-wing politicians resented it for the opposite; even in August 1939 some politicians began remarks on foreign affairs with a ritual condemnation of the treaty.
A British delegate Harold Nicolson wrote, "are we making a good peace?", General Jan Smuts, a member of the South African delegation, wrote to Lloyd-George before the signing, that the treaty was unstable and declared "Are we in our sober senses or suffering from shellshock? What has become of Wilson's 14 points?" He wanted the Germans not be made to sign at the "point of the bayonet". Smuts issued a statement condemning the treaty and regretting that the promises of "a new international order and a fairer, better world are not written in this treaty". Lord Robert Cecil said that many within the Foreign Office were disappointed by the treaty. Lloyd George and his private secretary Philip Kerr believed in the treaty although they also felt that "France was going to keep Europe in constant turmoil over the enforcement" of the treaty.
The treaty was "received with widespread approval" in the United Kingdom, and the "average Englishman ... thought Germany got only what it deserved". As German complaints mounted "it soon came to be thought" that the treaty was "not morally binding".
In September 1919 Wilson concluded a speech with "at last the world knows America as the savior of the world!" A peception that Wilson was pro-British and failed to speak out about Ireland alienated Irish-American support for Wilson and the League of Nations. Other groups, especially Italian and German Americans supported the Irish. Americans became disillusioned with the sacrifices of the war and were determined not to repeat the mistake" and became isolationist in the 1920s. Henry Cabot Lodge attacked the treaty and proposed amendments to undermine U.S. membership of the League. Lodge wanted to trade with Europe but not be involved in the inevitable next "European war". Most Democratic senators supported ratification of the treaty and most Republicans opposed. The Republicans were divided, the most strongly opposed were known as the irreconcilables, who ranged from anti-imperialists, general anglophobes, Red Scare advocates who claimed that the International Labor Organization would create a "socialistic supergovernment" and racists opposed because the inclusion of Haiti and Liberia would create "a colored league of nations". Opposition to Article X of the Covenant was general in the Republican party; Wilson's political support collapsed and the Senate refused to ratify the treaty and an American role in the League of Nations.
[Move to analysis--NO, keep here (RJ) Why?] Bell comments that "having done so much to win the war and shape the peace treaties that followed" America withdrew back across the Atlantic "not into 'isolation' ... but into an indifference towards the European balance of power which came only too naturally to a people who found the phrase itself distasteful."The treaty was criticized for the next twenty years for harshness, economic errors and inherent instability but the flaws of the treaty were remediable. The public had faith in the League of Nations and optimism that it or a revival of the Concert of Europe could solve European problems without war.
The Chinese May Fourth Movement refused to sign the treaty over the allocation of Shantung to Japan. Chen Duxiu, who became the first leader of the Chinese Communist Party, saw the treaty as a "national humiliation" for China; the treatment of China resulted in closer Sino-Soviet relations and the communist party became more popular in China than western democracy.
The Schleswig Plebiscites presented a choice of Danish or German sovereignty; alternatives were ignored. The Danish-speaking part in the north voted for Denmark and the southern, German speaking part voted for Germany. Schleswig was partitioned and "Holstein remained German without a referendum". The East Prussia plebiscite was held on 11 July 1920. There was a 90% turn out with 99.3% of the population wishing to remain with Germany. Following plebiscites in Eupen, Malmedy, and Prussian Moresnet, the League of Nations allotted these territories to Belgium on 20 September 1920. A Boundary Commission completing its assignment on 6 November 1922 and on 15 December 1923, the German Government recognized the new border between the two countries. The transfer of the Hultschin area, of Silesia, to Czechoslovakia was completed on 3 February 1921.
Three uprisings took place from 1919–1921 as Germans and Poles fought for control of Upper Silesia. Civilian German and Polish Silesians fought each other and German and Polish troops, often from outside intervened "in the national interest". In March 1921, the plebiscite in Upper Silesia was conducted by an Inter-allied Commission of Britain, France, and Italy, which governed the area following the implantation of the Treaty of Versailles. While there had been violence in the region, the election was peaceful and c. 60% of the population voted to remain with Germany. Following the vote, the League of Nations debated whether the province should be transferred to Germany or partitioned and Poland invaded the territory. In 1922, Upper Silesia was partitioned; Oppeln in the north-west remained with Germany and Silesia Province in the south-east was transferred to Poland.
Memel remained under the authority of the League of Nations, with a French military garrison, until January 1923. On 9 January 1923, Lithuanian forces invaded the territory in the Klaipėda Revolt. The French garrison withdrew and in February, the Allies agreed to attach Memel as an "autonomous territory" to Lithuania. On 8 May 1924, after negotiations between the Lithuanian Government and the Conference of Ambassadors and action by the League of Nations, the annexation of Memel was ratified. Lithuania accepted the Memel Statute, a power-sharing arrangement to protect non-Lithuanians in the territory and its autonomous status. Responsibility for the territory remained with the great powers. The League of Nations tried to settle disputes locally and due to the German Chancellor, Gustav Stresemann making the Memel Statute and its power-sharing arrangement work the League policy succeeded until 1929, the League beiing mostly a check against German-Lithuanian failure to reach agreement.
On 13 January 1935, a plebiscite was held in the Saar, 528,105 votes were cast, with 477,119 votes (90% of the ballot) in favour of union with Germany; 46,613 votes were cast for the status quo and only 2,124 for union with France. The region returned to German sovereignty on 1 March 1935. Saar voters were not terrorized at the polls, Saar inhabitants preferred rule by the Nazi regime to an "efficient, economical, and benevolent international rule". When the result was announced 4,100 people, including 800 refugees from Germany fled to France.
Robert Peckham wrote that the issue of Schleswig-Holstein "was premised on a gross simplification of the region's history". "Versailles ignored any possibility of there being a third way: the kind of compact represented by the Swiss Federation; a bilingual or even trilingual Schleswig-Holsteinian state" or other options such as "a Schleswigian state in a loose confederation with Denmark or Germany, or an autonomous region under the protection of the League of Nations." Richard Blanke wrote of the East Prussian plebiscite, that no contested ethnic group has ever freely issued so one-sided a verdict. Richard Debo wrote that Berlin and Warsaw thought that the Polish-Soviet War had influenced the plebiscites, Poland appeared so close to collapse that even Polish voters had cast their ballots for Germany. Philipp Ther wrote that cause of the violence in Upper Silesia was the failure to demobilize troops who had fought in World War I, not a nationalist mobilization of the population in Upper Silesia.
Blanke wrote that since 60% of the population were Polish-speakers, 33% must have voted for Germany. Blanke also wrote that "most" Polish commentators concluded that the result was due to unfair German advantages of incumbency and class and have alleged coercion and chcanery despite the Allied occupation. Germany purportedly granted votes to Upper Silesians no longer resident. Blanke concluded that despite the protests, other evidence, including Reichstag elections before and after 1921 and mass-emigration of Polish-speaking Upper Silesians to Germany after 1945, that their identification with Germany in 1921 was genuine. Blanke wrote that a large population of Germans and Poles, both Catholic shared the same place saw themselves as the same. Prince Eustachy Sapieha, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, alleged that Soviet Russia was prolonging the Polish-Soviet War to influence the plebiscite". After the partition Germany and Poland tried to expel the other nationality, from their shares of Upper Silesia but Opole Silesia remained mixed.
After the Armistice Allied troops began an occupation of the Rhineland, the United States Third Army entered with 200,000 men until June 1919 when the Third Army was demobilised. By 1920 the US occupation force had been reduced to 15,000 men . Wilson reduced the garrison to 6,500 men before the inauguration of Warren G. Harding. On 7 January 1923 after the Franco–Belgian occupation of the Ruhr, the US senate legislated a withdrawal of the remaining force.  On 24 January, the American garrison started their withdrawal from the Rhineland, with the final troops leaving in early February. The British considered withdrawal but rejected to continue to be a check on the French and stop the establishment of an autonomous Rhineland Republic. At a conference at The Hague in August 1929 on the Young Plan, Stresemann and Aristide Briand negotiated the early withdrawal of Allied forces from the Rhineland. On 30 June 1930, after speeches and the lowering of flags, the last troops of the Anglo-French-Belgian occupation force withdrew from Germany.
The Locarno Treaties
[[rj--weak sources--based on two paragraphs from Bell and one from Martel...better read Steiner ch 8 !]
On 16 October 1925, a meeting was held at Locarno in Switzerland between Belgian, British, French, German and Italian representatives, which led to the Locarno Treaties, which were signed in London on 1 December. The German Government accepted the western frontier set by the Treaty of Versailles and the Rhineland as a demilitarized zone. Italy and the United Kingdom were the guarantees of this agreement and the border, "protecting France and Germany from attack by each other". Chamberlain called the Locarno Treaty a watershed between war and peace. Stresemann wrote that Locarno signified that Europe could not make war on itself without ruin.
The Locarno Treaties ended the pariah status of Germany, which joined the League of Nations in 1926. Other agreements provided for a Franco-German committee to mend relations between French and German Catholics, industrialists from Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg signed an agreement in September 1926 to create an iron and steel cartel, to regulate annual production and its division among the four countries. Germany signed treaties with Czechoslovakia, France and Poland for certain types of dispute to be resolved by outside arbitration. France signed "treaties of mutual guarantee[s]" with Czechoslovakia and Poland, to counter the obvious gap left by Locarno, which concerned only Western Europe.
Violations of the treaty
In 1920 the head of the Reichswehr Hans von Seeckt created a clandestine general staff system. In March 18,000 troops entered the Rhineland to "quell possible communist unrest", violating the demilitarized zone. French troops advanced further into Germany until the Germans withdrew. German officials conspired systematically to evade the "effectives clauses" of the treaty, by failing to meet disarmament deadlines, refusing Allied officials access to military facilities, continuing "illegal Krupp production" and hiding weapons. German companies could produce war material outside of Germany so moved to the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. Bofors, was bought by Krupp and in 1921 German troops were sent to Sweden to test weapons.
During the Genoa Conference of 1922, representatives from the Weimar Republic and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty of Rapallo, which re-established full diplomatic relations between Germany and the Soviet Union. Both sides renounced compensation for war damages, all claims against one another, set favorable terms for trade and provided for economic cooperation. The Soviet Government denied that there were secret military clauses to the treaty but the treaty resulted in confidential arrangements between Soviet and German military and industrial interests, which allowed Germany to develop weapons in the USSR. Germany established three secret training areas inside the Soviet Union for aviation, chemical and tank warfare.
In 1923 The Times claimed that Germany had equipment for 800,000 men and was transferring army staff to civilian positions and warned of the militarisation of the German police force by the exploitation the Krümper system.[nb 2]
In 1925 German companies began to design tanks and artillery and in January 1927 after the withdrawal of the disarmament committee, Krupps began to make more illegal artillery and armor plate. [nb 3] In 1925 over half of Chinese arms imports were German and worth 13 million Reichsmarks. By 1937 exports had increased to 82,788,604 Reichsmarks. The Weimar Government covertly financed rearmament with money camouflaged "X-budgets" up to 10% of the disclosed military budget. "Volunteers" were rapidly passed through the army to make a pool of trained reserves and paramilitary organizations were encouraged with the illegally militarized police. Non-commissioned officers were not limited by the treaty and were vastly in excess of the number nneded by the Reichswehr.
In December 1931 the Reichswehr completed a second rearmament plan, costing 480 million Reichsmarks and a Billion Reichsmark Programme planned expenditure on the industrial plant for an enlarged army "permanently in the field", which required no peacetime increase in the Reichswehr and were nominally legal. On 7 November 1932, the Reich Minister of Defense Kurt von Schleicher authorized the illegal Umbau Plan for a standing army of 21 divisions based on 147,000 professional soldiers and a large militia. At the World Disarmament Conference, Germany withdrew to force France and the United Kingdom to accept German equality of status. The United Kingdom attempted to get Germany to return with the promise of equality of rights in armaments and a security system for all nations" and later proposed "an agreed increase in the Reichswehr 100,000–200,000 and reductions of the French army. It was agreed that Germany could have an air force half the size of the French.
[Analysis]Bell wrote that the British Government gave public respectability to the idea of German rearmament. In 1933 Franco–German relations deteriorated and the World Economic Conference broke up acrimoniously and the "spirit of Locarno" fizzled out.
Adolf Hitler was appoited Chancellor on 30 January 1933 and consolidated the overthrow of parliamentary democracy achieved in 1930. In October Nazi Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and the World Disarmament Conference and in July 1934 an Austrian Nazi coup only failed because Mussolini massed troops in the Brenner Pass. On 2 August 1934, the Reichswehr gave an unconditional oath of allegiance to Hitler, in June 1935 Germany reintroduced conscription, openly re-formed the Luftwaffe and signed an Anglo-German Naval Agreement, which allowed a surface fleet 35% of the size of the Royal Navy against the Versailles Treaty. On 7 March 1936, German troops entered the Rhineland.[nb 4] On 11 March 1938, the Government of Austria was taken over by German nominees "as a result of pressure from Berlin" and next day German troops crossed the border. On 13 March, Hitler announced the Anschluss and on 23 March Germany annexed Memel from Lithuania.
[rj: these are elite perceptions, not "popular" ones; that gives it a confusing tone--never clear whose beliefs are being looked at, -- which countries even is muddy] [I agree, it seems too vague a criterion I'd integrate this section with the Analysis]
In 1940 Rene Albrecht-Carrie wrote that the Versailles settlement is blamed for what followed. Sally Marks wrote in 1978 that Reparations were a vexed question which many people avoided, allowing misconceptions to flourish. D. B. Kunz in 1998 noted that though historians had refuted the myths of war guilt and that Reparations were intolerable, it remained conventional wisdom, "most people know" that Versailles helped to cause World War II and that reparations were wrong. Weinberg wrote that a false view of Versailles, fostered in the 1920s and 1930s by German propaganda, had led to a general belief ever since, that the peace settlement was vindictive; if Germany could gain control over most of Europe from 1939–1942, the Versailles settlement could hardly have been as onerous as claimed. Mark Mazower (1999) wrote that few school textbooks praise the Paris peacemakers.
Create paragraph summary based off article
Can we reduce this to a paragraph too and put the rest on the main page?
PS is that really Keynes? Made up face or what?
The Nazi Party
[again,since there is a page on this I suggest a paragraph under the link and the migration of any of the text here not in the main page to it]
Keynes' biographer wrote that if Keynes' 1919 programme had been implemented, it would have been unlikely that Hitler would have become German chancellor. Henig wrote that politicians and commentators in Britain after 1933 blamed Hitler's rise on the treaty and Slavicek that traditionally the Treaty of Versailles has been blamed for Hitler but that modern scholars disagree and that the connection was made byHitler exploiting treaty for propaganda. Alex Woolf wrote that it is claimed [who?] that resentment of the treaty created feeling of a national humiliation and betrayal which was exploited by the Nazis but that other historians [who?] discount the effect of the treaty because Germany was already unstable and on the brink of dictatorship before 1919 because the 1871 constitution allowed too much power to extremist groups. Henig wrote of a "German problem" in the 1920s, that the depression and political extremism in Germany were not easy to forecast, and the appointment of Hitler was not inevitable. Evans wrote that the end of the Weimar Republic was caused by the Great Depression not by the treaty and that the depression was not caused by Versailles or by reparations. Tooze wrote that in the 1928 election the German electorate judged the Weimar Republic and gave the Nazi Party 2.5% of the vote and twelve of the 491 seats in the Reichstag. By late 1928 the Nazis could not afford the annual party rally;sales of Mein Kampf were so poor that Hitler's publishers held back his "Second Book". Klein wrote that there was a path leading from Versailles to Hitler but Versailles did not make Hitler's rise inevitable, the Germans had a choice.
Bell wrote of two schools of thought on the treaty as a cause of the Second World War. The Second Thirty Years' War thesis is that the First World War irreparably damaged the foundations of Europe and the Treaty of Versailles made things worse, leading to crises which caused another European war. The other school holds that Europe was recovering until the great depression, which caused the rise of Hitler." Peukert wrote that the policy of rapprochement from 1923–1929 for political co-operation and economic integration failed when the world economy collapsed. Wandycz wrote that guilt associated with the treaty helped cause World War II. Overy wrote that war was not an inevitable consequence of the treaty because had Hitler had not come to power, German revisionism might have gained by negotiation much of what Hitler achieved through unilateralism.
In 1925 Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that Versailles should be exploited as an instrument of unlimited blackmail and shameful humiliation, that propaganda should be used to arouse indignation and that the 1914 frontiers were of "no significance since the pre-war borders did not include all Germans. Southern and western Europe were less important than Russia and its neighbouring states where Germans would find Lebensraum. Overy wrote that Hitler's second book was clearer than the first, that treaty revision was of little consequence compared with "racial purity", antisemitism and military expansioon in the east. Trevor-Roper wrote that overthrowing Versailles was a prelude to seizing Lebensraum in eastern Europe. Stilwell wrote that the Second World War was ideological and that extremism in post-war Germany caused Hitler's rise.
Lu wrote that Versailles was the most comprehensive system of treaties ever made and that the Allies drafted the treaty as a just settlement of the war and the basis for European peace but that historians disputed the justice of the treaty. Albrecht-Carrie wrote that the treaties reflected European history and that the cession of Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Lithuania were insignificant and that the Danish cession was incontestable. Alsace was not ancient French territory but its restoration to France was almost universally accepted and that the French and Germans came close to accepting the fact; the revival of Poland "was looked upon by many" as unfair. Albrecht-Carrie criticised German dismay over the territory ceded to Poland since Germany had ruled many alien peoples. The German people had been a civilizing influence (sic) had not commanded the loyalty of subject peoples for whom the defeat of the Central Empires meant liberation. Marks wrote that the territorial changed were no surprise to the Germany cabinet but a shock to the public and generated bitterness. Gustav Stresemann had predicted the losses and the cession of Alsace-Lorraine and territory to Poland were in the Fourteen Points and the Armistice and the north-Schleswig plebiscite had been promised in 1866 by treaty. Marks also wrote that the losses were minuscule, based on plebiscites and amounted to Eupen–Malmédy permanently and the Saar Basin temporarily.
Thompson wrote that the treaty freed the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and others. Davies wrote that Versailles defined the Polish frontier with Germany and the Treaty of Saint-Germain that of Czechoslovakia with Austria but neither established the Polish-Czech border, an issue which simmered for two decades. Schmitt wrote that the treaty was unprecedented and for the first time almost every European people got independence.
Schmitt wrote that opposition from Belgium, France and the British Dominions stopped the mandate system from being established as Wilson conceived, noting that Lansing pointed out that the mandates let Belgium, France and the Dominions to take German colonies but not the public debts of the colonies, accumulated under German rule.
Albrecht-Carrie called a stealthy Victorian era annexation by the British and French, behind the facade of the treaty facile, as did Weinberg who wrote that the ex-German colonies had been turned into mandates not included in their territory or colonies and being prepared for self-government in the future.
Albrecht-Carrie also noted widespread belief in German colonial incompetence and that it was wrong to treat the intent of the Allies to loot German colonies; the idea of mandates was American origin and "perfectly sound". Schmitt wrote that in the 1930s, the Italian government complained that no mandates had been awarded to Italy but the Italians had not claimed any German colonies or part of the Ottoman Empire.
Steel wrote that the intent of the policy of national self-determination was noble but caused problems,since national borders were not contiguous with ethnic ones and Wilson had dealt with this problem by ignoring it. Redrawing the map had led to two or more peoples claiming the same land.
Brezina called Article 80 a ban on the union of Germany and Austria, which was contrary to national self-determination.
Bell wrote that Germans could claim that unofficial plebiscites showed great majorities in favour of union with Germany which was forbidden. Allied claims that they had fought for democracy was cynical.
Mazower wrote that national determination could not have been applied universally but the peacemakers confronted ethnic chauvinism. The smaller ethnic groups were not given national self-determination but treaty and the League of Nations forced new statesto sign Minority Rights Treaties, which were "scarcely used" and by 1929 the league was reluctant to act against member states accused of rights violations.
Albrecht-Carrie wrotes that the Allies did not want to increase German territory and population by German–Austrian merger. Lentin wrote that Austro–German unification would have made Germany larger than in 1914 and added seven million people to the population.
Keylor wrote that had the allies redrawn the borders of Europe on ethnic grounds this would have strengthened the German state by expanding it far beyond the 1914 frontier. Weinberg wrote that the national principle in the peace settlement meant that Germany survived the war.
Lloyd George wanted conscription abolished in Germany, Foch wanted Germany to retain a conscript army to justify France maintaining a similar force. Foch argued that a proessional army would be more dangerous than a conscript army but compromise was reached, Foch's proposal of a 200,000 man conscript army was replaced by a 100,000-man professional force. Schmitt wrote that the Allied governments were not cynical in requiring Germany to disarm first. The American failure to ratify the treaty AND join the League of Nations and the Anglo-American failure to ratify treaties of alliance with France left the French unwilling to disarm sufficiently to satisfy Germany. Germany evaded the disarmament provisions of the Treaty.
Davies wrote of "a curious oversight" that the treaty did not pohibit rockets.
Kennan was dismissive of the treaty, Joshi wrote that Thomson had argued that the treaty was "harsh in the wrong places and lenient in the wrong ways" and that certain terms were "unjust, unilateral, discriminatory, harsh and unrealistic."
McDougall wrote that Versailles was never tried. The weakness of Versailles was that it displeased Germany and the Allies, the Americans defected, the British turned pro-German in the postwar depression and inflation, the means used by German industrialists and the government to wreck reparations made the French increasingly desperate.
Davies called the founding of the League of Nations a promising achievement with inherent flaws which made it impotent without American support and lack of a means of enforcement made it depent on the Anglo-French whose armed forces were limited in range and lacked aeroplanes which could "fly non-stop to Danzig and back", the most turbulent parts of Europe were out of reach.
Slavicek wrote that some critics have accused the Allies of laying the foundations for ethnic violence that led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s but that the problems were not caused by the Allies or the Treaty.
Mazower wrote that some [who?] consider the treaty to have been based on a flawed understanding of the European balance of power because of the almost simultaneous collapse of Germany and Russia and that Germany was made defenceless by American withdrawal and British indifference. Another view is that the treaty was too ideological naive about the European conflicts. It has also been argued that the European liberals did not hinder the rise of fascism to saving Europe from "red revolution"; the main problem with the treaty was the lack of will to enforce it. Dobbs and Tucker also wrote that the details of the treaty were irrelevant because it was never enforced.
McDougall wrote that the treaty was too lenient for not creating a balance of power and of economic potential between Germany and France. Ferguson wrote that when compared to the result of the Second World War Versailles was relatively lenient and quoted Andreas Hillgruber that the treaty was "too weak to be a "Carthaginian peace".
Georges-Henri Soutou wrote that it was difficult for the peacemakers to do much better. Henig wrote that most British, German, French and American historians agree that the treaty was relatively lenient.
Henig wrote that until the 1950s, the historical consensus on the treaty was that it was vindictive. Kennan wrote of "the vindictiveness of the British and French peace aims". Schwabe noted the work of Marc Trachtenberg who had revised the "cliché" of Allied vindictiveness. Trachtenberg wrote that the French were moderate and the real villain is Britain, which made excessive reparation demands and destroyed the chance of a reasonable solution to the reparation problem. Schwabe wrote that this was oversimplified and that Trachtenberg reached a one-sided conclusion by looking at reparations in isolation.
David Stevenson wrote that the opening of archives had given a much more detailed reconstruction of French policy and "most" commentators since the 1970s have been impressed by French moderation; McDougall wrote that Clemenceau's policy was "the best calculated to bring about a lasting settlement" but Stevenson also wrote that there were been signs that the pendulum was swinging back.
Historians have written that the treaty did not weaken Germany. Correlli Barnett wrote that strategically the treaty put Germany in a better position than in 1914. The Russian and Austrian-Hungarian empires had collapsed and left Germany unrivalled. Poland was no match for Germany and France and Belgium were less economically vibrant and had smaller populations. Barnett wrote that Britain and France should have undone Bismarck legacy partitioning Germany so it could never have disrupted the peace of Europe again. Britain had failed to achive its principal war aim. Weinberg wrote that though weakened Germany was stronger than its European rivals and the revival of Poland protected Germany from Russia. The treaties created a patchwork of nations in central and eastern Europe whcih were all weaker than Germany with little possibility that these neighbours could unite against Germany.
POOR SOURCE Schmitt wrote that the new states had Minority Treaties but not Germany despite the Polish minority. Lu wrote that the treaty provided for the punishment of war criminals but that little was done. E. H. Carr wrote that the Allies attempted to try war criminals but ignored allegations against Allied personnel by the German government. The Blockade of Germany contunied after the Armistice but Marks called a policy of starvation by maintaining the naval blockade a myth. [Avner Offer wrote that it was maldistribution not absolute shortage that caused the problems The First World War: An Agrarian Interpretation] The Allies offered food and medicine after the armistice but Germany refused to allow its ships to carry supplies. Attempts were made by [Germany's] more conservative leaders to persuade the Americans to delay shipments until Germany had a stable non-socialist government, Allied food had arrived in Allied ships before the charge made at Versailles. Glaser wrote that there was disagreement amongst the allies over the blockade but from the armistice the blockade was relaxed. A task force was established to help feed the German population and by May 1919 Germany [had] became the main recipient of American and Allied food relief. The success of the relief deprived the conference of a lever to induce Germany to sign the treaty.
Weinberg wrote that Versailles was the first sign of the dissolution of the European colonial empires. The Dominions had earned independent representation at the conference and the inclusion of Japan inthe peace talks gave recognition to a non-European.
Albrecht-Carrie wrote that the treaty was an expression of the balance of power and that if it was to last it had to lay the foundations of reconstruction, which was attempted by disarming Germany and by creating the League of Nations. Failure cannot be blamed on the treaty which could not control the use to which it was put. Versailles had created grievances but redressed greater ones, its failure was caused by involved parties and the failure of the League of Nations. Peukert wrote that Versailles could have worked and while flawed was reasonable to Germany. The terms were not harsh but unrealistic millenarian hopes forged during the war caused a "revanchist" Versailles myth of the diktat of Versailles rather than the reality. With public outrage focused on the myth, the medium-term strategic advantage in the new realities created by Versailles and the other treaties were overlooked. Schmitt wrote that while tradition in peace talks had all parties meeting on terms of equality the Allies had great differences and feared if Germany was admitted to the negotiations, they could play off Britain against France and both against the United States and required that all negotiations with Germany should be in writing. This was a "psychological blunder" because it gave the Germans a specious excuse to talk about the "Diktat". Schmitt wrote that the treaties would have been different had the British and French known that the Americans would not ratify them. Had the Allies remained united, they could have forced Germany to disarm and the German capacity to fail to honour the treaty would have diminished. The treaties were not bad settlements but the peacemakers committed many errors which the Germans exploited. Bell wrote that German resentment was natural but the same view took hold among the victors which undermined the settlement. The war destroyed the pre-1914 European balance of power and the peace failed to replace it but it was believed that the failiings of the treaty were not beyond remedy and "it was also hoped that the Continent stabilised by the resurrection of the nineteenth-century Concert of Europe or by the development of the League of Nations.
Marks wrote that the German Foreign Office conducted a propaganda campaign to spread the Stab-in-the-back myth, war guilt myth and the continuation of the Allied blockade. The aim of the campaign, which included publication of forty volumes of carefully selected documents was to refute German guilt intended to make the treaty collapse. The campaign had some success and Marks wrote that it was not until 1961 when Fischer published his findings that the view of the treaty by historians changed [who?] but forty years of propaganda and myths had become fact. Bell wrote that German historians worked to undermine the validity of the war guilt clause which was accepted by "revisionist" writers in France, Britain and the USA.[who?] By 1925, much of the Versailles system had ended, enforcement of the treaty collapsed due to Allied disunity to enforce the treaty by seizing custom receipts, taxing German exports to victors, surprise disarmament inspections, requiring German to tax to the level of the victors as the treaty specified or to transfer railway profits. Schucker wrote that the Anglo-Americans who foisted the Dawes Plan settlement on France destroyed Europe's best hope for stability. The Locarno treaties eroded the balance of power and an ability to check "inevitable" German revisionism. Taylor wrote that Locarno gave Europe a period of peace and hope but Marks agreed with Schucker that Locarno was a respite, marked the defeat of France and a Germany return to equality and possible superiority. Locarno was the defeat of French enforcement ofthe treaty due to the combination of its allies with the Germans and lack of will. Cohrs wrote that Versailles caused an inherently unstable Europe and a Franco–German crisis. Locarno resulted in Germany recognizing a Franco-German status quo in the west and while renouncing force to revise its eastern borders Germany was free to seek peaceful revisions and France accepted a gradual return to power of Germany. Bell wrote that in the 1920s it appeared that the turmoil left by the war had been overcome, currencies were stabilized, industrial production surpassed that of 1913, threats of revolution diminished, and the new states were consolidated. Cohrs wrote that Locarno offered the best prospects for Polish and Czechoslovak security and co-existence with Germany Thus, Locarno was the watershed between the years of war and the years of peace in post-war Europe.
- Wisconsin Plan, starting in 1914
- Decree on Peace, 1917
- Polish Border Strip, German plan for post-war Eastern Europe drawn up in 1917
- Treaty of Bucharest (1918)
- Little Treaty of Versailles, 1919
- Spa Conference, 1920
- Agreement Regarding the Restoration of the State of Peace between Germany and China (1921).
- Treaty of Peace between Germany and the United States of America, 1921
- Washington Naval Conference, 1922-23
- Treaty of Lausanne, 1923
- Causes of World War II
- Potsdam Agreement, 1945
- Paris Peace Treaties, 1947
- Treaty of San Francisco, 1951
- Adamthwaite, Anthony. Grandeur and Misery: France's Bid for Power in Europe 1914-1940 (1995)
- Andelman, David A. A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today (2009) [maybe too popular]
- Birdsall, Paul. Versailles Twenty Years After (1939), good classic
- Bailey; Thomas A. Wilson and the Peacemakers: Combining Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace and Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal (1947); detailed coverage of 1919
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- Shepley, Nick. Britain, France and Germany and the Treaty of Versailles (2011) textbook
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- Austria: the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919); Hungary: the Treaty of Trianon; the Ottoman Empire: the Treaty of Sèvres; Bulgaria: the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine
- On 8 March 1936, 22,700 armed policemen were incorporated into the army in 21 infantry battalions.
- Gustav Krupp later claimed he had duped the Allies throughout the 1920s and prepared the German military for the future.
- Bell wrote that Hitler had claimed that a French counter-invasion would have been forced a German withdrawal but six German divisions eventually moved into the Rhineland and beyond were 24 infantry and 3 panzer divisions forming and training. The leading German battalions were to co-operate with the frontier troops and conduct a fighting retreat against a French advance. The German official history Germany and the Second World War also supports this claim.
- Treaty of Versailles Preamble
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- Lentin (2012), p. 26
- Trachtenberg, p. 490
- Tucker (2005a), p. 430
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- Slavicek, pp. 46-7
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- Weinberg, p. 14
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- Martin, p. xii
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- Boemeke, p. 25
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- Mazower, p. 13
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- Barnett, p. 319
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- Citation|last=Schmitt|first=Bernadotte|author1-link=Bernadotte Everly Schmitt|coauthors=|year=1960|month=Feb|title=The Peace Treaties of 1919-1920|journal=Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society|volume=Vol. 104|issue=No. 1|pages=pp. 101-110|accessdate=|publisher=American Philosophical Society|jstor=985606|doi=|issn=}}
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Treaty of Versailles.|
- Huang, Jian-zhong (1999). "My 1919". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 7/9/2013. A modern Chinese movie about the Treaty of Versailles. The Synopsis reads "To the Chinese, the Conference at Versailles was more of an insult at their dignity and sovereignty than a celebration of peace."
- Museum of Australian Democracy. "Treaty of Versailles 1919 (including Covenant of the League of Nations)". Retrieved 7/9/2013. A description of the treaty and photographs of the documents.
- Nobelprize.org. "The Nobel Peace Prize 1925, joint winner Austen Chamberlain". Retrieved 7/9/2013.
- Nobelprize.org. "The Nobel Peace Prize 1926, joint winner Aristide Briand". Retrieved 7/9/2013.
- Nobelprize.org. "The Nobel Peace Prize 1926, joint winner Gustav Stresemann". Retrieved 7/9/2013.