Talk:Treaty of Versailles/Archive 1

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I tagged this page with {{POV check}} because I noticed several things that I wanted to put forward for other people to look at in this article

  • 1: "The Military conditions of the Treaty of Versailles were harsh and were put in action to prevent Germany from starting another World War."
Depending on who you talk to, this sentence may or may not be very fair. While Germany certainly had a large part in the onset of WWI, they cannot be held completely responsible. It can be argued that the other powers had as large of a part in its onset as Germany had. Because history is written by the victors, I have always felt Germany has been a bit too harshly critisized for the start of the war. While WWII seems way more clear cutin its origins, the reasons for the first world war are much more spread out.
The point isn't whether the feelings were justified, it is whether they existed. They did exist, and a quick read of Punch magazine of the period will confirm that this using this reason (prevention) as a justification was one of the ways that the British and French dealt with their grief. Bejnar 00:02, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but it's stated as if this is the modern interpretation. It should be noted that "and were put in action to prevent Germany from starting another war, in accordance with the allied belief that Germany was responsible for WWI" Hvatum 20:15, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I see the article has been locked, that's probably a good idea. It's good in its current form. Better to have a good article then one with more information constantly being vandalized. Hvatum 05:43, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
  • 2: "In January 1921, this number was officially put at 269 billion gold marks, a sum that many economists deemed to be excessive."
I bring this sentence up because it has been argued by many scholars that the monetary reparations put on Germany were well within the bounds of the German economy to pay off over time. The fact that the Germans saw this ammount as unfair is totally resonable seeing as how any other power after the war would have seen sactions as a an admission of guilt a well.
Agreed, people on this talk page seem to be moving towards a irrelevant modern economic interpretations which say Germany "could" have paid the reperations off. Such analysies really don't matter, because the salient fact is that the German populace did not feel Germany was responsible for the war, and therefore felt reperations in any amount, especially such a large amount were wholly unfair and vengeful. This went a long way to discrediting the Weimar Government from the get-go, a pretty bad idea if your aim is to prevent a stable bulwark against renewed militarism... of course hindsight is 20/20. Hvatum 20:15, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Consider these things and tell me what you think. I didn't change the article because overall I think it is pretty good. Especially the parts discussing what the Big Three powers were looking for in Germany after the war. --ScottyBoy900Q 19:05, 05 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Given the hyperinflation caused by the war reparations, I think that the amount of money demanded was far too high. Didn't the US prevent a worldwide economic collapse in the 1920's by loaning Germany the money they needed for the reparations? --Kadett 19:07, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yes, but scholars and economists have said this is because Germany did not use the money for any other purpose than to pay their reparations to France and Britain. It was meant to be put back into their economy, but they did not use it that way like they were supposed to. --ScottyBoy900Q 21:02, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yes, because, they um, had reperations to pay which France and Britain were demanding? Seems like paying reperations, instead of investing the money economically, would indicate that reperations were a factor in their inability to invest the money economically. Is there some problem with my logic? :-P Hvatum 20:17, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

If in fact Germany paid even a fraction of the reperations, can anyone cite how much? Without a broad statement such as "the fact they had to pay...must have crippled their economy." In A World At Arms: A Global History of WWII, by Gerhard Weinberg, to use just one source, there's no mention of the fact Germany paid enough to cripple an economy as strong as theirs. In fact, the whole act of reperations comes across more as rhetoric than substance. The Allies did most of the "payment" for the rebuilding of Europe, in terms of the infrastructure. Moreover, Germany was in fact responsbile for starting WWI (they also did the bulk of the combat, Bulgaria used Germany's lead, and the Ottoman Empire relished in the fact German was on the brink of mechanized fighting) and the fact they Treaty's terms were unyielding are understandable. The fact Germany did not follow the Treaty and got away with it for over a decade is not.

JohnGedsudski9 (talk) 00:40, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

When it was written

Did the treaty END the war, or was it written AFTER the war? I keep finding different information, one saying that the treaty officially ended the war; "The Treaty of Versailles was the peace settlement signed after World War One" and another saying that the treaty was written after the war.


The armistice officially ended the fighting. The Treaty of Versailles was the peace treaty that would deal with the "final" conditions of Germany's surrender and the subsequent reorganisation of the international order.

Alternative Viewpoints section

I deleted this section because it was POV pushing and not written in an objective even-handed manner. The "facts" are not really facts, and the content here is not based on history. The user who created that section initially is and if you look at his history, the bulk of his/her edits regard "alternate history" fiction novels. Clearly his expertise is not applicable to real history. I'm actually sort of surprised that we let his submissions slip through the cracks for the last 3 months.

Please do not revert page without providing explanation here first. The purpose is to create an encyclopedic entry. One that is unbiased and professional. That is why I removed the "alternative viewpoints" section. It simply does not adhere to the standards of wikipedia.

Thanks! 20:04, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

It's back again and I see no notice ...

Yup. I reverted it (back to the form without the alternative viewpoints). The modern viewpoint regarding economic implications is interesting but not appropriate as the conclusion to the summary of the article. Hvatum 05:30, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

controversial but should be linked to both WWI & WWII

why is this not mentioned at all in your WWI entry, there is no link to this page either...why? a historical document which led to WWII? sorry i don't get it.

Why is what not mentioned. --ScottyBoy900Q 21:02, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)
He wants to know why the role of the treaty in the lead up to WW2 is not mentioned, or at least a link to the WW2 article provided. 05:19, 2 September 2007 (UTC)


Should we create a disambiguation page? There have been other notable Treaties of Versailles. The war between France and Britain was ended by a treaty signed there in 1783, for instance. (Currently, Treaty of Versailles (1783) redirects to Treaty of Paris (1783).) There's also the alliance between Austria and France of 1756, often called the first Treaty of Versailles. We currently have articles at neither Treaty of Versailles (1756) nor at First Treaty of Versailles... john k 01:58, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I would support this idea. --ScottyBoy900Q 00:24, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I move the WWI Treaty of Versailles to Treaty of Versailles (1919) and made the dismbiguation page the orginal Treaty of Versailles article page. I have checked for double redirects and have udpate some of the articles which link to the original TofV page, with emphasis those directly related to WWI or Versailles the location/building. --chemica 02:53, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Germany's Economy

It is nevertheless called the big four even though there were only three significant players in discussions. J P Taylor uses refers to them as the 'Big Four' as well, and he would know.

"The Treaty of Versailles did cripple Germany's economy..." I find this phrase very unhelpful. The extent to which Germany's economic woes were the result of Versailles and the reparations remains the subject of serious controversy. Other, more likely, explanations can be found in the long term policy of deficit financing adopted and maintained before, during and after WWI.

If I understand correctly, much of the trouble was due to German attempts to circumvent the Treaty of Versailles. For example, the 1923 bout of hyperinflation was the result of a countermove to a French occupation of the Ruhr in response to German default on the reparation payments. That doesn't mean that the Treaty itself crippled the economy since we don't really know for sure that default was unavoidable. -- KarlHallowell 16:32, 31 August 2005 (UTC)
An important fact to be recognised is that the Ruhr was probably the most important area in Germany's industry and therefore a huge part of their GDP. Without it Germany had significantly less resources.
The Weimar Government deliberately sabotaged their economy post-Versailles/1920s to exploit this against the Allies and for propaganda purposes exaggerated their economic hardship. For example the German Government had to pay back loans that paid for their war so they deliberately depreciated the mark in order to wipe out internal debt. Versailles certainly did not 'cripple the German economy'. See chapter four of Ernest Troughton (who was living in Germany at the time the economy was supposedly 'crippled') - It's Happening Again (London, John Gifford, 1944), pp. 34-45.Johnbull 01:08, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
Personally I'm very careful with books that were written during the wars - they can sometimes be quite biased. In any case I think that we can agree that the german economy had suffered both from the runaway inflation as well as running as a war economy during WWI. The reparations, excessive or not (well, demanding high annual payment for almost 60 years is quite over the top for me), did definitly further strain an already weakened economy. Stating "the Germans could have easily paid the reparations and just crippled their economy so they don't have to" is as one sided as saying "the german economy was in best health until Treaty of Versailles singlehandely crippled it". CharonX 02:37, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I've edited the last section again. REGARDLESS of what the ACTUAL economic or strategic implications of the treaty were I think ANYONE with ANY understanding of history can agree with my revision. I say we leave it here. Obviously we cannot agree upon the actual implications of the treaty, however the psychological effect of it upon Germany was obvious. The versailles treaty, combined with the great depression, created the destabilization and uncertainty necassary for someone like Hitler to come to power. Remember, we're talking about what actually happend in history. The modern understanding is important, but the most important factor is without argument the actual psychological and social effects of the treaty, as this is relevant to the ensuing effects much more then the actual economic effect. If anyone disagrees, please flesh out your argument here first, instead of just reverting. Otherwise I believe the current state is a good compromise. Hvatum 20:00, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Violations of the Treaty?

I read here and there of violations by Germany in subsequent years. For example, when did Germany finally ignore the restrictions on the size of the armed forces? Further, how did the Treaty finally end? This seems the place to describe these details. -- KarlHallowell 15:24, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

  • The Treaty of Rapallo let Germany train its army in the Soviet Union (a breach of the treaty) and according to someone who was actually present in Weimar Germany, General J. H. Morgan, records that Germany never disarmed in accordance with the terms of the Treaty. See his book Assize of Arms or John Wheeler-Bennett's The Nemesis of Power.
    Johnbull 01:08, 11 November 2005 (UTC)
  • Adolf Hitler#Rearmament and new alliances dates repudiation of Versaille in 1935 (conscription reintroduced), and this talk page's article can not be considered complete without mention of that.
    --Jerzyt 07:34, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  • This article is strange in that it focuses so little on Germany's eventual blatant violation of the treaty. I think it would be useful to break down when they first broke each term. Superm401 - Talk 06:47, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
What is uncertain there? It was gradually violated after Hitler came to power. Before that the allies were the ones disarming Germany, there wasn't much choice in the matter. Hvatum 03:16, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
I noticed someone added a section outlining violations to the treaty. Good job. It was incorrectly placed however, as it is pertaining to specifics of the treaty and therefore belongs in the body of the article (per Wikipedia policy). I therefore moved it between the article's conclusion and "reaction to the treaty" sections. I also corrected a few sentences which seemed poorly written or slightly confusing. Also, the point regarding the training of German military forces in Russia incorrectly states that Germany's "first" Tanks in Planes were tested. This is in fact incorrect, as both sides employed tanks and aerial combat units in the first world war.Hvatum 04:47, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

No Reparations paid?

"It should be noted that the German government under the Weimar Republic and the Nazis never payed a cent or pence of reperations." -- Is this true? What are the sources?

You are right in doubting the statement. 67 billion Goldmark were actually paid (but in the eyes of the Allies only 20billion). My source is Cornelson's history book ISBN 3-464-64294-1 The edit is done in this time period: [1]. If statements added, changed or deleted are wrong (especially in that time period), please don't hesitate to change them back or add the suspicious sentence to this talk page for analyis.

The word "revenge" is constantly used here, or in my opinion mis-used, with respect to the France's position. It carries an inappropriate emotional conotation while it only seems rational and legitimate for the french to take the front role and make their demands after sufferring most of the immense war damage and uncavalier menace of the germans destructing everything in their retreat, per article.--Lucian 18:51, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Do you understand the meaning of the word "revenge?"
Revenge: "to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of"
Demanding reperations for "suffering" war damage is a form of revenge. This isn't up for discussion, it's a basic definition of the word revenge. Perhaps this is bias on your part, but it's better to give the benefit of the doubt. If the author had used the word "Vindictive" then I would agree that it would carry inappropriate emotional connotation, but revenge is an accurate and appropriate word. Hvatum 19:34, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

It is the word "punish" which makes it violate NPOV i believe. That hangs on whether you believe Germany to be "guilty", which they did sign up to it has to be admitted. Thereby hangs the rub. How to weigh up a signed admission against a belief by most of a population. The word "Reparations" carrys with it no sense of guilt but simply of debt or wrong and the act of making amends, repairing or compensating. Therefore compensation or remuneration required from a defeated nation as indemnity for damage or injury during a war. I think it is widely accepted today that the treaty was iniquitous, impractical and driven more by the short sighted national economic needs of each of the allies than by a serious attempt to repair, keep the peace or impose workable changes. Facius 20:10, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Treaties of this sort are essentially signed at gunpoint, so Germany's "admission" of guilt is hardly relevant. 05:23, 2 September 2007 (UTC)


Does anyone have an original citation for the quote "...chain reaction leading to World War II" attributed to a Dan Rowling, historian, in 1951?

A search return numerous articles, all of which refer circularly to this this Wikipedia page. A search of several university libraries does not return any books or journals by anyone named Dan Rowling.

StormbringerFX time: 0412, 18 November 2006 (EST)

There is a series of articles on the Treaty of Versailles in The Times in 1929 (commemorating 10 years of existence).

Jackiespeel 15:56, 9 September 2005 (UTC)


The story being that Liechtenstein was left off the final list of signatories, and so found itself fighting two world wars with Germany in September 1939.

Is this true?

Jackiespeel 15:56, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Self-determination a source of friction?

I found the following statement somewhat curious (it comes at the end of a paragraph on Wilson's influence at the peace conference):

"Self-determination was, and continues to be, a source of friction between different ethnic groups around the world as each group seeks to define and enhance its position in the world."

This almost sounds like the author is saying that national self-determination is to blame for conflicts between varying ethnic groups--surely one group oppressing another, which is often the situation when people are not self-governing, would be a greater "source of friction"? If he or she is not saying that, they should change it, if they are, I think they need to clarify their meaning more precisely. (I was going to delete it outright but didn't want to be heavy-handed).

Critic9328 02:43, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

I have removed certain personal opinions/PoV from this article but it still needs more work. Removed:

  • "The military conditions of the Treaty of Versailles were harsh and largely motivated out of fear and a French wish for revenge."
  • "In fact a great deal of the provisions regarding Germany in the treaty can be linked back to this fear and desire for vengeance."

- Ted Wilkes 15:39, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Map needs edit

The map on the page shows the areas of German that were lost at the end of the WWI. The area that became western Poland is marked Danzig Corridor with an arrow pointing to the whole territory. My understanding is that the Danzig corridor, refers only to the narrow strip of land that separated East Prussia from the rest of Germany. The arrow needs positioning.

Little political jokes

There are little political inside jokes in thus articles and international treaties which can be funny, but even so misleading when you don't understand them. One of them is the term that Germany had to accept the sovereignity of Austria.

Ever since the end of the "Deutscher Bund" 1866 Austria hadn't been part of any german organisation, but this didn't stop Austria from speaking and feeling, so being german all over the time, especially since the Imperial Germany and Austrian-Hungary had been allies since then, fighting WW1 together.

Once Wilson's politic of self-determination destroyed their empire. the germans of Austria seeked to unify with the other part of Germany. Not just that it was refused to them even when in plebiscites in some regions 99% of them voted for the unification, but parts of the settlement conneceted to the core like South-Tirol or the Sudetenland were stripped of it against the idea of Wilson's 14 points.

I don't lament. France and the other allies hadn't led the war to make Germany even stronger, given the stable population such a unification would have brought to germany charged with the loss of population based on the generous handing over of former german territory especially in the east.

But saying Germany had to accept the independence of Austria is like to force the USA to accept the independence of Illinois or England to accept the freedom of the "Free City of Manchester"... it is worse than a joke, it is a lie.


A book I have contains the quote, by Foch:

It is not a peace, it is an armistice for 20 years.

Is there a place in the article for it? It is especially interesting since he was right to the year, and it shows the doubt about the effectiveness of the Treaty. Ben davison 17:25, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

A section on notable persons' quotations on the subject seems appropriate. I have previously read, and particularly like, that one. (That's French field marshal Ferdinand Foch, in case anyone's having trouble at the disambig.) --BDD 17:58, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Versailles and aspirin

Does anyone else think that the bit about the trademark on aspirin being relinquished as part of the reparations is worthy of inclusion here? The link is here; the exact quote is "Believe it or not, the trademarks [to Aspirin] were given up at the Treaty of Versailles to France, England, Russia, and the United States in 1919.] I am not sure where this is in the full text or whether more products than just aspirin were affected. Does anyone else know? -Scm83x 11:48, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

- “it will be a miracle if much remains for reparations.” (John Maynard Keynes)


I think this page could be ordered into more structured sections. As a proposal, some rewording could give something like this:

--> Background for the Treaty (i.e. World War One coverage)

. After the allies won Germany signed the treaty as a diktat

. Germany signed the treaty in the light of Wilson's 14 pts

. They also expected to have some input/to receive a fair treaty

--> The Allies' Aims (and/or) The Making Of The Treaty Of Versailles

. Wilson's (and 14 pts)

. Clemenceau (Considerable pressure, vengeful)

. Lloyd George (Somewhat vengeful, under considerable pressure, "Make Germany Pay")

. Germany could "sit in"

--> The Terms of the Treaty of Versailles

. Economic

. Territorial

. "Moral" (War Guilt, pride)

--> Fairness

. War Guilt, (some say pointless, others say most justifiable)

. Territory (some say justifiable, others disagree citing self determination)

. Military

. Reparations (What value to place on it? include human loss? A figure germany CAN pay or a figure that reflects war costs? This dilemma)

. What Germany did to Russia in the T of Brest-Litovsk

. But Germany stood down while they could have carried on fighting (valour)

. Was the treaty a fatal compromise of conflicting interests?

--> Effects of the treaty in German society

. Kaiser's abdication

. Outarge, Germans in general did not feel as though they had lost the war . Disillusionment over reparations

. General strikes (crashing their own economy)

Admittedly it would be some work but I'm more than willing to help, the target being to make the switch without losing any information already present and hopefully adding some along the way! Who thinks this would be more logical? Any suggestions?

-Christopher --Christopher 19:55, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Merge with Irreconcilables

The section of the Irreconcilables article on the division of the U.S. Senate on approval of the treaty should be moved into the article about the Treaty of Versailles. -timrem 22:47, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree Bcem2 00:59, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I also concur Snoop 11:02, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I concur as well. --chemica 01:56, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Could you explain further what you mean? And what's the Irreconcilables article? john k 04:30, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

The Irreconcilables article contains information about the US Senate debate over whether or not to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, specifically the three groups which most Senators fit into: Internationalists, Irreconcilables, and Reservationists. I am simply proposing that this information be worked into the article about the Treaty of Versailles instead of remaining in a seperate article, and perhaps expanded by someone with a greater knowledge of the subject. timrem 17:37, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Currency Conversion

I have this problem everywhere: inconsistency in currencies. I mean, it's all well and good that it was set at 132 billion gold marks, but if it was reduced to $XXXX (US Dollars), what does that mean? How much is that in German currency? You'd think it would make sense to compare the terms in the same currency. Otherwise, the values are meaningless. How many people know the conversion rate of USD-German Gold Marks at the time? (And don't go quoting "1 bazillion marks to a dollar," because those were paper marks. - Darkhawk

Well, the reparations were set on the dollar- when exchange rates varied, they would follow the dollar not the mark (in part to prevent Germany deliberatly causing hyperinflation to pay 'em off easy.)Larklight 14:37, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Revisionist history presented as fact

"The economic problems that the payments brought, and German resentment at their imposition, are cited by many as one of the causes of the end of the Weimar Republic and the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler, which eventually led to the outbreak of World War II. This theory was discounted in the book Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret Olwen MacMillan."

I've rewritten this last section. Just because some over-enthusiastic wikipedian has read a piece of revisionist history doesn't mean this article has to be at odds with what most people understand of the Treaty of Versailles. Colonel Mustard 02:33, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Incidentally, I've removed this sentence: In any case, the reparations issue was used by some in Germany as nationalistic propaganda.

This information probably should be in the article, but this sentence is so vague that someone needs to work out what exactly the original author was attempting to say and re-insert a clarified version. You can't "use" an "issue" as "nationalistic propaganda". Bad combination of verbs and nouns and things. Colonel Mustard 02:45, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

The context is a bit odd also. The reperations issue was not raised by the Weimar government as propaganda, the Weimar republic didn't do propaganda! Hitler and the Nazis employed it as propaganda, it might be appropriate to mention this. But making such a large generalization as "Issue X was used by people Z as Propaganda" is too nonspecific to be useful to anyone. It will just leave the user feeling confused. Thanks for discussing your edits! Hvatum 03:11, 28 January 2007 (UTC)


Several articles about China talk about the "humiliating Versailles treaty" being a major contributory factor to the May Fourth movement there, but nothing here describes why it was humiliating for China. i know the treaty gave large areas of Chinese territory to Japan without consulting the Chinese, but I don't know enough to edit it into the article. If anyone else does, then it should be in here.--Jackyd101 00:05, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

hmmm, i always thought the treaty just didn't do anything about shandong, the japanese has already occupied the cities before the war end. imo it was the weakness of the government to retake shandong before ther japanese could get their hands on it that led to discontent with the government. the treaty is kind of just a false hope for the incapable government. at least, the stories my father told me was one of government weakness, not 1 of bad treaties(while western treaty never favoured china anyway... until ROC time where China got a veto in UN)... i doubt the public even knew much about the treaty back then, they only know the chinese couldn't retake a chinese port faster than a foreigner could, and no matter how you look at it, it is just bad for your popularity! Akinkhoo (talk) 13:04, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Versailles and the Collapse of Weimar.

I wonder if too strong a causal connection is being made here between Versailles and the eventual collapse of the Weimar republic. Few Germans-either of the political right or left-liked Versailles, but most came to live with it. With the onset of the 'calm years' from 1924 onwards parties irreconcilably opposed to the treaty were in a minority. The collapse when it came owed far more to a variety of economic factors-including the drying up of subsidies and investments under the Dawes Plan-rather than the 'humiliation and shock' of Versailles. Also it might be worth considering what kind of peace treaty would have been acceptable to Germany in 1919? One, I think, that would have left them stronger than before, at least in territorial terms. White Guard 00:32, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. It seems to be commonplace in many American colleges to teach undergaduates that WWII was caused by Versailles and appeasement and then to slip in something about a funny little man with a toothbrush moustache as little more than an afterthought. Norvo 15:18, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
Disagreed. You are misrepresenting scholarly opinion. I don't know where to start with the original poster: "what kind of peace treaty would have been acceptable to Germany in 1919?" What? So, your logic is "Germany would not have really liked any treaty the allies imposed. So the allies might as well impose the harshest terms they can mutually agree upon." Seems a bit queer to me. Kind of like saying "Law breakers won't be happy with any punishment, so we might as well give them all the death penalty."
Secondly neither of you have even read an average AP Euro Highschool textbook. The versailles treaty is not blamed as the sole factor leading to world war II. I've never read such a thing in any American textbook. Perhaps you should actually follow Wikipedia's policy, and find some original sources to back these claims up? In any case, a survey course of history for undergraduates will inevitably make over-simplifications, afterall, history is complex. It isn't easily distilled down into a one semester non-major course. Even my Highschool history textbook "American Pageant" attributed Hitler's rise to power primarily to [b]unemployement[/b] due to the great depression, not the Versailles treaty.
I've revised the article to focus more upon the Psychological effects of the treaty on Germany, since there is so much conflicting scholarship on the economic effects the article should not end with such. I believe we can all agree the Psychological effects are undeniable and significant. Thanks for helping Wikipedia! Hvatum 03:03, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

The Treaty of Versailles was the first in centuries which was signed without talks between the victorious and the defeated nations. That's why it was called a diktat, and that's also why it traumatized large parts of the German population (but also that of Hungary, for example - which called it "Tria-Non"). The negotiations took part between the Allies exclusively - does anyone know another peace treaty which has been concluded this way in younger European history?

There is the sentence "This territory had already been liberated by local Polish population during the Great Poland Uprising of 1918-1919 (area 53,800 km², 4,224,000 inhabitants (1931), including 510 km² and 26,000 inhabitants from Upper Silesia) (This includes parts of West Prussia that were ceded to Poland to provide free access to the sea, creating the Polish Corridor." without any proof. And why is it called a "liberation", since West Prussia had a mixed population? This is quite a one-sided approach. Not too objective. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:13, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

well, the war is not all germany fault is it? everyone were looking for a fight, your "Law breakers won't be happy with any punishment" is off since being victor doesn't mean you ain't wrong. war doesn't decide who's right, only who's left! ;) i wish you withdraw some colourful arguements as war isn't actually a crime in international law, it is actually legal. :( Akinkhoo (talk) 13:10, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Although this is only partly relavent to the original post in this section, I didn't find a better place to put it, and I think it identifies a weakness in the "American Aims" section. Prior to the Armistice German leadership, specifically Ludendorff read Wilson's 14 Points and even mentioned it during his conversations with the Kaiser and Chancellor when he first told them the war was lost. It is fair to say that part of Germany's distaste for the treaty was that it didn't follow the 14 points, which covered more than the war itself---i.e. Open Treaties openenly arrived at. (gotta love that terrible grammar) In any case, I think the section should identify the 14 points as the initial goal of Wilson. Also, the lack of evidence of the Points in the treaty helped create the German backlash, along with the fact that they were now allowed to participate in the discussions in the first place. I'll try to see what I can do with that section in a few days. Wood Artist 05:41, 28 April 2007 (UTC)


I would like to see a map of europe before and after the treaty.

I agree. A map would help this article greatlyCheif Captain 04:26, 29 March 2007 (UTC)


This page seems to get more than its fair share of anonymous vandalism. Should it be semi-protected?--Boson 07:44, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Secret Honkey Ritual?
I happen to agree. User:tightkid 04:11 pm, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry but I disagree. It is Wikipedia philosophy to allow anonymous edits. Semi-protection is intended to stop a sudden rash of attacks or a steady, continuous high rate of vandalism. At least one admin has suggested that 10-15 vandalisms in a 24-hour period is the threshold where semi-protection is warranted. The level of vandalisms appears to be on the order of 1 a day. I would leave it unprotected for now. If the rate of vandalism increases dramatically, we can ask for a temporary semi-protection. --Richard 21:01, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
It seems to be tolerable at the moment. It was very bad in November/December, when practically all the edits were vandalism and reverts. It was then semi-protected for a couple of weeks and that worked for a few weeks, but then there was a build-up and it was semi-protected again for a couple of weeks in February. The effect seems to have lasted for a while. It's my guess (based on the IPs and the nature of the vandalism) that there is a rash of vandalism when the topic comes up in class in American schools. I wonder if teachers could be persuaded to encourage their charges to be more respectful of common property. All the energy spent on removing vandalism could then be devoted to improving the articles that help them do their homework. On the other hand, perhaps the young vandals will realize that constructive edits are much more rewarding and grow up to be valued contributors. --Boson 00:21, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Big Three vs Big Four discussions

Big Three?

Note that several texts books including R.R. Palmer have stated the "Big Four" and not the "Big Three" consisting of Wilson, George, Clemenceau and Orlando.

I changed the edition from the "Big Three" to the "Big Four" back to say the "Big Three." I kept the reference to Italy & Japan's representatives but they were not considered part of the major allies. That's why they are called the "Big Three" in almost every single WWI source. Can you please provide some bibliographic evidence of your claim? Also, please sign your posts. --ScottyBoy900Q 04:23, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It may as well be big 5 then, because Prime Minister Robert Borden of Canada was also a big presense.--Puckeater8 01:22, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

i don'think so. His presence is only significant because it was the first "canadian" external affair dealt with canadian government without the British Power. He didn't do much really.

According to Europe in the Twentieth Century (4th ed., 1980), by Roland N. Stromberg (late Professor of European History at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), it was the "Big Four," including Wilson, George, Clemenceau and Orlando (p.103). Ltell 19:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Both versions ("three and four") can be found in the literature, partly depending on what period one is talking about. This is explained in the article.
"Eventually Russia and five other countries left the meetings so only the "Big Four" remained. After Italy left, the final conditions were determined by the "Big Three" nations: United States, France and Great Britain."
This might be clearer if the article was better structured. In my opinion it needs a complete restructuring.
See also #Big Three/Four revisited--Boson 21:17, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Big Four vs Big Three

See [2] for a glossary that has both terms. I've reverted the page back to the Big Four term. -- Hirudo 13:44, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Big Three/Four revisited

See also: #Big Four vs Big Three and #Big Three? This seems to get changed back and forth, although evidence has been provided that both are used. The edits are are sometimes by anonymous users and result in odd statements. At the moment we have the "Big Four" consisting of three people. Sometimes we have "the Big four", followed by a statement that a fourth person also played a minor role. Could we get a consensus on leaving "Big Four" (but adding the name of the fourth person) and adding a footnote (ref) to the effect that some references talk of the Big Three, not including the Italian (and providing at least one citation)? --Boson 07:44, 1 December 2006 (UTC) I would suggest we add our opinions here (thus):

  • In favour --Boson 07:44, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
PS: There is a Wikipedia article on the Big Four that includes this meaning.--Boson 13:54, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Since someone has changed it back to "Big Three" without further discussion, and this is used elsewhere in the article, I have re-inserted the sentence about the Italian prime minister and added a footnote explaining that "Big Three" and Big Four" are both used. If necessary we could add citations to the footnote. --Boson 21:15, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Brest Litovsk comperable to Versailles. Citations? (Quote removed pending source)...

I think some sources are needed to back up what's said in this article, for example: "Some modern historians, however, argue that this cause was reasonable in that it reflected the harsh terms Germany had negotiated with Russia with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk." Who are these historians?

User:AndiEffe 12:02, 08 December 2006.

I'm just going to remove that sentence, unless someone has a reputable source. The reperations to be paid by Russia were around 10B Gold Reichsmark, the reperations Germany was to pay were 29 times that amount! Unless someone can explain the reasoning behind this claim, I don't think it belongs in the article. Hvatum 03:07, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
There is some relevance to the statement. Germany had demanded significant reparations from Russia, which have been characterized as "harsh." I don't have the citation at my fingertips, but I can find it. In any case, it provided some justification for what ultimately ended up in the final Versailles document. It does not speak to whether Versailles was "appropriate" in this regard, but does point out Germany felt free to make similar demands just one year before. The specific amounts are not related, but I think careful wording could point out that reparations were very much a part of the landscape at the time. Again, I'll try to work on this in a few days and come up with something appropriate. Wood Artist 05:58, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

this is just a hint: Please compare the Brest-Litovsk treaty regulations with todays situation. Look at the new countries, that were established there and look at them today. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:46, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Not That Unfair?

You said that Germany having to pay lots of reparations according to the Treaty of Versailles was very unfair? Well, it doesn't seem that unfair when I read Part VIII: Annex I. I mean, don't you think innocent Belgian civilians, for example those in Ypres, whose homes were destroyed in the war, should have been compensated? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:22, 21 January 2007 (UTC).

Please don't post silly strawmen, it doesn't help anyone. No one said dutch civilians should not be compensated, you're actually the first one I've ever heard who put that forward as a suggestion! Maybe you are the revisionist here? 219 Billion Marks DNE the damage caused to dutch civilians... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hvatum (talkcontribs) 03:05, 28 January 2007 (UTC).
The first replie states that Belgian civilians should be compensated. The seccond is about Dutch civilians. Belgium and The Netherlands have nothing more in common than The United States and Canada. In fact, The Netherlands were neutral in the first world war. And then, to get on topic: I think it really was unfair to make a country bleed for 70 years. Compensation is one thing but making a country pay 269 billion gold marks is unfair. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC).

If you go to the "orgigins of first world war" Wikepedia article, you will see a map of the races that made up the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It shows the geographical dispensation of the slavic, Latin, and Germanic peoples. The Versailles Treaty actually created new nations largely based on this geograhical makeup of the empire. That was the proper way to deal with the Austro-Hungarians. Loss of the German Navy and the loss of their colonies was really the only way to compensate Britain for the terrible losses inflicted by this war. Loss of Alsace-Lorraine was the only way to compensate France. The loss of territory to Denmark was really a rectification of a great wrong done by Prussia in the 1864 time frame. Prussia had "promised" to hold a plebiscite, but never did. As far as indemnities, the indemnities against Germany were far more lenient(based on actual war damages) than those that Germany charged against France in 1871. (talk) 07:12, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

'Dude, Riley, What's up with this?'?

...can someone get rid of that. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:53, 2 February 2007 (UTC).

It was already removed by the time you posted this request, but thanks for pointing it out. —Krellis 02:43, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Russia's Role

This confusion may be due to a misunderstanding on my part, but if, as it is stated originally, Russia was excluded from negotiations on the Treaty, why were they included in the meetings of the "Big Ten"? Did the group of nations not convene to discuss the treaty? -Hoekenheef 22:46, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Er, the big ten were the leaders and foreign ministers of Britain, Italy, France, the US, and Japan. john k 15:28, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

War Guilt

The "War Guilt clause reads:

"The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.

Why has this text been misconstrued for the past 88 years as blaming Germany "solely" for the war when it explicitly references "Germany and her allies"? 22:02, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies. It does not state Germany "and her allies accept the responsibility for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments... "
...This is pretty cut and dry. I think part of your confusion stems from a changing lexicon, instead of talking about blame in reference to the treaty one should address "responsibility" (which the treaty lays solely on Germany) and the "cause" which the treaty states was Germany and her allies. The responsibility is directed at Germany. Germany is a single easy target from which to demand reperations, so the allied governments laid responsibility on her, while ironically acknowledging that the "cause" was not Germany alone. 06:54, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

This was written in 1919, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire so Germany didn't have any allies by then. In any case, Verasilles was directed at Germany while other losers had seperate treaties. So Verailles wouldn't be asking defunct German allies to accept responsibility. If the clause truley implied that Germany was entirely responsible responsible for the war that it and its allies started, it would not include "and her allies" in the first place and would read: Germany accepts the responsibility for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies. Rather, it seems to be a statement making Germany agree that the Central Powers started the war and not the Allies. 01:05, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

That pretty much is what it says. You added a bunch of redudant verbiage but it still does not say "Germany and her allies accept the responsibility for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments... " Instead, it says "Germany accepts the responsibility." Oddly enough your revised version which supposedly would clearly place the blame still includes "and her allies" in it.
Perhaps a more modern example would clarify things for you. If the police said "Do you accept the responsibility of you and these two drunk people for the damage caused in this traffic accident?" I would assume your answer would be a strong no. Afterall, why should the police care whether or not you accept that seperate parties from yourself are responsible. The above statement is syntactically identical to the clause in the original treaty. Regardless of your and my differing opinion, I think we can both agree that there is at the least a dangerous amount of ambiguity there. If they had truly wanted to clearly divide blame they would have written "Germany and her allies accept the responsibility."
I agree that they do not explicitly blame the war only on Germany, though the article doesn't state this, so I don't really know what your complaint is. If you see a problem with the article then address it, but whatever misconceptions may or may not exist in society as a whole aren't really central :). Thanks for contributing, you have got me thinking about this point. 04:02, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Taking the car accident analogy one step further, you rent a car and together with your two drunk buddies get in an accident. One drunk buddy is killed, the other turns out to have few assets but you have a fair chunk of change. To whom do those injured or otherwise damaged by your accident turn to for restitution? Guess what, it's you. Even if you weren't driving and were just egging on the driver. You bear some responsibility for the damage. Are you responsible for all the damage or just some? That's for a jury to decide. Guess what the Big Four decided?
On a different tack, whose armed forces caused most of the damage? On French and Belgian soil? To Allied shipping?
That's a red herring. This would only really be relevant to the war-guilt argument if the Armed Forces of Germany's allies had played an absolutely inconsequential role. Determining the degree of damage caused by each belligerent is only relevant when working out the respective size of payments. When discussing who is responsible, period, then magnitude takes a back seat in my opinion. Either way it's not clear cut, and I like your elaboration on that analogy. 08:08, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
--Richard 21:12, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

B-class for Military History

I decided after using this article from a research prespective that it deserved atleast a "B" rating instead of a "Start" rating. It meets all of the criteria and is much longer and better written then many of the "B" articles I've seen. It could use a POV check in some places (as has been previously mentioned) and still could use some references in many places also but I decided that it was more then good enough. Cheif Captain 04:23, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Reservationists re-directs here?

...Why? There is no reference to the distinctions within the US Senate during the ratifiaction debate. Could someone please either expand upon this or create a new article?-- 03:34, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Military Sanctions

I found some of these sanctions somewhat contradictory:

  • The German armed forces cannot number more than 100,000 troops and no conscription
  • Manufacturing of weapons is prohibited.
  • Import and export of weapons is prohibited.
  • Naval forces limited to 15,000 men, 12 destroyers, 6 battleships, and 6 cruisers.
  • Submarines are prohibited.
  • Military aircraft are prohibited.

If you can't import or manufacture any weapons, how can you maintain a limit of 100,000 troops? Was the expectation that these troops would forever operate with inventories in existance? Same with naval vessels? Wikihonduras 20:39, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

The point wasn't for the Germans to maintain a military force capable of invading other countries, merely that she should be aloud a small force so that she could firstly keep internal social uprisings at bay; and secondly so as to allow her reasonable means of self-defence, should she be attacked. Neither of these needed extensive or sophisticated military technology (such as submarines or aircraft) and after having over 13m troops mobilised in the war she should be able to find sufficient supplies of weaponry available. pullan87 01:02, 23 May 2007 (UTC)


I think it needs a thing about citing references or sources, because one thing appears twice in there, suggesting that the author didn't even care what he was pasting: "France had suffered very heavy casualties during the war (some 1.24 million military and 40,000 civilians dead; see World War I casualties), and much of the western front had been fought on French soil." It appears in the France subheading. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:59, 7 May 2007 (UTC).

German military restrictions

There needs to be a citation on the section of this article labeled 'military restrictions.' I have looked all over the internet and can find no information regarding the ban on the German manufacture and import/export of weapons.

Exclusion of Austria from Article

This article ignores austria completely... it was their duke who was killed and they did incite the war, germany was heavily involved and paid dearly for it, but austria lost an entire empire. 05:53, 17 October 2007 (UTC) The Treaty of Versailles was the settlement negotiating peace between Germany and the Allies. The Austrian-Allied treaty was the Treaty of Saint-Germain. (talk) 17:22, 5 April 2008 (UTC)


"They did not feel that they were responsible for starting the war nor did they feel as though they had lost." Okay for the first part of the sentence, but the second? Come on, the people claiming that Germany hadn't lost the war were only a radical right-wing minority before 1933. As you can read in Thomas Mann's diary, even a moderate conservative as he still was at the time, during the months prior to the armistice was fully aware that Germany was losing, and that not even a patriot like him had a problem about losing Alsace-Lothringia as he felt it being only fair after losing the war.

How come there's a section titled Alternative viewpoints on how the Treaty was not too harsh when the section just above on the current mainstream assessment by historians holds by 95% exactly the same sentiment? The German version of this article claims that even most Allied historians are fully aware today of how unfair it was to blame the war solely on Germany and Austria-Hungary (quote, "The Treaty was not meant to research or give unbiased insights into the historical causes of the war, instead it was solely made to enforce France's grossly excessive financial demands."). How could anyone get the idea the cancellation of the reparations would be a result of the Treaty itself as is claimed in the Alternative section, not the Treaty's violation or revocation? --Tlatosmd 12:16, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I have A Question

What exactly were the requirements of the treaty it is really getting on my nerves. I can not find it anywhere in the page. To answer this question please do so on my page Roxmysoxo::Talk To Me 21:42, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


I have dramatically trimmed down the exposition of Étienne Mantoux's book, as per our policy on undue weight. John Maynard Keynes is unquestionably one of the most prominent economists of the 20th century, so his views are highly notable (and they have been widely commented on; it would be nice to get some more sources here). On the other hand, Mantoux is a virtual nonentity. To give Mantoux's rebuttal about eight times as much space as Keynes' book is a clear example of undue weight in violation of Wikipedia's neutrality policy. Quite frankly, I'm not sure it even deserves to be mentioned at all. The only reason I left it in is that it was published in a university press. *** Crotalus *** 01:48, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

American Treaty?

Waht was the name of the treaty the USA was forced to sign after the Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles? Perhaps a link/mention of it here would be a good idea? (talk) 22:07, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Historical assessments

replying to the following: "Barnett also claims that, in strategic terms, Germany was in fact in a superior position following the Treaty than she had been in 1914. Then, Germany's eastern frontiers faced Russia and Austria, who had both in the past balanced German power. But the Austrian empire fractured after the war into smaller, weaker states and Russia was wracked by revolution and civil war. The newly restored Poland was no match for even the defeated Germany."

The way i read it, Barnett claim german position was improved by the WAR not this TREATY (they were concluded by others event and treaty). hence this is a assessment of war and should not be included in the assessment of this treaty? pls review. Akinkhoo (talk) 12:46, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

No he was saying that the Treaty failed to weaken German power by taking these factors into account. The Treaty was after all intended to weaken Germany.--Johnbull (talk) 03:13, 21 February 2008 (UTC)


Irreconcilables redirects to this, but they are not mentioned within the article. Perhaps they should be included under the United States section or the redirect should be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:53, 3 March 2008 (UTC)


The page doesn't focus on germany's economic disaster that resulted because of the Treaty of Versailles. in your opinion, what do you think was the negatives of the treaty on Germany and how did it effect germany's economy? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

I have an answer

Go to eBay, and buy a FIVE BILLION MARK NOTE, and i guess you won't have to spend much more than one dollar. Those things are worth NOTHING, even today. No coin-or banknote collector wants them, because even today, almost 100 years later, there are still tons, loads of them around. Fleamarkts are flooded with it.

My mother used to have a cleaning woman, a simple woman, she was old and i liked listening to her when i was a kid, when she put her broomstick aside for a few minutes and talked about the old days. I was really nosy and i would ask her anything. Once she talked about the hyperinflation:

Die Arbeiter trugen ihren Lohn in Waschkörben nach Hause - und dennoch war es nichts wert. Another time she would say: Sobald die Leute das Geld am Morgen erhalten hatten, beeilten sie sich, es auszugeben, denn bereits am Abend war es nichts mehr wert. Those 1920ies, when she was young, sounded like a really wild time to me. But not "wild" in a good sense - but in a rather negative, panicking, desperate....destructive way.

The economist calls it "a gallopping" Inflation or a "hyperinflation". Many people killed themselves, cause they had lost all their savings, sometimes virtually overnight, mass poverty and dispair unfurled. Before the hyperinflation, 1000 marks was a fortune. Soon enough, a Billion Marks was worth nothing, those families who had saved every penny all their life for building a small house for their wife and kids, finally found themselves in the dead-end gutter of hopes, with all they had stinted themselves for all their life, smashed and destroyed overnight. Can you imagine, going with a 5-billion dollar note to a Baker's shop, asking for a tiny bread roll, and the baker telling you: "Sorry, you haven't got enough money with you". This is serious - in the end, you couldn't even buy food with all those billions.

The inflation was caused by the French Invasion in 1923, and by the German Government having to pay German workers on strike, who refused to work for the invaders. Something that we, funnily enough, never learned at school (German schools are still under Allied control, and if you delve on your own a bit deeper, you very soon find why they don't want young Germans to know what exactly happened. WW II did not just break out because a madman ruled a jew-eating nation, as the Allied media liked to make believe. But the reasons, why this man came to power at all, and why people fell for him, are a direct consequence of the fatal decisions of 1918).

I used to blame people for having voted Hitler. Now that i found out so many things about what the Allies had done to Germany, i don't blame them any more. I know clearly who is to blame, and who created the desaster by the will to cripple a nation, rather than trying to stabilize her young democracy. The situation in the 1920ies and early 1930ies was merely desastrous, people were hoping for someone to put them back into bread and work again and to help them out of their misery. The Allies were more than foolish, they were not aware that they made the young republic unpopular; this new thing called "democracy" was perceived by people as a chaos combined with poverty, foreign rule, enslavement, starvation, mass unemployment, in short: the complete breakdown of order and of normal life.

Not Germany is guilty - the Allies are guilty of Versailles. Hitler was no a creation in Munich 1933 - but a creation of Versailles 1918. (Theodor Heuss, 1st German president of the Federal Rep. of Germany since 1949). A Nazi Party in Germany before 1918, did not exist. Few years after 1918, it was born.

I have never ever in my life read in an Allied history book about the French invasion with tanks and 100 000 soldiers killing people and expelling people (remember, during "peace"), i have never read about Czech tanks doing to the same to three Million Germans, and i have never read anything about this desastrous hyperinflation in Germany in the 1920ies. I think there's far more to history than the Allied "hurray we won"- version of war. So who's gonna write about the truth that remains unpublished? I have written quite a bit now.


Peter —Preceding unsigned comment added by PeterBln (talkcontribs) 00:46, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Image size

An editor recently reverted all the image sizes to the standard default 180px, quoting the MoS. This despite the fact that the guideline clearly says that the image in the lead should not be less than 300px, and permits varying sizes if "[t]he image subject or properties may call for a specific image width to enhance the readability or layout of an article," which is frequently the case. To arbitrarily revert to the default thumb size, seems to me to disrespect editors who have taken the time to place images in the most appropriate location and size. Thoughts? Sunray (talk) 06:40, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Guidelines come and go, but common sense dictates that those readers who have logged in should have their image size preferences respected. This project is for the readers, not the editors. You will find if you try that "the most appropriate location and size" varies hugely depending on what size monitor you use, which is why we have such preferences. --John (talk) 15:18, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Verkündung der Wehrfreiheit 1935

Under the Treaty violations heading, there's a description of German rearmament in 1935. What I seek to clarify: what are terms used in German for this? (N.B. content re: misreading of Wehrgesetzes in fraktur relocated to Language reference desk)-- Thanks, Deborahjay (talk) 10:57, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

The term for 'rearmament' itself is Wiederaufrüstung, in this context more fully Wiederaufrüstung der Wehrmacht ("rearmament of the Armed Forces") – or possibly just Aufrüstung der Wehrmacht. Wehrgesetz means "Law on the Armed Forces", of which there were many versions in the course of history. Verkündung here means the official announcement of a law by publication in the Reichsgesetzblatt; the law would then take effect on the next day (unless the law prescribed a later date). Before the Wehrgesetz of 21 May 1935 there were the Proklamation der Reichsregierung an das deutsche Volk bezüglich der Einführung der allgemeinen Wehrpflicht ("Proclamation of the Reich Government of the German People concerning the Introduction of General Conscription") and the Gesetz über den Aufbau der Wehrmacht ("Law on the Organization of the Armed Forces"), both of 16 March 1935. (Aufbau can also mean 'composition', 'build-up', 'construction', and so on.[3])  --Lambiam 09:14, 4 June 2008 (UTC)


The article especially towards the end of it, isn't staying towards a NPOV.Mr. Yooper (talk) 18:53, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Archive proposal

This page is getting rather long. I suggest archiving all sections. Any objections?--Boson (talk) 20:48, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Removed from the text

Unreferenced or under-referenced, and POV.

Viewpoints trying to legitimate the anti-democratic treaty

The interpretation that Germany was seriously weakened and humiliated by the Versailles Treaty has been disputed by some historians. [1] Some of these controversial arguments often quoted by Allied versailles-apologists include:

  • DISPUTED The commissions to supervise disarmament were withdrawn and the reparations payments were reduced and eventually cancelled, to mention just some of the changes made in Germany's favour. It is worth mentioning that the financial burden of reconstruction was shifted from Germany to those countries that were actually occupied and devastated by the war. NOTE: Lacking of facts, insufficient source. financial burden needs clarification, pls. indicate official numbers and figures. citation needed
  • DISPUTED Germany's industry and economic potential were less affected than its European enemies, and although weakened by the war, Germany was relatively stronger vis-à-vis its enemies in 1919 than it had been in 1913. NOTE: less affected and stronger needs clarification, pls. indicate official numbers and figures. citation needed
  • DISPUTED The creation of Poland, so derided by the critics of Versailles, shielded Germany from its potentially most powerful adversary, Russia. <<NOTE Please indicate source to prove that it was Poland's intention to shield Germany>> citation needed Independent Poland thwarted the Bolshevik, which was later supported by the USA and Great Britain by allying with Stalin, advance into a war-weakened Europe at the Battle of Warsaw in 1920, at a time when Germany faced Communist-inspired unrest and revolution. <<NOTE Further above you claimed that Germany was not weakened. Now you write, it was too much weakened to resist unrest and revolution. Which is true? >> This communist-inspired thread was few years later supported by Churchill and Roosevelt and subjugated half of Europe into a System of Terror, death and Tyranny [2].
  • DISPUTED <<NOTE: Name Areas, Number of People etc. or it will be deleted. "Big chunk" is no scientific expression. Thank you>> Germany kept a big chunk of its disputed areas populated by Polish-speaking minorities <<WHICH AREAS SHOULD THAT BE? Indicate source, name figures, names, numbers.>> (especially where the minority was quite passive), while the most active nationalist population seceded. citation needed [3]
  • NONSENSE STATEMENT The post-war situation in the Balkans left Germany much more powerful than any of its eastern or south-Eastern European neighbours, none of which showed any signs of working together against Germany. << NOTE No Balkan state had reached Germany's economic level before or after the war, so the comparison makes no sense. Please moderate or it will be deleted, thank you.>>

The anti-democratic content of the treaty

  • The Versailles treaty was an anti-democratic treaty as it violated people's basic human rights such as the right to self-determination. It remains undisputed that none of the promises made by Woodrow Wilson concerning the right of self-determination had been fulfilled for millions of people. Millions of people in the Sudetenland and in Posen-Westprussia had been deprived of their nationality, their national identiy, their human rights and were subjugated under foreign rule where they became subject to Polish and Czech harrassment and violation of rights [4]
  • It also remains undisputed that the USA refused to sign the treaty as the right of self-determination had been intentionally violated by Britain and France. [5]
  • Ethnic conflicts were sharpening after the Versailles Treaty. Over 1 Million of Germans were forced under Polish oppression. While the countryside had a mixed Polish-German population, cities had a vast majority of German citizens, due to German town law that had been granted by Polish kings and dukes hundreds of years before the violation of people's rights by Poland in 1918. Polish Kings and Dukes had asked German settlers to come into the scarcely populated barren swampland in order to create trading places and make the barren land fertile. Those cities thus were not only populated by Germans, but also legally German territory (e.g. Bromberg: 84 % Germans, Danzig: 97 % Germans, annexed economically and/or politacally without any vote by Poland). The Polish-German tensions between the wars were worsened by the Allies' mistake of subjugating Millions of German civilians under foreign rule and by Poland ignoring the self-determination of over 1 Million Germans in Posen-Westprussia (1921: 1.058.000) [6] . Out of this large number of people, forced in to a hostile state, 758.867 had escaped their Polish-occupied homeland due to Polish harrassment and oppression within only 5 years [7]. After increased harrassment by Polish authorities, the Polish Ministry of the Interior estimated the remaining Germans at less than 300 000 [8]
  • Germany signed under coercion in view of many children being killed due to the British Sea Blockade and never agreed to the terms; a signature brought about under coercion and threat of killing civilians [9] makes any legal act null and void.
  • Philipp Scheidemann, the young republic's first Reichspräsident (Imperial President resp. Chancellor]] refused to burden his conscience with signing the treaty of chains. Scheidemann saw himself unable to bear the responsibility for subjugating a whole people into a treaty of chains in his own words [10] and called it unacceptable. The conflict between his conscience and signing an unacceptable contract made him step down from his office.
  • The name Peace treaty is highly depective and intentionally misleading, as it clearly gave way to unjustified claims of French, Czech and Polish expanionist policies which brought no peace but armed conflicts. These armed conflicts - another word for war - broke out even during times which are regarded as peaceful in Allied versions of history. When a country is invaded by tanks and 100 000 soldiers, occupying a country, shooting people and executing those resisting the intruders, as in the ruhr invasion 1923, is is ironic to speak of peace [11]. The name Peace treaty is therefore deceptive and thus not applicable.
  • According to many people, such as the first German Bundespräsident (Federal President) Theodor Heuss, The Versailles treaty was the birthplace of the Nazi party [12]. A Nazi party never existed in Germany until the Versailles treaty; the Nazi-predecessor DAP was founded in the same year that the highly controversial treaty was signed, and in the very same year Adolph Hitler became a member. In other words: The anti-democratic and dictatorial Versailles Treaty created an anti-democratic and dictatorial reaction [13]

Quotes on the Versailles Treaty

"If we had been the defeated people and had conditions like these been imposed on us, we would have......begun in our schools and homes to prepare our children for a retaliation war."

The English Member of Parliament Kneeshow at the Labour Party Conference 1920

"We have a peace treaty, but it will bring no lasting peace, because it is based on the quicksands of self-interest".

Robert Lansing, US-Foreign Minister

"Injustice and arrogance, sported in the hour of triumph, will never be forgotten and forgiven."

Lloyd George, British Prime Minister

"Great nations forget suffering, but not humiliations."

"The economic provisions of the treaty were malicious and foolish"

Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister

Technical consequences

Since neither rockets nor glider aircraft were mentioned in the Versailles treaty, Germany spent money on these technologies, including Wernher von Braun's rocket experiments, which in no doubt helped the development of the future space industry. Large glider aircraft designs led to the design of the large Me-321 during World War II which later was motorized and became the Me-323, the largest land-based plane at the time.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Themightyquill (talkcontribs) 19:24 – 21:51, June 19, 2008 (UTC)

Date format

The date formats seem to have become a mixture of European and American. Since European English spelling is used, I propose to standardize on English date formats, e.g. [[28 June]] [[1919]].--Boson (talk) 17:12, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

officially ended World War I.

I have amended the opening sentence:

The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty that officially ended World War I.

I don't see how this is true. There were separate treaties with each of the Central Powers. One could just about argue that the war ended when the last of these was signed or when the last came into effect; even that weak argument would not help, since Versailles came into effect on 10 January 1920, while Trianon was not signed until 4 June 1920. I have changed the text to:

The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty at the end of World War I that officially ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers.

This might be made less verbose, but not by making it less correct. jnestorius(talk) 15:46, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Excellent change. I think there's a widespread mis-belief that this Treaty covered all countries involved, rather than just Germany. - TheMightyQuill (talk) 16:32, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Someone fix the first paragraph. "The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I that was led by the Allied powers and put Germany in a deep hole."

What a load of rubbish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:01, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

The opening section seems to either make the false or unclear claim that the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept full responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War ("Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required Germany to accept sole responsibility for causing the war [...]"). This is a common misconception, as the Treaty of Trianon and the — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gryps5 (talkcontribs) 07:21, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

One thing I find noteworthy

Germany will finish monetary reparations in the year 2020 according to [4] and [5] and "material" reparations in the year 2028 as I read here: Moldauhafen (at least I don't know of any other settlements that possibly last even longer). Although the remaining annual payments aren't that big, I think it's quite astounding that six generations pay for the consequences of WWI. For comparison: France managed to repay the 5B Francs reparations of the Franco-Prussian War within two and a half years. (talk) 20:11, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

According to Robert Paxton ("Europe in the 20th Century" 3d ed. pg 182) France took four years to pay off 1870 reparations, not three as stated in this article, nor two and a half, for what it's worth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:50, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Keep in mind that Germany only paid about 15% of the reparations that were stipulated in the Versailles Treaty, and of that 15% a rather large portion was paid with American bank loans to Weimar Germany. Loans that were never repaid. Overall, Germany never paid very much in reparations, especially when you consider the additional cost of WW11(Germany was never charged any reparations for WW11), but she paid for WW11 by losing european territory in the East. (talk) 22:57, 20 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 22:57, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Germany could probably have paid the reparations within 5 or 10 years if it wanted to. After all, it spent almost as much as the total reparations bill in four years just to fight WWI. And spent considerably more to fight WW2.

Certainly the requirement that the reparations be paid in gold would have posed a challenge to the financial markets of the day. But ultimately money is money and some method of arranging payment in short period of time could undoubtedly have been made. The real reason reparations were not paid is because Germany did not want to pay them. (talk) 23:53, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Reparations are based on damages incurred. The Franco-Prussian war lasted about 6 months and Germany actually profited from the war. All the fighting and devastation had been in France not in Germany. On the other hand, In WW1 all the fighting and devastation had been done in Belgium, France, Russia, Serbia and Romania. So all the physical damage had been incurred within Allied countries not within the Central Powers. Also due to the very high number of killed and wounded,to the enormous financial cost, and to the enormous weight of diplomatic evidence that suggested strongly that Germany had started the war, there was a strong emphasis upon punitive and compensatory damages. (talk) 07:13, 18 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 07:13, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Let put this clear. Germany hasn´t started the War. And her Fault was in the same grade of any other Major Power involved. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:55, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Germany did start the general war. It declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914 and on France on August 3. It also invaded Belgium (in violation of its treaty obligations), bringing Great Britain into the war. Its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare caused the entry of the United States. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:27, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Though American, I have always been a 'Germanophile' since I was about 11 years old. I felt that Germany had been 'ganged up on' by multiple enemies. This feeling actually made me sympathize to some degree with Nazi Germany, atleast as far as recovering the territories lost in WW1. What changed my thinking was when I researched old books written at the time of WW1 available for free at For titles that cover responsibility for starting the war, I recommend the following;

1. 'Evidence in the Case' by James M. Beck(he was U.S. solicitor General, he explains international law) 2. 'J'accuse' by richard Grelling(aka A German), book was banned in Germany. 3. 'The Crime' by Richard Grelling(a followup book, 4 volumes) 4. 'The Vandal of Europe' written by Wilhelm Muhlon, he was a director of Krupp. 5. 'My Four Years in Germany' by James Gerard, American Ambassador to German Empire. Explains international law. 6. 'Face to Face with Kaiserism' by James Gerard, continuation of the first book.

In one of James M. Beck's books he stipulated 5 points showing Germany's guilt for World War 1. They are;

1.) Germany and Austria made war almost inevitable by a.)issuing an ultimatum that was grossly unreasonable and disproportionate to any grievance that Austria had and b.) in giving Serbia and Europe insufficient time to consider the rights and obligations of all interested nations.

2.) That Germany had at all times the power to compel Austria to preserve a reasonable and conciliatory course, but at no time exerted that influence. On the contrary, she abetted and possibly instigated, Austria in its unreasonable course.

3.) That England, France, Italy, and Russia at all times sincerely worked for peace, and for this purpose not only overlooked the original misconduct of Austria but made every reasonable concession in the hope of preserving peace.

4.) That Austria, having mobilized its arymy, Russia was reasonably justified in mobilizing its forces. Such act of mobilization was the right of any sovereign state, and as long as the Russian armies did not cross the border or take any aggressive action no other nation had any just right to complain, each having the same right to make similar preparations.

5.) That Germany in abruptly declaring war against Russia for failure to demobilize when the other powers had offered to make any reasonable concession and peace parleys were still in progress, PRECIPITATED THE WAR. (talk) 22:57, 20 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 22:57, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

You mispelled (sic) Austrian-Hungarian empire. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:08, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

World Zionist Congress

There was no mention of why anti-Semitism arose in Germany and why the Jews were blamed for losing the war. Many historians seem to think this is due to certain members of the World Zionist Congress influencing the policy of the Allies toward the Ottoman Empire. The Balfour Declaration helped to fuel anti-Semitism in what was a previously tolerant Imperial Germany. I added a line and cited Israeli historian Tom Segev's work One Palestine, Complete.

Since I haven't read the Segev book you've cited I'm forced to ask, does Segev actually provide evidence that the Balfour Declaration figured into the later Nazi movement? My memory may be weak, but I don't recall seeing that mentioned in MEIN KAMPF. As far as I know, the story that the Balfour Declaration was behind the rise of Naziism was started by Benjamin Freedman in the early 1960s. I don't know offhand of any evidence that Hitler ever showed very much interest in it. If Segev actually provides some details showing that early Nazis had specifically cited the Balfour Declaration as a complaint, then I think your comment should be edited further to mention a few details of this type. From the sounds of the title, Segev's book appears to be about Palestine more than Germany and so it's not clear that his book would have included any such details. Did you simply cite Segev as an authority on the Balfour Declaration, while otherwise assuming that the latter must have had something to do with Naziism? Or did you actually encounter some details in Segev's book which demonstrate that the Balfour Declaration was noted significantly by Hitler? That's the question which needs to be cleared up here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:56, 14 November 2008 (UTC)


This article ignores all but the most visible signatories to the Treaty. Why is this? Were the contributions of those countries who earned a place at the table somehow less significant, and therefore worthy of omission?

Please refer to this document for a complete list of signatories:

--Rpaege (talk) 00:14, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

That document only lists part one of the treaty, and part one of the treaty is just the covenant of the league of nations. So it only lists the signatories of the league of nations. I'm not sure that they all signed the treaty of Versailles. - TheMightyQuill (talk) 05:13, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

"Article 1 : The original Members of the League of Nations shall be those of the Signatories [of the Treaty of Versailles] which are named in the Annex [sic]". I also made some changes to the list.--Mandor (talk) 19:27, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Territorial losses

There is no mention of Bulgaria losing land to Greece, Romania and Serbia. There is no mention of Hungary losing land to Austria, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Serbia, or 67% of its territory. There is no mention of Turkey losing land to Greece and all of its territories. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:15, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Definitely lots of countries lost significant amounts of land and that should be mentioned.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:49, 2 January 2009 (UTC) 

Each of the Central Powers and Turkey and Bulgaria had separate treaties. For example, the Treaty of St. Germain applied to Austria-Hungary. The treaty of Versailles only applied to Germany I believe. (talk) 02:26, 6 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 02:26, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Is there a good reason why Jan Smuts isn't (to my knowledge) mention at all in this article even though he was the only person to sign both of the treaties which ended both World Wars and he was instrumental in developing the League of Nations and "In May 1945, he represented South Africa in San Francisco at the drafting of the United Nations Charter. Just as he did in 1919, Smuts urged the delegates to create a powerful international body to preserve peace; he was determined that, unlike the League of Nations, the United Nations would have teeth." Invmog (talk) 02:52, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


What is "Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung" ? It is now used as source in the article, yet I am uncertain of its scholary notability and would like confirmation that it is reliable scholary or accepted publication.--Molobo (talk) 03:13, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

The "Prussian General Newspaper" (literal); it's a conservative (German sense of the word, obviously) weekly newspaper, the official paper of Landsmannschaft Ostpreußen - a nonprofit organisation, if that article is to be believed. – Toon(talk) 21:17, 16 January 2009 (UTC)


Actually the Plebiscite in Upper Silesia was not as commonly written to decide if whole Upper Silesia was to be given to Poland or Germany, but only to determine the line of German border. Per ToV: [6] 5. On the conclusion of the voting, the number of votes cast in each commune will be communicated by the Commission to the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, with a full report as to the taking of the vote and a recommendation as to the line which ought to be adopted as the frontier of Germany in Upper Silesia. In this recommendation regard will be paid to the wishes of the inhabitants as shown by the vote, and to the geographical and economic conditions of the locality.

--Molobo (talk) 03:20, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Per Treaty the plebiscites were only suggestions regarding border

Per ToV:

In this recommendation regard will be paid to the wishes of the inhabitants as shown by the vote, and to the geographical and economic conditions of the locality.

--Molobo (talk) 03:22, 13 November 2008 (UTC)


Any chance that the Axis can be mentioned in the lead section? What was the status? Was Germany the only Axis signatory of this document? The word Axis is not on this article at all. ~ R.T.G 00:41, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

The Axis didn't exist until the 1930s. During WWI Germany and its allies were known as the Central Powers, but even that isn't really relevent to this article since the Treaty of Versailles only dealt with Germany. Austria, Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria were all dealt with in seperate treaties.Shipman7 (talk) 19:34, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

That is relevant for me Shipman7. ~ R.T.G 17:01, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, RTG, while it may be relevant for you, it is not relevant to the article, and ultimately, that's what matters here. The Axis didn't exist when this treaty was signed, so no, it can't be mentioned in the lead section. It's status was non-existent, as several of the countries that would join the Axis were members of the Allies in WWI. The word Axis is not in the article because it is irrelevant to the article. Not trying to be a jerk or anything, I'm just saying that really it's a non-issue, so I don't understand why I'm even having to explain this stuff.SpudHawg948 (talk) 01:14, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I would take RTG's comment to refer to During WWI Germany and its allies were known as the Central Powers, but even that isn't really relevent to this article since the Treaty of Versailles only dealt with Germany. The Central powers are in fact mentioned (and linked to) in the lead, so that would seem to be taken care of. --Boson (talk) 08:16, 7 February 2009 (UTC)


Regarding the inclusion (or exclusion of) the british dominions in the list. As I understand it, they (Australia, New-Zealand, Newfoundland, Ireland and South Africa) signed the treaty under the name of the representative for the British Empire. As such, I think the dominions should be included in the list.

[7] [8] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mandor (talkcontribs) 14:46, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I have tried to join the author without any success. As such I am including Australia, Canada, New-Zealand, India and South Africa in the list of the signatories. Please refer to [9].--Mandor (talk) 13:10, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

The USA refused to ratify the treaty and thus is not a signator. Republicans in congress beleived that the treaty would undermine American power and the mpnroe doctrine, this would exclude them from the league of nations and contribute to it's failure. Additionally Canada signed the treaty as an independant nation, not as a dominion, contributing to its move away from Great Britain. This was due to high Canadian involvement both economically and millitarily.

I can find no other source that says Japan signed the Treaty. Does anyone have a source for this information? Boico101 (talk) 11:42, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Well, the preamble of the Treaty has:

Treaty of Peace between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany

these Powers being described in the present Treaty as the Principal Allied and Associated Powers,
these Powers constituting with the Principal Powers mentioned above the Allied and Associated Powers, of the one part;
And GERMANY of the other part;

--Boson (talk) 16:31, 25 August 2010 (UTC)


The Versailles Treaty had huge effects in the third world, so this should be at least mentioned at the end. The May Fourth Movement of China for example... --Aghniyya (talk) 17:02, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Occupation of the Rhineland and Ruhr

Quote from the article Occupation of the Ruhr: The Occupation of the Rhineland gave the French and Belgian armies the springboard from which it was easy to undertake the occupation of the Ruhr. It links to the article Occupation of the Rhineland which redirects here. But in this article the occupation isn't mentioned at all. Shouldn't both occupations either be mentioned here or the redirect been reverted and the occupation get it's own article? The occupation is not seen as a violation against the treaty but it still could be mentioned in the violations section? It was used by Hitler to justify the reoccupying the demilitarized zone in the Rhineland. Cattleyard (talk) 06:57, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Appalling manipulation of the article by German nationalists

Quite large parts of this article were at some stage hijacked by (presumably) German right-wing extremists. I have toned down what they did to the section on territorial changes. You can tell their work because their English is a little shaky. Words fail me regarding what was stated in the section on the stab-in-the-back legend. The text actually perpetuated the legend and even seemd to make Jews responsible for the legend's existence! This ws appalling beyond belief and I have tried to amend it. APW (talk) 22:04, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for assuming so much good faith. -- Matthead  Discuß   11:09, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Sorry you didn't like my categorising of the anti-semitic and revanchist material in the article as showing a lack of good faith. However, that doesn't mean we have to move into sarcasm. I'd like to know on what basis of content you undid my removal of truly spurious material from the article. Do a search and you'll see that the History Project referred to, as if of some general importance, was just in one school. And even if it hadn't been just in one school, it is not relevant to the article and certainly no way for such a major article to end. APW (talk) 21:48, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I've only looked at your first two edits, which, BTW, both introduced mistakes. With the 2nd edit of yours, and its summary, you went too far. With all your German right-wing extremists and anti-semitic and revanchist material etc. you are very close to violating both Godwin's law and Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Digwuren#Editors_warned. Consider yourself warned. Besides, this edit of yours shows that the strength of your opinion by far exceeds your knowledge of facts. And that wholesale removal removed refs from reliable sources, like,, This, and your aggressive behaviour, is not acceptable. -- Matthead  Discuß   04:01, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
Uh, you can't violate Goodwin's Law on an article on Hitler. Likewise you can't violate Goodwin's Law on an article that is partly about Hitler. And yes, I agree with APW above that vast swathes of this article had been rewritten to represent a particular German nationalist POV which has some ugly parallels in Nazi propaganda of the interwar period.radek (talk) 08:47, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

To Matthead: you write as if I were imposing some kind of POV with my supposedly strong opinions. I only *removed* POV material from the article to make it more neutral. I definitely did not try to impose any opinion of my own on it. I did, I admit, call a spade a spade in my description of why I'd removed it. I used the word "revanchist", which commonly means (see Merriam Webster) a person who wants loss of territory to be reversed. This is not an insult and precisely describes the ideas behind most of the material I took out. I believe that what I wrote was not in fact controversial except to a very small group of non-mainstream people. I did not actually insult anybody and I have not even looked into which editor(s) did what. I only described the type of material I had removed. This was, as Radeksz points out, of a strongly German nationalist type. I did not however bring in Nazis or Holocaust denial. I don't understand your scornful, even impolite - see guidelines - tone either to me or to Radeksz (see below). What is more, your own views on the Allies' conduct of the war in 1917 and their rejection of German peace proposals, which you express as if they should be obvious (with your sarcastic reference to raising poppies), are in fact far from being so. APW (talk) 18:37, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Reverted the usual anon

Who inserted stuff on "Allied Powers on... who continued active warfare and destruction" which is obviously POV and it was (badly and inaccurately) sourced to a primary source.radek (talk) 01:11, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for giving me (and possibly "the usual anon") a good laugh: The proposal for peace made by the Central Powers Command on December 12, 1916 had been rejected by the Allied Powers on Dec 30, 1916, who continued active warfare and destruction. That's nineteensixteen, Radek. What is your POV on the main activities of the Allies in 1917? Raising poppies in Flanders fields? On the other hand, it is not funny at all that the Allies were not interested in peace in 1916. They could have prevented the death of many then, and even more so in 1939/1940. -- Matthead  Discuß   03:37, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Reparations causing "Hyperinflation"

Reparations were specified as being in gold. As such they could not really have resulted in hyperinflation, since there is only so much gold in the world.

This large amount of reparations required in gold might, however, have resulted in extremely strange effects on international trade or finance. But most likely the economic effects would have been benign as France and Belgium rebuilt their northern territories by buying goods and services from Germany. In fact, this is exactly what happened when France later began to build the Maginot Line.

Another probable effect would have been to prevent Germany from re-building its military----from the Allies point-of-view a highly desirable outcome.

The German hyperinflation that did occur appears to have been a more or less deliberate choice on the part of the German government. There was no invisible economic hand holding an invisible economic gun that forced the German government to print quadrillions of paper marks. The decided to do that, because it was easier than raising taxes.

One can sympathize with this dilemma---- until one remembers that taxes not paid by Germans to repair damage caused by the German invasion of France and Belgium would have have...... been paid by French or Belgian taxpayers instead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:54, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Reparations were specified in gold: true. But they were never meant to be paid in gold. Rather reparations were meant to be paid in actual money and goods, especially resources such as coal and timber. Therefore inflation could have been caused by reparations. Everything else is opinion. And while many historians, such as Marks, will agree with your view that the German government is too blame for hyperinflation there will also be many historians who will disagree with this view. Further the opinion that reparations were feasible is not shared by all historians. For example some historians have drawn attention to equally valid points such as the prediction that a German economy geared on export (something which would have been necessary in order to fully pay for reparations) would have caused harm to the French/British economies as they would have been flooded by virtually free (as they were reparations) German goods. The UK coal miner strike in 1926, for example, was caused to a great extent by Britain being flooded by free german coal.

military restrictions for allies

Treaty of Versailles:


"The Members of the League recognise that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations. The Council, taking account of the geographical situation and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several Governments. Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every ten years. After these plans shall have been adopted by the several Governments, the limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the Council. The Members of the League agree that the manufacture by private enterprise of munitions and implements of war is open to grave objections. The Council shall advise how the evil effects attendant upon such manufacture can be prevented, due regard being had to the necessities of those Members of the League which are not able to manufacture the munitions and implements of war necessary for their safety. The Members of the League undertake to interchange full and frank information as to the scale of their armaments, their military, naval, and air programmes and the condition of such of their industries as are adaptable to war-like purposes"

seems like the allies ignored this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:12, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, and a widely recognised German encyclopædia (Der Große Brockhaus, 1957), which I just consulted, seems to consider this as a treaty violation. I'm in principle inclined to agree; but the points are much more vague than the main demands on Germany, which also makes it harder to pinpoint when or where a specific violation would have occurred. Besides, few historians or politicians from the allied side seem to consider the non-disarmament of the allies as treaty violations.
Another, more modern parallel, is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, where the second of its three pillars concern nuclear and general disarmament. Notice, that the International court of justice unanimously interprets the clauses on negotiations "in good faith" for such disarmament as an obligation to reach results, while our article now claims that there only are obligations to make negotiations "in good faith", not to bring them to a successful conclusion.
Actually, there has been some success in limiting the nuclear arm's race by agreements; but at least the strongest nuclear power seems not to be very active in trying to achieve a global nuclear disarmament (not to talk of a non-nuclear one), to put it mildly. Again, there are troubles in putting the alleged violations to task. If a signatory without nuclear weapons acquires such, there is no doubt that this violates the treaty; but at what point would the seeming lack of (e.g.) US interest in achieving a general nuclear disarmament definitely turn into a treaty violation? JoergenB (talk) 16:54, 21 October 2011 (UTC)


Irreconcilables redirects here but the article makes no mention of the term. Drutt (talk) 23:10, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Section: Other

Why is one miscellaneous clause included? Either more should be added (but Wikipedia should not include trivial information), or this section should be removed. dude1818 (talk) 18:10, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Harassment and flight of Sudetenland and Posen Germans == lack of NPOV

It would be good if the article listed some credible sources for the claims made. Where was the number of 750 000 Germans taken from? What specific acts of "harassment" took place? These statements clearly indicate a very serious exodus of Germans, but fail to pinpoint the exact cause. Such massive migration must be well documented. Why are there no other references? I find that fragment of the article interesting, but too vague.

The source seems to be some "Prussian" (???) newspaper with a clearly biased POV revealed outright by the title: Die "Jagd auf Deutsche" im Osten, Die Verfolgung begann nicht erst mit dem "Bromberger Blutsonntag vor 50 Jahren" What exactly is "Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung"? Seems like some German nationalist paper, or a bulletin of expelled Prussian Germans. In both cases this is clearly a biased POV. I propose some credible contemporary historical reference is given on the harassment of Germans. If it is documented, like the article claims, it should be not difficult to find a professional scientific/historical analysis, instead of some dubious newspaper. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

What areas specifically were transferred to France?

The article says Alsace and "much of Lorraine", but the article on the Franco-Prussian War states that Prussia took only 1/3 of Lorraine (Moselle). Also the article on the Treaty of Frankfurt (which ended the Franco-Prussian War) says that Prussia took some smaller areas along with Alsace and part of Lorraine, such as regions within the Vosges department—presumably these would have also been returned to France? (It's also very confusing because the prewar region of Moselle is not the same as the postwar one.)

(from the article on the Treaty of Frankfurt):

The treaty:

   * Established the frontier between the French Third Republic and the German Empire, which involved the ceding of 1,694 French villages and cities to Germany in:
       * Alsace: the French departments of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin, except for the city of Belfort and its territory;
       * Lorraine: the French department of Moselle, one-third of the department of Meurthe, including the cities of Château-Salins and Sarrebourg, and the arrondissements Saales and Schirmeck in the department of Vosges.

Historian932 (talk) 13:58, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

The Saar

I would disagree with the following statement, "Therefore, France was awarded full possession of Germany's coal-bearing Saar basin for a period. . ."

I thought the Saar area was a LoN protectorate and never, in fact, actually controlled by France; although it did receive it's coal produce for 15 years.

SR —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:20, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Uncited line

"The United States also wished to continue trading with Germany, so in turn did not want to treat them too harshly for these economic reasons."

Are "economic reasons" the only reasons? I think there is more to it than this. Could someone please either cite this line or remove it? It makes it sound like America's only interest was its economic concerns. --DanielCD (talk) 17:40, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from Beka1357, 22 January 2011

{{edit semi-protected}} The United States of America did not sign the treaty of Versailles you said the US was a signatorre it isn't

my source is's%20fourteen%20points
    a glencoe history textbook 

Beka1357 (talk) 20:52, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

You may be confusing signature with ratification. If you look here, you will see a facsimile of Woodrow Wilson's signature. It is the first signature under the treaty. --Boson (talk) 01:24, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

reparations error

i can't change it because the article is locked, so sorry if i'm doing this wrong - its my first time...

"The total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion Marks (then $31.4 billion, £6,600 million) in 1921"

its only small but could be misleading - the reparations were £6.6 billion, not million.

it should be changed to...

"The total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion Marks (then $31.4 billion, £6.6 billion) in 1921" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:11, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

£6,600 million is the same as £6.6 billion, but I suppose it could mislead the unwary. --Boson (talk) 15:54, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

The article states that "Also, Germany was forced to provide France, Belgium, and Italy with millions of tons of coal for 10 years. However, under the control of Adolf Hitler, Germany stopped outstanding deliveries of coal within a few years, thus violating the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.[citation needed]"

This is not logical. Hitler rose to power more than 10 years after the treaty. (talk) 14:49, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

misleading statements in "violations"

the list in this part states over and over "hitler violated the treaty", but herr hitler was no signatory of the treaty. germany violated the treaty, "under the leadership of" or "under the gouvernment of" herr hitler but nonetheless germany is the correct term here. please change, thank you. (talk) 00:37, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

pretty please? (talk) 01:53, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

 Done[10]--JayJasper (talk) 04:50, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

"Treaty of Versailles"?

I was wondering everbody calls Versailles a "Treaty". The German side was forced to sign it so it seems to be an euphemism. Correct me if I am wrong but "Treaty" seems to be a misleading labelling. "Dictate" would be a more exact discription.-- (talk) 10:51, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

I assume you are referring to the German word 'Diktat', a term used by nationalist Germans ever since 1919. (Would you also describe the 'treaty' of Brest-Litovsk in the same way?) 'Diktat' cannot be translated 'dictate', which is not a noun in English. Dictionaries say that the word 'treaty' means a formal written agreement between two sides. This describes the Treaty of Versailles quite well. Also Wikipedia guidelines say that the commonly used term is the one to use as the title of articles. APW (talk) 09:00, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

When the Germans surrendered it was unconditional, the Germans agreed to such treaty by unconditionally surrendering. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
Unconditional surrender does not imply that the winner may decide on the details for a final settlement of the dispute. However, it does mean that the winner may continue to occupy the loser's territory until such a settlement has been achieved.
The Versaille "Treaty" was finally signed by both parties. It was not negotiated by parties of equal standing. Like many other "treaties", it was accepted by the weaker party (Germany) under duress, and under protest. The same goes for quite a lot of the "treaties" made during mankind's long and bloody history. Perhaps, it would be nice if English had two separate words, one for agreements made by parties of equal standing and to mutual satisfaction (like the Treaty of Rome), and the other for "agreements" which the stronger party presses the weaker party to accept (like the Treaty of Versaille).
However, AFAIK, there is no difference in terminology nor in validity of the one kind of treaties and the other (and besides, in many instances, it might be hard to decide whether or not an agreement was made under duress); not as concerns international treaties, anyhow. In WP, we should simply use the existing generally accepted terminology. JoergenB (talk) 16:11, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

It is not the lack of a word. It is simply using the wrong word. A treaty has two sides willing to strike a deal. This was a forced agreement. And yes, Brest was one too. And the people in the US should stop using the word "treaty" for the landrobbing acts against the native Americans. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:19, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

The article title is based on WP:COMMONNAME. --Boson (talk) 15:18, 27 June 2012 (UTC)


Did the treaty ever come into effect? Which countries ratified it, and when? Right now, the only information I can glean from the article is:

  • ratification by Germany and by three prinipal allied powers was required;
  • Germany ratified;
  • U.S. did not ratify.

I think this should be completed. AxelBoldt (talk) 19:09, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Automatic archiving

This page is getting a bit long, so I propose to set up automatic archiving. If there are no objections, I will set it up to archive threads that have been inactive for 90 days. --Boson (talk) 15:43, 27 June 2012 (UTC)


I think the fact this article has negotiation subarticles for Britain and America but not France is ridiculous. It is also ridiculous that Mr. Wilson is not criticized in the sub article for being ignorant about the suffering endured by France and Britain but not the USA- especially when there is plenty of criticism for George Clemenceau and David Lloyd George in their respective subarticles. It also fails to mention that Lloyd George played a good part in the negotiations by persuading Wilson to accept the war guilt clause whilst convincing Clemenceau to accept the League Of Nations clause.

Who else thinks the article should be changed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:29, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

I find the omissions and choice of citations in this article disturbing. It can't be so hard to find a Ph.D. to get the facts straight and add the circumstances that can't be left out to get the complete picture. E.g. for the central role of the 14 points, the continued blockade, or European dependency on food imports, read Keynes, ignore his conclusions but use the facts he is listing. After all, he was not just one person who also had an opinion, he took part in the negotiations. He also doesn't doubt German guilt, if that makes it a more palatable read. /bust — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:26, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

I find that the French agenda presented is extremely biased. Keynes, as a party to the negotiations and someone with an agenda of his own is certainly not a appropriate source to describe the French position. The idea that the French seeked hegemony is quite exaggerated, saying they were scared of a German revival might be more appropriate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:54, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

I would like to see this article at least mention that the reason the French insisted so strongly on reparations which the Germans felt were ruinous is that the Germans had demanded, and received, similarly harsh reparations from them in the Treaty of Frankfurt (1871). Jdg71 (talk) 04:05, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

The article does have "It could be seen that the Versailles reparation impositions were partly a reply to the reparations placed upon France by Germany through the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt signed after the Franco-Prussian War . . ." (apparently unsourced). --Boson (talk) 08:25, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

New Article

It really seems more appropriate to have the various opinions presented in the Historical Assessments as a completely new article. The way this section is written comes across as almost incoherent. Ideas are all over the place and it comes to no conclusion, making it difficult to follow the diverse opinions expressed in the section. That's not even getting into the actual quality of the opinions presented, but I'll leave that for the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

the meaning of the Treaty has been debated by many historians and a summary of their views is a key part of the article. It is not "incoherent". Keep the section. Rjensen (talk) 14:10, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

why did germany suffer?

why was the treaty so harsh on germany? i think it is,because germany started the war in the first place by many reasons. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:37, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

First treaty of versailles

What about a line on this article to direct users to the first(?) treaty of Versailles? something like "The treaty of Versailles (1871) redirects here". — Preceding unsigned comment added by An adaptive system (talkcontribs) 22:48, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

There is a hatnote that reads "This article is about the Treaty of Versailles of 28 June 1919, at the end of World War I. For other uses, see Treaty of Versailles (disambiguation)." --Boson (talk) 01:44, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
you're right, I must apologize, for some reason the note did not show up on my computer. Sometimes it gets glitchy and doesn't show certain words or elements. An adaptive system (talk) 02:30, 19 December 2012 (UTC)An adaptive system


Maybe the destruction of multiethnic Austria, the creation of little national states and occupation of some German-austrian regions should be added? [South Tyrol..] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:25, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire resulted from the treaties of the Trianon and of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, not from the treaty of Versailles. Blaue Max (talk) 21:51, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
the old empire had entirely vanished when those treaties were signed. Rjensen (talk) 22:05, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

I just want to fix some typos...

quote: and finally the [postponement of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932. The reparations were finally paid off by Germany aftefr World War II.

somebody fix that.

Thanks for the heads up, another editor had addressed that issue for you. Any others issues you come across, please highlight them and someone will get to them for you. EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 04:15, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

Complete rewrite

I think that much added in the complete rewrite is beyond the scope of this article and makes it difficult to read. Because of the size of the rewrite, it also makes it hard to check. In addition, the ownership comments are not needed, if a discussion is had first. --(AfadsBad (talk) 04:29, 4 October 2013 (UTC))

Article size, "> 100 kB Almost certainly should be divided," yet you added 150 kB to the article.

I completely disagree with your edit. You have reverted an expanded and sourced rewrite of the article back to a barely sourced work that contains numerous critical errors and details that are not even related to the ToV!EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 04:48, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
And what do I have to go on that you have not introduced errors? Your word? Well, you seem to be one of the most active editors on this article, so I pass. Let's do it in pieces. --(AfadsBad (talk) 04:54, 4 October 2013 (UTC))
Yet more insults. You only have my word, like you only have the word of the editors who stated:
  • "The German economy was so weak that only a small percentage of reparations was paid in hard currency." - now back in the article, and clearly disputed by historians
  • "In March 1939, Germany violated the treaty by occupying the rest of Czechoslovakia." - now back in article, and has nothing to do with the treaty
  • "Indeed, on Nazi Germany's rise to power, Adolf Hitler resolved to overturn the remaining military and territorial provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. Military buildup began almost immediately in direct defiance of the Treaty, which, by then, had been destroyed by Hitler in front of a cheering crowd. "It was this treaty which caused a chain reaction leading to World War II," claimed historian Dan Rowling (1951). Various references to the treaty are found in many of Hitler's speeches and in pre-war Nazi propaganda. - removed from the article about a month ago since it completely unsupported anywhere that I have looked and had a citation needed tag sitting next to it for five years!

totally new article????? not the way Wikipedia works

Wikipedia does not work by erasing the work of hundreds of editors on one of the most important and complex articles and inserting instead one editor's LONG treatise (3 times as long as the original article). The way to proceed is incrementally section by section. I recommend starting with the Historiography. Rjensen (talk) 04:31, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

That would be good, small section, by small section. --(AfadsBad (talk) 04:35, 4 October 2013 (UTC))
It is not quite a complete new work, and did not erase the work of my predecessors. My initial draft was the exact copy of article that was here. What was sourced, and could be double checked, was kept and worked into the rewrite. What could be sourced was kept and worked into the rewrite. What was found to be unverifiable, I removed. I would suggest all I have done is source, expand, and copyedit: not erase. If I had of uploaded my various edits, bit by bit, this would be more clear.
I agree that this is one of the most important and complex articles on the wiki, although clearly the previous version was not doing it justice. This rewrite, you will find since you have suggested starting with the historiography, includes a large selection of journals and books from very respected authors on the subject providing as many views as possible, along with other works to add in various other points and details.
However, I completely agree on the article being worked over to remove the fluff, overdetail, to have additional links added, any relevant missing details (although I believe I attempted to get all the key points) inserted etc. I would also suggest a peer review from a wider selection of the wiki community. If there are no objections, I was going to go ahead and start that process momentarily.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 04:46, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Just another point, but as been noted this is the wiki. Since when has a wiki article ever needed to be updated on a section by section basis to gain overall consensus and why is an update to the article generating - what would appear - quite a bit of controversy and automatic revert to a previous inadequate and largely unsourced version?EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 04:50, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Peer review of your draft before inserting it here? I think others agree with my reversion, manageable amounts with editor input. --(AfadsBad (talk) 04:52, 4 October 2013 (UTC))
Fine, I will have the draft peer reviewed. Although I find the assertion that one cannot rework an article or can only do it on a section by section basis to be very wiki-like!EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 04:55, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. You appear to have added a lot of opinion, making this one of the hugest articles on Wikipedia, possibly suggesting a split is in order. --(AfadsBad (talk) 05:00, 4 October 2013 (UTC))
Oh you say thank you here, but a second ago your edit summary states: "Your ridiculous addition of 150 kB! Is too large, would take months to selectively dlelete, discuss! On talk page"
Considering the hit counter shows you have made a grand total of two edits to this article: that being the revision of a sourced article back to a semi-sourced article littered with irrelevant information, unverifiable content, errors, POV issues, etc should I take it then that you have done nothing to improve this article or selectively edit it? Your comments seem pretty much insulting and patronizing rather than helpful.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 05:11, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
collaboration works best paragraph by paragraph, section by section. Rjensen (talk) 07:03, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I find that collaboration works best when people collaborate on agreed terms, not when individuals assert definitions of collaboration. In my experience, rewriting an article works best when done en bloc in a sandbox but can come unstuck if the subject is a popular with wiki editors, who are presented with a startling change to the page and take umbrage. I would have taken a certain amount of umbrage too, if one of my efforts was seen off in a peremptory manner, which appears to have occurred to both sides in this debate; fortunately no bugger is interested in the Western Front 1916-1917. If Enigma is willing for interested parties to work on his revision in a sandbox, that seems to me to be eminently reasonable, if he underestimated the effect of a big bang edit. I had a quick look at the Enigma variation (fnar, fnar) which looked well-sourced but in need of a CE of the prose. Perhaps the description and explanation could be separated better too. [Potential conflict of interest, I worked on several Normandy 1944 pages with Enigma some years ago and found him easy to work with, if a little too fond of adjectives and putting commas next to "and".]Keith-264 (talk) 08:05, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Having read Keith's and Nick-D's comments, I believe it would be proper to create here and now an open invitation for review, edit and feedback on the proposed draft of the article available here.
I find the suggestion of a "paragraph by paragraph, section by section" review somewhat ironic considering the current state of the article, but I relent: were should we begin? Although I would propose leaving the lede to last otherwise we may be here for months considering past discussions on slight changes to it.
While I have attempting to improve on my prose, it still is my weak area, and I completely agree that a good ce is in order to get the wording just right.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:06, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
why not start with the historiography. Rjensen (talk) 12:18, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Are there enough interested parties for a division of labour? I did a couple of trial CEs which is where I think I could contribute; the historiography isn't really my bag.
I'm curious about the citation system, I'm only familiar with sfn's.Keith-264 (talk) 13:21, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I've left some comments here User talk:EnigmaMcmxc/sandbox to avoid cluttering this page.Keith-264 (talk) 13:24, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I think it needs seriously cut before copy editing. There are sections with three paragraphs of quotes that on't quite say what my be intended. Again, this is an encyclopedia, not a thesis, and some direct information without extensive quotes would make it readable. --(AfadsBad (talk) 13:44, 4 October 2013 (UTC))
Perhaps you're right but putting it in general negative terms isn't as helpful as giving examples like this: The section on the US negotiating position is all explanation and no description, so I'd move it to the analysis section at the end and put a brief description in its place.Keith-264 (talk) 14:57, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Per the discussion, the draft will be moved into the article one section at a time. Since everyone, thus far involved in this discussion, has inputted feedback on the background section and made various amendments, I shall now move it over to the article. As the other sections are commented on, CE, amended, and cut down, I shall do likewise with them.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:28, 11 October 2013 (UTC)


Keith and myself have been working towards some further updates to the article. We have noted the three already in the article (including the broad WW1 treaties one), and are considering adding something akin to the following if there is not already one that is not being used. Is anyone aware of any similar navboxes, so we can update it rather than add a new one.

Demo example:

Regards EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 03:29, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

A completed proposal for a navbox and sidebox to be added to the relevant articles can be found here. All constructive comments welcomed.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:55, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Assessment of the treaty

Given the scholarly division and changes in the mainstream assessment over time, the assessment of the treaty, in particular regarding its harshness or otherwise, seems to me to require improvement and better verification. In particular the introduction - rather than merely summarizing historians' opinions detailled elsewhere- actually seems to weigh and judge differing assessments in the sweeping and unsourced statement "However, historians have judged the reparations to have been lenient, designed to look imposing but were in fact not," which also leaves unclear

  • whether the assessment is intended to apply to the reparations provided for in the treaty or to later interpretations or revisions of those provisions
  • whether "historians" is meant to apply to all historians or an unspecified selection of historians
  • whether "historians" is intended to distinguish historians from, say, economists (like Keynes, whose opposing view is mentioned in the previous sentence)
  • what evidence is adduced for the assessment ("designed to look imposing but . . .") that the apparent harshness of the treaty was deliberate (and intended to mislead).

--Boson (talk) 15:34, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

It appears you have not read the article, since the statement is well sourced.
For starters, the reparation section details extensively how and why the reparations were not harsh: "In January 1921, the total sum due was decided by an Inter-Allied Reparations Commission and was set at 132 billion gold marks. This figure was divided into three categories. The A Bonds amounted to 12 billion gold marks and the B bonds a further 38 billion marks, which equated to around 12.5 billion dollars "an amount smaller than what Germany had recently offered to pay"[30] Class C bonds amounted for the remaining two-thirds of the total figure and were deliberately designed to be chimerical". "Their primary function was to mislead public opinion in the receiver countries into believing that the 132-billion mark figure was being maintained."[31] Therefore, the sum Class C bonds "amounted to indefinite postponement"[32]. Germany was only obliged to pay the Class A and B bonds.[33] The actual total payout from 1920 to 1931 (when payments were suspended indefinitely) was 20 billion German gold marks, worth about 5 billion US dollars or one billion British pounds. Of this amount, 12.5 billion was cash that came mostly from loans from New York bankers. The rest was goods like coal and chemicals, or from assets like railway equipment. The total amount of reparations was fixed in 1921 on the basis of the German capacity to pay, not on the basis of Allied claims. The highly publicized rhetoric of 1919 about paying for all the damages and all the veterans' benefits was irrelevant to the total, but it did affect how the recipients spent their share. Austria, Hungary, and Turkey were also supposed to pay some reparations but they were so impoverished that they in fact paid very little. Germany was the only country rich enough to pay anything; it owed reparations chiefly to France, Britain, Italy and Belgium; the US received $100 million.[33] Historian Stephen Shucker notes how the overall payment amounts to "a unilateral transfer equal to a startling 5.3 percent of German national income for 1919-31."[34]
I am not even going to bother from quoting from the extensive 'Historical assessments' section, which details how historians have noted the treaty was lenient.
At the time, and still in popular perception, it was deemed to be harsh. Historians have deemed otherwise. Seems pretty clear cut and well sourced within the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 17:42, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree with EnigmaMcmxc Rjensen (talk) 17:58, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, EnigmaMcmxc, for taking some time in replying. If I had realized that my comments would be so controversial, I would have probably not made them before taking a short break. I had, of course, read the article fairly carefully or I would not have made the comments that I did. I'm sorry, but I still don't think that "At the time, and still in popular perception, it was deemed to be harsh. Historians have deemed otherwise. " and historians have judged the reparation figure to be lenient, a sum that was designed to look imposing but was in fact not, that had little impact on the German economy" are correct and sufficiently nuanced, neutral summaries of the position. I also think some more points of view should be added to the "Historical Assessments" section, which should, perhaps, be in a more chronological order, better explaining the changes in views and the reasons for them (archives released, etc.). As I wrote elsewhere, I think The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 and the conference should be given more attention, since it deals specifically with the issue).
"At the time . . . it was deemed to be harsh" is already less extreme than the current lede, which implies that - in the opinion of (many?) historians -the powers that be knew from the beginning that it was lenient.
I tend to think even Sally Marks' position is being overstated when the figure is described as simply "lenient". When challenged by David Felix (Reparations Reconsidered with a Vengeance), I undertand her to respond that she had merely said that the reparations were "not outrageous" (rather than "lenient").
Stevenson is quoted, but he also wrote "Versailles continues to be attacked both as too severe and as too lenient." That does not sound to me like " it was deemed to be harsh. Historians have deemed otherwise." (unless "historians" is qualified in some way.
Eichengreen writes "There is 'some dispute in the literature whether the 82 billion gold marks of deferred payments (the C bonds) were simply a sop to inflamed public opinion in France and Italy and were not expected to be paid." "Some dispute does not sound like "historians agree".
Feldman does not agree that the Germans could have fulfilled their obligations (". . . apparently the only people who really believed that the Germans could fulfill their reparations obligations, the real obligations that is, . . . are some historians") . He very explicitly disagrees with Marks and insists on "some historians" ('I simply do not agree when Marks says, "The scholarly consensus now suggests that paying what was actually asked of it was within Germany's capacity."')
Fergusson describes the annuity demanded as "an intolerable strain on the state's finances" and writes some historians have come to view German complaints about the treaty with skepticism". That also sounds a bit different from our summary. He also indicates who is pushing the theory ("in particular Sally Marks and Stephen Schuker") who have "sought to demonstrate" (not "have demonstrated") "that the material burdens imposed by reparations were less onerous than the Germans claimed" (and "less onerous" is not the same as "lenient").
As late as 2010, we have Tim McNeese writing
"France and Britain had placed war damages on Germany to the tune of billions of gold marks, which the defeated Germans could not begin to pay in earnest. . . . When the Versailles Treaty reduced Germany to near pauper status at the close of World War I, Austrian-born Hitler was angered and filled with hatred towards those he blamed for Germany's losses, especially Great Britain, France, and the other western democracies that had prostrated his nation at Versailles. " [my emphasis] That also doesn't sound to me like " historians have judged the reparation figure to be lenient" and "little impact on the economy".
Perhaps the article should also discuss those mentioned above and Krüger, Felix, Kennan, Schulze, and others.--Boson (talk) 14:37, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
--Boson (talk) 14:37, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

What is the source for "However, historians have judged the reparation figure to be lenient, a sum that was designed to look imposing but was in fact not, that had little impact on the German economy"? It's clear that Marls believes this but not that historians as a body have rendered a judgment on this matter. A source(s) is needed to state that the consensus of most historians is in line with Marks' conclusions on the matter, and that's missing. JJL (talk) 20:02, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

see World War I reparations Historians cite "Reparations Reconsidered: A Reminder" by Sally Marks Central European History Vol. 2, No. 4 (Dec., 1969), pp. 356-365 Published by: Cambridge University Press [in JSTOR] which explains what happened. The problem is that people read the Keynes book that came out BEFORE the reparations were paid and make Keynes' assumption that it will be for the worst. Germany actually paid out over 1920-31 20 billion German gold marks, worth about $5 billion US dollars or one billion British pounds. Of this amount, most came from loans from New York bankers. Rjensen (talk) 20:13, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. It has been consensus since the late 1960s on what Germany really had to pay. Marks released a host of research on the matter, and furthermore there are three sources used in the reparation part of the article that support the overall point. Wording can always be improved, but Marks and those who agree with her are far from presenting a fringe theory on the subject.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:21, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
if anyone wants more evidence that Marks is the accepted view look at The Gold Standard and the Great Depression by B Eichengreen, & P Temin, 1992; On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace by D Kagan - 1995; Hyperinflation and stabilization in Weimar Germany by SB Webb - 1989 ; German socialism and Weimar democracy by R Breitman - 1981; Foreign Office and Foreign Policy 1919-1926 by E Maisel - 1994;; Light that Failed by Zara Steiner. (2005); Modern Germany Reconsidered: 1870-1945 by G Martel - 2002; The world economy between the world wars by CH Feinstein, P Temin, G Toniolo - Oxford 1997 [this is the most influential book]; The united states and the first world war by JD Keene - 2000; "Shame, guilt and reconciliation after war" by C Lu (2008); "Weimar on the Volga: Causes and Consequences of Inflation in 1990s Russia Compared with 1920s Germany" by Niall Ferguson, (2000); British Foreign Secretaries in an Uncertain World, 1919-1939 by M Hughes - 2004 - etc. I have not seen anyone reject the Marks position. Rjensen (talk) 20:26, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
That article also says "The majority of historians" but doesn't cite that fact, which is a strong claim--over 50%. This article says simply "historians", implying again a strong consensus of the majority of historians (if not essentially all of them). I'm seeing that there are lots of sources that correspond with Marks' view but not a source that the majority do. The statement in the article is much stronger than what is in the sources. JJL (talk) 22:03, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
That article does not state "The majority of historians" anywhere. It states "However, historians have judged...". It appears you have ignored the point made by Rjensen above. It is not a fringe theory, it is the general consensus of historians since at least the 1960s. There is no wiki guideline that states there needs to be a source that specifically states the majority of anyone support a position. It appears you are being argumentative for the sake of it.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:14, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
The World War I reparations article to which I was referred in the reply to which I was responding does state "The majority of historians". This article makes an even stronger claim. I am not suggesting this is a fringe theory. I'm not even suggesting it's not the majority opinion. I'm saying that when you say the general consensus of historians is such-and-such, citing a few historians who agree with such-and-such is only enough to show that some historians feel that way, not that most do. I'm asking for a citation to the claim that this "is the general consensus of historians" as explicitly stated here and implicit in the wording in the actual article. As it stands it seems like WP:OR or at least WP:SYNTH. I absolutely disagree with your position that "There is no wiki guideline that states there needs to be a source that specifically states the majority of anyone support a position." when the article makes just such a claim. JJL (talk) 22:49, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
You are being argumentative for the pure sake of it and picking at technicalities. If historians have been stating it since the 1960s and multiple historians are used the article that support that position, it is not original research to summarize their views in the article introduction. You appear to have ignored the sources used in the article and the list produced above and deemed them "some". Not every single source or historians opinion on the matter can be listed. Never, in years of editing, have I seen a guideline or anyone ask for a single source that summarizes the views of decades worth of research and thousands of historians. Does such a source even exist for any other subject? The closest to your impossible demand is PMH Bell, and he supports the position.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:20, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
If the claim is unsupportable, the language must be softened. Other pages don't make such broad claims about the judgment of all historians. This standard isn't new on WP. JJL (talk) 23:44, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
However, the claim is supported. Historians do support the fact mentioned in the intro. The intro is further supported by an entire section that is sourced from several different sources and several different historians. The SOP of the wiki has been met.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:53, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
But see the questions I raised above - which have not been answered. Nobody is suggesting that Marks is a fringe view but, as I suggested, given the scholarly division and changes in the mainstream assessment over time, the bold statement in the lede without qualification (such as "the current view among most (?) historians") is not a neutral summary of the position.
Compare the bold statement in the article "however, historians have judged the reparations to have been lenient, designed to look imposing but were in fact not" (which to me implies much more than a simple majority of historians) with, say, the much more circumspect summary of opinions in the introduction to The Treaty of Versailles: A Re-assessment after 75 years:
". . . many analysts . . . have blamed the treaty for Germany's subsequent . . .
Some see its harsh indemnity provisions as the cause of the German economic and financial crisis 0f 1929-33, and even of the Depression itself. Others claim that the treaty helped National Socialists gain power in 1933. . . .
George F. Kennan has recently argued that the 'vindictiveness of British and French peace terms' helped paved the way for National Socialism . . .
Such revisionist judgements have held sway for generations. . . .
In recent years, however, detailed archival research has underscored the sucesses of the German peace compact. . . .
Scholars, although remaining divided, now tend to view the treaty as the best compromise that the negotiators could have reached in the existing circumstances. . . . Yet the broader public, to judge from newspaper opinion and textbook treatment, clings to the impression of a Carthaginian settlement . . .
Recently Hagen Schulze . . . describes the compact as a 'destructive middle course' that 'put Germany under special laws . . . ruined it economically and . . . " [my emphasis]
And Niall Ferguson, in his chapter in that book, is also more circumspect:
". . . by comparison with the ad hoc peace imposed on Germany in 1945, the Versailles peace was relatively lenient. . . . Consequently some historians have come to view German complaints about the treaty with skepticism. In particular Sally Marks and Stephen Schuker have sought to demonstrate that the material burdens imposed by reparations were less onerous than the Germans claimed, arguing that Germany could have paid a good deal more . . . " [my emphasis]--Boson (talk) 00:04, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
how do historians operate? if a theory (in this case by Sally Marks) is a) widely accepted there will be many citations to it and no mention of attacks on it. b) If it is contested historians will say so and cite the opposition view. what we have is situation a) -- many scholars cite Marks and no one says there is any alternative viewpoint in good standing. (before Marks c) some historians read the predictions of Keynes and assumed they later came true. That theory c) is no longer held by scholars.) This is all about the burden of reparations; consensus = low burden on Germany. That is NOT all there was to the Treaty--far from it. In addition there were serious issues of guilt, lost territories, lost colonies, demilitarization of Rhineland, and severe restrictions on the military. Rjensen (talk) 07:36, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, but in this case there was a conference of "experts from France, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, and the United States" that gathered to re-assess the Treaty of Versailles "on the basis the latest archival evidence and the extant literature". The "resulting reappraisal", as documented in The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years was a "new synthesis of peace conference scholarship". So in this case we have sources that specifically document and assess differing views. I would therefore suggest that we incorporate the views expressed by the editors of, and contributors to, that book. If new evidence has been discussed in the last decade, we could discuss that too.
I would suggest that the body discuss the (sourced and preferably quoted) opinions of some of the historians and economists mentioned on the talk page, particularly where they address the issue of differing views concerning the assessment of the treaty. Perhaps the following could be taken into account:
  • Marks ("A substantial degree of scholarly consensus now suggests that paying what was actually asked of it was within Germany's financial capacity") [my emphasis]
  • Stevenson, who is already quoted in the body ("Versailles continues to be attacked both as too severe and as too lenient.")
  • Fergusson ("the annuity demanded in 1921put an intolerable strain on the state's finances" and "by comparison with the ad hoc peace imposed on Germany in 1945, the Versailles peace was relatively lenient. . . . Consequently some historians have come to view German complaints about the treaty with skepticism. In particular Sally Marks and Stephen Schuker have sought to demonstrate that the material burdens imposed by reparations were less onerous than the Germans claimed, arguing that Germany could have paid a good deal more . . . ". [my emphasis]
  • Feldman ("Marks, ever eager to defend the feasibility of the reparations settlement, appears cheerlessly resigned to the hopelessness of the cause in the real world of post-Versailles Europe"; "Indeed, apparently the only people who really believed that the Germans could fulfill their reparations obligations, the real obligations that is, . . . are some historians. I emphasize some historians because I simply do not agree when Marks says, "The scholarly consensus now suggests that paying what was actually asked of it was within Germany's capacity. Peter Krüger does not share this view; neither do I, and neither does Ferguson . . . "
Since they specifically discuss others' opinions, I would suggest - tentatively - that we give particular weight to the statements of Fergusson, Stevenson, and Feldman.
If some views are more recent and some views represent the "conventional wisdom", we should document that (if we can provide an appropriate source). We should also, perhaps, distinguish what historians say and do when they are advancing a position, formulating interesting new theories, and supporting or attacking one school or another, and what they write when they are attempting to present a view of contemporary opinion.
--Boson (talk) 17:57, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
This is, at best, WP:SYNTH. JJL (talk) 18:34, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
let me comment on one quoted line that cites McNeese: "France and Britain had placed war damages on Germany to the tune of billions of gold marks, which the defeated Germans could not begin to pay".... well I helped write that book and that sentence and I think it's accurate. Versailles DID impose huge reparations that would cripple the German economy, as Keynes predicted. Versailles did indeed outrage Germans and it was a major rhetorical device used by the right and the Nazis. However Germany in fact only paid a small fraction of the Versailles costs, and the $$ they paid was borrowed via (Dawes & Young plans) from New York. Rjensen (talk) 23:14, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

A little hi from Germany. Thanks to Rjensen, Boson and anybody else who try to put this right. Marks is obviously not a majority of historians, but a single revisionist historian whose opinion is given too much weight. The consensus of historians is that the treaty of Versailles is an unfair treaty and is referenced on that Wikipedia page. In the year 2013, a few billion here or there do not seem like a lot of money, but what were the actual costs in the 1920s? Firstly, there was no sum specified in the original treaty, but yearly payments of twenty billion Goldmarks. This was later modified to 132 billion overall. The last official payment was made by the Federal Republic of Germany to its now allies in October 2010. Secondly, the payment was specified in Gold(marks), not in papermoney. Because every yearly payment was more Gold than Germany had, the gracious victors accepted other valuables like coal, steel, the patent for aspirin,... The direct consequence was the roaring twenties in London and Paris and economic breakdown in Germany (hyperinflation and mass unemployment). But how much Gold was that? One Goldmark was 0,358423 g of gold. So: 20 Billion Gm ~ 7,168,460kg of Gold ; 132 Billion Gm ~ 47,311,836 kg of Gold. At today's prices almost 3 trillion USD. According to Wikipedia, 174 million kg of gold have been mined in the history of mankind (this includes Gold mined between 1919 and present time), the payment demanded was about a third of all Gold available worldwide. The French wanted these reparations to be crippling and anybody who considers the terms of the treaty of Versailles lenient is obviously mentally unsound. Not only the reparations in gold but also the territorial losses of historically german regions with more than 80% german inhabitants must be considered very harsh terms. BTW, I find the comments and statements of EnigmaMcmxc to be extremely onesided and lacking in contact with reality. I am not going to enter an edit or flame war, I merely hope that he/she/it will be prevented from posting propaganda in an encyclopedia.( (talk) 01:41, 26 October 2013 (UTC))


In the 'Negotiations' section, a [citation needed] tag is needed after "The treaty's terms were extremely harsh, as the negotiators at Versailles later pointed out.". (talk) 12:37, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

A new draft is being worked on for the article, so this issue should be addressed sometime soon. See the link in the above section, for the link to the draft if you wish to make further comments.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 14:43, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
There is a paragraph 'assessment of the treaty' on top of this page. Some negotiators at Versailles thought at the time that it was too harsh, but the French were able to put their own wishes first. What should be mentioned is that the negotiations were very short especially if you compare them to the last big rewriting of Europe's map, the Congress of Vienna. ( (talk) 01:41, 26 October 2013 (UTC))
The lead is a summary of the page as in the revised version being worked on here User:EnigmaMcmxc/sandbox The view that it was "too harsh" gets a hearing at the analysis section along with the other views - a comparison with the Treaty of Brest Litovsk imposed by the Germans, the propaganda offensive against the treaty which exaggerated the costs to Germany etc.Keith-264 (talk) 07:13, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
"The French were able to put their own wishes first". This is incorrect. Please see the articles on Clemenceau and Foch to discover that important French demands were not met due to the opposition of the British and Americans.--Britannicus (talk) 12:41, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

After confirmation

I am working on updating the article, thus far I have incorporated everything sourced into a draft I am preparing and have double checked it to ensure accuracy. I have been unable to confirm the following, if anyone can double check to ensure the material is accurate:

Richard Evans who argues that the German right was committed to annannexationist program of Germany annexing most of Europe and Africa during the war, and found any peace treaty that did not leave Germany as the conqueror unacceptable to them.(Evans, p. 107).

-Evans, Richard In Hitler's Shadow, New York: Panatheon 1989 page 107

Correlli Barnett argues that, in strategic terms, Germany was in fact in a superior position following the Treaty than she had been in 1914. Germany′s eastern frontiers faced Russia and Austria, who had both in the past balanced German power. But Barnett asserts that, because the Austrian empire fractured after the war into smaller, weaker states and Russia was wracked by revolution and civil war, the newly restored Poland was no match for even a defeated Germany. In the West, Germany was balanced only by France and Belgium, both of which were smaller in population and less economically vibrant than Germany. Barnett concludes by saying that instead of weakening Germany, the Treaty "much enhanced" German power (Barnett, p. 316). Britain and France should have (according to Barnett) "divided and permanently weakened" Germany by undoing Bismarck's work and partitioning Germany into smaller, weaker states so it could never have disrupted the peace of Europe again (Barnett, p. 318). By failing to do this and therefore not solving the problem of German power and restoring the equilibrium of Europe, Britain "had failed in her main purpose in taking part in the Great War" (Barnett, p. 319).

- Correlli Barnett, The Collapse of British Power (London: Pan, 2002)

Regards EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 05:02, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

I don't have the book at hand but I don't recall Evans saying the annexationists wanted "Most" of Africa (they only wanted central Africa at most). Much more important they wanted Eastern Europe & the Low Countries. there is a good discussion at Peter Duignan (1979). The Rulers of German Africa, 1884-1914. Stanford UP. pp. 229–30.  Rjensen (talk) 12:03, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
As you have highlighted from Duignan's source, Central Africa was clearly the area Germany wanted. I shall modify my draft and drop the Africa part of the first quote pending further confirmation on what Evans stated.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 02:47, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Nice effort, though you forgot to wikify your contributions. I also tried clarifying some of your sentences. Otherwise, the section seems to be shaping nicely. Out of curiosity, does Barnett suggest specific areas of Germany that could have been split-off into minor states? Dimadick (talk) 13:06, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
It should be perhaps mentioned, that not only German Empire planned to annex large areas of Central and Eastern Europe, but to ethnically cleanse these territories as well.--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 21:39, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
If you have a source to back that up, the planned ethnic cleansing, I think that would be a good addition to the draft I am working on.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:20, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Whole article Polish Border Strip--MyMoloboaccount (talk) 23:01, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
In reply to Dimadick, if I remember correctly from Barnett's book, he suggests that the separatist movements that arose in Germany after the Great War (in the Rhineland, Bavaria and elsewhere) should of been encouraged as the French wanted. I think that is what he meant by suggesting that Bismarck's work be undone, as he was the prime mover behind German unification.--Britannicus (talk) 02:42, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
In reply to EnigmaMcmxc, I double checked with Barnett's book and I can confirm that the paragraph is accurate and correctly sourced.--Britannicus (talk) 12:43, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the confirmation.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 21:22, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Request of edition

In part:
Among the allies
Please ad to the section following:
Andorra, European independent country didn't signed Treaty of Versailles, despite their declared war in 1914. In fact they were officially at war until 1957.[14][15]
Code: ====Andorra====<br> [[Andorra]], [[Europe]]an independent country didn't signed Treaty of Versailles, despite their declared war in [[1914]]. In fact they were officially at war until [[1957]].<ref></ref><ref></ref>

From what I have read online, Andorra was officially part of France at the time. It would appear that when France signed the treaty of peace, they would have done so for Andorra too. The only published sources that I found, via a quick search on Google Books, support the point that Andorra was part of France at the time, but also support the above request. With that said, the following source (which is not fully viewable) states the entire situation is a myth:
So unless there is something more solid, I think this should not be added to the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 04:43, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

(ec) Not done: Thanks for wanting to improve this article, but there are several issues with your request which make that difficult.

  • The statement isn't a "reaction", just a interesting fact which might or might not be notable enough to be included in the article somewhere.
  • Including "Europe" would be inconsistent with the rest of the article and with convention.
  • One of the sources is a blog, which is generally problematic.
  • Neither source mentions 1914.
  • The grammar is incorrect.
  • The year 1957 shouldn't be wikilinked.

If you want to find sources which support the facts and correct the other errors, you can reopen the request. Thanks, Celestra (talk) 05:08, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 3 January 2014

Hello I would like to ask an established registered user to make a small change on my behalf. In the paragraph on mandates, a country is missing in the sentence "Togoland and German Kamerun (Cameroon) were transferred to France" : Britain. Thus, the paragraph would be in keeping with the Wikipedia page League of Nations mandates. As a Cameroonian, I confirm that Cameroon has been officially bilingual since the Treaty of Versailles. Thank you for putting it right.Jolisane (talk) 22:34, 3 January 2014 (UTC) Jolisane (talk) 22:34, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 27 January 2014

File:William_Orpen_-_The_Signing_of_Peace_in_the_Hall_of_Mirrors,_Versailles.jpg appears twice on the page; one of the occurrances should probably be removed. (talk) 02:46, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Summary of assessments re: harshness vs. leniency, result

When I contrast the following two passages (from the end of the second paragraph, and the beginning of the third) to the Historical Assessments section, the former seems to be lacking some quite interesting and (from my naive vantage point) important points from latter. Sadly I do not consider myself sufficiently versed in the subject to craft a superior summary.

At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a "Carthaginian peace", and said the figure was excessive and counter-productive. The historian Sally Marks judged the reparation figure to be lenient, a sum that was designed to look imposing but was in fact not, that had little impact on the German economy and analysed the treaty as a whole to be quite restrained and not as harsh as it could have been.

The result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was a compromise that left none contented: Germany was not pacified or conciliated, nor permanently weakened.

Mrienstra (talk) 23:04, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

To put it mildly, most of the article is need of a major overhaul to present all points of view in a clear and concise manner.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 23:42, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Suggested addition to introduction

The Treaty of Versailles was a punishment put upon Germany by the Allied Powers to end World War I in which they had no say and were unfairly treated by the Allied Powers. The Treaty of Versailles brought about the end to the German Empire which left them fighting for power. The Treaty of Versailles was one of the many treaties that ended World War I, however it was the main treaty that affected the German due to the heavy consequences that were inflicted upon were that Land was taken away, their military reduced to 100,000 men, it's navy reduced to six battleships, and no air force was allowed.[16] They were even forbidden from coming to the peace conference.Aalibe3420 (talk) 13:00, 25 March 2014 (UTC)aalibe3420

There are a lot of problems with the article at the moment that need to be addressed and fixed, the proposed changes would only serve to make the article worse considering the numerous errors:
  • If the treaty was harsh or not is a debatable subject, historians are divided on the issue. Some make the case that when compared with Brest-Litovsk, the treaty was not harsh in the slightest. Others note the unintended benefits that the treaty.
  • Likewise, there is debate on weather the victors were even vindictive or not. The British wanted a stable Germany and fought the French over imposing too harsh a measures on Germany, just for an example.
  • There is no historical consensus that the Second World War was a direct result of Versailles. Most historians, as far as I am aware, will argue it was not. It also misses out why the Second World War was fought: nothing to do with Versailles.
  • The treaty had no impact on the demise of the Russian Empire, that collapsed due to internal problems coupled with German military victories. Likewise, the Ottoman Empire collapsed not due to this treaty but to military action, internal problems, post-war fighting, and other peace treaties. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire collapsed was barely together when the war broke out: long term problems such as nationalism - for a single example - were exacerbated by the death of the emperor and defeat in the war. Versailles did not deal with either of these empires.
  • The war guilt clause is mentioned in the lede. Alluding, as you appear to be hinting, that Germany was required to accept blame for the war is incorrect. If you look over the now updated article on the subject, historians are quite clear that Germany was not forced to accept blame.
  • Reparations are also mentioned. However, that in itself is another complicated story.
  • Germany was not forbidden from going to peace conference. They were not invited to the six-months of debate on what should be included in the treaty. They were summoned to have the treaty handed over to them for translating and signing, at which point they could raise objections. EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:15, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
I note the changes you have implemented as of your last edit, removing the contested material noted in my above reply, but I have to ask why do you want to label the Treaty of Versailles as "a punishment". Peace treaties are laid out at the end of very war, and I would imagine for the most part - without having researched very treaty ever written - that they are all punishments. It seems an overly dramatic description. My own draft, accessible via my sandbox, but not yet implemented follows the guidelines for a lede more closely (several paragraphs outlaying the article). However, as the article as not yet been overhauled it is too early to implement it as much of it lacks in-article citations currently. For your convenience: EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 15:48, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

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.

Famous quotation

There's a fairly well-known quotation by Lloyd George (I think it was) who said: "We shall have to do the whole thing over again in twenty five years ... at three times the cost." Since it's well-known, and very prescient, I think we should probably add it? I don't have a source right at hand for it (although I can probably find one it we want to add it). Noel (talk) 17:29, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

temp storage

Schulze says, the Treaty placed Germany, "under legal sanctions, deprived of military power, economically ruined, and politically humiliated."[17]

  1. ^ Weinberg, Gerhard L. (2005). A World at Arms: A global history of World War II. Cambridge University Press, (2nd edition), pp 15-16. ISBN 0521853168
  2. ^ Wikipedia Article: Joseph Stalin and Soviet Union
  3. ^
  4. ^ La Seconde Guerre mondiale, Raymond Cartier, Paris, Larousse Paris Match, 1965, quoted in: Die "Jagd auf Deutsche" im Osten, Die Verfolgung begann nicht erst mit dem "Bromberger Blutsonntag" vor 50 Jahren, by Pater Lothar Groppe, © Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung / 28. August 2004
  5. ^ see Wikipedia Article about -> Woodrow Wilson and his 14 Points
  6. ^ La Seconde Guerre mondiale, Raymond Cartier, Paris, Larousse Paris Match, 1965, quoted in: Die "Jagd auf Deutsche" im Osten, Die Verfolgung begann nicht erst mit dem "Bromberger Blutsonntag" vor 50 Jahren, by Pater Lothar Groppe, © Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung / 28. August 2004
  7. ^ ibid.
  8. ^ ibid.
  9. ^ see British Sea blockade
  10. ^ Ich frage Sie: wer kann als ehrlicher Mann - ich will gar nicht sagen als Deutscher - nur als ehrlicher, vertragstreuer Mann solche Bedingungen eingehen? Welche Hand müsste nicht verdorren, die sich und uns in solche Fesseln legte? [...] Dieser Vertrag ist nach der Auffassung der Reichsregierung unannehmbar [...]"Scheidemann's speech in Parliament on 12th May 1919 in the National Assembly
  11. ^ see Wikipedia Article on Invasion of the Ruhr or Ruhrbesetzung
  12. ^ The Birthplace of the NSDAP is not Munich 1933, but Versailles 1918, the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany Theodor Heuss,
  13. ^ compare with Scheidemann's quote Treaty of Chains and the frequently used name Versailler Diktat = dictate of Versailles ->
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "The Treaty of Versailles". History Learning Site. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Hagen Schulze (1998). Germany: A New History. Harvard U.P. p. 204. 
Archive this section? --Boson (talk) 10:17, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

"not as harsh as it could have been" ?

What's really ment by this ? In summer of 1919 Germany could hardly do anything about anything. By the 11 November 1918, end of the war, there was not a square feet of the former German Impire where foregin soldiers held. Germany did though realize that they couldn't win the war, and the new government wanted peace. And Germany believed in President Woodrow Wilson's Doctrine which mentiones nothing of German guilt or any economical compensation. But as Wilson got ill, the German hating Georges Clemenceau became free to demand just anything of Germany. If the money ment nothing for the German future economy, howcome it never worked to pay the astronomical amout Clemenceau demanded. It was supposed to be payed all the way to 1989 !!! The only result was that nazism attracted people. Though no longer after the hyperinflation and Ruhr occupation was finished and Clemenceau gone. Between Hitler's release from prison 1924 and 1929 the nazi movement attracted alomost none. Boeing720 (talk) 02:40, 21 July 2014 (UTC) How the reference below came here, I havn't the foggiest about. I simply pressed "new section" Boeing720 (talk) 02:43, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

People like you are why millions need to die for nothing so that these myths do not start, in the real world Germany was defeated, it does not matter that no foregin soldier was on German soil, most of the German army had collapsed, the soldiers did not want to fight any more and so had its economy, people did not want to work in those conditions any more. The German army had no way of stopping the Americans who every DAY were growing by 10,000 men! PLUS tanks PLUS aircraft. President Friedrich Ebert knew that Germany was in an impossible position. As detested as the treaty was, he feared that the government was not in a position to reject it. With this in mind, he asked Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg if the army was capable of any meaningful resistance in the event the Allies decided to renew hostilities, which he believed would be very likely if Germany refused to sign. If there was even the slightest chance that the army could hold out, Ebert intended to recommend against ratifying the treaty. Hindenburg—after prodding from his chief of staff, Wilhelm Groener—concluded the army′s position was untenable. The morale of both the military and the civilians had collapsed there is no possibly way that they could have made any resistance, BUT you prove why in the SECOND world war why Germany needed to be totally destroyed and why Japan as well needed to be totally destroyed. So that these myths do not start. It was indeed a mistake for the Allies in world war 1 to stop the war before they had totally and completely obliterated the Germans because people like you will have ideas and think lots of things.Qwertyu12345677777 (talk) 17:10, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 20 August 2014: To be added to the end of "in Germany" section

An equally important reason for discontent was the apparent disregard of the allies for the inhabitants of the areas that Germany had to yield, and to which country these people wished to belong. For example, the proportion of native German-speakers in the Alsace and Lorraine region was 86.8% according to the 1900 census[1], and an overwhelming majority of the population had, in the national elections since the turn of the century, voted for parties associated with German ones rather than parties supporting autonomy or openly opposing German rule. The city of Danzig was separated from Germany in 1920, designated a so-called “Free City” and placed into a customs union with Poland, although the Polish population is estimated to have been a mere 2 or 3%.[2] Lithuania was awarded the Memelgebiet, a mixed area of ethnic Germans and mainly protestant ethnic Lithuanians, most of whom were loyal to Germany. None of these three regions saw plebiscites, which Germans (probably correctly) believed was because there would have been a landslide in each to remain part of Germany. Among the territories that the Treaty of Versailles awarded to Germany’s neighbours, only the southern portion of the Prussian province of Posen and Northern Schleswig were larger regions with a sizable majority of native non-German speakers.[3] The notion that the supposedly democracy-minded allies put their own geopolitical interests before the will of the affected people - combined with the vastly prevalent view that Germany was in no way solely to blame for the war - fuelled massive resentment.

Semi-protected edit request on 20 August 2014: To be added to the end of "in Germany" section

Magic77wand (talk) 21:51, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

  • Not done You have only provided circumstantial evidence, not anything solid that supports your point. Population break down and voting loyalties, prior to the war, do not explain how people felt in 1919. The same point can be made of your argument over Danzig.
While that section of the article is need of work, the current suggestion - at the moment - does not seem to be the way to go. An effort, still a work in progress although well sourced, to rework the German section to explain the massive resentments is available in the sandbox for comment.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 09:23, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

semi closed?

the article is rated a start class, but semi protected....not very encouraging to improve it.Wikirictor (talk) 11:38, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

While not a direct reply to your comment, I do have a wip draft in my sandbox if you would like to look at some suggestive improvements to the article.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 12:40, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

132 billion Marks equals much more than 284 Billion pounds in 2015. You need to get your math right. (talk)

Care to offer some correct math, with a source? Of course, sourced information place the German reparation bill - in American dollars - at 33 billion, which comes to roughly 436 billion in 2014 dollars. Current dollar to pound conversion would place the bill, in pound sterling, roughly at what this articles claims. With that said, very few sources do the mark to pound conversion in 1919 money, and i would argue that the pound information should be dropped from this article when it is overhauled.

Semi-protected edit request on 1 February 2015

It says that the treaty of versailles had the signatory confirmation from america, However USA did not ratify the treaty at all. Is this a modification of history? (talk) 09:49, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Not done

The US did in fact sign the treaty, see the preamble: The fact that Congress did not ratify it does not mean there was no American involvement in the peace process or signing of the treaty (The opening part of the treaty and several important clauses are American in origin). So no, there is no distorian of or modification of history.EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 16:46, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

minor typo (talk) 03:19, 21 March 2015 (UTC) "This treaty ended the war between Russia and the Central powers and annexed 1,300,000 square miles (3,400,000 km2) >square miles< of territory and 62 million people"

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What about the May Fourth Movement in China?

In the Reactions part, China's reaction should also be included. Britain promised China that they would have Shandong back if they helped to defeat Germany, but the Britains also promised the Japanese in the same place for the same thing. Later on, in one part of the Treaty of Versailles stated that Shandong would be ceded to the Japanese. Chinese people (especially students) were frustrated and they protested against the government, and the students were arrested, jailed, severally beaten. Thus the May Fourth Movement happened.[4] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:40, 6 September 2015 (UTC)


Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Treaty of Versailles/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

This article seems to get quite a lot of vandalism and some POV-pushing. The revert skirmishes about terminology (Big Three/Big Four) lead repeatedly to inconsistent text. In view of the subject's importance, the article needs a lot of attention, but has great potential, in my opinion. It would be nice to get better references for things like the German delegation's reply. It seems rather disjointed, in particular as regards the discussion of different assessments of the treaty. I would like to see the treaty better put in its wider context; from a German perspective, for instance, I would like to see more about the treaty's influence on the rise of National Socialism, the Dolchstoßlegende, etc., (though it should no be overdone).--Boson 16:21, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 20:17, 3 December 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 20:54, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
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