TREATY OF VERSAILLES (1919)
Germany was not consulted; Germany was just told to agree. This caused
great German resentment.
The decisions were made by the French, the British & the Americans. In
particular the French wanted to take revenge, humiliate & punish Germany.
France’s attitude may have been understandable, but it meant that Germany
might risk another war in the future.
Terms of the treaty:
Germany had to admit War Guilt; therefore she had to take the blame & its
Reparations of £6,600 million had to be paid to the allies.
Germany lost territory to France – in particular Alsace Lorraine
Germany lost territory to Poland – East Prussia was therefore separated by
the Polish Corridor.
Germany’s army was reduced to 100,000 men; it could not have reserves,
tanks, aircraft or submarines. Its navy was heavily restricted.
The Rhineland was demilitarised
Europe after 1918
The treaty did not work as it antagonised Germany & therefore made a
potential enemy of her for the future. In the future (the early 1930s) Hitler
was able to exploit this resentment in order to gain power.
He was able to undo much of the Versailles Treaty through bullying & bluff;
but eventually this led to war in 1939.
Europe was weakened and exhausted by the 1st World War; over 10 million
soldiers & sailors died together with many civilians. Malnutrition & Spanish flu
killed many. All European economies were wrecked by the war.
USA was the only country to really benefit from the war; USA refused to
participate in European affairs after Versailles despite the fact that President
Wilson had helped write the Treaty. The lack of US influence helped to
create eventual instability in Europe.
The League of Nations (like the present day United Nations) was set up to
keep the peace; during the 1930s the League failed to do so.
The Communist (or Bolshevik) revolution in Russia took place in 1917. Every
other European government feared Communism as did many of the people of
Europe. [Left wing.]
Few democracies survived in Europe; Fascist and military governments [both
Right wing.[ took over in many countries due to the failure of democracy,
economic chaos and the fear of the spread of Communism.
Between 1930 & 1933 The German Nazis (a form of Fascism) increased
support. In January 1933 Hitler became Chancellor (Prime Minister) of
Germany; he soon became a dictator.