This paper describes the effects that the treaty of Versailles had on Germany both socially and economically. The settlement left a mark in 1919 and led to birth of nations and death of empires and most national boundaries in Europe were redrawn. The paper first describe the World War I and the enactment of the Treaty of Versailles. It describes the effects that the treaty had on Germany and the response that the World hard on the harsh conditions put on Germany. The treaty of Versailles was very harsh to Germany, and it stipulated that Germany had to take the blame for; initiating the war, losing all of its colonies, losing major territories in Europe and pay a 6.6 billion repatriation fee. The treaty satisfied the Big Three since they believed in the peace agreement that was going to keep Germany weak. The financial penalties and the reparations put on her showed that her Allies only wanted to bankrupt her. These penalties affected the countries financial situation negatively. The Great War also changed the German culture, influenced literature and the social and economic consequences were felt all over the world.
World War IWorld War I, also referred to as the Great War, was an international conflict that took place between 1914 and 1918 (Showalter). The war was embroiled by Europe nations, the United States and the Middle East. Europe was drawn up in two groups in the 20th century and all super powers looked to gain eminence leading to jealousy and tension across Europe. Before 1914, there was evidence of crisis which was bound to start a serious war (Showalter). The war involved Germany, Hungary, and Turkey against its Allies; Russia, Japan, Italy, Britain and France. The United States was only involved until 1917 (Showalter). During the War, there was unprecedented suffering of human beings in the history of the European people. Most Nations were either indirectly or directly affected by the war. Around 80 million soldiers were deployed from 1913-1918 and most of them either died, became physically challenged or were seriously injured (Showalter). Germany active male population disappeared in the war, and it is estimated that around 6 million civilians lost their lives because of the war induced causes. The birth rates also reduced during World War I (Showalter). The war took four years and ended in 1918 with the central powers defeat. This led to the fall of Turkey, Hungary, Russia, Turkey and Germany leading to destabilization of the European Society.
The End of the Great WarThe Great War came as a surprise to the world. Technology had never been in such destructive ways. War had never happened at the same time in the world history. Although the shootings and bombings became silent in 1918, the effect of the war has always been felt today (Obsbawm and Eric 45). There were the birth of nations and death of empires and most national boundaries in Europe were redrawn. This brought about the prosperity of some countries while it a depression in the economic conditions of other nations. The Great War changed the culture and influenced literature. The political social and economic consequences were felt all over the world.
The Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles is a peace settlement that was signed by Germany and Allies after the World War I was over in 1918 (Boemeke, Manfred and Gerald), in the shadow of the revolution in Russia and other events. The agreement was signed in Germany at the Versailles Palace; a place seen as an appropriate because of its size. The conference happened at a time that there was unprecedented ideological, economic, social and political upheaval. The Versailles treaty was denounced by Germany since they felt betrayed by making peace. The Treaty of Versailles terms were so harsh making it difficult to be enforced in the European countries. The political environment played an essential role in the Allies inability to agree to the lasting peace. The instability in Europe made it difficult for a lasting peace to be attained.
The aim of the Treaty of Versailles was to bring and maintain an everlasting stability in Europe (Atkinson). However, most leaders saw the goals were not able to win the peace, however, to some the treaty was just a resolution for 20 years (Atkinson). France suffered terribly during the war, so during the time of signing the Treaty of Versailles, their representatives pledged to make Germany pay for the damages they underwent. The treaty of Versailles was very harsh to Germany, and it stipulated that Germany had to take the blame for; initiating the war, losing all of its colonies, losing major territories in Europe and pay a 6.6 billion repatriation fee (Shephard). The war guilt clause of the Treaty of Versailles was therefore, fully applied. It has that Germany who started the war as described in Clause 231; it was responsible for paying for the damages that resulted in the war (Holocaust). Therefore, Germany had to pay reparation which majorly went to Belgium and France to pay for the infrastructure and buildings that were destroyed during the war. The payment was in the form of cash. The Germans hated the peace treaty, and their politicians tried to change the conditions and terms of the settlement in the 1920s. However, Nazis and Hitler got support and vowed to transform the treaty of the Versailles. However, the treaty satisfied the Big Three since they believed in the peace agreement that was going to keep Germany weak so as to stop communism, the creation of unions that would end any form of war and keep the border of France safe from attack by Germans. This only left anger all over Germany as they felt that they had been treated unfairly. Germany hated the fact that it was being blamed for instigating the war and there resulting penalty the treaty imposed on her.
The effort of Allies powers in marginalizing Germany via the Versailles treaty isolated and undermined the democratic rights of the German people. The deleterious harsh provisions of the Treaty was a revelation among many people that Germany had been stabbed in the back. It was not right for Germany to take the full responsibility for reparation because it is the one who initiated the war. It was the anger of the German people which made them unite under the leadership of Hitler leading to the upsurge of Nazi leadership in Germany. Hitler exploited the Treaty of the Versailles to gain more support and it is the treaty that today is blamed for the rise of Hitler in power. The treaty was the Allies plan to keep Germany weak and did this by ruining it economically, geographically and politically and putting restriction to her military power, making sure that the nation will undergo many problems for it to recover. The treaty made many people suffer as a million jobs were lost making a most family to leave the poverty lines. The German people were being punished for a war they started and fought. The Allies managed to ensure that reviving the economy in Germany will be a major problem and may take many years, thereby alleviating any threat that could be caused by Germany within their borders. The citizens in Germany felt that they were paying for their government mistake as it was the government that declared war in 1914, not the people. Therefore, this paper seek to describe the treaty of Versailles and the social and economic impacts it had on Germany.
Economic Impact Reparations
The Treaty of Versailles made Germany responsible for the damages caused during the World War I. Reparations lead to adverse damage on the German economy. The Treaty of Versailles provided that Germany must pay for all the damages that occurred during the war. It is only Germany that was accountable for what was destroyed during the war and the treaty provided that his Allies were to be paid the compensation. A sum estimated to be around 6,600 million, which was to be paid in instalments, till 1984 (Zapotoczny). This figure was agreed upon by Germany Allies in 1921 (Malckom). The might of the German economy had already been destroyed during the war and the reparations further stretched it to the limit, and it had no option but to reconstruct its economy while paying reparations. These reparations destroyed the economy in Germany and resulted in the hyperinflation that took place in 1923 (Shephard). Such reparations crippled a defeated nation economy leading to Dawes plan to see the need of collaborating with Allies for it to revitalize its economy in 1924.
The Treaty of Versailles put many restrictions on Germany leading to financial ruin and putting Germany in an in a hyper-inflation state. For example, the treaty provided that Germany was not allowed to have a particular number of soldiers (100,000 troops), a specific number of ships and other restrictions, especially in the military (History). The reparations placed on Germany led to skyrocket inflation making even an average person in Germany not to be able to afford to live. Germany lost most of her raw material sources since most of her territories and colonies that provided income became seeded in other states, for example, France (Ruth). Some industrial territories that were lost by Germany were the Upper Silesia and Saar (Keynes and Maynard), which contributed immensely to the decline in Germans economy. The financial penalties and the reparations put on her showed that her Allies only wanted to bankrupt her. After the war, Germany was not able to export or import goods (Holocaust). This affected trade tremendously as natural resources and the food was used to pay reparations. Therefore, by 1919 Germany was among the least advanced economies around the world. These are the reasons why the economy of Germany was difficult to cope.
The Versatile treaty also affected the importation and exportation of ships and weapons that were a tremendous problem for the German economy as previously the economy was majorly built on the exportation and production of arms (Keynes and Maynard). The terms forced it to surrender almost 90% of their railroad cars and merchant fleet that means that Germany could not major on trading (Malckom). The Industrial Production section was restricted and forbid any commercial contract between a trading country with Germany and the Allied markets were inaccessible. However, the Allies crippled the markets in Germany because of their preferred status. This destroyed the economy and the country only had to rely on their local markets for trade and the little exports they were allowed to continue with. Germany produced almost 258,800,000 to...
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