German Reaction to The Treaty Of Versailles
In June 1919, the terms of the Treaty were announced by the Allies. The German people were horrified by the harsh terms of the Treaty and German Politicians complained to the Allies and tried to persuade them to change some of it’s most harsh terms as the war was the Kaiser’s fault, not the Weimar Government’s.
The terms of the Treaty had the purposes of punishing and humiliating Germany, weakening Germany and to reward the allies for their overall victory or compensate them for the damage and casualties.
The terms of the treaty were:
Punish and Humiliate Germany
Germany had to accept the blame for starting the war according to the ‘war guilt clause’
A plebiscite was to be held in North Danzig so the people could decide to be part of Germany or Denmark.
Lituania, Estonia and Latvia were to become independent.
Germany’s colonies had to be ruled by France, Britain and other member countries on behalf of the newly established League of Nations.
Germany had to reduce it’s army to just 100,000 men
Germany could only have six battleships in it’s Navy and could not build or use aeroplanes, submarines or tanks.
Germany must not join with Austria whom they had been allies with in WW1 and also shared the same language of German
Germany had to demilitarise the Rhineland, an area on the German-French border. The area was to be occupied by Allied Troops for the next 15 years.
Reward or compensate the Allies
Germany had to pay reparations (compensation) to the Allies who had won the war. The reparation sum was later set at £6.6 million or 36 billion German Marks.
Alsace-Lorraine had to be returned to France. Germany had won the area in the Franco-Prussian war in 1871.
Eupen and Malmedy were given to Belgium, who had been allies of France and Britain in the War.
The Polish Corridor was given to Poland so they were no longer landlocked. This cut off East Prussia from the rest of Germany.
Danzig was to be governed by the League of Nations, so Poland could trade easily.
The industrial/coal mining area called Saarland governed by the League of Nations for 15 years and the coalfields were run by France meaning that France got all the coal that was mined there. (also to weaken Germany)