Versailles Peace Treaty: German Shock

Figure 1.--Here Berlin student fratenity members protest the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty in 1919.

The German people were shocked at terms of the Versailles Treaty. German diplomats at Versailles were not allowed to debate the terms of the Treaty, It was simply handed to them to accept. The Armistice had been signed agreed to on the basis that the peace would be based on President Wilson's 14 Points. The Versailles Treaty was not al all what they had anticipated. The War guilt clause (Article 231) in particular shocked many Germans. THey did not see their country as responsible for the War. And tis served as a basis for punishing the Germans (Article 228). Many aspects of the Treaty might be considered as a way of punishing Germany. The most significant here was substantial war reparations. And worse was to come as the Allies began to draw the new borders. Here a series of referendum were used to determine the to what country areas of mixed population would be assigned. In the end, Germany lost aover 10 percent of its pre-War territory. As news of the Treaty provisions were published in Germany, a wave of protest engulfed the country. Meetings and street protests took place. The countrybwent into a virtual state of mourning. Stage theaters and movies shit down. Most Germans felt deceived.


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Created: 6:53 AM 2/11/2007
Last updated: 6:53 AM 2/11/2007