The treaty of Versailles greatly humiliated Germany forcing it to accept soul responsibility for the war. Another fault in this treaty was that it did not work as intended. The idea that Germany could ever afford to pay the reparations to full amount was ludicrous as it was already suffering from the defeat of war. These reparations caused runaway inflation throughout Germany. But perhaps the biggest problem of all was that those who created it themselves did not enforce
Not only did the people of Germany feel betrayed by a man of their own country but consequently, had no faith in the new democratic system. The ‘November Criminals’ including Matthias Erzberger, Phillipp Scheidemann and Friedrich Ebert were regarded as unnationalistic. The reaction of the German people was further intensified by the signing of the Versailles Treaty in June 1919. Historian Richard Hunt argues that ‘it was the shame of weakness that seized Germany’s national psychology and served as a solvent of the Weimar democracy’. Whether compliant with this view or not, the fact was that the German population was not backing the leaders of this new constitution, which was damaging to its effectiveness.
The problems began after the 1st World War, and after the German government signed the papers at the Treaty of Versailles, agreeing to its conditions and punishments, the government was very much resented by the people. The first political event that marked the beginning of the collapse of the German democracy was the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty took place in Paris in 1919. After Germany was held responsible for starting the war, the government faced numerous problems: both economical and political. Although the conditions of the agreement seemed extremely severe, the allied countries had no sympathy for the Germans.
And the U.S. and Germany could not agree upon what to do with Germany, so it ended up being divided: West Germany to U.S. and Great Britain and West Germany to the Soviets. I believe this was a major event that made the cold war inevitable. Both sides could not come to an agreement and this led to the Berlin Blockade. Russia was trying to starve the West Berliners and the U.S. responded by flying in supplies. The blockade was a devastating crisis that solved nothing.
Because there were so many German-speaking people and “Self Determination”, the Sudetenland was thought to belong to a German leader. The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty that put an end to World War I between the allies and central powers. The policy of appeasement was one of the main reason World War II plunged. Appeasement is simply giving up land in order to avoid upcoming war. During World War II, there were many acts of aggression.
To what extent was the Great Depression responsible for the collapse of the Weimar Republic? While the Great Depression had a huge impact on Germany, it is too simplistic to say that the Depression alone led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic. The Depression had a great impact both economically, socially, politically and psychologically, but its main significance was the opportunity it provided radical politicians such as Hitler. The collapse of the Republic itself can almost be described as inevitable, having being built on unstable and weak foundations. As well as the Depression, the collapse of the Republic can be linked to a large number of factors, including the influence of the army, political instability and constitutional weaknesses.
All of these terms are what led Germany to economic and political instability in the years 1919-23. One of the terms of the treaty, which caused economic instability, were the reparations Germany had to pay for the war. The figure was set at £6.6 billion and undoubtedly Germany would not be able to pay this figure. The English economist, John Maynard Keynes, feared in 1919 that the reparation set would fundamentally weaken the economy of Germany with consequences for the whole of Europe. George Clemenceau aimed to cripple the German economy with the high reparations figure.
The Treaty caused humiliation and shock amongst the citizens of the country, much of the political backlash was due to the fact that the Allies were dictating to Germany the harsh terms of the war reparations, which was seen as absurd by many citizens as they did not feel as if they were responsible for starting the war nor did they feel as though they had lost. As Germany had to pay reparations, they were told to issue a blank cheque which allies would cash when it suited them; the figure that was demanded was well
As well, the only way that the Wilson plan would have survived the political intrigue of the Europeans was either through a league that had real teeth, or a super power willing to intervene as a worldwide police officer. Neither of which existed in 1918. Clemenceau’s views represented the average sentiment of the European Allies after the war. In the closing days of the war, a war weary European population must have tried to make sense of the carnage, of the loss. Clemenceau casts a pale light on the German population, blaming the war on the aims of “the intolerable German Aristocracy.” (Clemenceau, p. 73) The entire argument for the French and nay, European view, was the perceived threat that Europeans felt of German arrogance.
Personally, I strongly believe the treaty of Versailles was completely unfair towards the Germans. The Big Three had forced Germany to sign the treaty and had centred the chaos of the war on one country- Germany. Wilson having published his fourteen points had given the German a misleading thought that if they surrendered they wouldn’t need to put up with the war guilt and reparations. Germany was given a false sense of security by the 14 points because the fourteen points were strongly centred on self-determination which was something that Germany would have liked just to keep their moderately large territory. The reparations that Germany were forced to pay weren’t solely centred on the rulers of Germany because they had had a more profound effect on the citizens of Germany instead.